Gov. David Ige on Friday appointed Honolulu Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Sonja McCullen to a vacant seat on the Intermediate Court of Appeals.

Ige said in a press release announcing the appointment that McCullen “possesses the legal skills, knowledge, and temperament to serve the people of Hawaii on the Intermediate Court of Appeals.”

McCullen has worked at the prosecutor’s office for 11 years, having previously served in the appellate division of that office, according to the press release. She has also been a staff attorney at United Public Workers, one of the state’s largest public worker unions, an investigator for the state Crime Victim Compensation Commission and clerked for Associate Justice Paula Nakayama.

Deputy Honolulu Prosecutor Sonja McCullen has been appointed to a vacancy in the Intermediate Court of Appeals. 

McCullen is also a former Waianae High School teacher, according to the press release. She earned her law degree from the William S. Richardson School of Law at UH Manoa.

McCullen’s appointment is subject to confirmation by the Senate.

“If confirmed by the Senate, I will continue to work my hardest in this new role, with the same spirit of public service and aloha for Hawaiʻi and all its people,” McCullen said in a statement.

 The announcement that Ige will be appointing a female attorney to a post on the appellate court comes a week after his last appointment, Dan Gluck, was rejected by the Senate.

Gluck, the executive director of the state Ethics Commission, asked the governor to withdraw his nomination after facing calls to do so. Gluck was also heavily criticized for his apparent lack of courtroom experience compared to the others on the list of ICA candidates.

The hearings on Gluck’s confirmation renewed debate over the diversity of Hawaii’s judiciary, where men still far outnumber women across the state court system.

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