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Recipient of the 2021 AJS Special Merit Citation
Special Merit Citations recognize projects and efforts that benefit some aspect of the judicial system, including those that are narrowly focused or time specific. Other awards recognize persons or organizations that have made significant contributions toward the improvement of the administration of justice and/or inspired others to do the same.
Having practiced at the Cades Schutte law firm for 40 years, beginning as an associate in 1981 and then as a partner, Colin Miwa is now Senior Counsel at the firm, still practicing primarily in the Intellectual Property, Construction Law and Litigation, and Creditors’ Rights Practice Groups. He received his B.A. in Political Science with honors from Stanford University in 1978 and a J.D. from Georgetown University in 1981. He was then admitted to the Hawaii State Bar, U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii, and U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Colin has represented individual business owners as well as large local and national companies in Hawaii state and federal trial and appellate courts, and in administrative trials and proceedings before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He has successfully prosecuted and defended against claims of patent, trademark and copyright infringement, and has obtained and in other cases, defeated emergency relief and orders enjoining infringement of intellectual property rights in courts located both in Hawaii and on the mainland. He has been ranked as a Super Lawyer since 2015, and as an IP Star in patent and trademark litigation. Colin has also had significant commercial litigation and arbitration experience, including jury trials on Oahu and the outer islands.
In his spare time, Colin has been actively engaged in service to his profession and community. He has served on the Board of Directors of Diamond Head Theatre since 2015, and is currently the Chair-Elect and Chair of the Facilities Committee working on construction of DHT’s new theatre. Colin also served as the Lawyer Representative for the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference and as a member of the Hawaii Judiciary’s Permanent Committee on the Rules of Civil Procedure and Circuit Court Civil Rules.
The American Judicature Society has greatly benefitted from Colin’s contributions. He has been a member of the AJS Board of Directors since 2009 and actively participates on several of its committees, including as co-chair of the Standing Committee on Judicial Selection, Retention, and Accountability; co-chair of the Sidebar Standing Committee; co-chair of the Special Committee on Mandatory Retirement of State Court Judges; and as a member of the Communications Committee. His leadership as vice co-chair of the AJS National Conference Steering Committee and as chair of the Conference Programs Committee has been steadfast and invaluable in ensuring a successful event, despite the uncertainties and difficulties brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Colin has written and presented testimonies on behalf of AJS which were instrumental in defeating bills before the Hawai‘i State Legislature regarding proposed Constitutional amendments to elect state court judges and to require Senate consent for the retention of judges. In the view of AJS and other stakeholders in the community, these measures may have eroded the independence of the judicial system in Hawai‘i.
James J.Alfini, Dean and Professor Emeritus, SouthTexas College of Law Houston
James J. Alfini is Dean and Professor Emeritus at South Texas College of Law Houston (STCL). Prior to his arrival at STCL, Dean Alfini was Professor of Law at Northern Illinois University, where he taught constitutional law, mediation theory and practice, legal ethics, and related courses. He served as dean of the Northern Illinois University College of Law for six years and previously was a member of the law faculty at Florida State University. Dean Alfini is widely published in the field of judicial ethics and is co-author of Judicial Conduct and Ethics, published by Lexis and in its 6th Edition (2020). He served on the American Bar Association Joint Commission to Evaluate the Model Code of Judicial Conduct. The Commission’s work resulted in the 2007 Model Code of Judicial Conduct, adopted by the House of Delegates of the American Bar Association. Dean Alfini received his undergraduate degree from Columbia University and his J.D. degree from Northwestern University
Alicia Bannon, Managing Director, Brennan Center Democracy Program
As Managing Director of the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice, Alicia Bannon leads the Center’s projects on fair courts and redistricting, directing research, advocacy, and litigation to promote a fair and impartial judicial system. The Brennan Center at NYU School of Law is a nonpartisan law and policy institute which seeks to improve the American democratic and judicial system. An experienced constitutional lawyer and an expert on court reform, judicial selection, and electoral redistricting, Ms. Bannon has authored numerous nationally recognized reports and pieces of legal scholarship published by the Center, including Rethinking Judicial Selection in State Courts (June 2016), and Choosing State Judges: A Plan for Reform (October 2018). Her work is regularly featured in national media outlets, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Economist, MSNBC, and NPR. She has taught as an adjunct professor at the NYU School of Law and Seton Hall Law School. Ms. Bannon received her J.D. from Yale Law School and graduated from Harvard College summa cum laude with a degree in Social Studies. She clerked for the Hon. Sonia Sotomayor in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and for the Hon. Kimba Wood in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
