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Posted 02:47 PM HST, July 22, 2009

Governor Linda Lingle today named Craig H. Nakamura to serve as the chief judge of the Hawai’i Intermediate Court of Appeals.

Nakamura served as an associate judge on the Intermediate Court of Appeals since April 2004.  If confirmed by the State Senate, he would fill the seat left vacant by former Chief Judge Mark Recktenwald, who was sworn in to the Hawai’i Supreme Court in May.

“Judge Nakamura has served with distinction on the Intermediate Court of Appeals over the past five years,” said Governor Lingle.

Lingle described Nakamura as “a quality individual who is fair, has a strong legal mind, and is well-respected by the legal community.”  She went on to say, “As chief judge of the Intermediate Court of Appeals, he will bring organizational management skills that will enable the court to continue its efforts to make the appellate system more open and accessible, with a focus on deciding cases promptly.”

Prior to being appointed by Governor Lingle as an Intermediate Court of Appeals judge, Nakamura served as an assistant U.S. attorney from 1986 to 2004, where he focused on prosecution of federal crimes with emphasis on complex fraudulent schemes, tax offenses, environmental crimes and public corruption.

He previously served as an associate with the law firm of Goodsill, Anderson, Quinn & Stifel (1983-1986).  He also served as an adjunct professor teaching Appellate Advocacy with the William S. Richardson School of Law (1987-1998, 2000-2001), and was a law clerk for Judge Herbert Choy, United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (1981-1982).  He was a director of the Hawai’i State Bar Association (1990-1991).

Nakamura graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School.  He also graduated with distinction from the University of Hawai’i, where he was a member of Phi Betta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies.

The Governor selected Nakamura from a list of six candidates provided to her by the Hawai’i Judicial Selection Commission, which reviewed the background and qualification of applicants.

Upon Nakamura’s confirmation, Governor Lingle will receive names from the Judicial Selection Commission to fill his vacancy on the Intermediate Court of Appeals.

Since taking office in December 2002, Governor Lingle has appointed four judges to the Intermediate Court of Appeals.  She has also named two justices to the Hawai’i Supreme Court and 11 judges to the Circuit Court.

(Posted by Wendy Osher;  Information provided by the Office of the Governor, State of Hawaii)

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