BY JIM DOOLEY – Governor Neil Abercrombie waited too long to appoint Maui lawyer Peter Cahill to the Circuit Court bench.
After announcing the selection of Cahill earlier today, Abercrombie later admitted that he made the appointment two days past the legal deadline.
“The appointment of a judge has to be made within 30 days of the Judicial Selection Commission forwarding the list of applicants to the Governor,” Attorney General David Louie said.
The state Judicial Selection Commission submitted a list of qualified appointees to Abercrombie on May 11. The meant, Louie said, “the Governor had to make an appointment by June 10th.”
The state Constitution says that the vacancy must now be filled by the Judicial Selection Commission.
“I should have made the appointment on Sunday, June 10th, which was the deadline,” Abercrombie acknowledged.
“The law is the law and now the appointment to the Second Circuit is in the hands of the Judicial Selection Commission,” he continued.
“I appreciate the process by which the Commission provided me the list and trust that they will act in good faith,” Abercrombie said.
The Commission announced May 11 that it had given the governor the names of five qualified candidates for the Maui appointment: Cahill, Michelle L. Drewyer, Kelsey T. Kawano, Lloyd A. Poelman and Douglas J. Sameshima.
Cahill is a partner in the firm of Cahill & O’Neill on Maui. He is a litigation lawyer specializing in injury and wrongful death cases.
The Maui judicial vacancy was created by the retirement of Circuit Judge Shackley Raffetto.
When Abercrombie first announced his appointment, Cahill said he felt “privileged and honored that the Governor would consider and nominate me to serve the people of Maui and the State of Hawaii.”
Cahill, 55, is a graduate of Seton Hall University and Notre Dame Law School.
Circuit Court judicial appointments must be approved by the state Senate.
The Judicial Selection Commission on May 11 also gave Abercrombie a liss of qualified candidates to fill a vacancy on the Hawaii Supreme Court.
The governor announced June 5 that he had picked Oahu Circuit Judge Richard Pollack to serve on the Supreme Court. He told reporters that day that he planned to make the Maui appointment by the end of last week.
That would have been within the Constitutional deadline. But the appointment today was too late.