• Hawaiʻi State Senate

SENATE CONFIRMS THREE JUDICIAL NOMINEES IN SECOND SPECIAL SESSION OF 2019


HONOLULU, Hawai‘i – The Hawai‘i State Senate in their second Special Session of 2019 has confirmed the judicial appointments of Kelsey Kawano as Judge of the Circuit Court of the Second Circuit (encompassing Maui county), Rebecca A. Copeland as Judge of the District Family Court of the First Circuit (O‘ahu), and Alvin Nishimura as Judge of the District Family Court of the First Circuit (O‘ahu).


The Chair of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Senator Karl Rhoads (Dist. 13) commented, “The Senate is pleased to confirm three well-qualified judges to the bench. In the interests of timely court proceedings, it is important to keep judgeships filled.”


Judge Kelsey Kawano has served as a judge of the District Court of the Second Circuit since August 29, 2008, and in 2010 he was made Deputy Chief Judge for the circuit. He had previously been in private practice and primarily handled cases involving family, business, employment and real estate law. He also had served as a part-time district court judge from2006-2008. Judge Kawano received his law degree from the University of Washington School of Law in 1984.


Judge Rebecca Copeland has served as a per diem District Court Judge of the First Circuit Court since December 2016 and also has had a career in private practice specializing in appellate litigation. She served as a Deputy Solicitor General in the Department of the Attorney General from 2008-2010. Judge Copeland received her law degree from St. Mary’s University School of Law, in San Antonio, Texas, in 2002.


Judge Alvin Nishimura has been in private practice since 2001 and has served as a per diem District Court Judge of the First Circuit since 2005. He also serves as a Federal Court Indigent Defendant Panel Attorney with the Federal Criminal Justice Act. His prior legal experience includes hearings officer with the Department of Hawaiian Homes and Deputy Public Defender in the Office of the Public Defender. Judge Nishimura received his law degree from the William S. Richardson School of Law in 1985.



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Copyright 2019 Hawai`i Senate Majority

Hawai`i State Capitol
415 South Beretania St.
Honolulu, HI 96813