Today, the Hawai‘i State Senate voted to confirm Michelle L. Drewyer, Governor Josh Green’s selection to fill the vacancy in the Circuit Court for the Second Circuit of Maui County created by the retirement of Richard Bissen, Jr. who is now Maui Mayor. This is the Governor’s first judicial appointment.
“Judge Drewyer was prepared and able to effectively communicate how her experience as a per diem judge and private practitioner will benefit her as a full time judge,” said Senator Karl Rhoads (District 13 - Dowsett Highlands, Pu‘unui, Nu‘uanu, Pacific Heights, Pauoa, Punchbowl, Pālama, Liliha, ʻIwilei, Chinatown, and Downtown), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “I am confident that she will be a strong addition to the Second Circuit.”
Michelle L. Drewyer received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Western Michigan University in 1986 and her Juris Doctor degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, Michigan, in 1991. She started her legal career on Maui later that year as a deputy prosecuting attorney, subsequently became a deputy public defender, and then spent 20 years in private practice. She has experience across District, Family and Circuit courts in both criminal and civil law including as a per diem judge in the Family and District courts for the Second Circuit.
With this confirmation, the Maui Circuit Court achieves full gender parity, with two female and two male judges. The number of state court judges and justices overall will also be equally split, with 40 sitting female judges and justices and 40 sitting male judges and justices. Should the Governor's recent appointment of Kimberly Tsumoto Guidry to the Intermediate Court of Appeals also be confirmed by the Senate, it would be the first time in Hawai‘i’s history that more than fifty percent of sitting judges and justices are female.