Voters to decide on term limits for city prosecutor amid scandal

Voters to decide on term limits for city prosecutor amid scandal

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Keith Kaneshiro is in his fifth term as city prosecutor.

The public corruption scandal surrounding his office has led to a resolution that would limit future prosecutors to two consecutive four-year terms, the same term limit as the mayor and councilmembers.

The resolution passed third reading by a vote of 8-0 Wednesday so it will be on the November ballot for voters to decide.

Kaneshiro has been on paid leave for more than a year, after he admitted that he received a target letter from the Department of Justice.

The same federal prosecutors out of San Diego are running the Kaneshiro public corruption investigation, which is tied to the convictions of ex-Police Chief Louis Kealoha, and his wife Katherine, a former high-ranking deputy prosecutor who worked under Kaneshiro for years.

The Kealohas leave federal court after learning of their guilty verdicts (Image: Hawaii News Now)
The Kealohas leave federal court after learning of their guilty verdicts (Image: Hawaii News Now)

The Kealohas were found guilty of conspiracy and obstruction and later pleaded guilty to bank fraud.

Kaneshiro’s first deputy, Chasid Sapolu, is also currently on leave after receiving a subject letter from federal investigators.

(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now) (Source: Vorsino, Mary)

Kaneshiro has been Honolulu’s city prosecutor off and on since 1989.

Critics of the resolution say it punishes future prosecutors for Kaneshiro’s alleged crimes and point out there are many more qualifications to be prosecutor than most other elected offices.

Candidates need to be attorneys who have practiced criminal law in some form in recent years.

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