Hawaii Governor David Y. Ige appointed Doug Chin to become Hawaii’s Attorney General in January 2015, and he was unanimously confirmed by the State Senate on March 15, 2015. Since taking office, he has prosecuted high-profile public corruption cases, negotiated a generous monetary settlement that included environmental mitigation remedies after one of the nation’s largest shipping companies dumped a quarter million gallons of molasses into Honolulu Harbor, and completed the state’s largest-ever conservation easement land deal on Oahu’s world-famous North Shore.
Early Life and Education
The son of Chinese immigrants, Chin was born on July 21, 1966. After moving to the US, Chin’s parents settled in Seattle. Chin’s father worked as a civil engineer and his mother was a career librarian in the University of Washington system. They raised Chin and his older sister in the Puget Sound area.
After graduating from Newport High School in Bellevue, Chin studied English at Stanford University, where he graduated with honors in 1988. Chin then worked for IBM in the Bay Area and Honolulu before earning his JD from the William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawaii.
Chin started his legal career at the Honolulu prosecutor’s office in 1998, where he tried approximately fifty jury cases to verdict. Chin obtained guilty verdicts in notorious cases including a brutal rape-murder committed by the victim’s neighbor and a serial rapist of Honolulu prostitutes. He was recognized with a “Top Gun” award for winning the most trials in a calendar year out of 100 Honolulu prosecutors. In 2006, Chin was appointed first deputy prosecutor and later acting prosecutor in 2010.
From 2010 to 2013, under Honolulu mayor Peter B. Carlisle, Chin served as managing director for the City and County of Honolulu. Chin was directly responsible for 23 municipal government and public safety agencies and approximately 10,000 employees with an annual operating budget of $2 billion. While serving, Chin often negotiated tough matters ranging from public employee contracts to energy sustainability initiatives.
From 2013 to 2015, Chin was a law partner and eventual managing partner at Carlsmith Ball, one of the oldest and largest law firms in the state of Hawaii. His areas of practice included renewable energy and clean technology projects, land use and development projects and commercial litigation.
While Attorney General of Hawaii, Chin issued a formal opinion in 2016 recognizing the state’s long-time prohibition against gambling in all forms, including daily fantasy sports. Chin has successfully advocated for legislation in support of victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. When medical marijuana dispensaries were legalized in Hawaii, he held firm on the inclusion of strict law enforcement terms to regulate the industry.
Chin remains a steadfast advocate for the rights of minorities and disenfranchised portions of the population. In 2017, on behalf of the state, helped fight the president’s revised executive order instituting a ban on travel from certain Muslim-majority nations.
Chin lives with his wife, Kathleen, and his son, Ian, in Honolulu, Hawaii. His daughter, Fiona, is a college student in Philadelphia. He has two dogs, Aristotle and River. Outside of work, Chin has served on the boards of the local YMCA American Youth Soccer Organization, and the American Judicature Society.