The attorney for the man who filed an ethics complaint against embattled lawyer and Honolulu Deputy Prosecutor Katherine Kealoha has called for the removal of the leader of the Office of Disciplinary Counsel because he cleared Kealoha of wrongdoing.
Hawaii News Now reported Tuesday that Gerard Puana’s attorney, Eric Seitz, says the office made a mistake in clearing Kealoha.
A federal grand jury in October indicted Kealoha on conspiracy, obstruction of justice and fraud charges. Her husband, former Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha, faces similar public corruption and fraud charges. The Kealohas pleaded not guilty.
Seitz called Chief Disciplinary Counsel Bruce Kim “the watchdog for the lawyers in Hawaii,” but says he is “incompetent and unethical.”
Kim said the office had been unable to determine by clear and convincing evidence that an ethical violation occurred.
In response to Seitz’s criticism, the Disciplinary Board of the state Supreme Court issued a statement saying, “As criminal proceedings against Hawaii lawyer Katheryn (sic) Kealoha are pending in the federal court, the Disciplinary Board has stayed its investigation against the lawyer pending disposition of the criminal case. Presently, Ms. Kealoha is on voluntary inactive status, and thus should not be engaged in the current practice of law. Once the criminal matter is decided, the investigation hold will be lifted and ODC will be directed to proceed pursuant to the rules of the Hawaii Supreme Court.”