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LFP fellow, Judge Chiroșca Igor: Impressions from Hawaii

October, 30 2013

The visit to the United States of America began on the 1st of October 2013 with the departure from Chișinau International Airport to Munich, Germany. However, the flight to Washington DC was cancelled, so that we flew to New York City together with other PFP participants. So, in the morning of the 2nd of October 2013 , together with another LFP fellow from Moldova, Vladimir Palamarciuc, we explored the magnificent region of Manhattan and the downtowns of New York City, and in the afternoon departed to Washington DC.

On the 3rd of October 2013, with all the other PFP participants from Russia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Turkey we met at the headquarters of the American Councils from Washington DC where we had interesting discussions on different topics related to our internship. The same day we toured the Washington National Mall and visited its most important places.

On the 4th of October 2013, together with the Armenian fellows, Iren Danielyan and Arshak Gasparyan, as well as the Ukrainian fellow Nadiya Pashkova, we departed to the capital of Hawaii, Honolulu. My supervisor, Avi Soifer, Dean of the William S. Richardson School of Law, University of Hawai Manoa, invited me to an informal event which consisted on hiking on a volcanic crater which forms the Diamond Head State Monument. During the hiking, we discussed the main goals and objectives of my internship, as well as the ways to make my internship as relevant as possible.

WEEK 1


In the first week of my internship I got acquainted with the University of Hawai'i at Manoa, its campus, colleges and schools, departments, and other resources, where more than 20 thousand students are studying. Regarding the William S. Richardson School of Law, I got familiar with its institutes, clinics, centers and projects, as well as visited the Law school library and the classrooms. I had a few meetings with my supervisor and discussed about the US educational process in Law schools trying to find out what are the similarities and differences between American and Moldavian ways of teaching law. I also had a few meetings with Denise E. Antolini who is the Associate Dean for academic affairs as well as Ronette M. Kawakami - Associate Dean for student services, and who explained what are their duties as well as presented a quick overview over the academics which teach in the law school. Another person I met with is Spencer Kimura, the director of LLM and Summer Programs who also presented his field of activity inside the law school. During the week I also assisted and listened to some classes held by Professor Hazel Glenn Beh - Contract Law, and Alison W. Conner - Business Association Law.

On Wednesday I attended the session of the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, an event that took place at the William S. Richardson School of Law Moot Courtroom. A three-judge panel consisting of Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, Senior Circuit Judge Raymond C. Fisher, and Circuit Judge Paul J. Watford, who all maintain chambers in Pasadena, California, heard the Oral Arguments on two appeals of decisions by the US District Courts for the District of Hawaii and the Northern Mariana Islands. After finishing the hearings there was a lunch with the judges and the Faculty, so that I could participate and hold discussions with all the three judges. A very important thing I found out is that the Chief Judge Alex Kozinski originates from Romania, Bucharest, so that we spent a part of our discussion time talking in Romanian, that was really pleasant moments. Also during the same week, together with the other PFP participants we had a tour of The State Capitol, visited the House of Representatives, the Senate, the Governor's Office, as well as other offices placed in the same building.


WEEK 2

 

On Monday I met with Justice David Stras who is an associate justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court and who came to William S. Richardson School of Law to discuss the US Supreme Court's decisions made in previous session, and provide a summary of cases that would be decided in the upcoming session. After his public presentation we met and discussed about the trends of the US case law, and tried to change the experience of both countries that we represent. I also found out that before being appointed by the Governor Tim Pawlenty, he used to teach law at the University of Minnesota Law School in the areas of federal courts and jurisdiction, constitutional law, criminal law, and law and politics.
On Tuesday and Friday I spent the time with Thalia Murphy - senior deputy prosecuting attorney for the city and county of Honolulu for sexual assaults. So that, on Monday I spent most of the time with her in the District Court where she had a few cases to be heard in front of the justices. Between the sessions I had the opportunity to be acquainted with the content of the cases and to discuss with her different issues regarding the procedure in front of the court for the criminal cases. On Friday I met with her at the Prosecuting attorney office, where she introduced me with the staff and we had a tour of the entire office. Afterwards we discussed about the role and the functions of the prosecuting attorney during the different stages of the criminal process from both, moldavian and united states perspective.
On Wednesday, by the help of the International Hospitality Center of Hawaii,  a fellow from Amenia and me met Dr. Evelyn Godbold-Morley - a practicing Psychologist for the Prison System to whom we discussed about the penitenciary system of Hawaii and who accompanied us to the Oahu Community Correctional Center where we had a tour and visited The Intake Service Center, Mental Health Module and viewed the General Population. We also met with Dr. Victor Yee - the head of Mental Health Services Division with whom we discussed about issues related to his duties. Also on Wednesday, I met with Lanson K. Kupau who activates in The Family Court of the First circuit and who came to the William S. Richardson School of Law to have a lecture on the specific of his activity as a District Family Judge. After his public lecture we met and discussed about the peculiarities of the family cases and the cases involving children, trying to find out the differences and similarities of the two systems of law that we represent.

