Karen Tooko Nakasone was sworn in as a First Circuit Court Judge on November 1, 2011. Prior to her appointment, Judge Nakasone was a trial and appellate litigator, serving as a career deputy public defender for the State of Hawai`i. She also served as a law clerk to the Honorable Simeon R. Acoba Jr. during his term on the Intermediate Court of Appeals. Judge Nakasone was a Pacific Century Fellow, and in 2009 was named as one of the Best Lawyers Under 40 by the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association.
Judge Nakasone is a graduate of Boston University School of Law, Bryn Mawr College, and Hawai`i Baptist Academy, and also attended the University of Hawai`i at Manoa. She studied abroad at the University of Ryukyus in Okinawa, Japan, as a Ryukyu Prefectural Government kenpi scholarship recipient.