Hawaii Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald delivered his biennial State of the Judiciary address on the Judiciary’s new YouTube channel. It is the first time the speech has been delivered via social media.
“The tradition of Hawaii’s chief justice presenting a report to the legislature has been in place for at least 160 years,” the Chief Justice said. “We are updating that tradition for the digital era, and making the speech available to as broad an audience as possible.”
The speech highlights Judiciary initiatives including the creation of self-help centers across the state to assist individuals in civil cases who cannot afford an attorney to represent them; the Courts in the Community program, under which the Supreme Court is holding oral argument in high schools; and the creation of a Veterans Treatment Court to provide services and intensive supervision to veterans in the criminal justice system.
“The judiciary has been innovating and creating partnerships to make the most effective use of the resources that have been entrusted to us,” the Chief Justice said. “The self-help centers are a great example—they have already provided assistance to more than 1,000 people, through the efforts of attorneys who have volunteered their time to work in the centers.”
The Chief Justice also discussed the recently completed Judiciary strategic planning report, Hawaii Judiciary 20/20: Our Vision [PDF], which he considers one of the most important initiatives of his term.
A committee comprised of 25 Judiciary employees including co-chairs Associate Judge Lawrence Reifurth and former Associate Justice James Duffy (ret.), was created by the Chief Justice in October 2011 to develop a plan to determine how the Judiciary can most effectively achieve its mission between now and the year 2020.
The plan focuses on six areas: access to justice; fair and timely case resolution; public understanding, trust, and confidence; a strong workforce committed to public service; and security and disaster preparedness. The plan’s recommendations include making the court system more efficient and user-friendly through standardizing court forms, considering revisions to court calendering procedures, and allowing parties to appear by telephone in certain cases.
The Chief Justice expressed his deep appreciation to the members of the strategic planning committee and to the staff and judges of the Judiciary for their hard work and dedication.
The strategic planning report and a print version of the State of the Judiciary speech [PDF] are also available on the Judiciary’s website.