Jan Boivin, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, Hawai‘i Pacific University
Jan Boivin is the Senior Vice President and General Counsel at Hawai‘i Pacific University (HPU) where she oversees legal affairs, board governance, and human resources. She also supports the University’s innovative workforce education, HPU Next. Since joining HPU in 2009, Ms. Boivin has served in a range of capacities, including Title IX compliance, acting as the primary investigator for employee misconduct allegations, representing the University with federal and state agencies and courts, and overseeing performance evaluations for all University officers. Ms. Boivin received a bachelor’s degree from Willamette University and a juris doctorate from the Georgetown University Law Center. She formerly served as an attorney at Marr Jones & Wang and as the president of the Hawai‘i State Bar Foundation. She is a board member of the American Judicature Society and the State Ombudsman Director for the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, Department of Defense.
Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean, University of California, Berkeley, School of Law
Erwin Chemerinsky has been the Dean of the Berkeley Law School since 2017 and was previously the founding Dean at the University of California Irvine School of Law. He was the keynote speaker at the 2019 AJS Annual Meeting in Honolulu where he discussed the Judicial Role in Government. Dean Chemerinsky has authored 14 books, including leading casebooks and treatises about constitutional law, criminal procedure, and federal court jurisdiction, and most recently, Presumed Guilty: How the Supreme Court Empowered the Police and Subverted Civil Rights (2021) and The Religion Clauses: The Case for Separating Church and State (2020). He has also written over 200 law review articles, is a contributing writer for the Los Angeles Times, and writes regular columns for the Sacramento Bee, the ABA Journal, and the Daily Journal, while also arguing several appellate cases before the United States Supreme Court. Dean Chemerinsky earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from Northwestern University and graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School.
The Honorable Judith C. Chirlin (Ret.), Los Angeles Superior Court
In 2009, after 24 years of service, Judge Judith Chirlin retired from the Los Angeles Superior Court where she has handled law and motion, civil trials, and mandatory settlement conferences. Prior to her appointment, she practiced business and employment litigation and represented airlines in a variety of business matters, including disputes with airports over landing rights. Judge Chirlin was also a law instructor at the University of Southern California for 18 years through the Judicial Administration Program. She received her B.A. from George Washington University, M.A. from Rutgers, and J.D. from the University of Southern California. Judge Chirlin has been the recipient of numerous awards including the Joan Dempsey Klein Outstanding Jurist Award by the California Women Lawyers, Distinguished Service Award by the National Associa- tion of Women Judges, Trial Judge of the Year Award by the Consumer Attorneys’ Association of Los Angeles, Distinguished Service Award by the National Center of State Courts, and many other awards. A renowned speaker and educator, Judge Chirlin has traveled extensively, consulting on court reform, human rights and conflict resolution, and teaching programs for foreign judges, lawyers, police officers, educators, and other professionals in more than 20 countries.
Charles Geyh, Indiana University Mauer School of Law
Previously director of the AJS Center for Judicial Independence, Charles Geyh is a Distinguished Professor and the John F. Kimberling Professor of Law at the Mauer School of Law at Indiana University. His research centers on judicial conduct, independence and administration—focusing on the operation of the courts in relation to the political branches of government—and he has authored numerous books, including Who is to Judge: Judicial Elections, Judicial Appointments, and the Perennial Debate Over Judicial Selection in America (2019), Courting Peril: The Political Transformation of the American Judiciary (2016), What’s Law Got To Do With It?: What Judges Do, Why They Do It, and What’s At Stake (2011), and Judicial Conduct and Ethics (co-authored with James Alfini, Steven Lubet and Jeffrey Shaman) (2013), and articles, including The Twilight of Judicial Independence and The American Judicature Society and Judicial Independence: Reflections on the Century Mark (2013). Professor Geyh received his B.A. in political science and his J.D. from the University of Wisconsin. He previously clerked for the Hon. Thomas Clark in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, worked in private practice for the law firm of Covington & Burling, and served as counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary.
