Sam King enjoyed all the impressive trappings of a federal judge—the JD from Yale, the baritone voice, the black robe, the highest seat in the courtroom, bailiffs and clerks doing his bidding. Yet what people noticed most about him was that he genuinely cared about people. King acknowledged everyone he met, civic and business leaders, clerks and janitors alike. He even made regular visits to convicts he had sentenced to prison.
He was also well known for his sense of humor and irreverence; he was particularly fond of calling the members of the United States Supreme Court “the guys in the black muumuus.” But what Sam King was deadly serious about was protecting people, particularly those who had little or no power of their own. In his half-century on the bench, he presided over some of the most sensational of Hawai‘i’s organized crime trials, and he upheld the 1967 Hawai‘i Land Reform Act that shifted property ownership in Hawai‘i from large trusts to ordinary citizens. He liked to observe that “people aren’t created for laws; laws are created for people.” Sam King believed that the whole purpose of government, besides keeping its people safe, is to protect the underprivileged from the privileged.
In Judge Sam King: A Memoir, Samuel P. King discusses these and many other issues—issues he helped shape in a long and inspirational lifetime of unparalleled community service.
Hardcover w/ dustjacket; 144 pp
Author: Judge Samuel P. King with Jerry Burris and Ken Kobayashi
Cover image © 2004 E.Y. Yanagi
Release Date: October 2013