I plan to work with the Kauai Police Department to prioritize public safety. One of the highlights of my time at the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney has been working with the hardworking men and women of the Kauai Police Department. I am honored to work with such a committed group of individuals who put the public’s safety ahead of their own. I look forward to continuing to work with them and provide them with regular case law and policy updates. I hope to expand our Office’s work with new recruits as well as increase our trial training with patrol officers.
Our office will maintain a victim centered approach to case processing by continuing to follow a vertical prosecution model. Our office is the only one in the State that has the same deputy prosecutor handle serious cases from the beginning. This style of prosecution guarantees that a victim will not have their case passed around to different deputies. It also allows the prosecutor handling the case to get a better understanding of the victim’s priorities. With the help of our victim advocates, we will continue to consult with victims prior to extending any plea offers and update victims as to important dates in their cases.
Drug addiction and the associated costs to our community are a top priority for our office. Drug abuse often leads to property crimes and physical abuse. I will work to make an in-patient substance abuse treatment center a reality for our island. It is critical that those suffering from drug addiction be able to access resources here, instead of having to travel to another island to do so. Our office will continue to work with KPD to target our enforcement efforts at drug dealers and individuals bringing drugs into Kauai. We will also continue our nuisance abatement efforts by targeting drug houses here on the island.
Commitment to Racial Equity
Our office is in the process of implementing a data dashboard that will track data from cases handled by our office. The goal of this data collection is to identify racial disparities so we can directly address the disproportionate impact of law enforcement on Native Hawaiian and other communities. I commit to tracking and sharing data, so trends can be analyzed and policy decisions can be made based on best practices.
Declining and Diverting Minor Offenses
I plan to divert more cases out of the system by implementing a diversion program that allows individuals to minimize or eliminate the number of times individuals need to appear in court for minor offenses. It is clear that locking people up for minor offenses is a disservice to our community. It is actually contrary to public safety. Often people who do not need to be involved in the criminal justice system get caught in a net meant to catch the truly dangerous. Forcing individuals to make repeat appearances for minor offenses is a bigger threat to public safety than not going forward with the case at all. Individuals who are already barely making it can lose their jobs or housing by being forced to miss work for multiple appearances. In addition, focusing our resources on those who truly need court-based interventions leads to better outcomes.
As Prosecutor, our Office will continue to prioritize enforcement of offenses related to protecting Kauai’s natural resources. These include but are not limited to fishing regulations, trespass laws and laws protecting endangered species.
Embracing New Technology
Although COVID-19 has turned our lives upside down, some of the changes that have resulted can improve accessibility to the courts. As Prosecutor, I plan to advocate for more video hearings as well as increased public access to courtrooms online. Implementing this policy will allow increased transparency, accountability and participation.
Treating Kids as Kids
There is mounting evidence that our brains are not fully formed until age 25. Our office will continue to take this fact into consideration in making charging decisions. We will also continue to not charge young children with criminal offenses.
Re-imagining Pretrial Outcomes
I plan to decrease our reliance on cash bail and shorten supervision for individuals who no longer pose a threat to public safety.
Community Engagement & Transparency
I plan to remove the veil from our office and interact with the community about different legal issues on a regular basis. I plan to do semi monthly social media updates on various legal processes and news from our office. These updates will cover what happens at various stages of court proceedings as well as updates on policies and sentences. I hope to address questions that come up from the public through this public forum.
Expanding Restorative Justice
I promise to maintain a victim centered approach with an increased emphasis on restorative justice. Restorative justice programs empower victims to be directly involved in the resolution of their cases.
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