Hawaii Legislative Year in Review: legislature wants judiciary to study penal code reform & making certain offenses civil infractions & putting Hawaiian language legal forms and documents on the judiciary’s website

Adopted

HCR 155 & HR 93 Requests the Judicial Council convene committee to review Penal Code by

  1. Reviewing The American Law Institute Model Penal Code, including recent proposals; the criminal codes of other states; and other criminal law resources;
  2. Assessing the application of the principles of the “Justice Reinvestment in Hawaii: Analyses & Policy Options” report (August 2014) by the Council of State Governments Justice Center to code sections in which culpability is linked to a dollar value; and
  3. Analyzing whether grades and punishment are appropriate and proportionate to other sentences imposed for criminal or civil offenses and are cost-effective in deterring crime, reducing recidivism, and providing restitution to victims in a manner that provides equal justice and punishment regardless of socioeconomic class or ethnicity; and

HCR 217 & HR 152 Requests the judiciary conduct a feasibility study to examine the scope and cost of implementing Hawaiian language resources on the Judiciary’s public website, as well as legal forms and documents. Asks for study to include plan to ensure that updated information contained on the Judiciary’s public website contains the accurate, appropriate, and authentic Hawaiian language version of all documents. Asks for task force to identify the resources necessary to effectuate the purpose of this measure, such as manaleo, native Hawaiian speakers, who can provide services to timely ensure all information on the website is appropriately updated into the Hawaiian language, information technology software, and the cost of services and software.

SCR 98 Requests the judiciary conduct a study to identify traffic offenses and crimes, petty misdemeanor offenses, and misdemeanor offenses that cause a disproportionate workload for the judiciary and that may be appropriate for decriminalization as infractions.

Review of 2015 efforts to change, alter, or end merit selection/commission based judicial appointment systems

The last several years have seen numerous efforts to modify or simply abolish merit selection/commission-based judicial appointive systems and 2015 was no exception. In these systems , a commission provides a list of names to an executive, or in the case of South Carolina the legislature, from which the appointing authority must select (as opposed to some states where the commission’s list is a recommendation only).

Much of the effort in 2015 focused on either a) reducing the percentage of lawyer-appointed members of the nomination commissions and/or b) requiring judges appointed under such systems receive super-majority support in subsequent yes/no retention elections. While major changes failed to pass in 2015, they do indicate where legislative activity will likely be focused in this area in 2016.

Alaska

In a repeat of efforts first started in 2014, legislators pressed to give more control to the governor and legislature over the state’s Judicial Council which serves as the judicial nominating commission for the state. Under SJR 3 the Council would have been expanded from 7 members to 10 by the addition of 3 new non-attorney members appointed by the governor. Moreover, all Council members would have been required to be confirmed by the legislature (currently the attorney-elected councilmembers and chief justice are not required to be confirmed into their council positions). Facing heavy opposition SJR 3 was approved by the Senate State Affairs Committee on March 25 but proceeded no further.

Arizona

Two constitutional amendments to modify the commission system (which applies to appellate judges and general jurisdiction judges in the state’s largest counties) were filed this year. HCR 2002 would have required judges facing retention elections receive at least a 60% “yes” vote. HCR 2006 would have allowed the state’s legislature to remove from office on a 2/3rds vote judges appointed under such a system without the need to prove an impeachable offense. Both bills died in committee.

Colorado

No changes offered.

Connecticut

No changes offered.

Florida

For the first session in nearly a decade there were no bills introduced to change the state’s judicial selection system, this after a loss in 2014 of a plan to allow governors to “prospectively appoint” to fill judicial vacancies that had not occurred yet.

Hawaii

SB 615 would have modified the Senate-confirmation portion of the state’s commission-based judicial selection system. Under the state’s constitution the governor (or chief justice for some lower courts) has 30 days to select from the list of names provided by the judicial selection commission. The Senate then has 30 days to confirm the appointee otherwise the person is confirmed by default. In 2012 several judicial appointments were made at or near the deadline and in one case without giving written notification to the Senate until a week later.

