This election is all about restoring trust to the Honolulu Prosecutor’s Office.
I supervised there, ran the US Attorney’s Office, and as a judge presided at over 200 jury trials, and supervised prosecutors, defense counsel, and over 2,000 felony probationers.
In addition to my proven track record of integrity and success, there are many others who support me, including former Chief Justice Ronald Moon, former Associate Justices Jim Duffy and Robert Klein, former Chief Judge Craig Nakamura, and former Associate Judges Dan Foley and Larry Reifurth. Supporters also include John Komeiji, Flo Nakakuni, Warren Luke, Michael Broderick, Margery Bronster, Dr. Thomas Kosasa, Paul Kosasa, Loretta Sheehan, Cyrus Tamashiro, and Dr. David McEwan.
The first priority is restoring trust to the Prosecutor’s Office. We will look at Katherine Kealoha’s cases and take appropriate action, along with rooting out and eliminating any other corruption. I will instill a culture of high ethical standards and doing justice, not just winning cases. I will train all deputy prosecutors in ethics and trial skills. They will be more effective in court and able to negotiate plea agreements from a position of strength. I will reestablish the Prosecutor’s Office as a full partner, who collaborates with other criminal justice agencies. Finally, I will emphasize transparency with the public and the press.
Second, I will use innovative solutions to reduce crime and make our communities safer (See Answer 3).
As the Honolulu Prosecutor, I will bring a spirit of collaboration and leadership to address community crime concerns.
First, I would revitalize the Weed & Seed strategy. As US Attorney, I led that effort in Kalihi-Palama and Chinatown which reduced crime by over 70% in 3 years. That changed these neighborhoods and allowed businesses and community activities to flourish.
As a judge, I was instrumental in creating and implementing HOPE Probation. Research showed that HOPE resulted in 55% fewer arrests for new crimes and 48% fewer days sentenced to or served in state prison. Notably, Natives Hawaiians in HOPE got their probation revoked and went to prison 35% less often than Native Hawaiians in regular probation.
A large one. I have been a reformer for 31 years and will continue that as Honolulu Prosecutor.
At the Prosecutor’s Office I created a culture of high ethical standards and doing justice, not just winning cases.
As the US Attorney I led the Weed & Seed effort in Kalihi-Palama and Chinatown. This meant thousands were not victimized, and thousands more not arrested. We also prosecuted HPD officers for Civil Rights violations and corruption.
As a judge, I helped create and implement HOPE Probation, favoring probation over prison for thousands of appropriate defendants. I also chaired the once-a-decade Penal Code Review Committee, which eliminated Mandatory Minimums for selling small amounts of meth and possession of small amounts of drugs.
While the truly violent and dangerous should be sent to prison at sentencing to protect society, most defendants can and should be placed on probation or deferral (to keep their records clean), effectively supervised, and given help. Proven strategies like Drug Court, Mental Health Court, and HOPE Probation, have been shown by research to help people succeed, where they typically wouldn’t have sought treatment on their own.
My work on the Penal Code Review Committee has given hundreds of defendants a chance on probation to work on these issues, rather than facing a mandatory prison sentence.
I will support efforts to expand treatment opportunities at all phases of the criminal justice system.
I am running for this office to fight for those who cannot fight for themselves. There are many victims who need someone to stand up for them because they are too scared to fight for themselves. I am qualified to do so because I was a deputy prosecuting attorney from March 2006 through December 2010, and I have the most trial experience than all the other candidates combined in the past 10 years.
1. Restore faith and trust in the office. To the ethical extent possible, I will answer all questions posed by the public.
2. Train the deputies. We will hold training sessions on a regular basis and focus on various parts of trial at each session. We will also train the deputies on ethics, civil procedure, family court, and tort law so that they are not practicing law in a vacuum. It is crucial that deputies know the procedure in other areas of the law so that can think outside of the criminal box when working up a case, filing and drafting motions, and proceeding to trial. We will also train the deputies on the process of treating drug addiction and mental health issues.
First and most importantly, we will charge all crimes: low- and high-level crimes. We will charge Unauthorized Control of a Propelled vehicle and all other property crimes.
Secondly, the Career Criminal Division will be staffed with experienced deputies. They will fight for extended sentencing and repeat offender sentencing and they will appear at all Hawai`i Paroling Authority hearings.
Lastly, we will work with diversion programs (e.g., Hawai`i Health & Harm Reduction Center’s Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion program (“LEAD”)) and treatment programs (e.g., Habilitat Inc.) to make treatment more accessible.
It depends on how “justice reform” is defined. The Prosecutor’s role is to objectively apply the criminal laws that already exist. The Prosecutor cannot make law and should not interpret the law to favor one class of people over another. The Prosecutor can testify as to proposed criminal laws to educate the legislature on the effect of a certain law. But a Prosecutor should never use his/her position to further his/her personal agenda.
When faced with the option of treatment versus incarceration, treatment is always the better path. Unfortunately, a defendant is not always willing to get treatment. In that case, the defendant must be incarcerated. If the defendant is open to treatment, then programs like LEAD and Habilitat should be utilized.