The Honorable Lisa M. Ginoza, Chief Judge, Hawai‘i Intermediate Court of Appeals
Lisa M. Ginoza was sworn in as Chief Judge of the Hawai‘i Intermediate Court of Appeals on April 24, 2018. Prior to being appointed to her current position, she served as an Associate Judge of the Intermediate Court of Appeals. A graduate of the William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawai‘i, Judge Ginoza served as a law clerk to the Hon. Samuel P. King, Senior Judge, U.S. District Court for the District of Hawai‘i. She then entered private practice with McCorriston Miller Mukai MacKinnon where she became a partner and had an extensive civil litigation practice. In January 2005, she was appointed First Deputy Attorney General for the State of Hawai‘i, after which she was appointed to the Intermediate Court of Appeals in 2010. Judge Ginoza received her undergraduate degree from Oregon State University with highest distinction. She has served as an adjunct professor in Appellate Advocacy at the William S. Richardson School of Law and was a member of the Hawai‘i Supreme Court’s Commission on Professionalism. Judge Ginoza is currently a board member of the American Judicature Society and also serves as chair of Hawaii’s Commission to Promote and Advance Civic Education.
The Honorable Steven C. González, Chief Justice, Washington Supreme Court
Steven Charles González was sworn in as Washington Supreme Court’s 58th Chief Justice on January 11, 2021, following a vote of his peers for a four-year term. He was appointed to the court in 2012, and subsequently won two contested races for six-year terms starting in 2013 and 2019. Prior to joining the Supreme Court, Chief Justice González served for ten years as a trial judge on the King County Superior Court hearing criminal, civil, juvenile, and family law cases. Chief Justice González graduated with honors from Pitzer College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in East Asian studies and received his law degree from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law. After a career in private practice, Chief Justice González served as an Assistant City Attorney for the City of Seattle, where he prosecuted domestic violence cases including cases of elder and child abuse. He then served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington from 1997 to 2002. Chief Justice González is fluent in English, Japanese and Spanish, and knows some Chinese.
Cynthia Gray, Director, Center for Judicial Ethics, National Center for State Courts
Since October 1990, Cynthia Gray has been the director of the Center for Judicial Ethics, a national clearinghouse for information about judicial ethics and discipline that was previously housed at AJS and is now part of the National Center for State Courts. She summarizes recent cases and advisory opinions, answers requests for information about judicial conduct, writes a weekly blog (at www.ncscjudicialethicsblog.org), writes and edits the Judicial Conduct Reporter, and organizes the biennial National College on Judicial Conduct and Ethics. She has made numerous presentations at judicial education programs and written several articles and publications concerning judicial ethics topics. Having received her J.D. from the Northwestern University School of Law, Ms. Gray clerked for the Hon. Hubert L. Will of the United States District Court of the Northern District of Illinois and then practiced as a litigation attorney in two private law firms.
Marla N. Greenstein, Executive Director, Alaska Commission on Judicial Conduct
Marla N. Greenstein is the Executive Director of the Alaska Commission on Judicial Conduct, a position she has held since 1989. She also serves as Secretary of the Board of the Association of Judicial Disciplinary Counsel. She previously served as senior staff attorney for the Alaska Judicial Council and as senior staff attorney for the American Judicature Society in Chicago. Ms. Greenstein served as Chair of the Lawyers Conference of the American Bar Association (ABA)’s Judicial Division from 1996-97, Co-Chair and Vice-Chair of the ABA’s Judicial Division Ethics and Professionalism Committee, and a member of the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of the American Judicature Society. She is a graduate of Loyola University of Chicago School of Law and holds an undergraduate degree in American Government and Philosophy from Georgetown University. Ms. Greenstein serves on the Alaska Bar’s Ethics Committee and Fair and Impartial Courts Committee. She is the Ethics Column Editor for the ABA’s Judges Journal, authoring the quarterly column. She has lec- tured widely in the area of judicial ethics and has served as faculty for international judicial ethics seminars in Micronesia and Russia.
