WAILUKU - Adrianne Heely was praised for her legal skills as well as for her volunteer work in the community, as she was sworn in Monday afternoon as a 2nd Circuit District Family Court judge.
Noting that the new judge is a graduate of the University of Hawaii's William F. Richardson School of Law, Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald said: "Judge Heely perpetuates what it means to be a Richardson lawyer."
"She's widely recognized as a person of integrity and honor with strong legal skills," as well as an "outstanding record of public service," Recktenwald said.
Former 1st Circuit Judge Daniel Heely helps daughter Adrianne Heely don her robe after she was sworn in as a 2nd Circuit District Court judge Monday afternoon. Also helping the new judge are her mother, Patricia, and fiance Leo Caires.
The Maui News / LILA FUJIMOTO photo
Heely was to begin her six-year judicial term today by catching a 6:45 a.m. ferry to preside over Lanai District Court.
Recktenwald said District Court is sometimes called the "people's court," handling a variety of cases from traffic violations to landlord-tenant disputes.
"I am humbled and honored," said Heely, whose nomination to the judgeship was confirmed by the state Senate last month. "I pledge to take this job very seriously.
"I will do my best to serve the people of Hawaii and Maui County by giving due consideration to the aloha spirit."
Heely had been working as a Maui County deputy corporation counsel. She is a former deputy public defender on Maui and Oahu and also worked as a litigation associate at the law firms of Ashford & Wriston, Hisaka Goto Yoshida Cosgrove & Ching and the law firm of Frank K. Goto Jr.
A graduate of Kamehameha Schools, she earned a bachelor's degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She was admitted to the Hawaii bar in May 1999.
Heely also had been vice president of the Maui County Bar Association.
"She's bright, hardworking, patient," said Matson Kelley, president of the Maui County Bar Association. "Those are going to be necessary for what she's going to do."
He also described Heely as "one of the most giving people I've ever met."
"As soon as she hears someone else needs help, she will be the first to volunteer," he said. "You know she'll get it done."
Susan Ichinose, chairwoman of the Judicial Selection Commission, said the group was impressed by Heely's "well-rounded" life as a writer, a soccer coach and a mother of three, in addition to her pro bono work and legal accomplishments.
State Sen. Roz Baker noted that Heely is the third woman to serve as a judge in the 2nd Circuit, following 2nd Circuit Judge Rhonda Loo, whose former position she fills, and Family Court Judge Mimi DesJardins, who was sworn in earlier this year.
While many noted that Heely follows in the footsteps of her father, state Rep. Gil Keith-Agaran said newer attorneys may not know Daniel Heely, who was a 1st Circuit judge on Oahu from 1985 to 1996 and before then, a Family Court judge.
"For most people in the 2nd Circuit, you will be our Judge Heely," Keith-Agaran told Heely. "It's your legacy to make. It's your story to unfold."
* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.