Thirty Judges Evaluated on Courtroom Performance

Scores for the Circuit and Family Court judges were based on a scale of possible responses ranging from one, for Poor, to five, for Excellent.

The Circuit Court judges had mean scores of 4.2 in the Legal Ability section, 4.3 in the Judicial Management Skills section, 4.3 in the Comportment section, and 4.2 in the Settlement and/or Plea Agreement Ability section.

For Family Court judges, the Legal Ability mean score measured 4.0. The Judicial Management Skills mean score was 4.0, the Comportment mean score was 4.1, and the Settlement and/or Plea Agreement Ability mean score was 3.9.

For District Court judges, the Judge's Characteristics section had a mean score of 3.3. The maximum score for this section was four. Possible responses ranged from Strongly Disagree, which received a score of one, to Strongly Agree, which received a score of four.

The other sections in the District Court questionnaires had scores based on the scale from one, for Poor, to five, for Excellent. For District Court judges, the mean score for Legal Ability was 4.0, the mean score for Settlement and/or Plea Agreement Ability was 3.9, and the mean score for Judicial Management Skills was 4.1.

As in the past, the judges evaluated in this report were or will be interviewed by members of the Judicial Evaluation Review Panel. The nine members of the Review Panel are Robert Alm, Momi Cazimero, Lawrence Foster, Richard Guy, Lynne Kaneshiro, Douglas McNish, Willson Moore Jr., Herbert Shimabukuro and Betty Vitousek. They are organized into groups of three to counsel judges from the Circuit Court, Family Court, and District Court groups. Each panel consists of one former judge, one nonpracticing attorney, and one member of the public knowledgeable in the law.

Chief Justice Moon established the annual performance review as a permanent program in 1993. The main goals of the program are improving the performances of judges, increasing the efficiency of judicial management, and providing the Judicial Selection Commission with a potential source of information for retention and promotion decisions.

All Judicial Performance Program reports are available to the Judicial Selection Commission. Scores and attorney comments received for individual judges are also available to the Commission upon their request.

The current report may be viewed on the Judiciary Web site at www.courts.state.hi.us. The current report and reports from previous years are available at the Supreme Court Law Library on O`ahu and Circuit Court law libraries on the islands of Hawai`i, Maui and Kaua`i.

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Contact:Marsha E. Kitagawa, 539-4909

For more information, contact the public affairs office at 808-539-4909 or via email at pao@courts.state.hi.us.

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