PBS Hawaii Airs Tribute to Former Chief Justice William S. Richardson

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As a tribute to the late William S. Richardson, PBS Hawaii will rebroadcast an engaging conversation between the man friends referred to as “CJ” and Leslie Wilcox.  This episode of LONG STORY SHORT was recorded in November 2008 and aired for the first time on PBS Hawaii January 6, 2009.

Richardson recalls growing up in a house his father built along a dirt road in Kaimuki.    When the family moved there from Palama, they had so few possessions they simply took what they had on a streetcar.  Those were simpler times for the man who would go on to become Lt. Governor (under John A. Burns), Chief Justice of the Hawaii State Supreme Court, and a Bishop Estate Trustee.


Richardson was 89 when he spoke with Wilcox, but his memory was still sharp in recalling the details surrounding many of the most significant and controversial rulings of his court as Chief Justice.  Part-Hawaiian, Chinese and Caucasian, Richardson has been credited with looking back to old Hawaii for new wisdom.

Under his leadership, the State Supreme Court gave the public access to Hawaii’s shorelines, and ruled that new lands created by lava flows belong to the State.  These decisions reflected Richardson’s desire to incorporate Hawaiian customs as guiding principles within our legal system.  He said, “…it seemed perfectly logical to me that people should be able to use the beaches, and that the property lines could not follow all of the methods of old England…. I should try to bring those cases up in line to the way the Hawaiians did it.”

During this conversation Richardson reflects on a wide range of issues and subjects that reveal the depth of his life experience and the impact of his rich legacy.

This special encore of Long Story Short with Leslie Wilcox will air at 7:30PM on Tuesday, June 29; 11PM Wednesday, June 30; and 4PM Sunday, July 4.  A transcript and audio file of the program are available at www.pbshawaii.org

Submitted by PBS Hawaii, a private, non-profit and Hawaii’s only public television station.  As a member of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), the station is a community-supported, noncommercial public media organization broadcasting television programs throughout the state with online content available on the worldwide web. Visit www.pbshawaii.org