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Japanese judge spends semester at College

September 05, 2008

Takehiko Saito, an assistant judge in Nagoya District Court in Japan, is spending the year in Arizona, taking courses at the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law and researching juvenile justice issues for a paper that he eventually will write for his country's Supreme Court.

Through December, Judge Saito is a Scholar-in-Residence at the College, where he is taking Contracts with Professor Charles Calleros, Criminal Procedure with Professor Carissa Hessick, Legal Method & Writing with Professor Tamara Herrera and Juvenile Law with Professor Ann Stanton. He said he enjoys the atmosphere of the College and especially its law librarians, whom he described as "very friendly, smart and helpful."

The 30-year-old judge chose Arizona upon the recommendation of his predecessor on the court, who had visited some years before. Saito said he is interested in finding out the differences in dependency cases, which are heard in juvenile court in Arizona, but in family court in Japan.

Beginning in January 2009, Judge Saito will spend six months at the Maricopa County Superior Court, observing judges and lawyers in court and behind the scenes.

Judge Saito, who has a degree from the Faculty of Law of Meiji University in Tokyo, has been a judge for six years, including two years as an assistant judge in Nagoya Family Court. He currently hears primarily bankruptcy and foreclosure cases.

Judge Saito lives in Tokyo with his Chizuru, who is an attorney. Since arriving in Arizona, he has visited the Grand Canyon, Tucson and Lake Powell and attended an Arizona Diamondbacks game.

Judge Saito will be joined for three weeks in September by Judge Masatake Kakutani of the Osaka District Court. Judge Kakutani will conduct research in the library and chat with faculty on the topics of class actions and assessment of damages, and especially the awarding of punitive damages.

Janie Magruder,
(480) 727-9052
Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law