Promising to restore integrity in a Honolulu prosecutor’s office that’s “in crisis,” former state judge and one-time U.S. Attorney Steve Alm announced he is running for the Honolulu prosecuting attorney’s post next year.
Alm, 66, said that besides restoring trust in the Prosecutor’s Office, his priorities are putting dangerous offenders in prison and working with local communities to reduce crime.
Current Prosecuting Attorney Keith Kaneshiro has been on paid administrative leave since March after receiving a target letter from federal authorities indicating he is under criminal investigation. The probe is believed to stem from the broader investigation by federal prosecutors that led to the convictions of former Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha and his wife, former Deputy Prosecutor Katherine Kealoha.
“This campaign is about restoring trust in the prosecutor’s office,” said Alm, a Honolulu native. “Without that trust in the community, the prosecutor’s office is not going to be effective in protecting our families, in securing our property and ensuring the rule of law.”
Alm first came to prominence in 1994 when former President Bill Clinton picked him to be U.S. attorney in Hawaii. Alm was appointed as a Hawaii Circuit Court judge in 2001. He retired in 2016.
An impressive list from Hawaii’s legal community stood behind Alm at his announcement, including former U.S. Attorney Florence Nakakuni, former Hawaii Attorney General Margery Bronster, retired Hawaii Intermediate Court of Appeals Judge Dan Foley, former U.S. Marshal Gervin Miyamoto, former Deputy Prosecutor Kevin Takata, a one-time candidate for prosecuting attorney. Also there, in personal capacities, were Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Chris Van Marter and former prosecutor Loretta Sheehan, chairwoman of the Honolulu Police Commission.
The State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers president Malcolm Lutu announced the union’s support of Alm’s candidacy.
Others who have announced their candidacies include one-time Deputy Prosecutor Megan Kau, former Deputy Prosecutor R.J. Brown and Deputy Public Defender Jacquelyn Esser.
Acting Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Dwight Nadamoto said Wednesday that he is contemplating a run.
Honolulu elections are non-partisan.