SB 615 would have specified that the Senate was to receive written notice concurrently with the appointment and that the 30 day clock for the Senate to confirm started only “on the senate’s receipt of the written notice”.

SB 615 was approved by the full Senate on March 10 but the House Judiciary Committee made several amendments to clarify some of the technical language regarding notification. The House amended version ultimately died in the House Finance Committee at session’s end.

Indiana

Indiana saw three separate efforts to change judicial selection in 2013. SJR 8 and SJR 9 sought to end commission-based selection for judges, allowing the governor to appoint anyone to the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals subject to Senate confirmation. Both constitutional amendments would have also repealed any judicial canons that prohibited a judge from speaking in their campaigns or making a donation of money, services, or property to a political party or a candidate for office, including a candidate for a judicial office. Finally, judges appointed under this system would have been required to receive a supermajority of “yes” votes to be retained in office: 67% under SJR 8 and 60% under SJR 9.

SJR 15 took a different tack on the issue of judicial selection. The constitutional amendment would have reduced the number of attorney-designated seats on the state’s merit selection commission and required Senate confirmation. In a unique proposal not found in any other state, the bill would have ended elections for subsequent terms, instead requiring a judge receive a 60% yes vote not of the general public but of the House of Representatives.

Neither SJR 8, SJR 9, nor SJR 15 proceeded out of committee.

Iowa

No changes offered.

Kansas

Having abolished the merit selection/commission-based judicial appointive system for the Court of Appeals in 2013 by statute, the state’s legislature urged on by the state’s governor debated numerous statutory and constitutional changes to the way the state’s Supreme Court is chosen, most focused on ending the state’s merit selection/commission based system.

  • HCR 5004: Direct partisan election of all appellate judges. Approved by House Judiciary Committee 2/17/2015.
  • HCR 5005: Allow Governor to appoint to Supreme Court or Court of Appeals subject to Senate confirmation. As is currently the case for the Court of Appeals by statute there would be a default-confirmation provision; if the Senate fails to vote on a candidate within a certain number of days (depending on if in session or out of session) the candidate is automatically confirmed. Judges would remain subject to yes/no retention elections. Approved by House Judiciary Committee 2/17/2015.
  • HCR 5006: Same as 5005, but judges would serve for life and not be subject to retention or other election.
  • HCR 5009: Require judges receive 67% “yes” vote in retention elections.
  • HCR 5012: Allow Governor to appoint to Supreme Court or Court of Appeals, but only from a list provided by the House of Representatives. The person appointed would be subject to Senate confirmation.
  • HCR 5013: Changes membership of Supreme Court nominating commission: 4 chosen by bar members, 5 chosen by governor, 6 chosen by legislative leaders.
  • HCR 5015: Keeps nominating commission, but gives governor power to name 5 out 9 members. Requires any name submitted to governor be approved by 2/3rds of commission.

In addition to the above SB 197 would have made statutory changes with respect to these commissions, placing them under the state’s Open Meetings Act. The records of attorneys who voted in elections to place attorney-members on the commissions would be subject to the state’s Open Records Act as well.

Missouri

No changes offered.

Nebraska

No changes offered.

Oklahoma

Angry at several recent decisions of the state’s Supreme Court which had resulted an impeachment effort in 2014, both the House and Senate debated either changing or ending the commission-system currently in place.

Two constitutional amendments were offered: HJR 1006 would have targeted just the Supreme Court (and not the other appellate courts), effectively replicating the system in place in Michigan and Ohio. There political parties nominate or hold primaries for judicial candidates who then appear without party labels on the November ballot. HJR 1006 would also have provided that the Governor was to name the Chief Justice from among the justices of the Supreme Court and remove the Chief Justice from that office at will. SJR 32 would have allowed the governor to appoint anyone to the appellate courts subject to Senate confirmation. The existing judicial nominating commission would remain, but as an advisory body to review the appointee prior to Senate confirmation as either “qualified” or “not qualified”. Retention elections would have remained in place for subsequent terms. Neither HJR 1006 nor SJR 32 proceeded out of committee.

