New Nominee Continues Close Connection Between UH Law School and the Hawai‘i Supreme Court

June 7, 2012

With this week’s nomination of the Hon. Richard W. Pollack to be a Justice on the five-member Hawai‘i Supreme Court, the William S. Richardson School of Law is likely to have two Associate Justices on the high court who have strong ties to the University of Hawai‘i Law School.

Pollack, named by Gov. Neil Abercrombie to replace retired Associate Justice James Duffy, has served since 1994 as a teacher at the Law School in the fields of Criminal Procedure and the Law of Evidence. Because of a restriction on paying state judges who are already paid by the taxpayers, Judge Pollack has taught without pay.

Associate Justice Sabrina McKenna, appointed by Abercrombie and confirmed last year, is a 1982 graduate of Richardson Law School who also taught there before she became a judge and who still retains close connections to the school.

Dean Avi Soifer said, “Judge Pollack has been remarkably committed to our students and to the future of the law in Hawai‘i through them. We are extremely grateful to him and we applaud the Governor for this outstanding nomination.”

Pollack was appointed by former Gov. Benjamin Cayetano to the Circuit Court bench in 2000. From 1987 to 2000, he served as the State Public Defender.

Pollack has written extensively about the rules of evidence, including a comparison of Hawai‘i state court rules and the rules in federal court. He and Professor John Barkai have developed extensive commentaries and teaching materials about the law of evidence in Hawai‘i.

This would be a 10-year appointment, but Pollack, who is 61, would have to leave the bench when he turns 70, as did Justice Duffy. The nomination is subject to confirmation by the State Senate within the next 30 days. If the Senate fails to act, the appointment becomes automatic.