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Governor to Consider Nominees to Fill the Vacancies in Third Circuit Court Left by the Retirement of Judges Hara and Ibarra

Gov. David Ige has received a list of nominees from the Judicial Selection Commission for the vacancies created by the retirement of former Circuit Court of the Third Circuit (Island of Hawaiʻi) Judges Glenn S. Hara and Ronald Ibarra.

The commission submitted the list of nominees to the governor on July 31, 2017 after careful evaluation and investigation into the background and qualifications of each applicant.

The nominees to fill the vacancy left by the retirement of the Honorable Glenn S. Hara are:

  • Harry P.N.S. Freitas – District Court Judge, District Court of the Third Circuit (Hawaiʻi)
  • Jeffrey A. Hawk – Attorney
  • Henry T. Nakamoto – District Family Court Judge, Third Circuit
  • Jeffrey W.S. Ng – Deputy Public Defender, State of Hawaiʻi Office of the Public Defender

The nominees to fill the vacancy left by the retirement of the Honorable Ronald Ibarra are:

  • Gregory A. Ferren – Attorney, Law Office of Gregory A. Ferren
  • Robert D.S. Kim – Attorney/President, Robert D.S. Kim, Inc.
  • Michael H. Schlueter – Attorney/Partner, Schlueter & Kwiat, LLLP
  • Kimberly B.M. Taniyama – Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, County of Hawaiʻi

Gov. Ige will interview each nominee and is seeking public comment through the governor’s website: http://governor.hawaii.gov/contact-us/contact-the-governor/.

Gov. Ige has 30 days, or until August 30 to make his appointments.

Hawaii Judiciary’s Law Library Donates Books to West Maui Community

The Hawaii State Judiciary continues to partner with the Hawaii State Public Library System (HSPLS) to expand legal resources and increase access to justice. Most recently, a collection of American Law Reports (ALR) and ALR Digest from the Third Circuit Court in Kona were donated to the Lahaina Public Library, with financial and technical assistance from the North Beach West Maui Benefit Fund.

Pictured above (from right to left) is Joseph Cardoza, Chief Judge of the Second Judicial Circuit; Madeleine Buchanon, Lahaina Public Library Branch Manager; Jenny Silbiger, State Law Librarian; and Lance Collins, Attorney for North Beach West Maui Benefit Fund celebrating a grassroots effort that will benefit the West Maui community.

Pictured above (from right to left) is Joseph Cardoza, Chief Judge of the Second Judicial Circuit; Madeleine Buchanon, Lahaina Public Library Branch Manager; Jenny Silbiger, State Law Librarian; and Lance Collins, Attorney for North Beach West Maui Benefit Fund celebrating a grassroots effort that will benefit the West Maui community.

This collection of law books will supplement Lahaina Public Library’s current legal holdings which includes the Hawaii Revised Statutes, the Maui County Code, recent editions of the Hawaii Sessions Laws, and the Proceedings of the Charter Commissions of Maui, to allow residents to learn more about the law and conduct further legal research.

“I’m so happy that the Hawaii State Public Library System continues to foster a partnership with the Judiciary to make legal resources available to the public,” said Jenny Silbiger, State Law Librarian at the Supreme Court Law Library. “When we needed to make space for the Kona Self Help Center in our Kona law library, we were excited to hear that that Lahaina was interested in the collection! We appreciate the support from North Beach West Maui Fund for kindly shipping the resources between islands. It is a win-win for everyone!”

In 2015, the Judiciary, HSPLS, and the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii (Legal Aid) partnered together to make self-help interactive court forms available online. Twenty-three of the most frequently used civil legal forms are now available online, accompanied by state-of-the-art software developed by Legal Aid. This software takes users through a step-by-step question and answer process to help complete the forms easily and correctly. For those who do not own a personal computer or have Internet access, the Hawaii State Public Library System provides access to these “A2J” (Access to Justice) self-help forms at locations statewide. For more information, please visit the “Access to Justice” tab Hawaii State Judiciary’s website or LawHelp.org/hi.

Chief Judge of the Second Circuit, Joseph Cardoza, said, “One of the greatest challenges to equal justice today is the lack of effective access to our civil justice system. People who have low or even moderate incomes cannot afford to hire an attorney to represent them in their civil legal cases. As a result, every year in Hawaii, thousands of people must represent themselves in our civil courts and try to navigate a system that is foreign to the average layperson. For this reason, the Judiciary has continued to pursue projects and programs that make Hawaii’s courts more accessible. We are so grateful to the Hawaii State Public Library System for collaborating with us on this mission and helping us improve our reach.”

For more information about the Hawaii State Law Library System, please visit https://hilawlibrary.wordpress.com/

Hawaii Chief Justice Seeks Public Comment on Judicial Nominees

Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald announced today that he is seeking public comment on judicial nominees for two vacancies – one in the District Court of the First Circuit (Island of Oahu) as a result of the appointment of the Honorable Shirley M. Kawamura  to the Circuit Court of the First Circuit, and one in the District Family Court of the Third Circuit (Island of Hawaii) as a result of the appointment of the Honorable Melvin H. Fujino to the Circuit Court of the Third Circuit.
JudiciaryThe names submitted for these vacancies by the Judicial Selection Commission, in alphabetical order, are:

District Court of the First Circuit (Island of Oahu)

Brian A. Costa
Mr. Costa is currently employed at Costa & DeLacy, L.L.L.C, and serves as a Per Diem Judge of the District Family Court of the First Circuit.  Costa is a graduate of the University of Hawaii William S. Richardson School of Law and was admitted to the Hawaii State Bar in 2001.

