Judge to decide on change to Kaneshiro removal petition
A circuit judge will soon decide whether there needs to be a complete do-over of a petition campaign seeking to impeach embattled Honolulu Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro.
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A circuit judge will soon decide whether there needs to be a complete do-over
of a petition campaign seeking to impeach embattled Honolulu Prosecutor Keith
An attorney for Tracy Yoshimura, who began
the petition, wants to be
allowed to amend his filing. The attorney for Kaneshiro wants Yoshimura to start over with a new list.
Also being debated before Circuit Judge Jeffrey Crabtree is whether the city should be required to accept Yoshimura’s electronic petition at all, or whether it needs to be submitted in writing.
Keith Kiuchi, Yoshimura’s lawyer, says the law is vague about the handling of electronic filings and that in the absence of established law or rules, his client’s petition should be allowed to be both amended and filed electronically.
“There is no city policy,” he said.
In April, Honolulu Deputy Corporation Counsel Moana Yost, representing City Clerk Glen Takahashi, said the city will not accept any electronic signatures on any petition seeking to remove Kaneshiro.
Crabtree questioned whether it is required for the city to accept an electronically filed petition with electronic signatures. On the surface, he said, the law seems “at least to give the government discretion” on the issue.
Kiuchi, however, said there is no basis for the city to reject electronic signatures for impeachment
actions, especially when it accepts voter registration applications that are filed online and that they are filed with electronic signatures.
“They have to justify why they don’t take electronic signatures,” he said. “Laws and rules and ordinances have to be in writing. It’s not just something decided at the whim of a party, at the whim of a politician, at the whim of a corp counsel where you decide at the last minute, ‘OK, this is what we’re going to do to fit with this situation.’ I don’t think that’s appropriate. I don’t think that’s allowed.”
William McCorriston, Kaneshiro’s attorney, said the vagueness of the law as it pertains to electronic filings is precisely the reason why the petition shouldn’t be accepted.
McCorriston said the original Yoshimura petition
contained factual inaccuracies and failed to include
500 names and signatures as city law requires of impeachment petitions. “If your first petition is defective, then you better start all over again,” he said.
Kaneshiro is under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice. Yoshimura wants Kaneshiro impeached because the federal investigation has cast a cloud over the prosecutors’ office and the cases prosecuted under Kaneshiro’s authority.
Kaneshiro has been on paid leave from his $170,712-a-year job since March 7. He stepped down after being notified last year that he was a target of a
federal investigation into government corruption. Kaneshiro was the boss
of former city Deputy Prosecutor Katherine Kealoha, who is on trial now in a
federal public corruption case.