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Hawai`i Chief Judge Ibarra Honored as Jurist of the Year, Judiciary Employees Recognized for Outstanding Service

Posted on Oct 13, 2006 in Press Releases

During a ceremony today in the State Supreme Court courtroom, Chief Justice Ronald T.Y. Moon honored Third Circuit (Hawai`i island) Chief Judge Ronald Ibarra as the 2006 “Jurist of the Year.” Chief Justice Moon also recognized individual employees and teams from the Hawai`i State Judiciary for their outstanding contributions to the court system.

The Jurist of the Year award recognizes a full-time trial judge for exceptional judicial competence as evidenced by decisional quality, significant extra-judicial contributions to the administration of justice, and active participation in public service to the community. Chief Justice Moon made the selection after reviewing nominations submitted by Hawai`i attorneys and Judiciary employees.

Judge Ibarra’s achievements include implementing and presiding over the Big Island’s Adult Drug Court Program. He is the chair of the Committee on Probate Rules and Uniform Probate Code and serves on the Committee on Pattern Criminal Jury Instructions, Permanent Committee on Rules of Civil Procedures and Circuit Court Rules, Single Tier Court Committee and the Judicial Education Committee.

Known for his community outreach efforts, Judge Ibarra received an Outstanding Volunteer Community Service Award from the West Hawai`i Rotary Club. He began his judicial career in 1989 as a Circuit Court judge. Previously, he was a deputy prosecutor for the Hawai`i County, managing director for the county and corporation counsel.

Receiving the Distinguished Service award at the ceremony was Terri Gearon of the Second Circuit (Maui) Administrative Services Division. This accolade is the most prestigious honor presented under the Judiciary’s annual Incentive Awards program, and goes to employees with 15 or more years of service who make outstanding contributions over the course of their careers.

Individual Meritorious Service awards went to First Circuit (O`ahu) Adult Probation Division Administrator Ronald Hajime and to Administration Staff Attorney Lynn Inafuku. This honor recognizes employees who consistently maintain a high level of excellence on the job.

A Group Meritorious Service award for superior contributions went to the Third Circuit Drug Court Probation Officers that served the majority of the adult and juvenile drug court warrants shortly after the warrants were issued. By doing so, they helped prevent clients from possible self injury in the event of a relapse while freeing the police officers and sheriffs for other public safety priorities.

The team members are Pagan Devela, Grayson Hashida, Aolani Mills, Rayson Noguchi, Kimiye Villesca and Jodi Ann Yoshida.

Receiving the Spirit of the Judiciary award for consistently displaying a helpful and courteous attitude to the public and co-workers was Administrative Services Branch accountant Hattie Embernate of the Third Circuit and Wahiawa District Court clerk Tracy Ogata.

Honored with an individual Certificate of Commendation for superior performance was Steven Fernandes of the Policy and Planning Department.

The Incentive Award recipients were selected from 42 individual and group nominees. A volunteer committee chaired by Supreme Court Associate Justice James E. Duffy, Jr. carefully reviewed the nominations and presented recommendations to Chief Justice Moon for his selection.

Along with the Jurist of the Year and Incentive Award presentations, Judiciary employees, from the Courts of Appeal and Administration were honored for completing 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35 and 40 years of service.


Contact: Marsha E. Kitagawa 539-4909

For more information, contact the Communications and Community Relations Office at 808-539-4909 or via email at

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