Friday, October 9, 2015         

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Judicial hopefuls could be ID'd, paper notes

Later governors might release Abercrombie's names, a judge is told

By Ken Kobayashi


Because future governors could disclose the names of judicial candidates, Gov. Neil Abercrombie cannot justify keeping the names confidential, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser said in a request filed Tuesday seeking the release of the names.

The newspaper is asking Circuit Judge Karl Sakamoto to summarily rule that Abercrombie must release the names of candidates sent to him by the Judicial Selection Commission to fill vacancies on the state bench.

The hearing is scheduled for Nov. 9.

The Star-Advertiser is asking that the governor release the names under the state open-records law.

The governor maintains the release would deter candidates from applying, which would be a "frustration" of a government interest and fall under an exemption in the records law.

In its request, the newspaper said the exemption deals with records which "by their nature" must be kept confidential.

The newspaper said Abercrombie cannot prove the records fall under that exemption because his successors have the discretion to release the names, and his predecessors Govs. Ben Cayetano and Linda Lingle made the names public.

Joshua Wisch, special assistant to Attorney General David Louie, said they were reviewing the request and will respond prior to the hearing.

Abercrombie has refused to disclose the names of candidates for his three judicial appointments: Sabrina McKenna to the Hawaii Supreme Court and two judges to the Circuit Court bench.

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