Attorneys General Are *Supposed* to Protect the Public Interest
It is common across the U.S. for State Attorney General Agencies/Department/Offices to act as attorneys for the State when the State asks for legal advice, when someone or some company needs to be prosecuted by the State, or to defend State agencies and employees when sued for some action or inaction committed in the course of their employment. Each state sets its own laws concerning its State Attorneys General.
In Hawai‘i, exceptions to the State Tort Liability Act are listed in HRS §662-15(4). It specifically states the State Tort Liability Act (HRS §662) shall not apply to certain illegal acts, two of which are "libel" and "slander," i.e. the written and spoken forms of defamation.
I went to small claims court and sued a Hawai‘i public school teacher for defamation. She had clearly lied; I supplied 3 witness statements other than mine stating the truth to the DOE before I filed my claim, and as exhibits when I did file my claim. Regardless, the Department of the Attorney General decided to represent the teacher. The judge denied my motion to Disqualify the Department of the Attorney General from Representing Defendant in the Matter of Defamation. When I asked how he could rule that way when clearly the law listed these exceptions. The judge said I was reading the law WRONG and told me to hire an attorney to find out what HRS §662-15(4) means.
I got the case dismissed (without prejudice) so that I could try again in Circuit Court -- or District Court -- one more question I haven't been able to get answered by the Judiciary.
Can *ANYBODY* Out There Explain HRS §662-15(4)?
Ethics & Conflicts Committee
This is the committee that decides whether or not the State Department of the Attorney General will represent a State Employee when sued in zir own capacity for acts committed while on the job.
An excellent source of information on defamation is Publishing Information that Harms Another's Reputation from Digital Media Law Project. [The Digital Media Law Project works to ensure that individuals and organizations involved in online journalism have access to the legal resources.]
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