Several statutory efforts were undertaken to change the composition of the judicial nominating commission. HB 2214 and SB 795 would have vacated all 6 currently serving attorney-selected members of the commission. The House bill would have refilled the positions with 6 attorneys, 2 each for the Lt. Governor, the Attorney General, and the state bar. The Senate version provided 3 selections each for the Speaker of the House and President Pro Tempore of the Senate. Neither proceeded out of committee.

Rhode Island

In a repeat of a practice that has been renewed annually for almost a decade, HB 6307 would have allowed governors to fill vacancies in judicial office not only based on the contemporary list provided by the judicial nominating commission but from any list submitted by the commission in the previous 5 years. The existing statutory authorization for the 5-year look back provision lapsed as of July 31, 2015. While the House passed HB 6307 prior to the deadline (June 18), the bill remains locked in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

South Carolina

South Carolina’s legislature electes the judges of the state’s higher courts and has for the last several years used a merit selection commission to obtain a list of names for consideration. Presently the commission submit a list of the three best qualified candidates, however HB 3979 and SB 247 would have required the commission release the names of all qualified candidates. That plan was approved by the House on April 29 and remains pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee into the 2016 session. Other bills focused on giving the governor a role in the selection process.

  • HB 3123: Ends legislative selection and use of nominating commission. Provides for governor to appoint subject to Senate confirmation.
  • SB 111: Ends legislative selection and use of nominating commission. Provides for governor to appoint subject to Senate confirmation.
  • SB 180: Commission sends governor list of names, governor picks 3 names, commission reviews 3 names, legislature then picks from 3.
  • SB 242: Commission members to be selected by governor, not legislature.

South Dakota

No changes offered.

Utah

In 2008 Utah’s Justice Courts were brought into the state commission-based judicial selection system. At that time the statute required the nominating commission submit at least two names to the local appointing authority to fill a judicial vacancy. SB 141 included among its various amendments to a variety of statutes a provision that the commission must now submit at least three names. It was signed into law March 23.

Wyoming

No changes offered.

 

Hawaii House resolutions call for judiciary’s website to be rewritten to include Hawaiian language; task force includes few members from judiciary

Hawaii’s State Constitution declares in part that “English and Hawaiian shall be the official languages of Hawaii.” In response, a member of the Hawaii House has introduced both a simple (HR 152) and concurrent (HCR 217) resolution calling on the judiciary to consider a redesign of the branch’s website to include material in Hawaiian. Both resolutions are set for hearings tomorrow (March 25) before the House Ocean, Marine Resources, & Hawaiian Affairs Committee.

Specifically the resolutions call for a special task force to prepare a report in the next year on the subject of converting materials on the judiciary’s website to Hawaiian. Interestingly the 12 member task force would be made up of only 2 members from judiciary. The task force’s specific assignments would be:

  1. Conduct a feasibility study to examine the scope and cost of implementing Hawaiian language resources on the Judiciary’s public website, as well as legal forms and documents
  2. Develop a plan to ensure that updated information contained on the Judiciary’s public website contains the accurate, appropriate, and authentic Hawaiian language version of all documents
  3. Identify the resources necessary to effectuate the purpose of this measure, such as manaleo, native Hawaiian speakers, who can provide services to timely ensure all information on the website is appropriately updated into the Hawaiian language, information technology software, and the cost of services and software
  4. Conduct any other business deemed necessary to carry out the purpose of this measure

Hawaii: Prohibit online posting of judges’ home addresses; restrict access to information about children of judges

Hawaii’s legislature is currently debating several proposals to limit access to and ban the posting online of personal information about judges, their spouses, and their children.

