Gov. David Ige has appointed his former campaign manager, Keith Hiraoka, to fill the 1st Circuit Court seat that Judge Karen Ahn vacated when she retired in June.
Hiraoka was one of three appointments to the court that Ige announced Thursday. He also appointed Family Court Judge Catherine Remigio and attorney Todd Eddins. All three are subject to Senate confirmation.
“These individuals know the law, understand complex civil and criminal issues, and possess the demeanor needed to facilitate their resolution,” Ige said in a news release. “They also have the expertise to manage a jury trial in a fair and impartial manner. They will serve the people of Hawaii with distinction.”
Hiraoka, 58, stepped down from his role as Ige’s campaign chair after learning he was one of six nominees submitted to the governor by the Judicial Selection Commission for a vacancy on Hawaii’s Intermediate Court of Appeals . He was being considered for three different vacancies.
“I was honored to have been one of those selected by the Judicial Selection Commission, and I am humbled that Governor Ige appointed me to the First Circuit Court,” Hiraoka said in the release. “I will provide as much information as possible to, and spend as much time as is necessary with the Senate and the Hawaii State Bar Association during the confirmation process in the hope that the public will have confidence in the process and in the integrity of the Judiciary.”
The governor’s office notes in the release that Hiraoka is an attorney at Roeca Luria Hiraoka LLP, that he’s practiced law since 1983 and graduated from the University of California, Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law.
It does not mention his role leading Ige’s campaign for governor.
Remigio, 51, was appointed to fill the vacancy created by the August retirement of former Circuit Judge Steven Alm. She served as Family Court judge since 2011 and received her law degree from the University of Hawaii’s William S. Richardson School of Law in 1992.
“I am deeply honored and grateful that Governor Ige has nominated me to serve on the First Circuit Court bench,” she said in the release. “I hope to continue working for the betterment of our people and communities and to serve with distinction.”
The governor encouraged more women to apply for judgeships, given how men dominate the profession.
“The Judiciary must accurately reflect our community, and I want to encourage more women to apply for these positions. More will be open shortly,” Ige said. “I am seeking the help of several professional women’s organizations to recruit talented women to the bench. Ultimately, the judicial branch will better serve the people of this state when it truly mirrors our diversity.”
Eddins, 52, was appointed to to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of former Circuit Judge Richard Perkins in June, the release says.
He earned his law degree from the William S. Richardson School of Law and worked as a trial lawyer at the Office of the Public Defender for more than 10 years.
“It is an extraordinary honor to receive Governor Ige’s nomination to fill the seat of such an eminent jurist as Judge Richard Perkins,” Eddins said in the release. “I am heartened by the opportunity to contribute to our one of a kind community through judicial service. I look forward to the upcoming confirmation process.”
Ige personally interviewed each candidate for the job and received input from retired Hawaii Supreme Court Associate Justice James Duffy, who reviewed the nominees’ qualifications and considered feedback from the law community and public testimony, the release says.
Circuit courts hold jury trials in civil and criminal cases and have exclusive jurisdiction in probate, guardianship and criminal felony cases, as well as civil cases where the contested amount exceeds $40,000, the Judiciary’s website says.
Stay Up To Date On The Coronavirus And Other Hawaii Issues