Maui Hitchhike Ruling 'Soon'





Maui Hitchhike Ruling

Lahaina Magistrate Meyer Ueoka says he will have a ruling soon on the constitutionality of Maui's anti-hitchhiking law.

Ueoka heard arguments in February from Wailuku attorney Jamie Hunter, who asked that hitchhiking charges against a Lahaina man be dropped on constitutional grounds.

At that time, Ueoka said he expected to present a written decision by the middle of March. Last week, Ueoka said he hoped to have his decision ready "soon".

Ueoka returned last week from a three-week Japan visit.

During the February court hearing, Hunter argued that his client's right to travel had been violated by the anti-hitchhiking ordinance. Hunter also said the county had failed to prove that hitchhiking is a traffic danger or that it results in violence between hitchhikers and drivers who pick them up.

The intent of the ordinance, Hunter said, was to discourage "hippies" from coming to Maui.

Deputy County Attorney Robert Orleck argued that the law was passed as a traffic safety measure. It applies to all persons, he said, and not only to "hippies".

Orleck claimed that cars stopping for hitchhikers present a traffic hazard. Violent attacks involving hitchhikers are always a danger, he said.


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