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Maui judge, lawyer among finalists for Circuit judgeship

Second Circuit Deputy Chief Judge Kelsey Kawano and Wailuku attorney Lance Collins are among four nominees for a vacancy on the 2nd Circuit Court bench.

The judgeship has been vacant since the retirement June 23 of Judge Joseph Cardoza, who has continued to serve as a volunteer judge.

On Friday, Gov. David Ige released a list of four nominees for the office that he received from the Judicial Selection Commission.

The nominees are:

– Collins, an attorney in private practice since 2005. He is also an instructor in the Office of Continuing Education/Legal Clerk Certificate Program at the University of Hawaii Maui College. The St. Anthony High School graduate earned his law degree from the University of Hawaii William S. Richardson School of Law in 2004. He also earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees and doctorate from the University of Hawaii.

Last year, Collins was recognized by the Hawaii Bar Association and the Hawaii Supreme Court for his pro bono legal work, including helping Front Street Apartments residents trying to keep rents affordable for the 142-unit, low-income apartment complex in Lahaina. He also received the alumni award from Advocates for Public Interest Law at the UH law school last year.

– Kawano, who has been a 2nd Circuit District Court judge since August 2008. He had served as a part-time district court judge since 2006. Before taking the bench full time, Kawano was a solo practitioner who was in private practice since 1984. He had handled cases involving family, business, employment and real estate law since 1994.

Kawano received his law degree from the University of Washington School of Law in 1984.

– Alvin Nishimura, an attorney in private practice and a part-time District Court judge in the 1st Circuit on Oahu. He has a law degree from William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawaii Manoa. He also attended the University of Colorado at Boulder and UH-Manoa, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in political science.

– Bryant Zane, a deputy public defender on Oahu. He attended Loyola Marymount University and earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Zane earned his law degree from Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Ige will interview each nominee and is seeking comments from the public.

Comments may be left on the governor’s website at governor.hawaii.gov – Contact the Governor or governor.hawaii.gov/contact-us/comments-regarding-judicial-nominees/.

The governor has 30 days, or until Oct. 18, to make the appointment, which is subject to Senate confirmation.

There were 10 applicants for the position, including two women and eight men, according to the Judicial Selection Commission. Five were government attorneys, three were private attorneys and two were per diem judges.