HILO, Hawaii – The attorney representing an organization participating in the Thirty Meter Telescope contested case hearing told the judge that he plans to file motion challenging the state and the hearing officer on subject matter jurisdiction.
Dexter Kaiama appeared for the first time at the proceeding as new co-counsel for KAHEA: The Hawaiian Environmental Alliance. Yuklin Aluli, the other attorney representing KAHEA, appeared earlier this week in a pre-conference hearing. KAHEA retained the two attorneys after their previous lawyer, Richard Wurdeman, withdrew from the proceeding.
“I must make – on behalf of myself and KAHEA – at least a preliminary objection to the convening of the contested case hearing,” Kaiama said during his first approach to the podium before the hearing officer, retired judge Riki May Amano. “I do not believe that the hearings officer nor the DLNR has the proper authority to conduct these proceedings from a legal perspective. They actually lack the subject matter jurisdiction to do so.”
“Mr. Kaiama,” a stern Amano answered, “that would be inconsistent with what your co-counsel represented earlier this week.”
“Well, I’m also been co-counsel for KAHEA and I actually do have the permission of KAHEA to make this position. So I’m just letting you know I’m making the record.”
Kaiama said he intends to file a motion “providing the legal basis why this court lacks jurisdiction.”
Subject matter jurisdiction is a specialty of Kaiama. He has previously made the argument in Hawaii court.
Big Island Video News filmed Kaiama during a press conference in May 2013, in which he accused Hawaii judges of committing war crimes after they failed to heed his assertions on subject matter jurisdiction. The case had nothing to do with Mauna Kea, but rather mortgage foreclosures.
A number of TMT opponents are trying to insert the issue of the Hawaiian Kingdom into the contested case, but Amano is trying to limit the discussion.
On September 23, Amano issued Minute Order Number 19, granting Perpetuating Unique Educational Opportunities, Inc.’s motion to set the issues as per her own request. PUEO is a pro-TMT group of Native Hawaiians participating in the contested case. The focus of the hearing will be on land use in the context of state law, Amano ordered. “The sovereignty of the Kingdom of Hawai’i or any other issues relating to the purported existence of the Kingdom of Hawai’i,” will not be at issue, Amano specifically wrote, nor will “challenges to the legal status of the State of Hawai’i; and challenges to the State’s ownership of and title to the lands related to this contested case hearing.”