2017 Jurist of the Year and Judiciary Employees Honored

First Circuit Court Judge Virginia Lea Crandall was presented with the 2017 Jurist of the Year award by Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald, at the Hawaii State Judiciary’s 2017 Statewide Incentive Awards Ceremony on September 22.

Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald (left) congratulates the Hawaii State Judiciary’s highest awardees of 2017: First Circuit Court Judge Virginia Lea Crandall, the Jurist of the Year, and Distinguished Service Award recipients Iris Murayama, Hawaii State Judiciary Deputy Administrative Director of the Courts; and Colin Rodrigues, Deputy Chief Court Administrator, Second Circuit (Maui, Molokai, Lanai).

The Jurist of the Year is selected annually by the Chief Justice from nominations submitted by Hawaii attorneys and Judiciary personnel. The Jurist of the Year recognizes a full-time trial judge who exhibits exceptional judicial competence, evidenced by decisional quality; significant extra-judicial contributions to the administration of justice; and active participation in public service to the community at large.

“Judge Crandall is an exceptional jurist, and a strong leader who works tirelessly to find ways to improve the Judiciary’s ability to serve the public,” said Chief Justice Recktenwald. “Her vast experience in handling both civil and criminal trials has enabled her to serve as a mentor and role model to countless judges.”

Judge Crandall joined the Judiciary as a Circuit Court Judge of the First Circuit Ninth Division on April 1, 1991. She served as the Administrative Judge of the Civil Division, First Circuit Court, from June 1995 to January 1999. Judge Crandall then presided over a criminal trial calendar until 2010, when she was assigned to the civil trial calendar where she currently serves. She also currently serves as Chair of the Judicial Education Committee.

In addition to the honoring of the Jurist of the Year, the Hawaii State Judiciary presented individual and group awards to employees who have distinguished themselves through exceptional service and accomplishments.

The awards presented at this year’s ceremony and the recipients of those awards are:

Distinguished Service Award (the Judiciary’s highest merit award): Iris Murayama, Hawaii State Judiciary Deputy Administrative Director of the Courts; and Colin Rodrigues, Deputy Chief Court Administrator, Second Circuit (Maui, Molokai, Lanai).

Meritorious Service Award: Dee Wakabayashi, Director of Human Resources, Hawaii State Judiciary; and Marilyn Hasegawa, Program Specialist, Juvenile Client and Family Services Branch, Fifth Circuit (Kauai).

Group Meritorious Service Award: Third Circuit (Hawaii Island) Drug Court Staff: Hilo Office – Pagan Devela, Gabrielle Chow, Marlyce Correira, Keri Kimura, and Dustin Cueva; Kona Office – Yvonne Keanaaina, Wendy Terada, Rodney Branco, and Daralyn Kimiye Villesca.

Spirit of the Judiciary Award: Sudarat Pindavanija, IT Specialist, Judiciary Information Management System (JIMS); and David Lam, Chief Court Administrator, Fifth Circuit (Kauai).

Certificate of Commendation: Nicole Morrison, Supervisor, Administrative Driver’s License Revocation Office; and Star Haleamau, Judicial Clerk, Traffic Violations Bureau, Third Circuit (Hawaii Island) Kona Office.

Group Certificate of Commendation: Administrative Fiscal Office: Tracy Chan, Accountant; Myrna Fong, Account Clerk; and Noreen Miyasato, Account Clerk; and Third Circuit Judicial Clerks, Client Services Division, Juvenile Services Branch, Clerical Section, Hilo Office – JoAnn Hirako, Supervisor; Katherine-Anne Schubert, Tammi Mansinon, Tiana Akiu; and Kona Office – Leah Anu Morimoto.

Hawaii Attorneys Providing Free Legal Support to Texans in Need

Hawaii attorneys have been answering the urgent call for legal help to Texans in need due to Hurricane Harvey. Last week, the Texas Supreme Court issued an emergency order authorizing out-of-state lawyers to practice law in Texas temporarily to help tens of thousands of Texans needing legal assistance resulting from the disaster caused by Hurricane Harvey.

Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald

“The utter devastation we have witnessed in the Texas Gulf Coast is heart breaking,” said Hawaii Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald. “Our thoughts and prayers are with those who have been impacted by this tragedy.”

“Although thousands of miles away, we are gratified that lawyers in Hawaii are able to help by volunteering either on the ground in Texas or remotely through a free virtual legal advice line.”

Hurricane victims will likely have legal questions about insurance, benefits, employment, tenant rights, and property damage issues. Hawaii attorneys wanting to volunteer to help them may register with the Texas.Freelegalanswers.org site. Once registered, they will receive confirmation from the Texas site administrator and may then start answering questions posted by those in need.

I want to thank Volunteer Legal Services Hawaii for coordinating Hawaii’s participation in the Texas Free Legal Answers program,” Chief Justice Recktenwald said. “I also want to express my sincere appreciation to the Hawaii State Bar Association for quickly taking the lead in recruiting attorneys.”