Name on ballot:
Honolulu prosecuting attorney
Previous job history:
February 2018-present MK Law LLC Honolulu, HI
As a solo practitioner, I specialize in civil litigation, complicated criminal cases, and personal injury matters.
March 2014-1/31/2018 Deeley King Pang & Van Etten Honolulu, HI
Senior Associate Attorney
I handled both civil and criminal cases, and the majority of my work stemmed from cases that I brought to the firm. Dennis King supervised the majority of my cases, including but not limited to business litigation, partition, discrimination, civil rights, and real estate disputes. I supervised four different associates on my cases and various law students.
10/21/2011-March 2014 Megan K. Kau, Attorney at Law Honolulu, HI
• criminal defense;
• business litigation;
• medical malpractice;
• employment litigation; and
• contract disputes.
01/03/2011-10/21/2011 Case Lombardi & Pettit, A Law Corporation Honolulu, HI
Associate Attorney, Civil Litigation Division
• drafting pleadings and various motions;
• attending hearings and mediation sessions; and
• strategizing to meet the client’s needs.
Areas of practice included:
• condominium development;
• business contract disputes;
• foreclosure; and
03/20/2006-12/31/2010 Department of the Prosecuting Attorney Honolulu, HI
Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, Career Criminal Division
Duties included completing countless judge trials and twenty-five jury trials for charges, including but not limited to:
• Attempted Murder in the First Degree;
• Murder in the Second Degree;
• Felon in Possession of a Firearm;
• Firearm Used in Commission of a Separate Felony;
• Reckless Endangering in the First Degree;
• Methamphetamine Trafficking in the First Degree;
• Promoting Prostitution in the First Degree;
• Terroristic Threatening in the First Degree;
• Burglary in the First Degree; and
• various assault, drug, and theft charges.
02/2004-3/17/2006 KPMG, LLP Honolulu, HI
In 20005, I was certified as a public accountant. While working for this firm, my duties included preparing tax returns for the following entities:
• partnerships and limited liability companies;
• corporations; and
• gift tax returns.
02/2004-3/17/2006 Legal Aid Society of Hawai`i Honolulu, HI
Pro Bono Volunteer Attorney
Duties included representing clients in the following areas:
• child custody;
• child support;
• adoption; and
• simple wills.
2002-2003 Northern California Innocence Project Santa Clara, CA
Duties included assisting with carrying out the mission of the program, which was to analyze the possibility of new evidence in support of a convicted criminal’s defense.
07/2001 Vilaf—Hong Duc Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Duties included reading, preparing, and reviewing contracts pertaining to simple business transactions.
01/2000-05/2000 PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP Honolulu, HI
Duties included preparing tax returns for the following entities:
• corporations; and
• gift tax returns.
05/1999-01/2000 Kirio & Araki CPA, Inc. Honolulu, HI
• preparing over/short worksheets; and
• preparing sales journals and purchase journals.
Previous elected office, if any:
Please describe your qualifications to represent the people of Hawaii.
Megan Kau is running for this office to fight for those who cannot fight for themselves. There are many victims who need someone to stand up for them because they are not financially able to fight for themselves or they are too scared to do so. Megan Kau is qualified to fight for these people because she was a deputy prosecuting attorney from March 2006 through December 2010, she has built her own–very successful–law firm from the ground up, and she has more trial experience than all the other candidates combined in the past 10 years.
What will be your top priority if elected?
The most pressing issue is that crime has increased, and criminals have resorted to abusing the most vulnerable members of our society, like our kupuna. Megan Kau will charge all crimes. Her opponents want to pick and choose which laws to enforce and prosecute. Megan Kau promises to fairly prosecute all crimes, both high- and low-level offenses. Violators need to be held accountable for their actions and there must be consequences for bad behavior.
Megan Kau is the only candidate who assisted the federal government in investigating Katherine Kealoha. She has also represented clients who were targeted by Katherine Kealoha. As such, she knows who played what role and to what extent each person participated in the Kealoha misconduct. She will ask anyone who assisted Katherine Kealoha to resign from the office.
