Justice Acoba honored for life’s work

HONOLULU — Hawaii Supreme Court Justice Simeon Acoba was recently selected to receive the Ninth Annual Dwight D. Opperman Award for Judicial Excellence from the American Judicature Society.

Acoba, whose mother immigrated to Kauai from the Philippines as a girl, has served nearly 14 years on the Hawaii Supreme Court, and as a judge at every level of the state court system over 35. The nomination was for extensive judicial experience, commitment to public service, and leadership in the area of access to justice.

“Justice Acoba’s record reflects a superb commitment to judicial excellence,” said AJS President Martha Hill Jamison.

Hawaii Supreme Court Chief Justice Recktenwald said that Justice Acoba is “renowned for being one of Hawaii’s most prolific jurists,” having issued more than 200 published majority opinions and nearly the same number of concurring and dissenting opinions.

Acoba is not from Kauai. His mother, Martina Domingo, immigrated with her parents from the Philippines and from about the age of 7 through part of high school she lived at Mana on Kauai. Her father worked at Kekaha sugar plantation.

Domingo was still a girl when her mother passed away from a miscarriage, he added. Her father returned to the Philippines and Domingo remained on Kauai to be raised by her older sister on until the family moved to Oahu.

Acoba went on to graduate from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and received his J.D. from Northwestern University School of Law.

He once served as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Hawaii School of Law and at Hawaii Pacific University.

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