Hawaii revises policy for Hawaiian court interpreters

HONOLULU — Hawaii’s Judiciary says those who want to speak Hawaiian in court will be able to use an interpreter.

The Judiciary announced Friday a policy for providing Hawaiian language interpreters after a professor faced arrest for insisting on speaking Hawaiian in court. A judge wasn’t able to confirm Samuel Kaleikoa Kaeo’s identity and issued a warrant.

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The judge later recalled the warrant. The Judiciary reviewed its policy.

Previously judges had the discretion to allow interpreters for those who speak English but prefer to speak in Hawaiian.

Judiciary spokeswoman Jan Kagehiro says judges will now grant such requests, but there may be challenges such as the availability of qualified interpreters.

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Kaeo was arrested last year while protesting a Maui solar telescope project.

A hearing is scheduled for Kaeo’s request for an interpreter.