Chief Justice Moon Appoints Iha, Nakashima, Tanigawa and Viola as District Court Judges

Chief Justice Ronald T.Y. Moon today appointed Sherri-Ann L. Iha, Steven M. Nakashima, Michael K. Tanigawa and Matthew J. Viola to fill judicial vacancies in the District Court of the First Circuit.

The chief justice appoints district court judges from a list of not less than six nominees submitted by the Judicial Selection Commission.

Iha is currently a supervising deputy prosecuting attorney for the City and County of Honolulu in the Misdemeanor Jury Demand Division and has been employed with the prosecutor’s office since 1992.   

Iha, who fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Karen Radius, earned her law degree from the William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawaii.   

Nakashima is a partner with Marr Jones & Wang where he specializes in employment and labor law.  Prior to joining Marr Jones & Wang in 1999, Nakashima had served as a First Circuit District Court judge from 1994 to 1999. He was employed with Goodsill Anderson Quinn & Stifel from 1981 to 1994 and was a partner in the firm when he left to become a judge.

Nakashima graduated from Williamette University College of Law in Salem, Oregon. His appointment fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Kenneth Enright.

Tanigawa has been a staff attorney with the Intermediate Court of Appeals since 2008.  Previously, he was a director with the law firm of Char Sakamoto Ishii Lum & Ching where he had been employed since 1996, and a partner with Tanigawa & Tanigawa from 1988 to 1996.   

His experience includes serving as an adjunct professor in appellate advocacy at the University of Hawaii William S. Richardson School of Law and as a volunteer arbitrator with the Court Annexed Arbitration Program.   

A graduate of Hastings College of Law in San Francisco, Tanigawa fills the vacancy that occurred upon the appointment of Judge Edwin Nacino to the Circuit Court of the First Circuit.

Viola has been with The Law Office of Matthew J. Viola since 2002 and handles employment law and general civil litigation cases.  While working as a sole practitioner, Viola has served as a part-time judge for the District Court of the First Circuit since 2002 and as a contract attorney for the City and County of Honolulu Ethics Commission since 2003.  He was a partner at Simons & Viola from 1995 to 2002.   

After graduating from Stanford Law School with distinction, Viola worked as an associate attorney with a San Francisco law firm for two years before moving to Hawaii and clerking for Hawaii Supreme Court Justice Paula Nakayama from 1993 to 1995.  He is filling the vacancy that occurred upon the appointment of Judge R. Mark Browning to the Circuit Court of the First Circuit.

If confirmed by the State Senate, the district court judges will serve in office for six years.

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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