The Hawaii Supreme Court Friday afternoon ordered city Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro to respond within 20 days to state Attorney General Clare Connors’ petition seeking to suspend him from practicing law.
Connors filed a petition for extraordinary writ with the High Court on Tuesday, stating that Kaneshiro should step down temporarily because he is a subject in the wide-ranging federal case against his office, former Deputy Prosecutor Katherine Kealoha, her husband former Police Chief Louis Kealoha and others.
The attorney general is arguing that his tie to the investigation places Kaneshiro in a conflict of interest, and she wants the court to suspend him until the issue is resolved and an appearance of impropriety no longer exists.
An attorney for Kaneshiro confirmed on Tuesday that the city’s top criminal prosecutor had received a target letter from the Department of Justice. The acknowledgment came hours after Connors’ press conference, and after weeks of refusal by Kaneshiro to address media reports about a target letter.
Friday’s sparsely written, two-page order states simply that “Within twenty (20) days from the date of this order, the respondent shall file an answer to the petition for extraordinary writ.”
The order does not indicate when, or even if, the justices will take up the matter.
The order was signed by four of the justices — Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald and associate justices Sabrina McKenna, Richard Pollack and Michael Wilson, and Circuit Judge Shirley Kawamura.
Kawamura is sitting in place of Justice Paula Nakayama, who earlier filed a recusal from the case.
Connors v Kaneshiro order by on Scribd