The Honorable Goodwin H. Liu, Associate Justice, Supreme Court of California
Goodwin H. Liu is an Associate Justice of the California Supreme Court. Before joining the state’s highest court, Justice Liu was Professor of Law and Associate Dean at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law. The son of Taiwanese immigrants, his areas of expertise include constitutional law, education law and policy, and diversity in the legal profession. He co-authored A Portrait of Asian Americans in the Law (2017), a report that examined whether Asian Americans are under- representedinleadershipranksofprivatelawfirms,government,andacademia. Hereceivedabachelor’sdegreeinbiology from Stanford University and attended Oxford University on a Rhodes Scholarship, earning a master’s degree in philosophy and physiology. Returning to the United States, Justice Liu helped to launch the AmeriCorps national service program and worked as a senior program officer at the Corporation for National Service. He received his J.D. from Yale Law School in 1998 and clerked for Judge David Tatel in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Justice Liu went on to work as Special Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education, clerked at the U.S. Supreme Court for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and later worked in the firm of O’Melveny & Myers.
Ivan M. Lui-Kwan, Director, Starn, O’Toole Marcus & Fisher
Ivan M. Lui-Kwan was born and raised in Hilo, Hawai‘i and currently serves as the Vice-chair of the American Judicature So- ciety’s Board of Directors. He has practiced law for 50 years, focusing on Hawai‘i’s land use, administrative, and real estate law. He was presented with the 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award by Pacific Edge Magazine and recognized as the 2015 Queen Emma Ball Honoree for his many contributions to the St. Andrew’s Schools and the people of Hawai‘i. Mr. Lui-Kwan serves as the Ambassador to the United States for the Maori King Tuheitia and was knighted by King Tuheitia in November 2015. He received the 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award from Saint Martin’s University, where he studied Political Science and graduated with honors. The St. Francis Healthcare System of Hawaii recognized him with the St. Francis Assisi Spirit Award in 2019. He was also presented with the Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce ‘O’O Award. A Native Hawaiian, Mr. Lui-Kwan is a managing member of Hokukahu, LLC, the for-profit subsidiary of the Hokupili Foundation, the native Hawaiian non-profit organization, which serves approximately 60,000 residents of the Hawaiian Homelands communities in Hawai‘i. Hokupili’s mission is to create economic opportunity and capacity building for Native Hawaiians.
The Honorable Sabrina Shizue McKenna, Associate Justice, Hawai‘i Supreme Court
Sabrina S. McKenna was sworn in as Associate Justice of the Hawai‘i Supreme Court on March 3, 2011. She is a graduate of the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa and a 1982 graduate of the University of Hawai‘i William S. Richardson School of Law, where she served as Editor-in-Chief of the Law Review. Justice McKenna was a civil litigator, corporate counsel, and law professor before becoming a Hawaii state trial court judge in 1993. As a trial court judge, she presided in District, Circuit, and Family Courts, and served as Senior Judge of the Family Court of the First Circuit. Justice McKenna attended the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, where she played on the Hawai‘i Rainbow Wahine women’s basketball team. She was one of the first beneficiaries of Title IX. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Japanese.
The Honorable M. Margaret McKeown, Circuit Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the
Judge McKeown was nominated to the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit by President Bill Clinton and was confirmed by the United States Senate in 1998. Prior to her appointment to the bench, she engaged in private practice for more than two decades in Seattle and Washington, D.C., including as the first woman partner with Perkins Coie. She has been involved in various community and professional activities, including AJS. In 2019, the American Bar Association’s Judicial Division and the Standing Committee on the American Judicial System presented her the prestigious John Marshall Award, which recognizes individuals who have made a positive impact on the American system of justice. She is the former president of the Federal Judges Association and former chair of the ABA Rule of Law Initiative Board, focusing on judicial reform, and increased transparency and accountability in the judiciary, both in the U.S. and nearly 50 other nations. Chief Justice McKeown has lectured and taught extensively on constitutional law, international law, human rights law, intellectual property, litigation, ethics, and judicial administration in Latin America, Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. She earned her B.A. from the University of Wyoming and her J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center.
