Judge Susan Oki Mollway’s – U. S. District Court for the District of Hawaii, INCLINATIONS ON MOTIONS
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It is Judge Mollway’s practice, whenever possible, to notify attorneys and pro se parties scheduled to argue motions before her of her inclinations on the motions and the reasons for the inclinations. This is part of Judge Mollway’s normal practice, rather than a procedure unique to a particular case, and is designed to help the advocates prepare for oral argument. It is the judge’s hope that the advance notice of her inclination and the accompanying reasons will focus the oral argument and permit the advocates to use the hearing to show the judge why she is mistaken or why she is correct. The judge is not bound by the inclination and sometimes departs from the inclination in light of oral argument.
Judge Mollway attempts to communicate her inclinations no later than one working day before a hearing. The court’s preference is to distribute the inclinations to the parties via
the court’s electronic filing system (“CM/ECF”). Accordingly, parties are encouraged to participate in the court’s CM/ECF system.
The inclination is intended to be only a summary of the court’s thinking before the hearing and not a complete legal discussion. The court will issue a written order with a detailed analysis after the hearing.
The parties are reminded that, under Local Rule 7.4, they may not submit supplemental briefs (such as briefs addressing the inclination) unless authorized by the court. Supplemental declarations, affidavits, and/or other evidence in response to the court’s inclinations are prohibited unless authorized by the court. The parties are also reminded that they must comply with Local Rule 7.8 if they intend to rely on uncited authorities at the hearing.
Occasionally, Judge Mollway does not announce an inclination, especially if materials are submitted to her right before the hearing. Because briefing on criminal motions closes just a few days before the hearing, it is not uncommon for her to be unable to announce an inclination on a criminal motion until the start of the hearing itself. Certainly if an evidentiary hearing is scheduled on matters necessary to a decision on either a civil or criminal motion, no inclination will be announced.
Judge Mollway’s inclinations may not be cited as authority for any proposition. However, the inclinations will be electronically filed for the convenience of the parties.
Judge Mollway announces the following inclinations:
Case 1:09-cv-00336-SOM-BMK Document 83 Filed 12/07/12 Page 1 of 6 PageID #: 729
Oklevueha Native American Church of Hawaii, Inc., et al. v. Holder, et al., Civ. No. 09-00336 SOM/BMK
Plaintiffs Michael Rex “Raging Bear” Mooney and the Oklevueha Native American Church of
Hawaii, Inc., allege that cannabis (marijuana) is a central part of their religion. Plaintiffs assert
that their right to religious freedom is being infringed on by the United States as it enforces
federal drug laws, specifically 21 U.S.C. § 841. The remaining claims in this case include the
“preenforcement” claims asserted in Count 1 (Religious Freedom Restoration Act claim), Count 2
(American Indian Religious Freedom Act claim), Count 3 (Equal Protection Clause claim), Count 4
(First Amendment free exercise of religion claim), Count 6 (Declaratory Judgment Act claim), and
Count 7 (injunctive relief claim). On July 13, 2012, Defendants moved to dismiss the remaining
claims asserted in the First Amended Complaint. See ECF No. 63. The court is inclined to grant
that motion in part and to deny it in part. With respect to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act
of 1993 (“RFRA”) claims asserted in Count 1, the court is inclined to grant the motion to the
extent Defendants seek relief unrelated to their exercise of religion, but to deny the motion in all
other respects. The court is inclined to rule that Plaintiffs sufficiently allege that the Controlled
Substances Act places a substantial burden on Plaintiffs’ exercise of their
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religion. The court is inclined to rule that whether the Controlled Substances Act actually
substantially burdens Plaintiffs’ exercise of their religion is a question of fact not amenable to
resolution on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss.
Plaintiffs’ prayer for relief seeks an injunction prohibiting Defendants from arresting or
prosecuting Plaintiffs not only in connection with the religious use of cannabis, but also in
connection with “possession of therapeutic cannabis for individual use in compliance with State of
Hawaii Revised Statutes,” the “ability to obtain cannabis from any other legal source in
compliance with State of Hawaii Revised Statutes,” the “ability . . . to cultivate and distribute
cannabis to any person or entity in compliance with State of Hawaii Revised Statutes,” and the
“cultivation of cannabis for therapeutic . . . needs.” The court requests that Plaintiffs come to the
hearing prepared to identify the section(s) of Hawaii Revised Statutes they are referring to. If
Plaintiffs are referring to sections 329-121 to 329-128 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes, which
govern the medical use of cannabis, how is that related to Plaintiffs’ religion? Because the
medical use of cannabis appears to be unrelated to Plaintiffs’ religion, the court is inclined to
dismiss the RFRA claim to the extent it is based on the allegation that the Controlled Substances
Act infringes on Plaintiffs’ rights established by Hawaii statutes.
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With respect to the claims asserted in Count 2 under the American Indian Religious Freedom Act,
42 U.S.C. § 1996 (“AIRFA”), the court is inclined to grant the motion, as the Ninth Circuit has
noted that “AIRFA creates no judicially enforceable individual rights.” United States v. Mitchell,
502 F.3d 931, 954 (9 Cir. 2007). Instead, “AIRFA is simply a the policy statement and does not
create a cause of action.” Henderson v. Terhune, 379 F.3d 709, 711 (9 Cir. 2004).
With respect to the claims asserted in Count 3 under the Equal Protection Clause, the court is
inclined to deny the motion. The court is inclined to rule that whether Defendants have a rational
basis supporting their differing treatment of religious groups using different entheogens is not a
matter this court may decide on this motion to dismiss. Although this court could convert this
part of the motion to one under Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the court is
inclined not to do so because this issue has not been sufficiently briefed and because Defendants
may bring a separate summary judgment motion raising the same arguments. With respect to
the First Amendment claims asserted in Count 4, the court asks the parties to come to the
hearing prepared to discuss whether this claim is duplicative of the RFRA claim asserted in Count
1. Does the court analyze the First Amendment free exercise of religion claim under a different
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standard from the RFRA claims? Or does the court apply the RFRA standard to the First
Amendment claims, making them identical to the claims asserted in Count 1? Compare Emp’t Div., Dep’t of Human Res. of Oregon v. Smith, 494 U.S. 872 (1990), with Gonzales v. O Centro
Espirita Beneficente Uniao do Vegetal, 546 U.S. 418 (2006); 42 U.S.C. § 2000bb-1(b). If different
standards apply to the claims such that the First Amendment claim involves a more difficult
burden for Plaintiffs, do Plaintiffs want to proceed on their First Amendment claim? If the
standards are the same, do Plaintiffs want to proceed on the duplicative claims (and, if so, why)
or should the court dismiss the First Amendment claim as duplicative?
With respect to the declaratory and injunctive relief claims asserted in Counts 6 and 7, the court
is inclined to grant the motion. The court is inclined to rule that those claims are not independent
claims, but instead state forms of relief available if Plaintiffs prevail on a substantive claim. See
Hoilien v. OneWest Bank, FSB, 2012 WL 1379318 (D. Haw. Apr. 20, 2012) (“the Court follows the
well-settled rule that a claim for injunctive relief cannot stand as an independent cause of
action”); Teaupa v. U.S. Nat’l Bank N.A., 836 F. Supp. 2d 1083, 1091 (D. Haw. 2011) (same);
Pugal v. ASC (America’s Servicing Co.), 2011 WL 4435089 (D. Haw. Sept. 21, 2011) (same); see
also Mangindin v. Wash. Mut. Bank, 637 F. Supp. 2d 700, 707 (N.D. Cal.