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Monday, January 28, 2019
Conflict of Interest? Judiciary Debunks Ozawa
By News Release @ 9:35 AM :: 1173 Views :: Honolulu County, Ethics, Judiciary

Information Relating to Trevor Ozawa Statements of January 26, 2019

News Release from Hawaii Judiciary, Jan 27, 2019

The Judiciary provides the following information relating to Mr. Ozawa’s statements on January 26, 2019.

Mr. Waters joined the Judicial Selection Commission (JSC) in April 2011, and he had no involvement in Justice Sabrina McKenna’s January 2011 appointment to the Supreme Court, as represented by Mr. Ozawa. 

Mr. Waters did not nominate Justices Richard Pollack and Michael Wilson to the Supreme Court, as stated by Mr.Ozawa. Mr. Waters was one of nine members of the JSC, which submitted lists of finalists to Governor Abercrombie who made the appointments, subject to Senate confirmation. Mr. Waters’ tenure on the JSC ended in early 2014.  

In addition, Mr. Ozawa stated that Justice McKenna’s disclosure indicated that her staff member lives at Mr. Otake’s house.  Justice McKenna’s disclosure stated in full “This notice is to inform all parties to this proceeding that one of my law clerks rents a studio unit co-owned by Thomas Otake. The parties are further notified that this law clerk has not performed, and will not perform, any work in this case.”   

Judges are guided by the Hawaii Revised Code of Judicial Conduct, which establishes standards for the ethical conduct of judges. It provides guidance to assist judges in maintaining the highest standards of judicial and personal conduct, including when making a determination on whether or not to sit on a particular case.

Mr. Ozawa was able to but did not object to any justice’s participation in this case before the final decision. Mr. Ozawa also did not raise any objection to Justice Pollack’s and Justice Wilson’s participation in the 2014 election challenge involving Mr. Waters and Mr. Ozawa, in which the court rejected Mr. Water’s challenge to the election result.

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