Colin O. Miwa, Senior Counsel, Cades Schutte
Colin Miwa has been a lawyer in private practice at the Hawai‘i law firm of Cades Schutte LLP since 1981, and still practices primarily in the Intellectual Property, Construction Law and Litigation, and Creditors’ Rights Practice Groups. He has been an active participant in AJS including as a member of the AJS Board of Directors since 2009, co-chair of the AJS Standing Committee on Judicial Selection, Retention and Accountability, and co-chair of the Conference Steering Committee. He received his B.A. in Political Science with honors from Stanford University in 1978, and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law School in 1981.
The Honorable Susan Oki Mollway, United States District Judge, District of Hawai‘i
Before joining the federal bench in June 1998, Judge Mollway was a partner in the Litigation Department at Cades Schutte Fleming & Wright in Honolulu from 1981 until her judgeship. She served as Chief Judge from 2009 to 2015 and assumed senior status on November 6, 2015. Judge Mollway served on the Ninth Circuit Pacific Islands Committee and the Ninth Circuit Conference Executive Committee. She was chairperson of the Ninth Circuit Jury Instructions Committee until late 2016. She helped to oversee the $121 million renovation of the federal district court facilities in Honolulu and worked on creating a Re-Entry program in the United States District Court, District of Hawai‘i. Judge Mollway received her law degree from Harvard Law School, cum laude and was Editor in Chief of the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review (vol. 16). She received her B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa in English literature. She received an LLM degree in Judicial Studies from Duke University Law School in 2020 and wrote The First Fifteen: How Asian American Women Became Federal Judges, Rutgers University Press, 2021.
Lawrence S. Okinaga, Partner, Carlsmith Ball
Lawrence Okinaga serves as Chair of the American Judicature Society’s Board of Directors. He is a partner in Carlsmith Ball’s Honolulu office and concentrates his practice in financial institutions, real estate, trusts and administrative law. He received his J.D. degree from Georgetown University Law Center and his B.A. degree in economics from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. Mr. Okinaga served on the national board of the American Judicature Society for ten years and as its national president for two years. He founded the Hawai‘i chapter of the American Judicature Society when the organization originally operated out of Chicago and continues to provide leadership, particularly since 2014 when the organization’s programs were transitioned to Hawai‘i. In Hawai‘i, Mr. Okinaga served as a Member, Vice Chairman and Chairman of Hawai‘i’s Judicial Selection Commission. He then served as a Member and then Chairman of the State of Hawai‘i Judicial Conduct Commission. From 2005 to 2013, he served as Chair of the Hawai‘i Federal Judicial Selection Commission. He has also served on the American Bar Association’s Standing Committees on Judicial Selection, Compensation & Tenure and on Judicial Independence as well as on the ABA’s House of Delegates.
The Honorable Mark E. Recktenwald, Chief Justice, Hawai‘i Supreme Court
Mark E. Recktenwald was sworn in as Chief Justice of the Hawai‘i Supreme Court on September 14, 2010. He joined the Supreme Court as an Associate Justice on May 11, 2009, and previously served as Chief Judge of the Intermediate Court of Appeals beginning in April 2007. Prior to his appointment to the Intermediate Court of Appeals, Chief Justice Recktenwald served as the Director of the Hawai‘i Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, an Assistant United States Attor- ney for the District of Hawai`i, and an attorney in private practice. He received his undergraduate degree from Harvard University and his law degree from the University of Chicago.