HB 288 and SB 432 would prohibit a state or county agency from posting the home address, or personal telephone or cellular phone number of a sitting, full-time judge. The same provision would make it a misdemeanor to post online the address and phone numbers of the judge or their spouse and children with intent to cause bodily injury. Moreover, any private person, business, or association that posted the information would be required to take it down within 48 hours of a written demand by the judge or judge’s designee.

HB 292 and SB 431 differs from the above in that they lack any criminal penalty and are focused solely on prohibiting any government agency from releasing a government record that contains the information. It is also broader and covers not only the home address, personal and cellular phone numbers but also birthdays. It also prohibits the release of the same information for the spouses and children of judges, including the names and locations of schools and child care facilities attended by the children of the justices and judges.

HB 288 was set for a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee yesterday (February 3) but that hearing was postponed. The other bills are currently pending before their respective Judiciary Committees.

Hawaii Legislative Year in Review: require release of names given for judicial vacancies, environmental courts

On Ballot

HB 420 (Constitutional Amendment) Requires the judicial selection commission to publicly disclose its list of nominees for appointment to the office of the chief justice, supreme court, intermediate appellate court, circuit courts, or district courts concurrently with its presentation of that list to the governor or the chief justice. Approved at November 2014 ballot.

Law

HB 1635 Requires the salary of the administrative director of the courts to be equal to the salary of the administrative director of the State and the salary of the deputy administrative director of the courts to be equal to ninety-five per cent of the salary of the administrative director of the courts.

HB 1846 Increases District Court civil jurisdiction from $25,000 to $40,000.

SB 632 Establishes environmental courts as divisions within the circuit and district courts. Judges assigned to environmental division may hear other types of cases as needed.

SB 2082 Authorizes additional land court fees to be established by court rule or administrative rule.

 

 

Election 2014 winners and what they (could) mean for 2015 legislation

A look at the winners in last night’s election may help in predicting what will come out of the 2015 legislative sessions

Alabama Amendment 1 bans state courts from using international or foreign law. This is the 10th such ban in states, however the total number of efforts and their advancement in committee in the 2013 and 2014 sessions have diminished. It is unclear even if any similar bans are introduced whether they’ll make it out of committee in 2015.

Alabama Shelby County Local Amendment 1 requires the Judge of the Probate Court for the county must be an attorney. While similar bills have been proposed to require particular counties or all the judges in a state be attorneys (most states allow for at least some non-attorney judges) they often come to the problem that in many more rural counties there simply aren’t enough attorneys in the county to allow for such a requirement to work.

Arkansas Issue 3 provides (among other things) for the creation of salary commission to determine judicial and other salaries in the state. This commission stands alone among all others in the nation in that its determinations are not only binding (i.e. there is no need for additional legislative approval) they are unable to be overridden by the legislature as well. When similar proposals were introduced in Connecticut and New York, the legislatures balked at giving complete control over elected officials salaries without the legislature itself somehow being involved in either implementation/appropriation or even simply allowing them to override.

Hawaii Amendment 1 requires the state’s judicial selection commission release the names submitted to the governor or chief justice (for District Court seats) for selection to judicial office. Of the 18 states with such systems, now only 3 keep those names a secret after submission: Connecticut, South Dakota, and Vermont. It is unclear whether there will be any effort in these three states to move in Hawaii’s direction.

Nevada Question 1 authorizes the creation of intermediate appellate court (court of appeals). The implementing legislation has already previously been approved so the court will come into existence come January 1, 2015. The focus now turns to the 9 states without an intermediate appellate court, in particular West Virginia whose legislature has debated the creation of such a court for the better part of two decades.

New Mexico Amendment 3 now allows the legislature to set the deadline for judges to file paperwork seeking reelection as something other than the date for primary candidates. As I noted, New Mexico was the only state that required judges seeking retention to file so long prior to the date of election. Since this doesn’t apply to any other state, it isn’t clear this will have any impact in 2015.

