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Saturday, October 19, 2019
Judicial Appointments Announced--One Remains Open
By News Release @ 3:07 PM :: 2688 Views :: Judiciary


News Release from Office of the Governor, Oct 17, 2019

HONOLULU – Gov. David Ige has appointed Judge Kelsey Kawano to fill the vacancy on the Circuit Court of the Second Circuit (Maui). The judicial office has been vacant since the retirement of Circuit Judge Joseph E. Cardoza in June 2019.

Kawano currently serves as deputy chief judge and district judge at the District Court of the Second Circuit. He previously worked as an attorney in private practice. Kawano earned his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Washington, School of Law. He also earned his Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.

Kawano was one of four nominees chosen by the Judicial Selection Commission. The commission submitted the names to Gov. Ige on Sept. 20. The governor conducted interviews and reviewed public comments on the nominees before making his selection.

Kawano’s appointment is subject to Senate confirmation.

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Chief Justice Appoints District Family Court Judges

News Release from Hawaii Judiciary, Oct 18, 2019

HONOLULU – Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald has today appointed Rebecca A. Copeland and Alvin K. Nishimura as District Family Court Judges in the First Circuit. The Chief Justice appoints district family court judges from lists of nominees submitted by the Judicial Selection Commission. If confirmed by the State Senate, Copeland and Nishimura will each serve a term of six years. The Chief Justice has discretion to assign judges to either the district court or family court calendars, and intends to assign Copeland to the family court calendar, and Nishimura to the district court calendar.

Copeland has been serving as a per diem district court judge since 2016 and is a sole proprietor of an appellate litigation practice since 2012, in which she represents a high percentage of individuals in divorce and custody-related proceedings. Prior to that, she was an associate with Damon Key Leong Kupchak Hastert, an Adjunct Professor at the William S. Richardson School of Law, and a Deputy Solicitor General with the Department of the Attorney General. She also has previous experience in the State of Texas.

Copeland is a member of the Commission on Professionalism, the Hawaii Access to Justice Commission, and was recently elected as Board Member of the Hawaii Justice Foundation. She is heavily involved in the Hawaii Bar Association, serving on its Board of Directors, Diversity Equality and the Law Committee, founder and member of the Appellate Section, and member of the Litigation Section. She is a graduate of St. Mary’s University School of Law and was admitted to the Hawaii State Bar in 2003. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Southwest Texas State University.

Nishimura has been serving as a per diem district court judge since 2005 and is a sole proprietor of a criminal defense and family law practice since 2001. He also serves as a Federal Court Indigent Defendant Panel Attorney with the Federal Criminal Justice Act. Nishimura previously worked as a hearings officer with the Department of Hawaiian Homes Lands, as a felony trial attorney with the Office of the Public Defender, and as an associate with the Law Office of Matthew Pyun. He is a graduate of the University of Hawaii William S. Richardson School of Law and was admitted to the Hawaii State Bar in 1985. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

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Notice of Extended Deadline for Applications for Judicial Position – District Family Judge, Fifth Circuit

News Release from JSC, Oct 18, 2019

The Judicial Selection Commission is extending the deadline for accepting applications to fill a new judicial position in the State of Hawaii:

District Family Judge, Fifth Circuit (island of Kauai)

The Constitution of the State of Hawaii requires that the persons selected by the Commission be residents and citizens of the State of Hawaii and of the United States, and have been licensed to practice law by the Hawaii Supreme Court. A district family judge shall have been licensed for a period of not less than five years preceding nomination. No judge shall, during the term of office, engage in the practice of law, or run for or hold any other office or position of profit under the United States, the State or its political subdivisions.

The term of office of a district family judge shall be six years. The annual salary in Hawaii of a district family judge is $195,276.

The Chief Justice has the discretion to assign a district judge/district family judge to either the District Court or Family Court as provided under Section 571-8 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes.

Full-time judges also receive employer contributions to premiums for enrollment in the state-sponsored medical, drug, vision and dental plans, a free life insurance policy, state retirement benefits, a deferred compensation supplemental retirement savings plan, 13 paid holidays annually (14 days during election years), 21 vacation and 21 sick leave days per year. Benefits are subject to modification or termination due to changes in statutes, pertinent rules and regulations. Judges shall be retired upon attaining the age of seventy years.

The Commission invites anyone who meets the constitutional requirements and is interested in the position to apply directly to the Commission.

Prior to submitting your application, submit a letter with a contact phone number and an e-mail address specifying the vacancy for which you are applying.

TO APPLY: Please visit the Commission’s website and fill out form JS-P-084, Application for Judicial Office Form. The application must be postmarked or delivered to the address below on or before the application deadline of Thursday, January 16, 2020.

Commission Chair Ronette M. Kawakami, Esq.
Judicial Selection Commission State of Hawaii
417 South King Street
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813


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