Megan Kau is the only candidate who will keep the cash bail system. Bail is the amount of money set by a judge that a defendant must pay to be released from jail prior to trial. Bail is necessary because it provides an assurance that the defendant will appear in court and will not re-offend while out in the community. Most of Megan’s opponents advocate for allowing those charged with a crime to be released from custody back into our community without any supervision.
Did you support the release of some inmates to fight the spread of COVID-19 in prisons and jails? Please explain.
Megan Kau does not believe that releasing inmates solely because of the pandemic is in the best interest of public safety. A judge has already ruled that this defendant should not be released into the community—because he/she is a flight risk and/or because he/she is likely to re-offend. Being in the midst of a pandemic does not change those factors. If the defendant is at risk of death because he/she has a pre-existing medical condition, the trial judge may consider that on a case-by-case basis to address that risk. Otherwise, the Department of the Public Safety has its own policies in place to deal with this type of situation. Inmates are safer in a facility and the community is safer while inmates are in a facility.
What is the most effective way to reduce crime on Oahu?
A Prosecutor’s sole authority is to objectively apply the criminal laws that already exist. Incarceration must be relied upon within the criminal justice system. Treatment is the other alternative, and is always the better option. But the challenge is that very often a drug user will not get treatment unless he/she is forced to do so. Therefore, in order to get treatment, a defendant has two choices: either (1) get treatment on his/her own; or (2) get forced into treatment with the threat of incarceration. If a defendant refuses to get treatment, he/she must be incarcerated. Therefore, the most effective way to reduce crime on Oahu is to charge all crimes: low level, mid level, and high level.
Given the budget constraints of county government, are there certain crimes you would prioritize or de-prioritize in terms of prosecution?
No. A Prosecutor’s sole authority is to objectively apply the criminal laws that already exist. A Prosecutor that chooses which crimes or which race of people to charge is a biased Prosecutor, and this leads to corruption. Other candidates have taken the position that they will not charge a certain class of people, a certain race of people, or a certain class of charges. This is unacceptable.
Do you support reforms to policing in Hawaii? If yes, please explain what reforms you support.
A Prosecutor’s sole authority is to objectively apply the criminal laws that already exist. The Chief of Police is the leader of the Honolulu Police Department, and the Prosecutor is the leader of the Honolulu Prosecutor’s office. The Prosecutor does not have the authority to dictate policy in the Prosecutor’s office and vice-versa. However, the Prosecutor should have an open relationship with the Chief of Police in order to make certain suggestions.
What specific measures would you take to prevent a repeat of the abuses by convicted deputy prosecutor Katherine Kealoha?
Katherine Kealoha was an aberration. The deputies in that office are intelligent, hardworking, and ethical people. But if anyone has any information about any misconduct, we will investigate. From 2006 on, I was warning my supervisors that Kealoha was doing unethical things. No one would listen. Kealoha was a supervisor, and I was a mere line deputy prosecutor. Finally in 2010 when Keith Kaneshiro brought her back in as my supervisor, I was forced to resign from the office. If any deputy has any information about anyone in the office that is doing anything unethical, we will investigate and potentially terminate the person.
What would you do to restore trust and transparency in the Department of Prosecuting Attorney?
We will follow the law. A Prosecutor’s sole authority is to objectively apply the criminal laws that already exist. Any candidate that makes promises to not charge a certain class or race of people, or to support certain businesses with legislation, or to further certain interests is a corrupt Prosecutor. A Prosecutor prosecutes cases. The legislature legislates. A Prosecutor should never legislate.
Is there anything more that you would like voters to know about you?
This election is equally, if not more important than, the mayor’s race. Yet only about 20% of the population votes for their Prosecutor. This needs to change. This election will dictate our community’s safety in the next 4-8 years. Please do your due diligence.
View more candidate questionnaires or see more 2020 Hawaii elections coverage.