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Tuesday, October 9, 2018
Ige Selling Judgeships? Nominates Campaign Manager for Appeals Court
By News Release @ 12:25 AM :: 9448 Views :: Judiciary


News Release from Kerns Campaign October 8, 2018

Honolulu, Hawaii -- Today, Republican lieutenant governor candidate Marissa Kerns harshly attacked incumbent Democratic governor David Ige for “selling judgeships to the highest bidder with political connections to his campaign.”


Just over one year ago, Democrat politician David Ige gave his 2014-2017 campaign chairman and megadonor -- $6,000 to Ige, $6,000 to Tsutsui -- a job as a state judge on the circuit court.  Now, Ige has given this same former campaign manager and megadonor Mr. Hiraoka’s massive promotion to Hawaii’s intermediate court of appeals with another cushy state judgeship after almost no time for Hiraoka to even prove himself in the first job.  Two judgeships in two years is a ridiculously speedy promotion for Governor Ige's handpicked political insider.

The State Legislature must reject this pay-to-play insider deal.  Ige’s fast-track career rewarding of Hiraoka with two judgeships in two years is classic Aloha State Democrat cronyism on steroids and stinky politics of the worst kind.  As if to fool voters and reporters, Ige's press release conveniently leaves out any mention of his political and campaign relationships with Mr. Hiraoka.  Who does he think he’s kidding?

While not at all surprising, it's disgraceful and offensive to all taxpayers and island citizens that Ige's taxpayer-funded public relations team -- Jodi Leong, a former TV news reporter, and Cindy McMillan, PRP's former rail advocacy propagandist -- are letting David Ige say such rubbish.  Not only should David Ige be fired, but so should these corrupt state employees who try to pull a fast one with taxpayers.

This episode reeks of why Hawaii’s courts are so screwed up.  I, Marissa Kerns, will always fight the corrupt political elite which have undermined our public institutions, our cost of living, and our quality of life.  How Ige can possibly call Hiraoka ‘the most qualified applicant’ with a straight face makes a mockery of our judicial system when everyone knows this town is full of judges and lawyers who can probably run circles around Ige’s political crony.

Selling judgeships to the highest bidder with political connections to his campaign is apparently a criteria that Hawaii’s politically-motivated Judicial Selection Commission looks for.  For the second time in two years, this Democrat-controlled commission comprised of political appointees has magically come up with Hiraoka’s name on a short list for the governor.  What an amazing coincidence for the guy who magically resigned as Ige’s campaign manager the day before his name was picked by that very Judicial Selection Commission.

Once again, the State Legislature must reject this nomination and Ige must put a little effort into picking non-cronies to serve taxpayers in our state government before he calls anybody the “most qualified”.  Both Ige and Tsutsui should refund the $12,000 in donations to Hiraoka. And Hirokoa’s name should be pulled from consideration immediately. Let’s drain the swamp.

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Jan, 2017: Ige’s manager quits, aims for judgeship

Star Adv: Former Ige campaign manager gets plum posting

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News Release from Office of the Governor, Oct 5, 2018

HONOLULU – Gov. David Ige has nominated Judge Keith K. Hiraoka, 59, to serve on the Intermediate Court Appeals. The position has been vacant since Associate Judge Lisa M. Ginoza was elevated to the position of Chief Judge on the Intermediate Court of Appeals in April 2018.

Hiraoka is currently a Judge on the First Circuit Court, State of Hawai‘i. He has practiced law in Hawai‘i since 1983. In recent years, his primary areas of practice have been insurance coverage and representing attorneys, accountants, realtors, and other professionals in legal matters. Hiraoka has tried cases before juries, judges and arbitrators, participated in mediations and briefed and argued appeals before the Hawai‘i Supreme Court, the Intermediate Court of Appeals and the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Hiraoka is a 1980 graduate of the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. He earned his Juris Doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law in 1983.

“Keith was the most qualified applicant and the right fit for this position. He has years of experience, legal and analytical skills, and will complement the other judges on the Intermediate Court of Appeals. I’m proud to submit his name to the Senate,” said Gov. Ige.

“I am honored and deeply humbled that Gov. Ige has given me the opportunity to be considered by the Senate to serve on the Intermediate Court of Appeals. My goal is to continue to serve the public to the best of my ability as a member of the Judiciary,” said Hiraoka.

Hiraoka was selected from a list of six nominees provided by the Judicial Selection Commission. Gov. Ige personally interviewed the nominees and sought input and guidance from former Supreme Court Justice James Duffy and the legal community before making his selection.

