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State high court gets a new justice


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POSTED: Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The newest member of the Hawaii Supreme Court said he had been determined to follow a career in public service ever since he took a post-college job as a U.S. Senate committee clerk.

More than 200 people crowded the court chambers yesterday to watch Mark E. Recktenwald take the oath as an associate justice.

Recktenwald, 53, has been chief judge of the state Intermediate Court of Appeals for two years and was director of the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs for four. He was an assistant U.S. Attorney in Honolulu for 10 years and had six years in private practice.

Chief Justice Ronald Moon praised Recktenwald's role in the reorganization of the appellate court system and said he has contributed to “;elevating the image of the Judiciary as a whole and helping to enhance the administration of justice and the public trust and confidence in our justice system.”;

Recktenwald “;never ran for cover when things were difficult and would be the first to volunteer for difficult assignments,”; said Gov. Linda Lingle, who chose him for the DCCA post, the appellate court and high court positions.

Recktenwald's wife, Gaylen, children Andrew and Sarah, and stepson Trevor helped drape a new robe on his shoulders.

“;My kids made sacrifices for me, and I hope to be the kind of father they deserve,”; Recktenwald told the crowd in remarks that acknowledged several people “;who taught me and inspired me and judges who were patient with me when I was learning the ropes.”;

He recalled the words of a supervisor during his brief stint on a U.S. Senate committee reminding him that his wages were paid by taxpayers in the humblest of jobs.

“;Over the years I tried not to forget that, and I won't forget it while I sit on the bench.”;