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Alm says his top priority is restoring public’s trust in city Prosecutor’s Office

Updated: Jan. 12, 2021 at 8:44 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - City Prosecutor Steve Alm said his top priority during his first 100 days in office will be to restore trust in his office.

Alm takes over at the Prosecutor’s Office in the wake of years-long corruption scandals.

Former high-ranking city Prosecutor Katherine Kealoha was convicted along with her husband, the ex-police chief, in one of Hawaii’s biggest public corruption scandals and former Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro remains a target of an ongoing and widening federal probe.

City Prosecutor Steve Alm holds first news conference

#LIVE: City Prosecutor Steve Alm is holding his first news conference since taking over an office rocked by corruption scandals. #HINews #HNN

Posted by Hawaii News Now on Tuesday, January 12, 2021

In a news conference Tuesday, Alm said that his office will audit all of Kealoha’s former cases.

“We need to try to track down all of the cases to see whether she had a direct role and indirect role,” said Alm. “Was the case assigned to her or did she have any contact with it.”

He has also let go of some members of the office and brought in new blood.

“I believe the number was eight that I did not reappoint for a variety of reasons,” said Alm. “But that meant the vast majority we kept on because part of it we were looking at, did they have anything to do with Kathy Kealoha’s situation, and none of the people I kept on were in the inner circle of decision making here.”

Other top priorities, Alm said, include launching implicit bias training, instituting other management changes to improve the efficacy of the office, and improving transparency.

He also said he wanted to improve data collection.

Alm said he’ll apply what he learned as a judge to decide which criminals need tough punishment and which ones can clean up their act.

“What we’re going to try to do is strategize on different ways to work with the deputies so we can convince the circuit court judges to send the really violent, dangerous and the ones who won’t stop stealing sent to prison,” said Alm.

The Honolulu Prosecutor said drug addicts who aren’t violent, should be placed on probation because he finds treatment outside of prison to be more effective.

However, he said violent criminals and repeat offenders like serial burglars should be sent to prison at their original sentencing.

“If they’re going into these houses, when people are there, it scares the heck out of people,” said Alm. “They shouldn’t have to put up with that so somebody doing that kind of thing should go to prison, but it’s a hard thing to wave a magic wand and deal with it.”

“We will be aggressive in prosecuting.”

In addition, Alm wants to improve rehabilitation programs for inmates.

This story will be updated.

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