H.C.R. NO.









requesting disclosure of information related to the peter BOY kema case.



WHEREAS, Peter Kema, Jr., also known as Peter Boy, has not been seen by his relatives since February 1997; and

WHEREAS, Peter Boy allegedly was given by his father, Peter Kema, Sr., to an old family friend named Auntie Rose Makuakane during a trip to Oahu in August 1997; and

WHEREAS, no one can be found who has seen Peter Boy since that time; and

WHEREAS, police have been unable to prove the existence of Auntie Rose Makuakane, and the case is being actively investigated as a missing person case; and

WHEREAS, while Peter Boy's parents have maintained that they have never harmed the child, the boy's three siblings, who have been placed in foster custody, have provided a disturbing portrait of alleged abuse, including allegations that Peter Boy was starved, forced to sleep outside, driven around in the locked trunk of the family car, and sometimes handcuffed to his bed; and

WHEREAS, despite reports of abuse, the Department of Human Services continued to allow Peter Boy Kema to remain with his family; and

WHEREAS, Child Protective Services had supervision of Peter Boy Kema and his family and should be responsible for his safety and should also enlist the support of the public to obtain more information about the case and not hide behind the "cloak of confidentiality"; and

WHEREAS, despite investigation by the Hawaii County Police Department, there has been no apparent progress in the case, and the whereabouts of Peter Boy are still unknown, with his body not discovered; and

WHEREAS, the interests of justice and confidence in our system of child protection beg resolution of the mystery of Peter Boy's fate and a closure to his case; and

WHEREAS, from the outset, Volunteer Legal Services Hawaii experienced difficulties that made it impossible to determine whether Peter Kema's rights had been violated because:

(1) Volunteer Legal Services Hawaii was not named a party to the case and was unable to obtain any information concerning the actual case records from the Department of Human Services; and

(2) Volunteer Legal Services Hawaii found that court action to require the release of information would not likely be fruitful, based on the Hawaii Supreme Court's ruling in Kema v. Gaddis, 91 Haw. 200 (1999); and

WHEREAS, in Kema, the Hawaii Supreme Court invalidated a Family Court (Third Circuit) order that authorized the release of information pertaining to a protection proceeding; and

WHEREAS, in response to the court's ruling, Volunteer Legal Services Hawaii worked with lawmakers, government agencies, community organizations, volunteer attorneys, and clients to draft proposed legislation that was intended specifically to address the Kema ruling; and

WHEREAS, there is an urgency in this case that calls for giving extra weight to the needs of a missing child when determining whether to allow persons other than the parties access to protective proceeding records, by establishing the following rebuttable presumptions in the Child Protective Act:

(1) That concerns relating to the missing child's whereabouts and well-being outweigh family member concerns relating to the confidentiality of information; and

(2) That concerns relating to the missing child's whereabouts and well-being outweigh concerns that access to information may have potential harmful effects upon the missing child's family members, including a sibling who is a minor and who may be the subject of a protection case that is interrelated with the missing child's case; and

WHEREAS, concerns were raised on the establishment of rebuttable presumptions in family law; and

WHEREAS, the establishment of rebuttable presumptions in the Child Protective Act would ultimately require the release of information in all missing child cases, regardless of whether the release would be harmful to the siblings of the missing child; and

WHEREAS, under existing case law, the evidentiary standard to overturn a rebuttable presumption is unclear at best; and

WHEREAS, it is not the Legislature's intent to place the siblings of a missing child at risk of harm, but rather to craft a statutory scheme that would provide the courts with adequate flexibility to release records in a manner that would mitigate the harmful effects that the release might have on the siblings; and

WHEREAS, to resolve the Peter Boy Kema case, it is necessary to first clarify laws pertaining to the release of confidential information to third parties under the Child Protective Act; now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the House of Representatives of the Twenty-second Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2004, the Senate concurring, that the Department of Human Services is requested to release to the Chief of the Hawaii County Police Department and the public, information that would facilitate locating Peter Boy Kema; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Hawaii County Police Department is requested to make public the status of the police investigation; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Concurrent Resolution be transmitted to the Director of Human Services, the Attorney General, the Hawaii County Mayor, and the Chief of the Hawaii County Police Department.






Report Title:

Peter Boy Kema Case; Case Information Disclosure