Return to the Hawaiian Independence Home Page, the News Articles Index, or the Political Prisoner page

Kanahele's lawyer subpoenas Hawaii treaties

Honolulu Star-Bulletin
Friday, October 20, 1995, page A4

By Linda Hosek

In a persistent effort to raise sovereignty issues in the trial of activist Dennis "Bumpy" Kanahele, his attorney subpoenaed about two dozen original treaties between the Kingdom of Hawaii and the United States from the state archives.

But federal judge Helen Gillmor ruled yesterday that Kanahele could not present the fragile documents to jurors, repeating her stand that only the court could decide Kanahele's claim that the federal government does not have jurisdiction over the leader of the self-proclaimed Nation of Hawaii.

In doing so, she said she would review only copies of the historic treaties, dating from about 1850 to 1897 (sic). Every time you touch them you age them," she said.

Jolyn Tamura, state archivist, said the treaties had been removed from the archives only one other time for an exhibit at the Honolulu Academy of Art. Tamura said the documents were treaties addressing friendship, commerce, and navigation.

In proceedings away from the jury, Gillmor warned Hayden Aluli, Kanahele's attorney, that he could not mention the content of the treaties to the jurors or ask witnesses how they felt about native Hawaiian sovereignty.

The government has accused Kanahele and Gordon Kaaihue of interfering with a police officer who tried to serve a warrant in January 1994, on Nathan Brown, a fugitive evading a 78-month sentence for tax fraud. Kanahele also faces felony charges that he harbored Brown and impeded his arrest three months later at his Waimanalo home.

Aluli said Kanahele was educating the police officer about sovereignty during the first incident in which the officer tried to arrest Brown. He also said Kanahele didn't hear the federal marshals identify themselves and initially didn't want to let them on his property.

Federal officials have said Kanahele struggled with the marshals and attempted to intimidate them in their efforts to apprehend Brown, who they said escaped while on Kanahele's property.

Aluli said many of the treaties never have been broken and that the 1993 so-called "Apology Bill" signed by President Clinton acknowledged the overthrow of the kingdom was illegal. He said some legal experts argue that the bill means the kingdom is still intact.

Note: Access the text of these treaties

Return to the Hawaiian Independence Home Page, the News Articles Index, or the Political Prisoner page