Judge Samuel King dies at 94

Samuel King
Samuel King
Randy Roth
Randy Roth

By Brooks Baehr - bio | email

Judge Samuel P. King, who served as a state and federal judge in Hawaii for more than 50 years, died Tuesday at Kuakini Medical Center after suffering a head injury earlier in the day.

"He was my hero and my best friend," University of Hawaii Law Professor Randy Roth said Tuesday night.

King and Roth co-authored the book Broken Trust. It chronicled abuses of power by trustees of the Bishop Estate in the 1990's.

"He was as smart as anyone I've ever known and there are a lot of people with his ability and his experiences that would maybe occasionally feel a little full of themselves and Sam just wasn't that way. He just really liked anybody and everybody and was sensitive to everybody's feelings. He was just a good man. He cared about people. And he cared about justice. As a judge lawyers knew there weren't going to be any games in the courtroom. The rules were clear and where the judge was coming from and why he was ruling was just quite clear. He had a nice sense of humor that people appreciated. He was wise in addition to being smart and fiercely proud of his Hawaiian ancestry and yet when it came time to make tough legal decisions, he was guided by the law. I mean he never played favorites," Roth told Hawaii News Now.

King held the title of Senior Status Judge in the Federal Court system and was still hearing cases right up until the time of his death.

Governor Neil Abercrombie issued a statement saying, "Judge King was the heart and soul of Hawaii. He was a friend and mentor to all who loved Hawaii. His idea of what was good for Hawaii was an extension of his deep understanding of pono, of doing what's right."

King is survived by his three children and wife Ann to whom he was married for more than 60 years.

"He had 94 and a half really good years," Roth concluded.

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