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Susan Oki Mollway

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Susan Oki Mollway
Susan Oki Mollway.jpg
Current Court Information:
United States District Court for the District of Hawaii
Title:   Chief Judge
Position:   Seat #2
Appointed by:   Bill Clinton
Active:   6/23/1998 - Present
Chief:   2009 - Present
Preceded by:   Harold Fong
Personal History
Born:   1950
Hometown:   Honolulu, HI
Undergraduate:   University of Hawaii, B.A., 1971
Law School:   Harvard Law School, J.D., 1981
Grad. School:   U. of Hawaii, M.A., 1973

Susan Oki Mollway is the Article III chief judge for the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii. She joined the court in 1998 after being nominated by President Bill Clinton.

Early life and education

Born in Honolulu, Hawaii, Mollway graduated from the University of Hawaii with her bachelor's degree in 1971 and Master's degree in 1973 before graduating from Harvard Law School in 1981 with her J.D.[1]

Professional career

Mollway was a private practice attorney in Hawaii from 1981 to 1998 and also served as an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Hawaii School of Law from 1988 to 1989.[1]

Judicial career

District of Hawaii

Mollway was nominated to the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii by President Bill Clinton on January 7, 1997 to a seat vacated by Harold Fong as Fong assumed senior status. Mollway was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on June 22, 1998 on a majority vote and received commission on June 23, 1998. She assumed the role of chief judge in 2009.[1][2]

Notable cases

Sheet Metal Workers Union fined (2011)

     United States District Court for the District of Hawaii (National Labor Relations Board, v. Sheet Metal Workers International Association, Local 293, 1:11-cv-00290-SOM-BMK)

In January 2012, Judge Mollway fined the Sheet Metal Workers International Association, Local 293, and its attorney for failing to comply with a court order. The union was ordered in October 2011, to provide documents at a deposition regarding an investigation by the National Labor Relation Board (NLRB). After the deposition Judge Mollway found the union's actions "tantamount to a failure to appear at the deposition or failure to answer questions."[3] The union had to pay a $250 per day fine until it complied with the court order; the fine was retroactive from October 18, 2011. The court also ruled that the union's custodian of records and attorney must personally pay $2,500 each as well as all of the NLRB's court costs resulting from the non-compliance.[3]

Thai Labor Recruiters (2009-2010)

     United States District Court for the District of Hawaii (United States of America v. Alec Souphone Sou and Mike Mankone Sou, 09-cr-00345-SOM)

On Monday, July 19, 2010 Judge Mollway was scheduled to sentence the men responsible for bringing 44 Thai workers to Hawaii in September 2004. The sentencing was delayed for another two months.[4]

In August 2009, brothers Michael Mankone Sou and Alec Souphone Sou of Aloun Farms were indicted on three counts: forced labor, document servitude and visa fraud, for their role in the recruitment that Thai workers say left them in deep financial trouble.[5] The two brothers pleaded guilty to charges of conspiring with Thai labor recruiters to bring 44 Thai nationals to the country.[4] Aloun Farms has a long history in Hawaii’s farm industry and its avid and powerful supporters, including government officials and senior banking executives. These officials and senior banking executives are now downplaying the Sous’ criminal indictment.[5]

Aloun Sou and his wife Somphone, who immigrated to Hawaii from Laos, founded their farm business in 1977 on five acres of leased land in Waianae. They raised four children, including Michael and Alec, who eventually took over the family business. They farmed Asian vegetables, green onion and herbs, and began distributing their produce in 1983 to Hawaii supermarkets. In 1995, the farm business was formalized into Aloun Farms operating on 880 acres in Ewa and Kunia. As Hawaii’s second largest farm covering 3,000 acres on Oahu, Aloun Farms harvest mostly Asian vegetables with the help of 180 people, conduct tours and educational programs for school children and sell pumpkins during the fall season. Their website states that one of their four values is “respect for the people whom we work with.”[5][6]

The original charges alleged that the brothers were involved in a forced labor human trafficking ring for Thai workers. The chargers were dropped when the lead prosecutor admitted to misstating the law in the grand jury trial. Judge Mollway ruled that the U.S. Government did not owe the defenses' legal costs for its failed prosecution of the Aloun Farms human trafficking case. The judge ruled that Mike and Alec Sou had failed to prove that the governments charges were frivolous and refused to grant them the $500,000 in defense fees they requested.[7]

Locals, environmentalists, challenge U.S Army activities in Hawaii (2009)

     United States District Court for the District of Hawaii (Malama Makua, v. Donald H. Rumsfeld, et al., cv-04-00176-Som-LEK)

Judge Mollway criticized Army officials for their handling of a settlement involving environmental impact statements at the Makua military reservation. This comes after the judge dismissed a request from the Army to dismiss a complaint filed against them by an environmental group. The group alleged that the Army failed to honor the terms of the settlement on claims that the activities held on the reservation would affect the environment.[8]

See also

External links


Federal judicial offices
Preceded by:
Harold Fong
District of Hawaii
Seat #2
Succeeded by:

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