SA: Longtime attorney, judge nominated to appeals court

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News Release from Office of the Governor, Sep 5, 2018

HONOLULU – The Judicial Selection Commission has submitted the names of six nominees for the judicial vacancy in the Intermediate Court of Appeals, State of Hawai‘i. The position has been vacant since Associate Judge Lisa M. Ginoza was elevated to the position of Chief Judge of the Intermediate Court of Appeals in April 2018.

The commission has investigated the backgrounds and qualifications of the applicants and has submitted the list of nominees to Gov. David Ige.

David M. Forman, 52, is currently the director of the Environmental Law Program at the William S. Richardson School of Law, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. Forman attended UH Mānoa and Harvard College before receiving his Juris Doctor at the William S. Richardson School of Law at UH Mānoa. While at Harvard College, Forman was a National Merit Scholar and a member of the Ivy League varsity football championship team of 1987.

Keith K. Hiraoka, 59, is a Judge with the First Circuit Court, State of Hawai‘i. He is a graduate of the University of Hawai‘i, Mānoa, and the Boalt Hall School of Law, Berkeley, California. Judge Hiraoka has also been an attorney in practice for 33 years, a USSF soccer referee and a musician. He is a member of the Hawai‘i Supreme Court Permanent Committee on the Rules of Civil Procedure and Circuit Court Civil Rules. He is also a member of the Hawai‘i Supreme Court Civil Justice Improvements Task Force.

Geoffrey K. S. Komeya, 52, is an attorney/shareholder at Cronin, Fried, Sekiya, Kekina & Fairbanks, Attorneys at Law. He is a graduate of the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa, where he earned a B.A. and M.A in English. Komeya earned his Juris Doctor at the William S. Richardson School of Law, where he also was an adjunct professor from 2004-2005.

Karen T. Nakasone, 48, is currently a Judge in the First Circuit Court. She attended the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, the University of Ryukyus in Okinawa, Japan and Bryn Mawr College where she earned a B.A. in Political Science. Judge Nakasone earned her J.D. at the Boston University School of Law. She was a congressional intern for U.S. Rep. Patsy Pink, and the recipient of the 1989 Okinawan Prefectural Government Scholarship.

John M. Tonaki, 58, is a public defender with the State of Hawai‘i. He earned a B.A. at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa before attending Hastings College of Law at the University of California where he earned his Juris Doctor. Tonaki was the director of the Mānoa Youth Baseball League from 2004-2009.

Clyde J. Wadsworth, 60, is the solicitor general of the State of Hawai‘i, Department of the Attorney General. He earned a B.A. in politics at Princeton University and his Juris Doctor at the UCLA School of Law. Wadsworth served as president of the Hawai‘i LGBT Legal Association, and was pro bono counsel for the ACLU of Hawai‘i.

Gov. Ige has until Friday, Oct. 5, 2018 to make his selection.

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Associate Judge, Intermediate Court of Appeals Nominees

From Judicial Selection Commission, Sep 5, 2018

Under the Constitution of the State of Hawaiʻi, Article VI, Appointment of Justices and Judges, Section 3: “The governor, with the consent of the senate, shall fill a vacancy in the office of the chief justice, supreme court, intermediate appellate court and circuit courts, by appointing a person from a list of not less than four, and not more than six, nominees for the vacancy, presented to the governor by the judicial selection commission.”

The Judicial Selection Commission is pleased to announce a list of nominees for the judicial vacancy of Associate Judge, Intermediate Court of Appeals, State of Hawaiʻi.  The judicial office has been vacant since the elevation of former Associate Judge Lisa M. Ginoza to the position of Chief Judge of the Intermediate Court of Appeals in April 2018.

The list of nominees selected by the Commission to fill the vacancy for the judicial office in the Intermediate Court of Appeals are listed as follows in alphabetical order:

David M. Forman
Keith K. Hiraoka
Geoffrey K. S. Komeya
Karen T. Nakasone
John M. Tonaki
Clyde J. Wadsworth

The Governor has 30 days from his receipt of the list today to make his appointment.


Total Applicants:  12; 4 Females; 8 Males
Government Attorneys:  4
Private Attorneys:  5
Judges:  2
Per Diem Judge:  1
Other:  1
Age Range:  2 (31-40); 3 (41-50); 7 (51-60); 0 (61-70)
Years Licensed Range:  10 years to 34 years


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