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Chief Justice Appoints District Family Court Judges

Posted on Oct 18, 2019 in News & Reports, Press Releases

HONOLULU – Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald has today appointed Rebecca A. Copeland and Alvin K. Nishimura as District Family Court Judges in the First Circuit. The Chief Justice appoints district family court judges from lists of nominees submitted by the Judicial Selection Commission. If confirmed by the State Senate, Copeland and Nishimura will each serve a term of six years. The Chief Justice has discretion to assign judges to either the district court or family court calendars, and intends to assign Copeland to the family court calendar, and Nishimura to the district court calendar.

Copeland has been serving as a per diem district court judge since 2016 and is a sole proprietor of an appellate litigation practice since 2012, in which she represents a high percentage of individuals in divorce and custody-related proceedings. Prior to that, she was an associate with Damon Key Leong Kupchak Hastert, an Adjunct Professor at the William S. Richardson School of Law, and a Deputy Solicitor General with the Department of the Attorney General. She also has previous experience in the State of Texas.

Copeland is a member of the Commission on Professionalism, the Hawaii Access to Justice Commission, and was recently elected as Board Member of the Hawaii Justice Foundation. She is heavily involved in the Hawaii Bar Association, serving on its Board of Directors, Diversity Equality and the Law Committee, founder and member of the Appellate Section, and member of the Litigation Section. She is a graduate of St. Mary’s University School of Law and was admitted to the Hawaii State Bar in 2003. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Southwest Texas State University.

Nishimura has been serving as a per diem district court judge since 2005 and is a sole proprietor of a criminal defense and family law practice since 2001. He also serves as a Federal Court Indigent Defendant Panel Attorney with the Federal Criminal Justice Act. Nishimura previously worked as a hearings officer with the Department of Hawaiian Homes Lands, as a felony trial attorney with the Office of the Public Defender, and as an associate with the Law Office of Matthew Pyun. He is a graduate of the University of Hawaii William S. Richardson School of Law and was admitted to the Hawaii State Bar in 1985. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.


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