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On the Passing of Judge Shunichi Kimura

Posted on May 24, 2017 in News & Reports, Press Releases

“On behalf of the Judiciary, I extend our sincere thoughts and condolences to the family of Shunichi Kimura, who served Hawaii Island with distinction as both mayor and Circuit Court judge. Judge Kimura is remembered with the highest degree of respect and admiration. He was characterized as being above reproach, both for his conduct in the courtroom and in the community. We thank Judge Kimura for his outstanding service to the people of Hawaii throughout his distinguished career, and for his dedication to the Hawaii State Judiciary.”

— Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald, Hawaii State Supreme Court

“Judge Shunichi Kimura left an indelible mark on the judges who served with him, the judges who came after him, and on the lawyers who appeared before him in the Third Circuit Court. While he had a brilliant legal mind, he was humble and treated everyone with dignity and respect. He was the model for judicial temperament. I learned so much from him, both as an attorney and a judge, and I can’t thank him enough for being a mentor and role model. The Hawaii Island community has lost a true public servant. On behalf of the Third Circuit, I send my sincerest condolences to Judge Kimura’s family.”

— Chief Judge Ronald Ibarra, Third Circuit

Judge Kimura began his career as a deputy prosecutor for the City and County of Honolulu and later the County of Hawaii. He was elected chief executive officer of the County’s Board of Supervisors in 1964. In 1968 he became the first mayor of Hawaii Island and was re-elected for a second term. Judge Kimura was first appointed to the bench of the Third Circuit Court in May 1974, and retired in June 1993 as the Senior Family Court Judge.

After his retirement, Judge Kimura became a mediator in the Appellate Mediation Program, volunteering his time to continue serving the community.  He also fulfilled a lifelong ambition when he was selected to serve on a jury.  At that time he said, “I realize that from a judge’s perspective you can only understand the jury process intellectually, but you can never know how it feels or empathize with jurors without actually sitting there. I encourage every lawyer and judge to serve if they have the opportunity. Unless you actually sit on a jury, you can’t understand the emotional dimensions.”



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