Ruggles v. Yagong

353 P.3d 953, 135 Haw. 411 (2015)

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Ruggles v. Yagong

Hawaii Supreme Court
353 P.3d 953, 135 Haw. 411 (2015)

  • Written by Patrick Speice, JD

Facts

Michael Ruggles and other citizens of Hawaii County (collectively, the residents) (plaintiffs) filed suit against Hawaii County Councilman Dominic Yagong and other Hawaii County public officials, including members of law enforcement (collectively, the public officials) (defendants). The residents alleged that the public officials’ ongoing efforts to enforce marijuana laws, including by prosecuting adults for possession of relatively small amounts of marijuana, violated a local ordinance that deemed enforcement of marijuana laws the lowest priority for law enforcement. The public officials moved to dismiss the residents’ lawsuit, arguing that Hawaii’s state criminal laws preempted the local ordinance. The circuit court agreed with the public officials and dismissed the complaint. The circuit court’s judgment was upheld on appeal, and the defendants appealed to the Hawaii Supreme Court.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (McKenna, J.)

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