HAWAI‘I STATE SENATE CONFIRMS MAUI CIRCUIT COURT JUDGE
News Release from Hawaii State Senate, April 14, 2023
Honolulu, Hawaiʻi – Today, the Hawai‘i State Senate voted to confirm Michelle L. Drewyer, Governor Josh Green’s selection to fill the vacancy in the Circuit Court for the Second Circuit of Maui County created by the retirement of Richard Bissen, Jr. who is now Maui Mayor. This is the Governor’s first judicial appointment.
“Judge Drewyer was prepared and able to effectively communicate how her experience as a per diem judge and private practitioner will benefit her as a full time judge,” said Senator Karl Rhoads (District 13 - Dowsett Highlands, Pu‘unui, Nu‘uanu, Pacific Heights, Pauoa, Punchbowl, Pālama, Liliha, ʻIwilei, Chinatown, and Downtown), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “I am confident that she will be a strong addition to the Second Circuit.”
Michelle L. Drewyer received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Western Michigan University in 1986 and her Juris Doctor degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, Michigan, in 1991. She started her legal career on Maui later that year as a deputy prosecuting attorney, subsequently became a deputy public defender, and then spent 20 years in private practice. She has experience across District, Family and Circuit courts in both criminal and civil law including as a per diem judge in the Family and District courts for the Second Circuit.
With this confirmation, the Maui Circuit Court achieves full gender parity, with two female and two male judges. The number of state court judges and justices overall will also be equally split, with 40 sitting female judges and justices and 40 sitting male judges and justices. Should the Governor's recent appointment of Kimberly Tsumoto Guidry to the Intermediate Court of Appeals also be confirmed by the Senate, it would be the first time in Hawai‘i’s history that more than fifty percent of sitting judges and justices are female.
GOV. GREEN MAKES FIRST JUDICIAL APPOINTMENT
Office of the Governor Press Release, Mar 16, 2023
WAILUKU, HI — Governor Josh Green, M.D. has selected Michelle L. Drewyer to serve as Circuit Court Judge for the Second Circuit, to fill the vacancy created by now-Maui County Mayor Richard Bissen Jr.
“Judge Drewyer has an impeccable record of service to the law and to the community and understands her broader Maui Nui kuleana,” said Gov. Green. “Her experience across District, Family, Circuit and Federal Court while practicing both criminal and civil law, as well as her time as a per diem judge make her an excellent selection to preside over cases of the Second Circuit Court.”
With her selection, the Second Circuit Court of Maui County will fully achieve gender parity, with two female and two male judges. Across Maui Circuit and District Courts, four female and five male judges now sit on the bench. Statewide with Gov. Green’s selection of Drewyer, there will be 82 full-time state judges and/or justices, comprising 40 women and 42 men.
“Justice may be blind, but meeting our society’s needs for diversity, equity and inclusion must be pursued with open eyes,” said Gov. Green.
“It is an honor to have been selected from among the highly qualified candidates Gov. Green interviewed,” said Drewyer, who started her legal career on Maui in 1991 as a deputy prosecuting attorney. “As a judge, I have sat on every type of Family and District Court calendar and have traveled to Hāna, Moloka‘i and Lana‘i to hear cases, so I understand the varying needs of the outer districts. I will serve them with respect and objectivity.”
All nominations are subject to confirmation by the State Senate.
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MN: Maui attorney, judge is governor’s first judicial appointment
PDF: Dwyer Financial Disclosure