Senate Confirms Karen Nakasone as Judge for Hawaii’s First Circuit Court

HONOLULU– In a Special Session, the Hawaii State Senate today confirmed Karen Tooko Nakasone to serve as Judge of Hawaii’s First Circuit Court. She will serve a term of ten years.

Nakasone was nominated by Governor Neil Abercrombie.

From 1996 to present, Nakasone has served with the Office of the Public Defender, where she handles criminal defense cases. During her tenure with the Office of the Public Defender, Nakasone engaged first in trial litigation, from 1996 to 2003, and thereafter in appellate litigation. Her trial litigation included practice in the district, family, and circuit courts of the First Circuit. In 2002, Nakasone was promoted to the Senior Felony Trials Division, which handles the most difficult, serious trials. Her appellate work before the Intermediate Court of Appeals and Hawaii State Supreme Court has resulted in several seminal, published decisions in the field of criminal law. Her experience with the Office of the Public Defender also included administrative hearings before the Hawaii Paroling Authority.

Nakasone received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Bryn Mawr College and her Juris Doctor degree from Boston University School of Law. From 1995 to 1996, Nakasone served as a law clerk to the Honorable Simeon R. Acoba, Jr., who was then on the Intermediate Court of Appeals.

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