Retiring 3rd Circuit Judge Ibarra wants local successor

  • 5171690_web1_Ibarra_0021.jpg
  • 5171690_web1_Ibarra_0001.jpg
  • 5171690_web1_Ibarra_0006.jpg

KAILUA-KONA — Retiring 3rd Circuit Court Judge Ronald Ibarra encouraged a room full of attorneys and judges Thursday night to apply for his position, which he will vacate in June.

ADVERTISING


KAILUA-KONA — Retiring 3rd Circuit Court Judge Ronald Ibarra encouraged a room full of attorneys and judges Thursday night to apply for his position, which he will vacate in June.

“We’d rather have local judges — people who know this community,” Ibarra said during a monthly meeting for the West Hawaii Bar Association at Daylight Mind Coffee Company.

With Ibarra’s upcoming retirement in June, the judge spoke about the growth of Hawaii’s judiciary system since he took the bench 28 years ago.

“When I was first appointed being a regular judge that was the happiest time in my life,” he said.

When Ibarra first became a judge, all administrative services were based in Hilo. He was influential in bringing those services to the Kona court, giving people equal access.

Both Hilo and Kona now have court administrators and a deputy chief court administrator.

“It’s not the Kona way or the Hilo way, it’s one way and that’s the 3rd Circuit Court way,” Ibarra said.

Ibarra talked about about the growth of judges, administration and the case loads.

He also talked about Kona’s $90 million courthouse that is currently under construction. He said the project — a 140,000-square-foot, three-story facility with five courtrooms, a law library, self-help center, conference rooms, holding cells, witness rooms, attorney interview rooms, and a grand jury meeting room — is coming in under budget and scheduled to be complete in March of 2019.

With Ibarra leaving, he emphasized to lawyers and judges the importance of keeping their integrity and being involved in committees and the Bar Association as the Hawaii Island gets overlooked.

“Bar participation is important,” Ibarra said. “The island is forgotten on Oahu.”

Ibarra serves on 20 committees.

“I do it because if we don’t, we don’t get represented,” he said.

Michael Schlueter, president of the West Hawaii Bar Association, said Ibarra is an institution in and of itself. People came to hear him speak at the Waterfront Row locale out of respect and for the information he provided.

Schlueter agreed that the judge who replaces Ibarra should be a local hire.

“It’s absolutely important that any judge going into any circuit be familiar with the community,” he said.

District Judge Margaret Masunaga also came out to hear Ibarra speak. She said she believes he’s the best chief judge in the state.

Some of the statistics he provides, Masunaga said, are helpful when justifying funding.

ADVERTISING


The district judge added Ibarra has been a good mentor to judges and attorneys. Her hope is that he continues to stay involved after his retirement because of his wisdom and experience.

“The work he’s done will continue,” Masunaga said. “When programs are working, there’s nothing that needs to be fixed.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Star-Advertiser's TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email hawaiiwarriorworld@staradvertiser.com.