Response of attorney Erlinda Dominguez

to the Commission on Professionalism

for suggestions to improve the Hawaii legal system.

I suggest: (1) There should be a written form detailing intense feelings, relationship of the Judges and Justices and family members with the parties and their attorneys, signed under oath respectively, and any recusal should not be heard before the Judge or Justice involved; (2) The ODC must always name and disclose the accuser or complainant; Should have no arbitrary internal procedure, and no confidentiality that hides what they do; (3) Nothing should be written on a Court text demeaning the lawyer without the lawyer’s knowledge. (An Island Judge described me as ‘in all her shining glory’ after I was minutes late due to airport error); (4) Older Judges should be regularly tested for mental stability and capacity because people age differently. (Same Judge sanctioned me for what he, alone, was seeing in his courtroom— that a lawyer was flying from her chair (me) or making flying motions during a jury trial — disproven by the audience, Court videos, and scientific impossibility).

In a civil suit against me and my office, the trial Judge was married to an attorney whose law firm I sued on the same issues. That Judge claimed that my attorneys waived her spousal conflict. But nowhere in the Court records and notes of all the lawyers involved was there such a disclosure and waiver. I reported her to the Judicial Commission and to the ODC who both dismissed my complaints. Later, I reported my lawyers to the ODC for their ex-parte withdrawal without my notice. My complaint was quickly rejected. However, when I was reported, that Office investigated, and refused to name my accuser(s) nor contact my witnesses.

In my appeal in the civil suit mentioned above, I was pro se with researchers and brief preparers. Rightfully, we were intensely legal. However, the Court thought that my arguments were uncivil and invective even if they were textbook terms. My appeal was dismissed on form. Thereafter, I found out that the attorney who sued me was the business and law partner of one Appeal Justice before that Justice was appointed to the Court. The above is a small part of my experiences.

The problem is much, much, much deeper and more serious than any inadequacy of the rules. It involves human morality, competence, courage, or lack thereof. It begs the issue of respectability, professionalism, dignity, truth, the Rule of Law in the profession. An effective and quick solution? I have no idea.

Aloha from Erlinda Dominguez, California, 6/22/15 (HI voluntary inactive)