Friday, April 23, 1999

Attorney chosen to
be magistrate

By Gregg K. Kakesako


Honolulu attorney Leslie E. Kobayashi has been selected to be Hawaii's third federal magistrate.

Chief Judge David Ezra said Kobayashi, 41, is undergoing "a very thorough FBI background investigation," which could take up to a month, before the appointment can be made official.

Kobayashi will join Hawaii's two other federal magistrates -- Barry M. Kurren and Francis I. Yamashita -- on the bench when she is appointed.

Kobayashi, a graduate of Boston College Law School, is a member of the law firm of Fujiyama, Duffy and Fujiyama. Her term will be for eight years and she will earn more than $125,000 annually.

James E. Duffy, a senior partner in the same law firm, also may be leaving, since he also is undergoing an FBI check that could lead to an appointment on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

His name was submitted to the White House by Sen. Daniel Inouye, who believes that Duffy, 56, should be able to win confirmation by the U.S. Senate.

Randall Roth, Hawaii State Bar Association president, said he believes Duffy would make "a terrific judge. He has an excellent reputation among members of the bar."

Ezra also confirmed that the eight-year terms of Kurren and Yamashita will expire this year and a committee will be established if the two judges decide to seek reappointment.

Hawaii's four active and two senior federal judges screen and make federal magistrate appointments based on recommendations from a committee that includes members of Hawaii's legal community.

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