Maui News

Judge Kelsey Kawano Appointed to Maui’s Circuit Court

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Maui Judge Kelsey Kawano has been appointed to fill the vacancy on the Circuit Court of the Second Circuit. The judicial office has been vacant since the retirement of Circuit Judge Joseph E. Cardoza in June 2019.

Kawano currently serves as deputy chief judge and district judge at the District Court of the Second Circuit. He previously worked as an attorney in private practice.

According to the Hawaii State Judiciary, Kawano was sworn in as judge of the District Court of the Second Circuit (island of Maui) on Aug. 29, 2008. He had been a solo practitioner, who handled cases involving family, business, employment and real estate law since 1994 and had been in private practice since 1984. He served as a part-time district court judge since 2006.

Judge Kawano received his Juris Doctor law degree from the University of Washington School of Law in 1984.  He also earned his Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.


Kawano was one of four nominees chosen by the Judicial Selection Commission. The commission submitted the names to Governor David Ige on Sept. 20. The governor conducted interviews and reviewed public comments on the nominees before making his selection.

Kawano’s appointment is subject to Senate confirmation.


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