HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - For the first time in decades, the race for city prosecutor is expected to draw a lot of attention and a large field of qualified candidates.
And already, one candidate is taking on a union supporting her opponent.
Megan Kau, a former deputy prosecutor turned criminal defense attorney criticized police union SHOPO for throwing its support behind retired state Judge Steve Alm.
Kau said SHOPO was supportive for disgraced ex-Police Chief Louis Kealoha “until the end.”
“SHOPO came out and said we support him and we don’t want him to leave,” Kau said. "The taxpaying people of Honolulu are sick and tired of that, they’re tired of the old boy network.”
SHOPO leaders stood with Alm when he announced his candidacy Thursday.
“SHOPO is standing here with me today, they know I have the experience, they know I’ve got the determination, and they know I have the guts to make the hard decisions and get things done,” Alm said.
A third candidate who has filed papers is RJ Brown.
New to the spotlight, Brown is also a former deputy prosecutor but now practices civil litigation.
Brown is touting his plans for social justice reform. “I think there are a lot of different ways of approaching prosecution," he said.
Brown added that he welcomes a crowded field. “There’s a lot of candidates in this race. It’s going to lead to a lot of good ideas, good dialogue and debate,” he said.
Meanwhile, Alm said the embattled prosecutor’s office needs immediate fixing.
Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro has been on paid leave since early this year after admitting he is the target of the federal public corruption case that took down Kealoha and his wife, Katherine, who was one of the highest ranking deputy prosecutors in the state.
“This is no time for on-the-job training, there is too much at stake,” Alm said.
Kau agrees, pointing out that she is the only one still actively working criminal cases. “I’m in court fighting against these prosecutors and I see who is good, who is ethical, and who is not," she said.
The primary election isn’t until August so more could still join the race, including acting city Prosecutor Attorney Dwight Nadamoto.
At a news conference Wednesday, Nadamoto said he’s giving a lot of thought to the idea.
He was briefing the media about a subpoena to testify before the federal grand jury hearing evidence against Kaneshiro and the office.