SENATE CONFIRMS FIRST CIRCUIT COURT JUDGES
HONOLULU, Hawai‘i - Members of the Hawai‘i State Senate today confirmed the appointments of Judge Paul B. Wong, Judge Matthew J. Viola, and Rowena A. Somerville to the Circuit Court of the First Circuit (Oahu) and Jessi K. Hall to the District Family Court of the First Circuit.
“’Well-qualified’, ‘respected’, ‘fair’ and ‘objective’ are characteristics that were echoed in testimony and letters of support for each of the appointees,” said Senator Brian Taniguchi (Dist. 11 - Manoa, Makiki, Punchbowl, Papakolea), chair of the Senate Committee on Judiciary. “I am confident that each of these appointees will be strong and valued assets to the bench on Oahu.”
Judge Paul B.Wong has served as a judge on the District Court of the First Circuit since his appointment in May 2012. Prior to his appointment, he was a Partner with the law firm of McCorriston Miller Mukai MacKinnon, LLP, and a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for the City and County of Honolulu. Wong is a graduate of the University of Southern California and Boston College of Law School. Wong’s confirmation fills the vacancy created by the retirement of former Circuit Court Judge Karl K. Sakamoto in December 2016. He will serve for a term of 10 years.
Judge Matthew J. Viola was appointed as a family court judge in August 2010 and has served as the presiding judge of the Juvenile Drug Court of the First Circuit and most recently served as the lead judge of the domestic division of the District Family Court of the First Circuit. Prior to his appointment as a family court judge, he was in private practice and also served as a part-time family court per diem judge and as a contract attorney for the City and County of Honolulu Ethics Commission. Viola is a graduate of Williams College and Stanford Law School. Viola’s confirmation fills the vacancy created by the retirement of former Circuit Court Judge Dexter D. Del Rosario. He will serve for a term of 10 years.
Rowena A. Somerville has been an attorney for more than twenty years, and served as a law clerk with the Hawai‘i Civil Rights Commission and District Court of the First Circuit. Most recently she has been serving as an Administrative Hearings Officer for the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs. Previously she served as a Deputy Attorney General in the Land and Transportation Division and as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for the City and County of Honolulu. Somerville is a graduate of the University of Hawai‘i and earned her law degree from the University of Hawai‘i, William S. Richardson School of Law. Somerville’s confirmation fills the vacancy created by the retirement of former Circuit Court Judge Derrick H. M. Chan. She will serve for a term of 10 years.
Jessi L.K. Hall most recently has been Of Counsel with Kleintop & Luria, LLP focusing on family law. She previously served as an associate attorney at Coates & Frey, AAL, LLLC where she handled family law cases. During her career, she has served on numerous boards and committees, including Volunteer Legal Services Hawai‘i, Hawai‘i Justice Foundation, and the Mediation Center of the Pacific. Hall is a graduate of the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo and earned her Juris Doctor degree from Oklahoma City University School of Law. Hall’s confirmation fills the vacancy created by the appointment of Judge Catherine H. Remigio to the Circuit Court of the First Circuit. Hall will serve for a term of six years.
Photo courtesy: Hawai‘i Senate Communications (L to R: Paul B. Wong, Rowena A. Somerville, Jessi L.K. Hall and Matthew J. Viola)
Flickr Photo Sharing: https://flic.kr/s/aHskryJjyQ
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