Local Judge Inspires Students

Monday, 13 February 2012

Bradley Holden | University Relations | 13 February 2012

On Friday January 27, 2012, Judge Bode Uale visited BYU–Hawaii to address political science students here on campus. As a BYU–Hawaii alumnus, Judge Uale expressed his great love for the University as well as his gratitude for having the opportunity to return and speak to the students. Judge Uale received his BS in political science from BYU–Hawaii, and his Juris Doctor from the University of Hawaii. After finishing his education he went on to work at the Honolulu Family Court, and is now a Judge for the Hawaii State Judiciary. As well as his distinguished service within the community, Judge Uale has also served as stake president in the Honolulu Hawaii Stake since 2004. 

After coming out of law school, Uale’s main goal was actually to be a lawyer, not a judge. He wanted to serve the people as a prosecutor. But various stumbling blocks on his path to becoming a prosecutor lead him to the position of public defender. He was less than thrilled to take on such a task because of the stigma that is often associated with the position of public defender. He realized when accepting this particular job, that he would be required to represent citizens in court who were sometimes guilty. Uale came to the realization that this particular opportunity to work as a public defender was actually a blessing in disguise, in that he was able to help and defend countless individuals. As a public defender he was not there to judge his clients, but rather to represent them to the best of his ability and thus whether guilty or innocent, he was helping them towards changing their lives and achieving a better future.

Judge Uale

After serving as public defender, Uale worked in the private sector and it was from there that he became a part time per diem judge in family court, whereupon he shifted to full time judge duty after one year. Judge Uale’s work as a judge provides him with the perfect opportunity to use and apply his knowledge of eternal families to the cases he is involved in by helping people get through the pain that comes from divorce, separation, and other family issues. 

When asked by a student how he keeps a positive outlook on life while dealing with such grim issues, Judge Uale responded by saying, “You have to be a special kind of judge to deal with family court and its many tiered issues, but kids do change. From the time I was a public defender and even a judge, I do bump into kids from time to time on the street, and they will say, ‘hey Judge Uale, I’m doing good now, I’m working and going to school.’ So there is some upside to it. That’s why I love working with kids, because they can change, they have a lot of resilience, and can make that change for the better.” 

As Judge Uale closed his address, he stressed to the students the importance of taking a proactive step towards becoming involved in the political process, even if that first step is simply fulfilling your civic duty by getting registered to vote in the up and coming elections. 

He concluded by saying, “The most rewarding part of the whole thing is seeing that people can change - they make that choice to change and do what is right.”