Timothy E. Ho
Mr. Ho is currently employed as Chief Deputy Public Defender with the State of Hawaii Office of the Public Defender.  Ho is a graduate of the University of Hawaii William S. Richardson School of Law and was admitted to the Hawaii State Bar in 1987.

Ronald G. Johnson
Mr. Johnson is currently employed as an Assistant U.S. Attorney with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Hawaii.  Johnson is a graduate of the University of Hawaii William S. Richardson School of Law and was admitted to the Hawaii State Bar in 1987.

James S. Kawashima
Mr. Kawashima is currently employed at James S. Kawashima, Attorney at Law, and serves as a Per Diem Judge of the District Court of the First Circuit.  Kawashima is a graduate of the University of Southern California and was admitted to the Hawaii State Bar in 1992.

Trish K. Morikawa
Ms. Morikawa is currently employed at Gallagher Kane Amai, and serves as a Per Diem Judge of the District Family Court of the First Circuit.  Morikawa is a graduate of the University of Hawaii William S. Richardson School of Law and was admitted to the Hawaii State Bar in 1995.

Rowena A. Somerville
Ms. Somerville is currently employed as a Hearings Officer with the State of Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs.  Somerville is a graduate of the University of Hawaii William S. Richardson School of Law and was admitted to the Hawaii State Bar in 1996.

District Family Court of the Third Circuit (Island of Hawaii)

Thomas A.K. Haia
Mr. Haia is currently employed at Thomas A.K. Haia, Attorney at Law, and serves as a Per Diem Judge of the District Court of the First Circuit.  Haia is a graduate of the University of Hawaii William S. Richardson School of Law and was admitted to the Hawaii Bar in 1995.

Kevin S. Hashizaki
Mr. Hashizaki is currently employed as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney with the County of Hawaii Office of the Prosecuting Attorney.  Hashizaki is a graduate of the University of Hawaii William S. Richardson School of Law and was admitted to the Hawaii State Bar in 1995.

Peter K. Kubota
Mr. Kubota is currently employed at Peter K. Kubota, Attorney at Law, A Law Corporation.  Kubota is a graduate of the University of Hawaii William S. Richardson School of Law and was admitted to the Hawaii State Bar in 1989.

Michelle K. Laubach
Ms. Laubach is currently employed at Laubach & Frenz, Attorneys At Law, L.L.L.C.  Laubach is a graduate of the University of Hawaii William S. Richardson School of Law and was admitted to the Hawaii State Bar in 2003.

Laureen L. Martin
Ms. Martin is currently employed as Corporation Counsel with the County of Hawaii.  Martin is a graduate of Suffolk University Law School, Boston, Massachusetts, and was admitted to the Hawaii State Bar in 1993.

Jeffrey W.S. Ng
Mr. Ng is currently employed as a Deputy Public Defender with the State of Hawaii Office of the Public Defender.  Ng is a graduate of the University of Hawaii William S. Richardson School of Law and was admitted to the Hawaii State Bar in 2002.

Because the Chief Justice has the discretion to assign judges to the district or district family court calendar, comments about the qualifications and character of any of the nominees with regard to either calendar assignment may be sent, in writing, to:

Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald
Supreme Court of Hawaii
417 South King Street
Honolulu, HI  96813

Fax: 808-539-4703
Email: chiefjustice@courts.hawaii.gov

Comments must be post-marked, emailed, faxed, or hand delivered no later than Monday, May 16, 2016.  All comments will be kept confidential.

The individuals selected by the Chief Justice are subject to Senate confirmation.

Hawaii Island and Maui County State Courthouses Closing Due to Projected Hurricane Iselle

State Courthouses and Judiciary Offices on Hawaii Island and Maui County will be closed beginning at noon on Thursday, August 7 through Friday, August 8, due to severe weather conditions being projected by the National Weather Service.

The closures include the Children’s Justice Centers, Offices of the Public Guardian, and Driver’s Education Offices on Hawaii Island and Maui County.  In addition, Drivers Education classes scheduled on Maui County for August 7 will be cancelled and rescheduled. Family Court hearings scheduled at the Molokai Courthouse on Thursday, August 7 and Friday, August 8 will be rescheduled to Thursday, August 28 and Friday, August 29.

The Chief Justice issued the order attached extending deadlines for any Hawaii Island or Maui County Court matters with a filing or hearing date of Thursday, August 7 or Friday, August 8.  All documents due during the Court closure will be considered timely if filed by the close of business on Monday, August 11.  Hearings or trials cancelled due to the closure of the Courts shall be rescheduled to the next available date with due regard for any statutory mandates.

Big Island and Maui County Courthouses are expected to reopen on Monday morning for business.

At this time, Courthouses and Judiciary Offices on Oahu and Kauai County will be open for business as usual.  We will provide updates if there are any changes or additional closures.