HONOLULU - Peter T. Cahill was confirmed Friday as a 2nd Circuit judge in a special session of the state Senate.
The state Senate on Friday also confirmed Richard W. Pollack as an associate justice to the Hawaii Supreme Court. He fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Justice James E. Duffy Jr.
Pollack, 61, who served a stint as Maui County public defender, has been a judge in Circuit Court since 2000.
New 2nd Circuit Judge Peter T. Cahill poses for a photo with his wife, Jessica, and Gov. Neil Abercrombie.
Senate Communications photo
Cahill replaces Judge Shackley F. Raffetto, who recently retired from the bench.
His selection process was marked by a miscue earlier this month on the part of Gov. Neil Abercrombie, who nominated Cahill two days after his 30-day constitutional deadline to make the appointment had passed. The governor made the announcement but then had to announce later in the day that he couldn't legally make the appointment.
The task fell to the Judicial Selection Commission, which days later made the appointment of Cahill.
On the state Senate floor, it was pointed out that Cahill may be the only person essentially nominated twice for a judgeship, said the new judge Friday after his return to Maui.
Cahill, 55, said the initial chain-of-events that eventually led to his confirmation Friday was more surreal than disappointing. "I can't say disappointed; it really wasn't disappointing," he said when he learned of the error.
He was not upset; he was more worried about how the news would affect his family.
"It's all worked out in the end," he said.
Cahill, a Wailuku resident, said that it felt like the right time in his life to pursue a judgeship. After 30 years of legal practice and volunteering on numerous Maui nonprofit groups, Cahill said that he thought he "could service the community in a different way."
The new judge currently is an attorney at the Maui firm of Cahill & O'Neill, concentrating on injury and wrongful death cases. Prior to his employment at Cahill & O'Neill, he worked as a lawyer at Krueger & Cahill and the Law Office of James Krueger.
Cahill earned his bachelor of arts degree from Seton Hall University in South Orange, N.J., and his law degree from the University of Notre Dame Law School.
No date has been set for his swearing in.
Maui County's three state senators praised the appointment Friday.
"Judge Cahill has established himself as a person of great integrity and diligence," said state Senate President Shan Tsutsui, who represents Wailuku, Waihee, Kahului and Paia.
"Judge Cahill possesses the professional experience, exceptional legal skills and even temperament inherent of a good jurist," said state Sen. Roz Baker, who represents South and West Maui.
"Judge Cahill's even-keeled temperament, intellect and commitment to leadership are characteristics that will make him an asset to the state's 2nd Circuit Court and to the people of Maui." said state Sen. J. Kalani English, who represents East and Upcountry Maui, Molokai and Lanai.
* Lee Imada can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.