Judge Dread - KFVE, K5-Hawaii News Now, Local Programming

August 9, 2010

Judge Dread

I don't know if Judge Katherine Leonard is qualified to be Hawaii's next chief justice. I'm not supposed to know. There are people much smarter and with much better insight into these matters than you or me. But something seems rotten about a system that allows for accusations and assertions about an individual's ability to handle a job by a secret legal entity and some elected officials who won't explain the decision- the Hawaii Bar Association and a senate judiciary committee.

While the legal acumen of such an austere group as the board of the Hawaii Bar Association should not be in question, the simple fact that it refuses to divulge any details about its concerns and subsequent thumbs down vote on Judge Leonard is bad business, bad lawyering, and bad precedent. Fear of retaliation is one excuse given for not making the concerns public. But those very same, concerned lawyers had face-to-face interviews with the six chief justice candidates. Did they dance around the hard stuff in those meetings to avoid future retribution, and then go in the back room and really vote their consciences? And for state senators to question someone's possible leadership abilities is another vague sentiment coming without much depth and detail. 

And then there are the inevitable political questions and concerns. Is this one more effort from the Senate to ding a lame duck governor, to make sure that her final stamp is someone the Senate wants, and not the governor? Is it any wonder that the general public in Hawaii might see these actions and become more confused, disenchanted, distrustful, and disengaged in a system that supposedly requires its support and input?  Or maybe the system now truly runs on its own, and we are all mere observers or vague objects of interference to the people who too often only care about power and control. Think about it…

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