Aviam Soifer, former Dean, William S. Richardson School of Law, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
Dean Soifer received his law degree from Yale Law School. He also holds B.A. cum laude (1969) and Master of Urban Studies (1972) degrees from Yale. In 1972-73, Dean Soifer clerked for then-United States District Judge Jon O. Newman. He subsequently received Boston College’s Distinguished Senior Research Award and was appointed as a Distinguished Scholar at the University of Wisconsin’s Legal Studies Institute. His book, Law and the Company We Keep (Harvard University Press, 1995) was awarded the Alpha Sigma Nu Triennial National Jesuit Book Prize in professional studies. Dean Soifer began teaching law at the University of Connecticut in 1973, received a Law and Humanities Fellowship at Harvard University in 1976-77, and taught at Boston University from 1979-1993. He served as Dean and taught at Boston College Law School from 1993-1998 and continued to teach there until 2003, when he became Dean of the University of Hawai‘i’s William S. Richardson School of Law. He left the deanship in 2020 but continues to teach students primarily in the areas of constitutional law, legal history, legal writing, and law and the humanities. Dean Soifer has an extensive record of scholarly publications, presentations, and public service activities.
Dr. Anthony Simones, Director of Civic Education at The Missouri Bar
As Director of Civic Education, Dr. Simones designs, coordinates, and delivers education programming that helps Missourians understand the American Constitutional system, focusing on the separation of powers, judicial review, and individual liberties. Dr. Simones is a board member of the National Association of the State Judicial Educators. Prior to joining The Missouri Bar’s civic education initiative, he was the Manager of Judicial Education and Programming at the Missouri Office of State Courts Administrator (OSCA), working extensively with the Supreme Court of Missouri’s Civic Education Committee. After earning his Ph.D. in Political Science, American Government and Constitutional Law and his J.D. from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, Dr. Simones taught government for several years at Missouri State University and political science at Dalton State College before joining the Missouri OSCA.
Sylvia Yuen, Executive Director, American Judicature Society
Dr. Sylvia Yuen formerly served as the Executive Director of the Research Corporation of the University of Hawai‘i where she directed a corporation with more than 2500 employees and $263 million in volume of business. She also served as Special Assistant to the UH President, Director of the Center on the Family, Interim Dean and Director of the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR)—the first woman to lead the college since its founding in 1907. Dr. Yuen received her B.S. and Ph.D. degrees from UH-Mānoa, M.S. degree from the University of Illinois, and post-graduate education at the University of Chicago, University of Michigan, and Harvard University. She has received more than $22 million in grants, served on national and state boards, and received numerous awards, including CTAHR’s and Maryknoll High School’s Outstanding Alumnus awards, three excellence in teaching awards, the YWCA Community Leader Award, Hawai‘i Business News 2018 Business Leader of the Year—Finalist Award, and commendations from the Hawai‘i State Legislature.
“Without a free and capable judiciary our freedoms are at risk.”
Recipient of the 2021 AJS Herbert Harley Award
The Herbert Harley Award is named after the founder of the American Judicature Society and is given to individuals who have made outstanding contributions that substantially improved the administration of justice in Hawai‘i.
Ronald Tai Young Moon was born on September 4, 1940 and is a graduate of Mid-Pacific Institute (Class of 1958). He received his undergraduate degree from Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and is a 1965 graduate of the University of Iowa School of Law. He served a one-year term as law clerk to then-Chief Judge Martin Pence of the United States District Court for the District of Hawai‘i and was subsequently employed with the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney for the City and County of Honolulu from 1966 to 1968. Thereafter, he joined a law firm then known as Libkuman, Shimabukuro and Ventura, which focused on insurance defense work, that is, defending people who were sued and had insurance coverage for the wrong that they allegedly committed. After four years as an associate, he became a partner in the law firm of Libkuman, Ventura, Moon & Ayabe and left private practice in 1982 upon being appointed to the circuit court bench.
Judge Moon served as a trial judge for eight years and was elevated to the Hawai‘i Supreme Court on March 9, 1990 as an associate justice. On March 31, 1993, he was sworn-in as the 17th chief justice of Hawai‘i — the 4th chief justice since statehood — and the first Korean-American to become chief justice of any supreme court in the nation. In 2003, Chief Justice Moon was retained to serve a second term of office. He retired from the Judiciary, effective September 1, 2010.
As the leader of the third branch of government for more than 17 years, Chief Justice Moon consistently focused on measures to elevate public trust and confidence in the justice system. His tenure has been focused on four far-reaching goals: (1) enhancing the administration of justice; (2) increasing access to the courts; (3) preserving the independence of the judiciary; and (4) educating the public about their justice system. Each of the many projects and initiatives implemented to achieve these goals have impacted, and will continue to impact, the people of Hawai‘i for generations to come.
