GOVERNOR LINGLE STATEMENT ON VOTE BY SENATE COMMITTEE ON JUDICIARY AND GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS
HONOLULU – Governor Linda Lingle issued the following statement regarding the vote by the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Government Operations on her nominees for Chief Justice and Circuit Court judges:
“While I believe the committee did the right thing in voting to recommend confirmation for Judge To‘oto‘o, Judge Garibaldi and Jeannette Castagnetti, their decision to deny Judge Leonard’s confirmation is inconsistent and flawed.
“The committee did an admirable job of carefully considering the judicial experience and legal expertise of Judge To‘oto‘o, as well as the public testimony which was 100 percent in his favor. The committee looked at Judge To‘oto‘o’s experience as a deputy prosecutor, a district court judge for nearly 16 years and an active community leader, and determined his overall body of work clearly outweighed the inexplicable “unqualified” rating by the Hawai‘i State Bar Association, which refused to state the reasons for its rating.
“To ignore the Hawai‘i State Bar Association’s rating for Judge To‘oto‘o, but not for Judge Leonard makes no sense and creates a double standard.
“Judge Leonard is eminently qualified, as evidenced by the overwhelming testimony and support from the legal community.
“Both the Honolulu Prosecutor’s Office and the State Public Defender’s Office – who take opposing sides in the courtroom – testified in her favor, saying she is fair. That’s exactly the type of chief justice that should be on the bench – someone who both sides consider fair.
“Judge Leonard is an outstanding legal scholar and a true leader who will set the tone for jurisprudence in the state for the next decade.
“I remain confident that the full Senate will do the right thing and confirm Judge Leonard as the next Chief Justice of the Hawai‘i Supreme Court.”