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Kona Attorneys Honored for Helping 600 West Hawaii Residents

Posted on Nov 8, 2017 in Featured News


36 Attorneys recognized for providing free legal assistance to West Hawaii Residents

Kona attorneys were recognized for their volunteer service to the West Hawaii community at the November 7 Kona Self-Help Center Recognition Awards. They provided free legal information to more than 600 people in 2017. From left to right: Peter Olson, Katherine DeLeon, Mitchell Roth (Hawaii County Prosecutor), Third Circuit Chief Judge Greg Nakamura, Judge Harry Freitas, Kimberly Taniyama (recognized as the attorney with most volunteer hours), Andrew Kennedy, Dawn Henry, Robert Triantos, Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald, Donna Payesko, Judge Margaret Masunaga, Laura Cushman (AmeriCorps Advocate), Wendy DeWeese, and Vita Zamedyanskiy (AmeriCorps Advocate).

KEALAKEKUA, HI – Thirty-six attorneys were recognized during the Kona Self-Help Recognition Awards on November 7 for voluntarily providing free legal information to 600-plus Hawaii Island residents who sought help at the recently expanded Kona Courthouse Self-Help Center in 2017. The number of people who sought and received services increased by more than 27 percent from 2016 to 2017.

The Self-Help Center was established in October 2013 as part of the Hawaii State Judiciary’s commitment to help people who must represent themselves in civil cases each year because they cannot afford an attorney. Since opening, it has assisted more than 2,000 people, with volunteer attorneys providing approximately 760 hours of legal information on civil matters, such as temporary restraining orders and divorce. These services have been provided nearly cost-free to the state.

“The attorneys who volunteer in the Center provide invaluable information. I am grateful for their commitment to ensuring that everyone’s voice is heard in our civil courts,” said Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald. “We are looking forward to being able to expand these services once the Kona Judiciary Complex is completed in 2019 with a newly designed space for the Self-Help Center.”

The attorneys who were honored are: Brit Barker, James Biven, Bob Borns, Jason Braswell, Ann Datta, Katherine Deleon, Porter DeVries, Wendy DeWeese, Chris Eggert, Edward Fetzer, Stephen Frye, Gerald Garcia, Fred Giannini, Catherine Gibson, Jennifer Heimgartner, R. Hermann Heimgartner, Dawn Henry, Kauanoe Jackson, Dean Kauka, Andrew Kennedy, Susan Kim, Carol Kitaoka, Frederick Macapinlac, Charles McCreary, Charles Murray, Shawn Nakoa, John Olson, Peter Olson, Donna Payesko, Daniel Peters, Mitch Roth, Joanna Sokolow, Kimberly Taniyama, Robert Triantos, Mark Van Pernis, and Georgette Yaindl.

Also acknowledged were Laura Cushman, Vita Zamedyanskiy and Sarah Kelly, the AmeriCorps Advocates who, through the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii, run the Self-Help Center.

“It has been a year of progress for self-help services in the West Hawaii community,” said Dawn Henry, managing attorney for the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii in Kona. “Support from our local attorneys continues to be strong, and the Judiciary transformed our facility from a Self-Help Desk to a Self-Help Center, providing a more comfortable and inviting environment for users. This is such a valuable service to our community, and the feedback that we receive from visits is overwhelmingly positive. We continue to encourage those with legal questions to access the center.”

The Chief Justice and Ms. Henry also thanked the West Hawaii Bar Association, the Hawaii State Bar Association, the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii and the Access to Justice Commission for their support of the Judiciary’s efforts to bring self-help services to Hawaii residents statewide.