Oregon Measure 87 now allows state judges to teach part time at public colleges/universities without running afoul of the state constitution’s no-dual-office or no-dual-salary provisions. Several other states have similar items, and there was a similar but not identical effort in Iowa several years ago (HB 2482 of 2010), but it isn’t clear if this approval will have an impact.

Tennessee Amendment 2 creates an appoint-confirm-retention election method for state’s appellate judges. This, coupled with a similar move away from merit selection/commission based appointments for the Kansas Court of Appeals in 2013 and pressure in other states to end these systems in favor of giving governors and legislators some/more/complete power with respect to judicial appointments is almost certain to reappear in the coming years.

Election 2014 Final Results: The winners and losers

The votes are in and the results from last night’s elections are below. Analysis of the results to follow later today.

Winners

  • Alabama Amendment 1 (72%): Prohibit state courts from using international or foreign law; prohibit state courts from giving full faith and credit to decisions from other states that reference international or foreign law
  • Alabama Shelby County Local Amendment 1 (79%): Judge of the Probate Court must be an attorney
  • Arkansas Issue 3 (53%): Creation of salary commission to determine judicial and other salaries
  • Hawaii Amendment 1 (82%): Require names submitted to governor for selection to judicial office be released
  • Nevada Question 1 (54%): Creation of intermediate appellate court (court of appeals)
  • New Mexico Amendment 3 (62%): Allow legislature to set deadline for judges to file paperwork seeking reelection
  • Oregon Measure 87 (57%) : Allow state judges to teach part time at public colleges/universities
  • Tennessee Amendment 2 (66%): Appoint-confirm-retention election method for state’s appellate judges

Losers

  • Florida Amendment 3 (48%): Allow governor to prospectively appoint judges to appellate courts — when the judge’s term is about to expire — before the vacancy occurs
  • Hawaii Amendment 3 (22%): Increase mandatory judicial retirement age from 70 to 80
  • Louisiana Amendment 5 (42%): Eliminate mandatory judicial retirement age

Hawaii Amendment 1: 14 out of 18 states release names submitted to governor for selection to judicial office

At issue in Hawaii’s Amendment 1 is the question of whether or not the governor is obligated to release the names of the finalists submitted by the state’s judicial nominating commission. In the last several years there’s been a great deal of litigation on whether or not the information is to be open to the public. The state’s current Attorney General in legislative testimony and Governor have both argued that information should not be released, that it is exempt from the state’s freedom of information law (Uniform Information Practices Act) and that it would “chilling effect” on potential applicants.

(Governor Neil) Abercrombie’s press secretary, Donalyn Dela Cruz, said Tuesday evening, “The governor firmly believes that public disclosure is detrimental to attracting potential judicial applicants. His approach in making judicial appointments is to ensure the confidentiality of these applicants.”

Amendment 1 would add a sentence to require the judicial selection commission release the names at the time of submission to the governor or chief justice (for District Court appointments)

The judicial selection commission shall disclose to the public the list of nominees for each vacancy concurrently with the presentation of each list to the governor or the chief justice, as applicable.

Information released by commission or governor (14 states)

In practice, if not by explicit statute or constitutional requirement, 14 of the 18 states that used a commission-based system like Hawaii’s (i.e. where the governor is bound to the list of names, as opposed to the list being simply a voluntary suggestion) release the names at the time of submission.