Chief Justice Moon’s management style can best be described as “leading by example.” He personifies hard work, excellence, determination, integrity, compassion, and civility. Above all, he exemplifies an untiring commitment to a just and independent judiciary, to the legal community, and the public. In recognition of his more than three decades of service to the people of Hawai‘i and especially for his more than 17 years as leader of the third branch of government, the Kapolei Judiciary Complex was named as the Ronald T. Y. Moon Judiciary Complex and its courthouse as the Ronald T. Y. Moon Kapolei Courthouse. The magnificent courthouse and complex in the second city of Kapolei will serve as an inspiration to all to lead by example, to remember our public service, to strive for excellence, and to maintain a just, fair, and accessible justice system. Similarly, the United Chinese Society’s selection of Chief Justice Moon as the 2010 Model Citizen and all of its prior honorees serve as an inspiration to the Chinese community, as well as the community-at-large, to dedicate themselves to the betterment of our fellow men and women.
HIGHLIGHTS OF CHIEF JUSTICE MOON’S TENURE
Chief Justice Moon was the driving force behind the Judiciary’s Judicial Performance Program because he believed that increasing the public’s trust and confidence in their justice system begins with providing judges a mechanism for self-improvement. Under his leadership, Hawai‘i’s program was established in 1993, which, at the time, was one of only 13 judicial evaluation programs nationwide. In 2001, under Chief Justice Moon’s direction, appellate justices and judges were evaluated for the first time, making Hawai‘i the only state without judicial retention elections that evaluates its appellate justices and judges.
With the chief justice’s full support, the Hawai‘i Judiciary’s Drug Court Program continues to provide adults and juveniles, as well as their families, with valuable community services and treatment to break the cycle of addiction to reduce repeat drug-related offenses. The first drug court program began on O‘ahu in 1996. As a result of its success and under Chief Justice Moon’s direction, court administrators have now implemented adult, juvenile, and/or family drug courts statewide.
Chief Justice Moon’s tenure has been marked with a number of “firsts.” In addition to being the first state to conduct appellate judicial performance evaluations, Chief Justice Moon, in 1997, was the first chief justice in state history invited to deliver the State of the Judiciary Address to a joint session of the state Legislature and continued to do so throughout his tenure. In 1999, Oahu’s district court became the first state court in the nation to participate as a judicial partner in a program called Weed and Seed, an innovative community enhancement program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice. Law enforcement, including the judiciary, and various community stakeholders work closely to “weed out” certain offenders from, and resolve the needs of, a federally-designated community — which, in Hawai‘i, is the Chinatown/Kalihi-Palama neighborhood. Hawai‘i’s special approach to these cases resulted in national recognition, and court officials were invited to the National Conference on Preventing Crime (held in Washington, D.C.) to present the details of the program to other criminal justice system professionals.
Another “first” is Hawai‘i’s Opportunity Probation with Enforcement or HOPE Program, which was launched in 2004. HOPE is built on the premise that people should be accountable for their actions and that there should be swift and proportionate consequences when rules are not followed. The program is also based upon providing rehabilitation and second chances. Based on its documented success, the HOPE Program serves as a model for other judiciaries across the nation. In 2010, similar programs were started in Nevada and Oregon; Virginia, Alaska, Arizona, and many other states are getting organized and/or expressing interest in starting the program.
Chief Justice Moon understands the need for court systems to develop viable systems to provide competent interpretation services to limited and non-English speakers. His visionary administration and steadfast support for establishing a language-access program to address the unique needs of Hawai‘i’s state court users results in the Judiciary’s successfully launching its Courts Interpreter Certification Program in 2007. Since its inception, the Hawai‘i Judiciary has helped to train over 60 Pacific Island interpreters in various languages, such as Chamorro, Cantonese, Mandarin, Chuukese, Kosraen, Japanese, Korean, Marshallese, Palauan, Pohnpeian, Tagalog, Ilokano, Pampango, Vietnamese, and Yapese. The program has also served as a progressive model and innovative approach for other judiciaries to emulate.
