HONOLULU (KHNL) - In a place full of criminal cases and convicts, he was a friendly face. But now the man known as Courthouse Al, has passed away.
Al Chamizo once said "the only way you learn anything is by hanging out with people who know more than you". Al spend decades surrounding himself with attorneys, judges and jurors learning about Hawaii's court system. And by his learning, many of us have come away with a very important lesson in life.
Circuit court can be a confusing place. Along with all the paperwork there are plenty of procedures to follow and different places you need to go. But for decades, Al Chamizo helped point people in the right direction, simply because he wanted to.
"He enjoyed coming here to court. Al told me he wouldn't know what to do with himself if he didn't come here every day. This was like his second home," said Nancy McCue, who works at Circuit Court.
Al appeared in the background of many important court cases. While many might not have noticed him there, his family found it comforting to see him on TV. Knowing he was where he was happiest, helping others, including everyone from jurors to the prosecutors office.
"He served as a 13th juror, and would tell us how we were doing. In the Lankford trial, he said he did pretty good on direct but then after cross examination, he said 'I think you got him!" said Peter Carlisle, Honolulu's Prosecutor.
Al loved being at the courthouse so much, he would be spotted sitting on the chairs outside the courtroom even on days when there was no big case. Now that he is gone, the courthouse is a little emptier and quieter without his help and smile.
"When I heard this morning, I was shocked, Al passed away? It made my body weak and I started crying," said Esperanza Medina, who has worked in court security for the past 8 years.
But while the case closes on Al Chamizo, his presence is still felt in the place where he spent over 20 years of his life volunteering. As he touched the lives of those who came to court.
"I can't imagine coming to work and not seeing him," said McCue.
"I think every day that we are in there, those who knew him, will miss him," added Carlisle.
Al Chamizo was 83 years old and his family believes he died of a heart attack over the weekend.
While Al stated he didn't want a big fuss over his funeral, his family would like to create a fund in Al's name to help Hawaii's kids.