United States District Court for the District of Hawaii

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District of Hawaii
Ninth Circuit
Judges: 4
Posts: 4
Vacancies: 0
Active judges
Chief: Susan Oki Mollway
Senior Judges
Magistrate Judges
Former Judges
(Numbers indicate % of seats vacant.)
More than 40%

The United States District Court for the District of Hawaii is one of ninety-four United States district courts. The court is located at the Prince Kuhio Federal Building in Honolulu. When decisions of the court are appealed, they are appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals based in downtown San Francisco at the James R. Browing Federal Courthouse.

The United States Attorney for the District of Hawaii represents the United States in civil and criminal litigation in the court. The current district attorney is Florence T. Nakakuni.[1]

Vacancy warning level

The United States District Court for the District of Hawaii's vacancy warning level is green. The court currently has no vacancies.

Pending nominations

There are no pending nominations for the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii.

Active judges

Article III judges

JudgeBornHomeAppointed byActiveChiefPreceededBachelorsLaw
Chief Judge Susan Oki Mollway1950Honolulu, HIClinton 6/23/1998 - Present2009 - PresentHarold FongUniversity of Hawaii, B.A., 1971Harvard Law School, J.D., 1981
Judge John Seabright1959Wheeling, WVW. Bush 4/28/2005 - PresentAlan Cooke KayTulane U., B.A., 1981George Washington U. Law School, J.D., 1984
Judge Leslie Kobayashi1957Mount Holly, New JerseyObama 12/22/2010 - PresentHelen GillmorWellesley College, B.A., 1979Boston College School of Law, J.D., 1983
Judge Derrick Kahala Watson1966Honolulu, HIObama 4/18/2013 - PresentDavid Alan EzraHarvard, A.B., 1988Harvard Law, J.D., 1991

Active Article III judges by appointing political party

This graph displays the percent of active judges by the party of the appointing president and does not reflect how a judge may rule on specific cases or their own political preferences.


Senior judges

JudgeAppointed byActiveChiefSeniorBachelorsLaw
Senior Judge Helen GillmorClinton 10/11/1994 - 6/30/20092005 - 20096/30/2009 - PresentQueens College, City University of New York, 1965Boston University School of Law, 1968
Senior Judge Alan Cooke KayReagan 9/15/1986 - 1/2/20001991 - 19991/2/2000 - PresentPrinceton U., A.B., 1957University of California, Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law, LL.B., 1960
Senior Judge David Alan EzraReagan 5/20/1988 - 6/27/20121999 - 20056/27/2012 - PresentSt. Mary`s U., B.B.A., 1969St. Mary`s U. School of Law, J.D., 1972

Senior judges by appointing political party

This graph displays the percent of senior judges by the party of the appointing president and does not reflect how a judge may rule on specific cases or their own political preferences.


Magistrate judges

Magistrate Judge Richard Puglisi04/01/2011 - PresentUniversity of New Mexico Law, J.D., 1979
Magistrate Judge Kevin Chang2000-PresentLewis and Clark CollegeLewis and Clark College, 1978
Magistrate Judge Barry Kurren1992-PresentUniversity of Hawaii, 1973William S. Richardson School of Law, University of Hawaii, 1977


The Counties of Hawaii (click for larger map)

The District of Hawaii has original jurisdiction over cases filed within its jurisdiction. These cases can include civil and criminal matters that fall under federal law.

The jurisdiction of the District of Hawaii consists of all the counties in the state of Hawaii.




Federal Court Caseload Statistics*
YearStarting case load:Cases filed:Total cases:Cases terminated:Remaining cases:Median time(Criminal)**:Median time(Civil)**:3 Year Civil cases#:Vacant posts:## Trials/Post
2013 1119117522941235 105910.58.921 (3.5%)6.520
2012 1176118823641248 111699.318 (2.6%)3.114
2011 1063125623191134 11858.88.515 (2.1%)2.611
2010 901116020611002 105910.58.921 (3.2%)1214
2009 962107320351128 90799.123 (4.2%)314
2008 105198420351084 9518.311.419 (3.5%)014
2007106010982158127987911.110.328 (4.5%)014
*All statistics are taken from the Official Federal Courts' Website and reflect the calendar year through September.    **Time in months from filing to completion.
#This statistic includes cases which have been appealed in higher courts.    ##This is the total number of months that any judicial posts had spent vacant that year.

Notable cases

For cases in the District of Hawaii, see Justia.com or the Hawaii State Judiciary.


The District of Hawaii was established by Congress on March 18, 1959 with two posts to cover the entire state. The State of Hawaii was established as a territorial government in 1900, and following statute 73 Stat. 4, it was assigned over to the Ninth Circuit. Over time two additional judicial posts were added for a total of four current posts.[6]

Judicial posts

The following table highlights the development of judicial posts for the District of Hawaii:[6]

Year Statute Total Seats
March 18, 1959 73 Stat. 4 2
July 10, 1984 98 Stat. 333 3
December 1, 1990 104 Stat. 5089 4

Former chief judges

In order to qualify for the office of chief judge in one of the federal courts, a judge must have been in active service on the court for at least one year, be under the age of 65, and have not previously served as chief judge. A vacancy in the office of chief judge is filled by the judge highest in seniority among the group of qualified judges. The chief judge serves for a term of seven years or until age 70, whichever occurs first. The age restrictions are waived if no members of the court would otherwise be qualified for the position. Unlike the Chief Justice of the United States, a chief judge returns to active service after the expiration of his or her term and does not create a vacancy on the bench by the fact of his or her promotion.[7][8]

Former judges

For more information about the judges of the District of Hawaii, see former federal judges of the District of Hawaii.

Federal courthouse

Four separate courthouses serve the District of Hawaii.

See also

External links


HawaiiHawaii Supreme CourtHawaii Intermediate Court of AppealsHawaii Circuit CourtsHawaii District CourtsHawaii Family CourtsUnited States District Court for the District of HawaiiUnited States bankruptcy court, District of HawaiiUnited States Court of Appeals for the Ninth CircuitHawaii countiesHawaii judicial newsHawaii judicial electionsJudicial selection in HawaiiHawaiiTemplate.jpg