  1. Alaska: Information released by nominating commission. For example, in filling a position on the Alaska Supreme Court in December 2012, a list of all applicants was posted to the commission’s website and the four finalists named as well..
  2. Arizona: Information released by nominating commission. For example, in filing a 2012 vacancy on the Arizona Supreme Court the Commission on Appellate Court Appointments issued this press release listing the three nominees.
  3. Colorado: Information released by Governor. For example, in filing a position on the Colorado Supreme Court in 2013, a list of the three nominees was released by the Governor’s Press Office.
  4. Florida: Information released by nominating commission. For example, in filling a position on the 5th District Court of Appeal in March 2014, the following letter was posted to the nominating commissions’ (there are several, one for each District) website.
  5. Indiana: Information released by nominating commission. For example, in filling a position on the Indiana Supreme Court in 2012, the Judicial Nominating Commission issued a press release with the names of the three finalists.
  6. Iowa: Information released by nomination commission. For example, in filling a position on the Iowa Court of Appeals in 2013, the State Judicial Nominating Commission issued a press release with the names of the three finalists.
  7. Kansas (court of last resort only): Information released by nomination commission. For example, in filling a position on the Kansas Supreme Court in August 2014, the Supreme Court Nominating Commission issued a press release with the names of the three finalists.
  8. Missouri: Information released by nominating commission. For example, in filling a position on the Missouri Supreme Court in October 2012, the Appellate Judicial Commission issued a press release with the names of the three finalists.
  9. Nebraska: Information released by governor. For example, in filling the Nebraska Supreme Court, Third Judicial District seat in 2012 the governor’s office issued a press release with the names of the three finalists.
  10. New York (court of last resort only): Information released by nominating commission. For example, in filling a position on the New York Court of Appeals (state’s court of last resort) in September 2014, the Commission on Judicial Nomination issued a press release with the names of the seven finalists.
  11. Oklahoma: Released by nomination commission. For example, in filling a position on the Oklahoma Supreme Court in December 2012, a spokesperson with the Administrative Office of the Courts listed the names for a reporter.
  12. Rhode Island (no intermediate appellate court): Information released by nominating commission. For example, in filling a position on the Supreme Court in 2009, the proceedings and recommendation vote were conducted in a public hearing that was reported in the news.
  13. Utah: Information released by nominating commission. For example, in filling a position on the Court of Appeals in 2010, the Court of Appeals Nominating Commission issued a press release with the names of the three finalists.
  14. Wyoming (no intermediate appellate court): Information released by nominating commission. For example, in filling a position on the Supreme Court in 2013, the information appeared in an Associated Press article.

UPDATE: In addition to these 14 states, New Mexico which uses a hybrid/combination system (commission submits names to governor, governor selects, but the parties then determine who faces off in the general election). There, as in the other states listed above, the names are released by the commission. For example, in August 2012, the Judicial Nominating Commission recommended two names to the governor both of which were released by the commission which conducted public hearings reported by the Associated Press.

Information not released (4 states)

  1. Connecticut: The list of nominees is released by neither the Judicial Selection Commission nor the Governor.
  2. Hawaii
  3. South Dakota (no intermediate appellate court): Appears the information is not released. For example in 2009 South Dakota’s then-Governor Mike Rounds indicated to the Associated Press “he would not reveal the other names on the list because people apply with the understanding their names will not be made public.” UPDATE: as in Vermont there appears to be a specific prohibition on release of the names.
  4. Vermont (no intermediate appellate court): The list of nominees is released by neither the Judicial Nominating Board nor the Governor. Moreover, a state statute explicitly prohibits the Board from releasing the names (“All proceedings of the board, including the names of candidates considered by the board and information about any candidate submitted by the court administrator or by any other source, shall be confidential.”)

Hawaii Mandatory Judicial Retirement Age Amendment: Third time voters will weigh in on judicial aging issues in last decade

This year will mark the third time in a decade that Hawaii voters will be deciding issues related to mandatory judicial retirement. A review of these efforts shows a great many elements at play in the prior ballot efforts.

2005-2006: Eliminate the age (defeated at ballot box)

In 2005, Hawaii had the first Republican governor since statehood with the power to appoint judges via merit selection, a legislature made up of a supermajority of Democrats (41 to 10 in the House, 20 to 5 in the Senate), and several members of the state’s courts up against the mandatory retirement age of 70. The state’s senate proposed a constitutional amendment (SB 995) eliminating the mandatory retirement age of 70. The vote went along party lines, the move was viewed as partisan in general, and it which went down to a nearly 2-1 defeat in the November 2006 elections.

