Hawaii Bar Association reconsiders rating rule - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Hawaii Bar Association reconsiders rating rule

Hugh Jones Hugh Jones
Judge Katherine Leonard Judge Katherine Leonard

By Jim Mendoza - bio | email 

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Judge Katherine Leonard's rejection for Chief Justice by the state Senate may be the catalyst for change at the Hawaii State Bar Association.

"What's under consideration now is that the HSBA, the state Bar, will provide some brief explanation of what led to the qualified or unqualified vote," HSBA president Hugh Jones said.

Jones said that would apply for future judicial nominees.

The Bar's present policy does not force it to explain the rating it puts on a judicial nominee.

Last week's hearings shined a light on what some call a system "shrouded in secrecy."

Jones said HSBA takes the criticism seriously.

"I sent an email out to the members as president, telling them what happened during the process, how the process works, but letting them know we're open to input and suggestions for how the process could work better," he said.

Jones said personally he favors giving senators more to work with than just a rating of "qualified" or "unqualified."

But he said the people who comment on a judicial nominee need to remain anonymous. So that policy will not change.

"People that are commenting are lawyers that have appeared before that judge, will appear before the judge again, may have worked with the judge in private practice, may have been supervised by that judge, or may be family of that judge," he said.

If the Bar's policy changes, judicial nominees sometime in the future will know why the Bar rates them "qualified" or "unqualified."

More about this story on HawaiiNewsNow.com:

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