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Acoba to Chair Access to Justice Commission

Posted on Dec 31, 2015 in Press Releases

HONOLULU, HI- Retired Supreme Court Associate Justice Simeon R. Acoba, Jr., has been appointed as the new Commission Chair. Justice Acoba served as the Commission’s first Chair from 2008 through 2010 and has continued to serve on the Commission since. 

“It is my honor and privilege to serve alongside a group of individuals committed to making access to justice a reality for the people of Hawaii,” said Justice Acoba. “I’d like to thank Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald for his continued leadership and support, the volunteer attorneys, community partners and legal service providers who make our mission possible.”

Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald also appointed attorney Derek Kobayashi to be the Commission’s Vice Chair.  Kobayashi has served on the Commission since 2011. 

The current Commission Chair, Intermediate Court of Appeals Associate Judge Daniel R. Foley, has announced he will step down from the Commission at the end of the year, when his term expires. He has led the Commission since June 30, 2010. 

The Hawaii Access to Justice Commission was recently nominated for the 2016 ABA Louis M. Brown Award. The Brown Award honors programs and projects dedicated to providing affordable legal information, services and representation to those who may not be able to afford an attorney.  Thirty-three project and programs nationwide have been nominated for this prestigious award, and the public has the opportunity to pick their favorite nominee by voting online at: Online voting for the Brown Award is open until noon (central time) on Friday, January 8, 2016.  The nominee with the most votes will win.

“The work of the Hawaii Access to Justice Commission is being recognized nationwide. Thanks to the hard work and commitment of the Commission, and to Judge Foley and Justice Acoba for their leadership, we have made significant strides in providing greater access in civil legal matters throughout our court system,” said Chief Justice Recktenwald. 

Fifth Circuit (Kauai) Deputy Chief Judge Trudy Senda’s term on the Access to Justice Commission is also expiring at the end of this year. As a member of the Commission, she was instrumental in the opening of the Judiciary’s Self-Help Center on Kauai. The Kauai center was the first center to open in the state.  Since its opening in 2011, more than 1,650 people have been assisted there.  Statewide, more than 10,583 people have been served at our Self Help Centers.

Recktenwald also named Edmund Acoba, District Court Judge from Kauai, and Karen Nakasone, Circuit Court Judge from the First Circuit (Oahu) to the Commission.

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

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