2007-2010: Raise the age

After the defeat in 2006 and taking the 2007 session off, the legislature went back to work on the subject. HB 2344 of 2008 would have raised the age from 70 to 72, while SB 3202 of the same year would have raised it from 70 to 80, but only for judges appointed after November 4, 2008 when the item would have been on the ballot. The 70-to-72 version went nowhere, the 70-to-80 version was approved in the House and Senate, but using slightly different language that could not be reconciled in conference committee in time.

A 2009/2010 version (HB 621) to raise the age from 70 to the end of the term in which a judge turned 70 was never even brought up for a committee hearing.

2011-2012: Raise and/or work around the age (defeated at ballot box)

The 2011/2012 session saw attempts to try and work around the mandatory retirement age of 70. SB 650 authorized the chief justice of the supreme court to appoint judges forced into retirement as “emeritus judges” to serve as per diem judges or judicial mentors in courts no higher than the court level they reached prior to retirement and for terms not to exceed three months. An amended version, removing any reference to “judicial mentors” was approved by the House and Senate unanimously, but there was a catch. Because it was a constitutional amendment, the legislature was required under the constitution to give the governor 10 days written notice before passage. They failed to do so and had to swiftly repass the bill to get it onto the 2012 ballot. Despite no apparent opposition, the provision failed when over 10% of voters simply declined to vote on the item. Final tally: 49.6% Yes, 39.9% No, 10.4% not voting.

In the meantime the effort to raise the age was reintroduced and redebated (SB 2206 of 2012) again with an eye towards raising it from 70 to 80. It was approved unanimously in the Senate and the House Judiciary Committee in March 2012, but the focus for the remaining months of the legislature was on SB 650, the work around, rather than the increase.

2013-2014: Raise the age (again)

Despite the loss in 2012, the legislature moved ahead in 2013 with two tracks. The first was a repeat, almost verbatim, of the judge emeritus concept again to voters (HB 275 and SB 346). The difference here was that House version applies to any retired judge or justice, trial or appellate, regardless of whether they are forced into retirement at age 70 or not; the Senate version mentions only “judges” and otherwise reproduces the language of the 2012 bill (i.e. only those forced to retire at age 70):

The second, and appearing on the ballot this November, is another attempt and an increase. HB 792, SB 886 (which will be on the ballot) and SB 1022 all increased the mandatory judicial retirement age from 70 to 80. SB 886 moved quickly through the 2013 legislature, going from introduction on January 18, 2013 to final adoption on April 4.

Hawaii Mandatory Judicial Retirement Age Amendment: State has had mandatory retirement age since statehood

When the issue came up last year in New York, I looked at the history of mandatory judicial retirement age in the state. Today, I’ll be looking at Hawaii.

From 1898 to 1959, Hawaii was an organized incorporated territory of the United States. Neither the 1894 Republic of Hawaii Constitution nor the Congress-approved Organic Act of 1900 for the Territory of Hawaii included a mandatory judicial retirement age. The first iteration of a mandatory judicial retirement age came as part of the 1950 constitutional convention that adopted a new constitution, effective with statehood in 1959 (Art V., Sec. 3)

They [justice of the supreme court or judge of a circuit court] shall be retired upon attaining the age of seventy years.

The 1968 constitutional convention kept the same provision (Art. V, Sec. 3)

They [justice of the supreme court or judge of a circuit court] shall be retired upon attaining the age of seventy years.

Moreover, it does not appear that at the 1978 constitutional convention which overhauled many aspects of the judiciary article changes to the retirement age provision were discussed. The final provision, still operative today, read essentially the same as in 1950 (Art. VI, Sec. 3)

They [justices and judges of the supreme Court, intermediate appellate court, circuit courts and district courts] shall be retired upon attaining the age of seventy years.