Maui attorneys sworn in as 2nd Circuit judges | News, Sports, Jobs

Maui attorneys sworn in as 2nd Circuit judges | News, Sports, Jobs

New judges Christopher M. Dunn (left) and James R. Rouse briefly take off their masks to pose for a photo after their swearing-in ceremony on Thursday afternoon in Hoapili Hale, Wailuku. Photo by Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER

WAILUKU – Maui’s longtime attorneys Chris Dunn and Jim Rouse have been lauded as fair, compassionate, and intelligent as they were sworn in as judges on the 2nd Circuit on Thursday.

Dunn will serve as the District Court judge and Rouse will serve as the District Family Court judge.

“Our two judges are seasoned litigators who are completely at home in the courtroom and share a passion for community service.” Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald said.

He appeared via videoconference to swear an oath of office to Dunn and Rouse, who were with their family members and fellow judges in the courtroom of Chief Justice Richard Bissen. More than 100 people followed the ceremony on the Justice YouTube channel.

Senate President Ron Kouchi, who voted unanimously to confirm the appointments last month, said he heard from both men before speaking to them.

“The passion that each of you just jumped over the TV screen into my conference room” Said Kouchi. “And it was clear what great people they both are and how committed they are to the position and the service.”

Dunn, who has 25 years of attorney practice, served as a private attorney in Wailuku for 18 years after moving to Maui from Massachusetts in 2002. He has had a large number of cases in which privately held and court-appointed clients were represented in district, family and county courts, as well as in administrative proceedings.

Rouse served as assistant public defender for nearly 20 years and has more recently served as assistant attorney general on child abuse and neglect cases.

Consistent topics popped up on the 80 pages of the testimony in support of Dunn and 40 pages in support of Rouse, said District Court Judge Kirstin Hamman, secretary of the Hawaii State Trial Judges Association.

She said Dunn was described as “Fair, knowledgeable, experienced, honest, trustworthy, compassionate, level-headed, hardworking, respectful, intelligent, friendly and has an excellent temperament.”

She said Rouse was described as “Compassionate, zealous, humble, big hearted, hardworking, intelligent, fair, full of compassion, wit, humor and limitless enthusiasm.”

Recktenwald said “The district court is known as the People’s Court because this is where most of the people come into contact with the court system.” through traffic quotes, small claims, and other matters.

Dunn has one “A well-earned reputation as a criminal defense attorney” Recktenwald said.

In the family court, “Matters that profoundly affect families and children are decided” These include divorce, youth affairs and cases of child abuse and neglect, Recktenwald said.

He said Rouse’s experience “Will allow him to start the race” and “Offer hope and a path forward for families experiencing trauma.”

Rouse said he shared the vision of the family court as a place of healing.

“I want to make it a place of healing” he said. “We’ll do it with manners. We will do it with integrity. And we will do it with passion and love. “

“I will do my best to do justice to the person portrayed in your letters.” Said Dunn. “I will approach each court calendar with intent and passion. Thank you all for your tremendous support and this extraordinary opportunity. “

Both judges recognized their families – Dunn’s wife, Pualani Enos, and their three children, Claire Mahealani, Oliver Keahiulaokala, and Dylan Ka’iwakumakaopua; and Rouse’s wife Mona, stepson Tyler Stevenson, and wife Robin, and grandchildren Kua and Lili.

The new judges also recognized each other.

“I want to thank Jim Rouse for standing side by side with me on this trip together.” Said Dunn. “I want to thank the people I will serve in the future – the Maui County ward in general and the judicial community in particular.”

Dunn is a graduate of George Washington University Law School in Washington, DC and was admitted to the Hawaii bar in 2002. He earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY

Rouse graduated from Golden Gate University in San Francisco and was admitted to the Hawaii bar in 1994. He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Chico State University in California.

* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at [email protected]

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