Laurie did a pre-interview with Michael Sherwood, retired attorney with Earthjustice who argued the original Palila cases in the 1970s and 1980s. The next day we did a second shoot at the Bishop Museum, and flew Hoku (our native Hawaiian intern from Miloliʻi) out for the day to work as a Sound PA. We filmed Michael Sherwood recounting his first-hand experience the case Palila v. Hawaii. Marjorie Ziegler joined us again, and we shot a brief sequence of Marjorie and Michael greeting each other, who are old friends. When Alan Ziegler was working with Michael on the case, he stayed at the Ziegler’s residence while Marjorie was living there, still in high school. It had been about 10 years since Marjorie and Michael had last seen each other.
Michael described how he and Dr. Ziegler decided to include the bird as plaintiff, brought his “client” to court, and the events and aftermath of that week. He also described subsequent cases Palila II, III, IV, V, VI (the case is still open) and the impact of the case. The highlight of the shoot was when the cameras followed Michael as he looked at the museum’s collection of palila and identified his “client” – the palila specimen who accompanied him in the courtroom.
From this interview, we discovered that we had a meatier story regarding the legal significance and precedence of this case. Palila v. Hawaii is taught in law schools presently, and is a historic and landmark environmental case defending the Endangered Species Act. We have begun to research this developing storyline, and we are continuing to search for Hawai’i media coverage of the cases.