Wednesday, January 24, 2001
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Posted on: Wednesday, January 24, 2001

Judicial pay system needs reform, says chief justice

By Lynda Arakawa
Advertiser Capitol Bureau

The state Judiciary will not ask the Legislature for pay raises for judges this biennium, but the system that determines judicial salaries must be improved, Chief Justice Ronald Moon said yesterday.

Chief Justice Ronald Moon addressed state senators yesterday.

Deborah Booker • The Honolulu Advertiser

In his State of the Judiciary speech in the Senate chamber, Moon said the Judicial Salary Commission will order an independent study to identify a "more timely and objective mechanism for determining judicial salary adjustments."

The state’s judges last year were given pay raises of 22 percent over two years. Salaries now range from $100,761 for District Court judges to $116,779 for the chief justice of the state Supreme Court. The raises were the first increase in judges’ pay in a decade.

Moon also spoke of reforms and programs the Judiciary has begun, such as the Hawaii Drug Court program, which allows offenders to avoid prison by successfully competing drug treatment.

The Drug Court program on Oahu alone saves taxpayers up to $800,000 a year, he said.

"The life-affirming qualities of the program are evident in the number of drug court graduates who have successfully confronted their addiction-related issues, found jobs, returned to school, reunited their families, regained custody of their children and re-entered their communities as productive, law-abiding citizens," Moon said.

He said the Maui Drug Court program was established last summer, a Juvenile Drug Court on Oahu begins in March, and the Judiciary is planning Drug Court programs for the Big Island and Kauai.

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