Civil Beat Staff

John Hill

John Hill is the Investigations Editor at Honolulu Civil Beat. He meandered back and forth across the U.S. for two-plus decades as a newspaper reporter — with stops in Northern California, New York City, New Orleans, Albuquerque and back to Northern California — before abandoning the mainland altogether to come to Civil Beat in July 2016.

In 2005, he won the George Polk Award for documenting abuses of the California pension and disability systems, most notably by the top brass of the California Highway Patrol. In New Orleans, he was part of a team of reporters that did a year-long series on race relations honored for public service by the Society of Professional Journalists and the National Headliner Awards.

In 2009, John left journalism to work for a California Senate office that investigated shortcomings in state government. His reports focused on the state’s failure to prevent elder abuse and monitor deaths in residential drug treatment programs, among other topics, and led to legislation and administrative reforms.

In 2014, the Senate eliminated his office and he worked for a year-and-a-half as press secretary for the California State Controller.

John recognizes that the best investigations start with tips, and encourages Civil Beat readers to contact him with stories of skullduggery, malfeasance and garden-variety ineptitude.

She Took Her Fight For Her Grandson Public. A Hawaii Judge Said She Went Too Far Courtesy: Deborah Goodwin

She Took Her Fight For Her Grandson Public. A Hawaii Judge Said She Went Too Far

Big Island resident Deborah Goodwin says she had no choice but to speak to a reporter and file a lawsuit about her case because the confidential system had treated her unfairly. It backfired.

A Judge Took Away These Kids For Good — Until A Higher Court Found A Mistake Courtesy: Shandon Cabinatan and Mahlonna Mawae-Callison

A Judge Took Away These Kids For Good — Until A Higher Court Found A Mistake

An appeals court found that parents in three cases should have had court-appointed lawyers throughout. How many other parents were denied this right?

Hawaii’s Weird Winter: Deluge, Drought, Fewer Rainbows But Plenty Of Green Flashes John Hill/Civil Beat/2022

Hawaii’s Weird Winter: Deluge, Drought, Fewer Rainbows But Plenty Of Green Flashes

La Nina is supposed to bring copious rain to Hawaii, but not so far this year, with implications for ranchers and water customers.

How An Unpaid $336 Insurance Bill Led To A Big Island Woman’s 9-Year Fight To Keep Her Home Courtesy: Eleanor Fernandes

How An Unpaid $336 Insurance Bill Led To A Big Island Woman’s 9-Year Fight To Keep Her Home

Eleanor Fernandes is one of a growing number of Americans whose reverse mortgages have unraveled, in some cases because their insurance lapsed and servicers bought much more expensive coverage on their behalf.

‘Grab And Go’: How Officials Seized A Fifth Grader To Live With A Father She Barely Knew Courtesy: Hannah David

‘Grab And Go’: How Officials Seized A Fifth Grader To Live With A Father She Barely Knew

The case provides a rare glimpse of Hawaii officials’ immense power to remove children from their households, even without a court order.

How A Faulty Assumption Led To Errors In A Civil Beat Story Jack Jeffrey

How A Faulty Assumption Led To Errors In A Civil Beat Story

It’s inevitable: Journalists make mistakes. The question is what to do about them.

False News Report On Hawaii Flu Deaths Fuels Covid-19 Conspiracy Theories Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2021

False News Report On Hawaii Flu Deaths Fuels Covid-19 Conspiracy Theories

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser stated in error that flu and pneumonia deaths had surpassed those from Covid, undermining the state’s message that the virus should be taken seriously.

Attorney: Air Force Mom To Reunite With Abused Daughter

Attorney: Air Force Mom To Reunite With Abused Daughter

Former Sgt. Natasha Beyer, acquitted of charges in the death of her son, has been trying to regain custody of a daughter who had been assaulted by her husband.

Defendant In 2010 Killing Of Cab Driver Found Guilty Of Manslaughter Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2021

Defendant In 2010 Killing Of Cab Driver Found Guilty Of Manslaughter

The case included recanted testimony, an overturned verdict and a victim who had survived the Cambodian killing fields.