Categorized | Elections, News

Ashida to run for county prosecutor


From Lincoln Ashida:

I am formally announcing my candidacy for election to the office of Prosecuting Attorney for the County of Hawaii in 2012. Jay Kimura’s retirement after over 30 years of distinguished service to our County has provided an opportunity for me to seek an office I have always looked forward to holding and serving.

I started my legal career in 1985 as a summer law clerk with the Prosecutor’s Office. I clerked for three consecutive summers with the Prosecutors, and after passing the bar exam in 1987, was appointed as a deputy prosecutor in November 1987 by former Prosecuting Attorney Jon Ono.

I have prosecuted every type of crime in my thirteen years of service as a prosecutor, concentrating primarily in homicide and child- and adult-victim sexual assault cases. I supervised felony prosecutions including Crimes Against Women and Children (federally funded units), developed the conferral process with the police for early assessment and prompt prosecution of major felony cases, and developed training protocols for police recruits, patrol officers, and CIS/CID detectives.

I was appointed and confirmed as Corporation Counsel, the County’s top civil attorney, in December 2000. As Corporation Counsel, we developed County-wide training for our County clients, and collaborated with the corporation counsels from the other counties to spearhead the Statewide Municipal Attorneys Training Conference.

In addition, I was the 2009 statewide recipient of the Hawaii State Bar Association’s Schutte Award for outstanding and meritorious service to the legal community and profession.

In 2010 I received the HSBA’s Government Lawyers Section pro bono service award and was recognized statewide for exceptional commitment to traditional pro bono and community service.

If elected Prosecutor, these are some of the major initiatives we will undertake:

1. We want our prosecutors to be the best attorneys in the courtroom. We want our attorneys to receive the necessary training, mentorship and support to take on any legal challenge given them. Instead of “throwing inexperienced lawyers” to the wolves, we will develop a comprehensive training and evaluation program for each litigator and make appropriate assignments to cases based on ability and merit. Our community demands and expects that a prosecutor charged with handling a victim’s case be more than competent.

2. Training the police is our responsibility. The National Prosecution Standards demand that prosecutors work with their local police to provide them training. Excellent training leads to excellent investigations, which ultimately result in excellent prosecutions. We will create and restore comprehensive training programs for our police.

3. It is all about the team. All successful prosecutions are the product of cohesive teamwork. A big part of this team is the crime victim, as well as the public we represent. Plea bargaining will be done responsibly, and the community will be informed why decisions are made, while protecting the privacy rights of victims. The community-oriented prosecution program will not be limited to one person, but instead be the responsibility of all of our attorneys and staff. Each of our attorneys will be assigned to a community on our island, outreaching to them and providing tips on avoiding victimization, identifying systemic sources of criminality and utilizing the criminal justice system to create safer communities.

The Office of the Prosecuting Attorney has an honorable history. Yoshito Tanaka was the first “County Attorney” who handled both criminal and civil cases (imagine that!). Paul de Silva, Jon Ono, and Jay Kimura all served honorably. Building on this tradition is a responsibility I am ready for, and take very, very seriously.

I was born and raised in Papaikou, a plantation community just north of Hilo. I graduated from Hilo High School, the University of Michigan, and Creighton University School of Law. I am part of the faculty of the Political Science department at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, where I have taught for over 15 years.

I have been married to my wife Jonna (she works in radiology at the Hilo Medical Center) for 22 years. We have two children, Scott (17) and Kaitlyn (15), who attend Kamehameha Schools. I am very proud of our island home and community, and would be honored to lead the Prosecutor’s Office.

When I was confirmed as Corporation Counsel in 2000 after being nominated by then Mayor Harry Kim, I was humbled to have the only two bosses I ever had (Jon Ono and Jay Kimura) appear at my confirmation hearing and offer the enclosed testimony. It was a very difficult decision to leave the Prosecutor’s Office back then; it was where I “grew up” as a lawyer, and I was surrounded by many friends.

Today I am glad I made the decision to leave and gain the experience and knowledge so that I may return to the Prosecutors and help the office become the very best Prosecutor’s Office anywhere.

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