Two prosecutors in the Hawaii U.S. Attorney’s Office are blasting the nomination of their former boss to a state court judgeship, The Honolulu Advertiser reported today. But the negative letters were only a fraction of what the Judiciary panel received on the Kubo nomination. The committee received a “near-avalanche” of letters in support of Kubo, the newspaper said.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Thomas Muehleck and Mark Inciong submitted critical letters to the state Senate’s Judiciary and Government Operations Committee, which is considering former U.S. Attorney Edward Kubo for a seat on Hawaii’d First Circuit Court, the newspaper said. Kubo, who was tapped for the judgeship earlier this month, served as U.S. Attorney from 2001 until the end of September, when Florence Nakakuni, President Barack Obama’s choice for U.S. Attorney, was sworn in.
“I can say without reservation that in my opinion Mr. Kubo is not qualified to serve as a judge,” Muehleck wrote, according to The Advertiser.
Kubo dismissed Muehleck after the prosecutor allegedly threatened Kubo, the then-U.S. Attorney, in 2008 over losing an assigned parking space, according to the newspaper. Muehleck, a narcotics prosecutor, learned that he lost his parking space after he returned from a year-long Army deployment to Iraq, The Advertiser said.
“If I had a hand grenade now I would frag him,” Muehleck allegedly said at the time, according to the newspaper. The prosecutor has since been reinstated, The Advertiser said.
Inciong, who was described as a friend of Muehleck, criticized Kubo for a March 2009 friend of the court brief which, the Assistant U.S. Attorney said, improperly eased a restraining order against an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent, according to the newspaper. Ex-ICE agent Jonathan Winnop allegedly seriously hurt and threatened to kill his former girlfriend, ICE Special Agent Evelyn Delos Reyes Ramo, The Advertiser said.
“It is ironic, to say the least, that if Mr. Kubo would be appointed to the bench it is my understanding that he would begin at the Family Court, a place where, less than a year ago, he attempted to intervene on behalf of a domestic batterer,” Inciong wrote.
Kubo declined to comment to The Advertiser on the letters. The state Senate panel will continue its hearing on the Kubo nomination on Thursday.