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Alm Named Jurist of the Year, Judiciary Employees Honored

Posted on Oct 18, 2010 in Press Releases

Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald will present First Circuit Judge Steven Alm with the Hawaii State Judiciary’s “Jurist of the Year” award and help present Incentive Awards and Years of Service Awards to Judiciary employees during a ceremony to be held on October 19, at 11:30 a.m. in the Supreme Court courtroom.

Of all of Judge Alm’s achievements since becoming a circuit court judge in 2001, perhaps the most notable is the HOPE Probation program.  Implemented by Alm in 2004, HOPE is designed to result in the certain imposition of appropriate consequences, quickly within a matter of days, on high-risk felons who violate the terms of their probation.

“Judge Alm has been a leader in the true sense of the word, by advocating for change in the way we supervise probationers and then following through to make that change a reality,” said Chief Justice Recktenwald.

Recidivism rates for HOPE probationers have been dramatically lower than for those in regular probation. For example, only 21% of HOPE subjects were rearrested in a year, compared to 46% among those on routine probation conditions. The program is being touted by many well-respected scholars and policy-making organizations and is being implemented in several other states including Nevada, Arizona, Oregon and Alaska.

According to Dr. Angela Hawken, the principal HOPE researcher from Pepperdine University, because HOPE focuses on the toughest cases on probation, and because HOPE probationers do 48% fewer days in prison than those in probation-as-usual, each HOPE probationer currently saves the State $4,000-$8,000 dollars in prison costs.

Also at tomorrow’s ceremony and at other ceremonies on Oahu, the Big Island, Maui and Kauai, several Judiciary employees will be recognized for their outstanding contributions to the court system.

Joan Sakaba of the First Circuit’s Adult Client Services Branch, will receive the Distinguished Service Award, the highest award presented under the Hawai`i State Judiciary’s Incentive Awards Program. She has been with the Judiciary for over 35 years and plays a key managerial role in the probation department.

Receiving the Meritorious Service award is Randi Cooper of the Juvenile Client Services Branch, Third Circuit, Loreen Fujioka (retired) formerly with the Fiscal Office and Land Court, First Circuit, and Carol Matsumura of the Juvenile Client Services Branch, Fifth Circuit. This award recognizes employees who maintain a high level of excellence on the job.

A Group Meritorious Service Award will be presented to the Statewide Caseload Explorer Team whose members are: Remy Balaan, Barry Chun, Ernest De Lima, Kimberly Foster, Zachary Higa, Noreen Kishimoto, Laurulie Maeda, Catherine Mochizuki, Gerald Oyasato, Edwin Sugawara, Kristi Tanaka, and Francine Victor.

For consistently displaying a helpful and courteous attitude to the public and to co-workers, Lisa Ciriako, District Court North and South Kona Division, Third Circuit; Kane Kaneyuki, Judicial Services, First Circuit; Karen Kimm, Intergovernmental and Community Relations Department, Office of the Administrative Director of the Courts; and Lynnette Uyesato, Deputy Chief Court Administrator’s Office, Third Circuit; will receive a Spirit of the Judiciary award.

Aolani Mills of Third Circuit’s Drug Court and Jo-Ann Hirako of Third Circuit’s Juvenile Client Services Branch each received a Certificate of Commendation Award.

A Group Certificate of Commendation will be presented to the First Circuit’s “Move Team.”  The team members are Steven Kam, Dee Dee Letts and Wayne Taniguchi.  Also receiving a Group Certificate of Commendation is the Second Circuit’s Special Services Unit, Adult Client Services, whose members are: Ronald Baybayan, Eric Kawaguchi, Margaret Murakami, Summer Solt, and Sonia Taimanao.

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

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