Prior to entering private practice, Brook Hart was the Chief Public Defender for the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii from 1970 to 1972. In 1971, he was honored to receive the Reginald Heber Smith Award as the “Outstanding Public Defender in the Nation.” Before his service as Chief Public Defender for Hawaii, in 1966-1967 he served as law clerk to the Honorable Martin Pence, then the Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii.
Mr. Hart's professional memberships include the Hawaii State Bar Association; the American Board of Criminal Lawyers; the American College of Trial Lawyers; the National and Hawaii Associations of Criminal Defense Lawyers; and the American Inns of Court IV, Hawaii.
Mr. Hart has been listed in the reference book “The Best Lawyers in America” every year since 1983, and he has also been listed in every issue of Honolulu Magazine's “Hawaii's A+ Attorneys” from 1993 to 2009. Additionally, Mr. Hart is listed in the “Martindale-Hubbell Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers” and “Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory.” He holds the best available Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rating -- AV -- which signifies “that a lawyer has reached the height of professional excellence” and “is recognized for the highest levels of skill and integrity.”
Since 2005, Mr. Hart has been an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Hawaii School of Law, where he co-teaches the Hawaii Innocence Project seminar.
- In re Extradition of Chapman, 459 F. Supp. 2d 1024 (D. Hawaii 2006) — Bail bondsmen and television personalities (the “Dog: The Bounty Hunter” program) Duane “Dog” Chapman, Leland Chapman and Tim Chapman were arrested in Hawaii on the basis of an international extradition request from Mexico. They moved for release on bail, pending resolution of the extradition request. In granting the motion, the Hawaii federal district court recognized that there is a presumption against granting bail in international extradition cases, but that the presumption may be overcome. The court ruled that the respondents were not a flight risk because they all had substantial family ties and business ties to Hawaii, they filmed their television show in Hawaii, they were all readily recognizable public figures, and flight would result in loss of their bail, their television income, their reputations, and their popularity. Additionally, the court acknowledged as “special circumstances” the “high probability of delay in the extradition proceedings,” the fact that respondents posed “no danger to any community on the basis of violence or criminal conduct,” and that “there is a lack of any diplomatic necessity for denying bail.” Subsequently, the charges of false imprisonment against the three bounty hunters were dismissed in Mexico.
- Center Art Galleries-Hawaii, Inc. v. United States, 875 F.2d 747 (9th Cir. 1989) — In this case, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a Hawaii district court order requiring the return of a large quantity of unconstitutionally seized artwork, documents, and other items of property. The Ninth Circuit ruled that the search warrants were overly broad; that the search warrant affidavits did not cure the defective search warrants; that the "permeated with fraud" doctrine did not validate the search warrants; that the search was not justified by the "good faith" exception to the exclusionary rule; and that the "inevitable discovery" doctrine also did not apply. The case remains one of the leading Ninth Circuit cases on overbroad search warrants.
- United States v. Maivia, 728 F. Supp. 1471 (D. Hawaii 1990) — In this three-defendant case, I represented defendant Ati So''''o. The defendants were charged in Hawaii federal district court with Hobbs Act violations allegedly arising from threats of violence in interstate commerce pertaining to the professional wrestling industry. In this published pretrial opinion, the district court ruled that spectrographic voice identification evidence offered by the defense was admissible at trial. The court ruled that such evidence was sufficiently established to have gained general acceptance in its scientific field; that such evidence was sufficiently reliable; and that expert testimony regarding such evidence would be of appreciable assistance to the jurors. After a multi-week trial, the defendants were acquitted of all charges.
- State v. Mitchell, 195 P.3d 711 (table, text in Westlaw), 2008 WL 4649426 (Hawaii App. Oct. 17, 2008) — In this case, the Hawaii Intermediate Court of Appeals vacated the defendant''''s conviction and twenty-year indeterminate term of imprisonment for the alleged first-degree sexual assault of his juvenile daughter. (I represented the defendant on appeal, only after his conviction in the trial court.) The appellate court ruled that the trial court''''s reliance on the psychologist-client privilege to exclude much of a psychologist''''s testimony offered by the defense may have been reversible error. The appellate court recognized that the prosecution may have waived the psychologist-client privilege through public disclosure of the psychologist''''s previous testimony in a related matter. Additionally, the appellate court recognized that the psychologist-client privilege may have been outweighed by the defendant''''s constitutional rights to present favorable evidence and to effectively cross-examine prosecution witnesses. The case was remanded for an evidentiary hearing in the trial court, but then was settled with a very favorable plea agreement involving a different charge that enabled the defendant to avoid a criminal conviction and incarceration. In the end, a wrongfully convicted man was vindicated.
- United States v. Samango, 607 F.2d 877 (9th Cir. 1979) — In United States v. Samango, involving drug and continuing criminal enterprise charges, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a Hawaii district court order dismissing an indictment for prosecutorial misconduct as a proper exercise of the district court''''s supervisory power. The Ninth Circuit recognized that limits must be set on manipulation of grand juries by overzealous prosecutors, and that prosecutors have a duty of good faith to the grand jury, the judiciary and the defendant. Samango remains one of the leading Ninth Circuit cases regarding prosecutorial misconduct before a federal grand jury.
- Reginald Heber Smith Award, as the outstanding public defender in the nation (1971)
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