Panel backs Judge nominess

February 12, 2004

ADVERTISER STAFF

The Senate Judiciary and Hawaiian Affairs Committee has endorsed Gov. Linda Lingle's appointment of Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig Nakamura to the Intermediate Court of Appeals.

The committee received overwhelming testimony from the legal community and others in support of Nakamura, who has been the appellate coordinator for the U.S. attorney's office in Hawai`i for the past 10 years.

Nakamura will fill one of two new judge positions on the Intermediate Court. The Legislature last year appropriated money for two more Intermediate Court of Appeals judges, enabling the court to decide cases in two panels of three judges.

The Judicial Selection Commission will send Lingle another list of nominees for the second new appellate judge position.The two additional judges are expected to ease the appellate case backlog, which has been a sore point for the Hawai`i Supreme Court and the Intermediate Court of Appeals. The case backlog has grown in recent years despite a decline in appeals filed.

Nakamura told the committee Tuesday that he understands his role in helping to reduce the case backlog and that he will work hard to address the issue.

The committee also endorsed Lingle's appointment of private attorney Patrick Border to the Circuit Court. Border, who also was heavily supported by others in the legal community, has been an attorney with the law firm Cronin, Fried, Sekiya, Kekina & Fairbanks since 1984.The nominations of  Nakamura and Border now go before the full Senate for a confirmation vote.