CHIEF JUSTICE MOON’S COMMITMENT TO CIVIC EDUCATION
Chief Justice Moon’s tireless commitment to education has dramatically increased Hawai‘i’s participation in nationally renowned civic education programs. He strongly believes that the reintroduction of civics and government as a core subject in our schools is the key to enhancing public-spiritedness and enhancing public understanding of government. In 1999, with Chief Justice Moon’s support, the Judiciary implemented Parents and the Law, a curriculum initiative developed by Streetlaw, Inc., to give teenage parents the knowledge and skills necessary to cope with legal issues related to parental rights and responsibilities. Since 2001, the Judiciary, through its King Kamehameha Fifth Judiciary History Center, continues to work closely with the Department of Education to conduct workshops that provide teachers with some basic foundation in themes of democracy, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, including conducting simulated congressional and public policy hearings. Additionally, Chief Justice Moon has worked tirelessly to educate the public about Hawai‘i’s justice system by writing articles and delivering numerous speeches to a variety of audiences on judicial independence, civics education, and decision-making in the courts.
CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS IN THE JUDICIARY
Prior to taking office in 1993, the last court facility to be built was the Lahaina District Court facility on Maui in 1987. During his 17-year tenure as head of the third branch of government, Chief Justice Moon, along with his dedicated team of administrators, worked diligently on capital improvement projects that culminated in four new courthouses: (1) Abner Paki Hale in Kāne‘ohe, which opened in March 2003; (2) Puʻuhonua Kaulike (or Sanctuary of Justice) in Līhu‘e, Kaua‘i, which opened in August 2005; (3) Hale Kaulike (or House of Justice) in Hilo on the Big Island in April 2009; and (4) the Ronald T. Y. Moon Judiciary Complex, which houses the Ronald T. Y. Moon Kapolei Courthouse and the new, state-of-the-art juvenile detention facility, Hale Maluhia, in May 2010. Each of these new facilities have enhanced court operations and provided greater access to justice for our citizens, a safer environment for our judges, court employees, and court users, and a valuable resource for their respective communities.
As a graduate of the University of Iowa Law School, Chief Justice Moon was featured as one of the first alumni honorees in its Gallery of Honor display at the entrance of the Boyd Law Building (1999). In May 2001, Chief Justice Moon received an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Chief Justice Moon also received the Hawaiʻi State Bar Association’s Golden Gavel Award (2001). In recognition of his longstanding contributions to the improvement of the justice system on the national level, Chief Justice Moon received the National Center for State Court (NCSC)’s 2003 Distinguished Service Award, one of the highest awards presented by the Center; an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Inha University (Incheon, Korea; October 2003); co-recipient of the Grand Prize Award given by Kyungmin Mission Schools (Korea, October 2003) for his dedication and efforts to the betterment of the international community; the Korean American Foundation Hawaii’s Light of the Orient award (January 13, 2008) in recognition of his accomplishments and contributions to the Korean community; the American Bar Association Pursuit of Justice Award (Tort Trial & Ins. Practice Section, 2006); the Filipino Community’s Pasuquinio Association of Hawaii’s award for exemplary service (August 2008); and the Order of Civil Merit “Moran Medal” presented by Korean Consul General Bong Joo Kim on behalf of the Korean Government (November 2008).
In August 2010, Chief Justice Moon received the NCSC’s Harry L. Carrico Award, which recognizes a sitting state chief justice “who has inspired, sponsored, promoted or led an innovation or accomplishment of national significance in the field of judicial administration.” In September 2010, the Hawaiʻi State Bar Association presented Chief Justice Moon with its President’s Award, which is bestowed upon an individual “whose extraordinary contributions and/or lifetime achievement best exemplify the mission statement of the Hawai‘i State Bar Association: To unite and inspire Hawai‘i’s lawyers to promote justice, serve the public, and improve the legal profession.” In October 2010, Chief Justice Moon was inducted into the Society of Legacy Honorees, having been selected as a Legacy Award recipient in the Judiciary category. Established in 2006, the Legacy Award is presented to individuals who have demonstrated personal successes and significant contributions in their professional field to the betterment of the community.
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