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Hawaii Senate Confirms District Court Judges

The Hawai‘i State Senate today unanimously confirmed Dakota K.M. Frenz to the District Family Court of the Third Circuit – Island of Hawai‘i and Michael K. Soong to the District Court of the Fifth Circuit – Island of Kaua‘i.

Dakota K.M. Frenz was most recently a sole proprietor of her own private law practice in Hilo specializing in criminal law, family law, and civil litigation/collections.

Photo courtesy: Hawai‘i Senate Communications

Photo courtesy: Hawai‘i Senate Communications

Prior to opening her own law practice, Frenz was a partner at Laubach & Frenz, AAL, LLC, where she focused her legal practice in the same areas of law.  Prior to entering private practice, Frenz served as deputy prosecuting attorney in the County of Hawai‘i where she handled cases in the District, Family, and Circuit Courts. In addition to her legal experience, she serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Ku‘ikahi Mediation Center, a member of the Board of Directors of the Hawai‘i County Bar Association, an arbitrator with the Court Annexed Arbitration Program, a member of the County of Hawai‘i Bench Bar Committee and Hawai‘i State Bench Bar Committee. She also volunteers with the Friends of Drug Court and the Self-Help Center in East Hawai‘i.  Frenz is a graduate of Whittier Law School and was admitted to the Hawai‘i State Bar in 2006.

Frenz fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Lloyd X. Van De Car.

“Ms. Frenz bring to the bench a reputation as an intelligent, hard-working and prepared advocate with substantial trial experience as a former county prosecutor and more recently as a private attorney,” said Senator Gilbert Keith-Agaran, Chair of the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor. “Her background and what people say about her makes it likely that she will be a very good addition to the District Family Court, one of the most challenging assignments for a Hawai‘i jurist.”

Michael K. Soong has nearly 30 years of trial experience and has been in private practice since 2009 focusing on criminal law, personal injury and plaintiff litigation.

Photo courtesy: Hawai‘i Senate Communications

Photo courtesy: Hawai‘i Senate Communications

His work in the public sector includes being elected to two-consecutive terms as Prosecuting Attorney for the County of Kaua‘i. Prior to his tenure as the Prosecuting Attorney, he served as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for the County of Kaua‘i, a Deputy Public Defender, and Deputy Corporation Counsel. Soong serves as a Board member of the Friends of the Kaua‘i Drug Court, and is a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. He also currently serves on the Royal Order of Kamehameha, Kaumuali‘i Chapter, Hokule‘a-Kaua‘i Crew member of the Polynesian Voyaging Society and member of Na Kalai Wa‘a ‘O Kaua‘i. Soong is a graduate of Southwestern University School of Law and was admitted to the Hawaii State Bar in 1986.

Soong will fill the vacancy due to the retirement of Judge Trudy K.T. Senda in December.

“Mr. Soong’s successful tenure as Prosecuting Attorney and private practice speaks well for his work, but he also stands out for his reputation of being fair, hard-working and having compassion for the less fortunate in our community,” said Sen. Keith-Agaran. “His knowledge of the law, commitment to the Kaua‘i community, and his character and even-keeled demeanor promise that Mr. Soong will be a very good addition to the District Court, the forum where most Hawai‘i residents will likely encounter the legal system.”

The term of office for both judgeships is for six years.

Hawaii Senate to Hold Special Session to Consider and Confirm Judicial Appointments

A Special Session of the Hawai‘i State Senate will be held from September 13, 2016 through September 14, 2016 to confirm two judicial appointments, one for the District Family Court of the Third Circuit – Hawai‘i Island and one for the District Court of the Fifth Circuit – Kaua‘i

Dakota K.M. Frenz

Dakota K.M. Frenz

On September 2, 2016, Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald appointed Dakota K.M. Frenz to the District Family Court of the Third Circuit and Michael K. Soong to the District Court of the Fifth Circuit. To fill the District Court vacancies, the Chief Justice of the Hawai‘i State Supreme Court selects an appointee from a list of not less than six nominees submitted by the Judicial Selection Committee.

Pursuant to Hawai‘i State Constitution, Article IV, Section 3, the Senate has 30 days from the date of the appointment to consider and confirm the judgeships. Therefore, the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor will hold a hearing on the appointments on Monday, September 12, 2016 at 10:30 a.m. in Conference Room 325. The Senate will convene for the first day of the Special Session at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, September 13, 2016 in the State Capitol Auditorium. The second-day of Session is scheduled begin at 11:00 a.m. and adjourn following action by the full Senate on Wednesday, September 14, 2016.