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Lingle makes court selection

January 21, 2004

Lingle makes court selection

Pang Gordon Staff Advertiser Final

Nakamura familiar with appeals process

By Gordon Y.K. Pang, ADVERTISER CAPITOL BUREAU

The man who has coordinated appeals cases for federal attorneys in Hawai`i during the past decade has been tapped to be the newest member of the state Intermediate Court of Appeals.

Craig H. Nakamura, an assistant U.S. attorney based in Hawai`i since 1986, was named by Gov. Linda Lingle as her nominee to the appeals court yesterday. His appointment is subject to confirmation by the state Senate.

Lingle noted that Nakamura is well-versed in the appeals process, having been the appellate coordinator for the U.S. attorney's office in Hawai`i the past 10 years. His focus has been on the prosecution of federal crimes with an emphasis on complex legal schemes, tax offenses, environmental crimes and public corruption.

Appellate law, Nakamura told reporters, is "an area of law that particularly excites me and for which I have a distinct passion."

Prior to joining the federal attorney's office, Nakamura spent four years with the law firm of Goodsill, Anderson, Quinn & Stifel. He has also been an adjunct professor in appellate advocacy with the University of Hawai`i's William S. Richardson School of Law. He graduated cum laude from the Harvard School of Law and was president of the Asian Law Students Association.

Nakamura is expected to fill a position created by the addition of a fifth associate judge to the Intermediate Court. The Legislature last year appropriated money for two more Intermediate Court of Appeals judges, which would enable the court to have two panels of three judges.

The Judicial Selection Commission will soon send Lingle another list of nominees for the second appellate judge position.

The two additional appellate court positions are expected to ease the appellate case backlog, which has been a source of criticism against 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.

Lingle said that when she interviewed him, Nakamura brought up the backlog as an import issue facing the court.

"He is well aware of the backlog that exists," the governor said. "To get justice fairly applied to everyone, you have to act on the cases that are before you."

Nakamura was selected from a list of six candidates submitted to the governor by the Judicial Selection Committee late last month. That list included four current Circuit Court judges - Victoria Marks, Sabrina McKenna, Richard Perkins and Michael Town. The sixth candidate was private attorney Susan Ichinose.

Lingle said she had three members of her cabinet - Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona, Attorney General Mark Bennett and senior policy adviser Linda Smith - to help cull the initial list of six down to two before she made a final choice. Aiona is a former Circuit Court judge and Bennett a long-time litigator, while Smith is a businesswoman.

Four state Circuit Court judges are among six candidates nominated to fill a vacancy on the state Intermediate Court of

Appeals. Lingle yesterday also named private attorney Patrick William Border, 55, as a state Circuit Court judge. Border has been an attorney with the law firm Cronin, Fried, Sekiya, Kekina & Fairbanks since 1984.

Border also served as a mediator and arbitrator for parties involved in divorce, real-estate transactions, civil-rights claims and lawsuits, as well as various business disputes. He previously was a deputy corporation counsel, deputy prosecuting attorney and judge advocate for the U.S. Air Force.

Reach Gordon Y.K. Pang at gpang@honoluluadvertiser.com or at 525-8070. Photo caption: Gov. Linda Lingle announced the selection of Craig H. Nakamura, right, to the Intermediate Court of Appeals yesterday. At left

is Patrick William Border, who was appointed to the 1st Circuit Court. DEBORAH BOOKER · The Honolulu Advertiser

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