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Hawaii Supreme Court suspends ex-judge from practicing law

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 4:45 a.m. HST, May 22, 2013

A former state judge has been suspended from the practice of law for a year and a day for violating rules governing lawyers’ conduct.

The Hawaii Supreme Court issued the suspension Monday and also ordered Marjorie H. Manuia to complete a course on managing a law practice before she can be reinstated to practicing law.

The high court ruled that Manuia violated the Hawaii Rules of Professional Conduct in four cases.

The violations were: taking no action in her client’s divorce case from November 2007 to August 2008 and transferring $1,178 in client funds to her business account; misappropriating at least $3,361 of a client’s money; failing to provide a client with an accounting of his funds for 65 days; and failing to respond to a client’s request for a final billing.

The court said aggravating factors include a “pattern of misconduct” and a 2007 informal admonition in a disciplinary case. 

Mitigating factors, the court said, was “an absence of a selfish or dishonest motive,” a “favorable reputation” that includes her “admirable wilingness” to represent underserved parts of the community and “a recognition of the wrongful nature of her conduct.”

The suspension takes effect 30 days after the high court’s ruling.

Manuia was appointed a part-time district judge in 1982 and served two terms as a Family Court district judge from 1984 to 1996.

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