On Thursday, together with the fellows from Ukraine and Armenia I had a meeting with Daniel Gluck - senior staff attorney at The American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii, that is a non-profit organization which aim is to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties that the Constitution and laws of the United States guarantee to everyone. He explained what are the main fields in which the ACLU is involved in, as well as discussed about the controversary project of law that is going to be discussed in the legislature till the end of october about the same sex marriage. During the week I also attended a few classes taught by Professor Danielle M. Conway - The Intellectual Property Law, followed by a discussion on important IP issues.

 

Week 3

 

During the third week, I had lots of interesting meetings and activities that were useful for both my judicial and teaching activity. On Monday I was invited by Dale W. Lee - Director of the Professional Development, William S. Richardson School of Law, to participate as an expert in a class on Professional Cultural Etiquette, where together with a Japanese Expert and Native Hawaiian experts we discussed the peculiarities of the greetings or customs of different cultures that we represent, designed to introduce the students to professional etiquette and to avoid social gaffes which might occur if they remain uninitiated.

On Tuesday I spent the day at the Circuit Court of Hawaii where I interacted with different persons involved in the judicial activities and also met Judge Steven S. Alm, who is the creator of the Hawaii's Opportunity Probation with Enforcement program, or HOPE Probation. We discussed a lot about this successful program, the first of its kind in United States, which imposes proportionate jail time swiftly and with certainty as a sanction for a positive drug test or other probation violations. I also had the opportunity to observe some cases of probation violations presided by Judge Alm, which improved my understanding about the Hope Probation program.

On Friday I met Barbara Hicks, who is a Forensic Social Worker currently working with a large case load of criminals, who explained what her duties are and how she interacts with probation officers and the courts in cases involving criminals which are found to be mentally ill. Also during the week I had some other minor interactions with the Law School staff, worked on the library and attended other classes.

 

Week 4

 

I continued the internship at the William S. Richardson School of Law in the last week of my PFP visit to Hawaii most of its part being dedicated to the research regarding Intellectual Property Law. Another part of the week was spent at The Family Court of the First circuit with Judge Lanson K. Kupau whom I met during the second week at the Law School, who invited me to visit him at his workplace. During this visit I got acquainted with the cases that are judged in this type of courts, as well as observed a few cases presided by Judge Kupau. I was also introduced to most of the judges that work in Family Court with whom I had the opportunity to exchange the opinions regarding the issues they deal with. Judge Kupau arranged for me to visit The Juvenile Detention Center, where juveniles are incarcerated until their cases are examined by the court.
On Wednesday I met with the Honorable Justice Steven H. Levinson who used to work in The Supreme Court of Justice in Hawaii (now retired), and who presented a general overview of the judicial system of Hawaii, focusing mainly over the most renowned cases he judged. We also discussed a lot about his activity as a member of the ACLU board, he being one of the most ardent promoters of the same-sex marriages legalization. We also fixed a meeting with him in Moldova, at the Strășeni District Court, as on the 10th of November, he was going to Moldova as an outbound participant.
On Thursday, together with the colleagues from Armenia and Ukraine, we held a very interesting discussion with Ms. Deborah Quigley, who is the Director of an NGO working internationally with Human Trafficking and Child Protection. We shared useful information about the experience of fighting human trafficking in the countries we represent, as well as discussed about the activities that are being organised in US in this area.

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