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Thursday, October 8, 2020
Senate Special Session approves judicial appointments
By News Release @ 4:31 AM :: 3084 Views :: Judiciary


News Release from Hawaii State Senate, October 6, 2020

The Hawaii State Senate in their first special session of 2020 has confirmed the judicial appointments of First Circuit Court Judge Karen Nakasone to the Intermediate Court of Appeals (ICA); Karin Holma, Tracy Fukui, Bryant Zane and Andrew Park to the District Court of the First Circuit; and Courtney Naso, Elizabeth Paek-Harris and Thomas Haia to the District Family Court of the First Circuit.

The Chair of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Senator Karl Rhoads (Dist. 13) commented, “The Senate is pleased to confirm the judicial appointments of these eight very well-qualified individuals. This pandemic has caused a backlog in the courts and all of these appointees are very eager to hit the ground running.”

Judge Karen Nakasone has served as a judge of the Circuit Court of the First Circuit since 2011, where she presided over civil and criminal cases. She also has been assigned as a substitute Associate Justice on the Hawaii Supreme Court for 25 cases and a substitute Associate Judge on the ICA for four cases. Prior to her appointment in 2011, she was a Deputy Public Defender in the State Office of the Public Defender and earlier served as a law clerk to then-Associate Judge of the ICA Simeon R. Acoba, Jr. Judge Nakasone is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College and Boston University School of Law, class of 1995.

Judge Karin Holma most recently has been a partner at Bays Lung Rose & Holma. She had been with the firm for 28 years where she successfully litigated numerous cases with a focus on commercial law including construction and real estate disputes. For six years, she was the firm's managing partner. Judge Holma graduated from Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon and received her law degree from Willamette University College of Law in 1989.

Judge Tracy Fukui has been the section head of the employment and civil rights division of the Office of the Corporation Council for the City and County of Honolulu. She has also worked in private practice, representing businesses and individuals in civil matters and defendants in criminal cases, and was a Deputy Public Defender in the State Office of the Public Defender for six years. She is a graduate of the University of Hawaii at Manoa and received her law degree from Lewis & Clark Law School in 1998.

Judge Bryant Zane has served for seventeen years as a Deputy Public Defender in the State Office of the Public Defender. He previously worked for five years as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for the County of Kauai. Cumulatively, he has handled over 95 criminal jury trials and more than 150 criminal bench trials. Judge Zane is a graduate of the University of Hawaii at Manoa and received his law degree from Howard University School of Law in 1996.

Judge Andrew Park most recently has worked in private practice at the Law Office of Andrew T. Park, LLLC, focusing on criminal defense and assisting clients with mental health issues. Since 2017, he has also served as a Per Diem Judge in the District Family Court of the First Circuit. He previously worked as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for the City and County of Honolulu, from 2008 to 2011. Judge Park is a graduate of the University of Hawaii at Manoa and the William S. Richardson School of Law in 2008.

Judge Courtney Naso has been in private practice for the past 20 years and has experience handling all aspects of family law cases including divorce, child custody and adoption. Since 2013, she also has served as a court-appointed Volunteer Settlement Master for the First Circuit Family Court. Judge Naso graduated from Michigan State University and received her law degree from Regent University School of Law in 1998.

Judge Elizabeth Paek-Harris has been in private practice for the past 16 years, focusing on family law. Since January 2019, she has also served as a Per Diem Judge in the District Family Court of the First Circuit. Judge Paek-Harris is a graduate of the Evergreen State College and received her law degree from the William S. Richardson School of Law in 2003.

Judge Thomas Haia has been a solo practitioner with an emphasis on family law for the past 23 years and since 2014 has also served as a Per Diem District Court Judge in the First Circuit. He also briefly worked as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for the County of Kauai. Judge Haia is a graduate of the University of Hawaii at Manoa and received his law degree from the William S. Richardson School of Law in 1995. 

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Hawai‘i State Senate to hold special session on Intermediate Court of Appeals and other judicial appointments

Judiciary Committee hearing on the appointments scheduled for October 1 will feature live remote public testimony

News Release from Hawaii State Senate, September 18, 2020

The Hawai‘i State Senate is scheduled to convene for a special session to review Governor David Ige’s appointment for a vacancy on the Hawai‘i Intermediate Court of Appeals and the Chief Justice's appointments on a number of district court positions.

Intermediate Court of Appeals (ICA) Associate Judge Alexa D.M. Fujise retired in April 2020; the special session will consider the Governor's appointment to fill the vacancy and restore the ICA to its full complement of six members.

The process will begin with a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, chaired by Senator Karl Rhoads and vice chaired by Senator Jarrett Keohokalole, on Thursday, October 1, 2020 at 1:00 p.m.

The Senate will be welcoming live remote public testimony via videoconference, as the Capitol building remains closed to the public due to COVID-19. This remote testimony option will also allow neighbor island residents to testify without traveling to Honolulu.

Members of the public who wish to testify via videoconference should use the Legislature's website ( to submit their written testimony and select "yes" when asked if they will be testifying remotely for the hearing. Written testimony is required to participate via videoconference and must be submitted at least 24 hours before the hearing. Additional information and details will be on the hearing notice and capitol website.

The Senate will convene in a floor session on Monday, October 5 at 10:00 a.m. This will be followed by a separate decision-making meeting of the Judiciary Committee at 10:30 a.m. Final Senate votes on the appointments are expected on Tuesday, October 6 at 11:30 a.m.

To allow access to the proceedings while the State Capitol building is closed to the public, the Senate will live stream all Senate hearings and floor sessions over the internet. Selected proceedings will also be broadcasted on ‘Ōlelo and neighbor island cable networks. The public is encouraged to participate by submitting written testimony or testifying remotely. No in-person testimony will be allowed at this time due to COVID-19.

Following several delays due to COVID-19, the Hawai‘i State Senate’s 2020 session finally adjourned permanently on July 10. This special session will only address the pending judicial appointments.


CB: The public will have a rare opportunity for live, remote testimony to the Legislature.


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