§346-240 Adjudicatory hearing. (a) When a petition has been filed, the court shall set a return date hearing to be held within thirty days of the filing of the petition. On the return date, the parties personally or through counsel may stipulate to the entry or continuance of the orders as the court deems to be in the best interests of the vulnerable adult, and the court shall set the case for an adjudicatory hearing as soon as is practical.
(b) In an adjudicatory hearing, the court shall determine whether the person is a vulnerable adult, and whether the vulnerable adult has incurred abuse or is in danger of abuse if immediate action is not taken, based upon a preponderance of the evidence. Evidence that is contained in a written report, study, or examination shall be admissible; provided that the maker of the written report, study, or examination be subject to direct and cross-examination upon demand when the maker is reasonably available. A social worker employed by the department in the area of adult protective services shall be presumed to be qualified to testify as an expert in the field of protective services.
(c) If facts sufficient to sustain the petition are established in court, or are stipulated to by all parties, the court shall enter an order finding that the vulnerable adult has incurred abuse or is in danger of abuse if immediate action is not taken and shall state the grounds for the finding. The court shall also make a finding concerning the capacity of the vulnerable adult to effectively make decisions concerning personal needs or property. If the capacity of the vulnerable adult is at issue, the court shall require that the vulnerable adult be examined by a psychiatrist or other physician who is skilled in evaluating the particular area in which the vulnerable adult is alleged to lack capacity before making any finding that the vulnerable adult lacks capacity. If there is no finding that the vulnerable adult lacks capacity to make decisions regarding personal needs or property and if the vulnerable adult does not give consent, the court shall not have authority to proceed further and the court shall dismiss the case.
(d) Upon the completion of the adjudicatory hearing, the disposition hearing may commence immediately after the required findings are made, provided the requirements of section 346-241(a) have been met, or the court may set the disposition hearing for such time as it deems appropriate.
(e) If facts sufficient to sustain the petition under this part are not established, the court shall dismiss the petition and shall state the grounds for dismissal.
(f) If the court sustains the petition and does not commence immediately to the disposition hearing, it shall determine, based upon the facts adduced during the adjudicatory hearing and any additional facts presented to it, whether any temporary orders should be issued pending final disposition. [L 1989, c 381, pt of §1; am L 1990, c 144, §1 and c 234, §9; am L 2008, c 154, §21]
Law Journals and Reviews
Elder Abuse and Laws to Protect Older Persons in Hawaii. 15 HBJ, no. 13, at 93 (2013).