Thirty-seven attorneys were recognized for their volunteer service on December 9, at the Kona Courthouse (Keakealani Building) in Kealakekua. This group of volunteer attorneys provided free legal information to more than 500 West Hawaii residents who visited the Self-Help Desk at the Kona Courthouse in 2016. The number of people who sought and received services at the Kona Self-Help Desk increased by more than 200 from 2015 to 2016.
The Kona Self-Help Desk was established in October 2013 as part of the Hawaii State Judiciary’s commitment to increasing access to justice in the courts. Since opening, the Self-Help Desk has assisted more than 1,450 people, with volunteer attorneys providing approximately 600 hours of legal information on civil matters, such as temporary restraining orders and divorce. These services have been provided at almost no cost to the state.
“I am grateful for the commitment from the West Hawaii Bar and all the volunteer attorneys who generously give of their time and expertise. This partnership has been essential to advancing our goal of ensuring that all Hawaii residents have access to justice,” said Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald. “We are looking forward to being able to expand these services once the Kona Judiciary Complex is completed in 2019 with a newly designed space for the Self-Help Center.”
The individual attorneys who were honored are as follows: James Biven, Joanna Sokolow, Kimberly Taniyama, Fred Giannini, Charles “Chase” Murray, Catherine Gibson, Susan Kim, Porter DeVries, Wendy DeWeese, R. Hermann Heimgartner, Dawn Henry, Kauanoe Jackson, Aaron Masser, Charles McCreary, Gerald Garcia, Dean Kauka, Robert Kim, Brit Barker, Ann Datta, Katherine Deleon, Carol Kitaoka, Frederick “Ricky” Macapinlac, Andrew Odell, John Olson, Daniel Peters, Robert Triantos, Georgette Yaindl, Rebecca Colvin, Chris Eggert, Edward Fetzer, Stephen Frye, Jennifer Heimgartner, Andrew Kennedy, Robert Olson, Peter Olson, Donna Payesko, and Mitch Roth.
Also acknowledged were Laura Cushman, and Vita Zamedyanskiy, the AmeriCorps Advocates who, through the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii, organize the Self-Help Desk at the Kona Courthouse each week.
Dawn Henry, Managing Attorney for the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii in Kona said, “It’s been another year of tremendous support from our local attorneys and the West Hawaii Bar Association of the Kona Self-Help Desk. I’d like to thank them, our local Judiciary staff, and our statewide partners who work tirelessly to make the project a success. The Kona Self-Help Desk is the result of a statewide collaboration of the Hawai`i State Judiciary, the Hawai`i State Bar Association, the Hawai`i Access to Justice Commission and the Legal Aid Society of Hawai`i. Hundreds of members of our community have accessed legal information through the Self-Help Desk. It gives people a place to turn when they have legal questions.”
The Chief Justice also thanked the West Hawaii Bar Association, the Hawaii State Bar Association, the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii, and the Access to Justice Commission for their support of the Self-Help Desk.