Categorized | Elections, News

Roth announces run for county prosecutor


Mitch Roth intends to run for prosecutor in 2012.

Born in Los Angeles in 1964, Roth came to Hawaii in 1983 to attend the University of Hawaii at Manoa. After graduating, he taught English in Japan before returning to Los Angeles to attend Whittier Law School returning to Hawaii in 1993.

Roth has 18 years as Deputy Prosecutor starting in Honolulu and then, at the invitation of former prosecutor Jay Kimura, joined the Hawaii County Prosecutor’s office in 1998.

Roth views domestic violence as one of the roots of crime. Among his many efforts in that area, he has served as the interagency coordinator for the Domestic Violence Interagency Team for Hawaii Island, and he was named the Advocate of the Year in 2002 for his dedicated work in domestic violence.

Roth was the first Community Oriented Prosecutors in the State of Hawaii and is currently one of the nations longest standing Community Prosecutors. As a community-oriented prosecutor, Roth has been instrumental in proactive measures to build community capacity to deal with crime and other social problem including the Department of Health’s I-Files community initiative, the County’s Healing Our Island mini grant project, and the Prosecutor’s Community Empowerment Organization project.

In 2003, he initiated the first successful civil drug nuisance abatement action to remove drug dealers from a downtown Hilo building. He later used the same law to remove a drug dealer in Pahoa. The success of these efforts led the State Legislature to create a drug nuisance abatement team in the State Department of the Attorney General.

In 2005, Roth helped get Pahoa designated as a federal Weed and Seed site, with the mission of weeding out crime and seeding in positive social change. The Pahoa Weed and Seed project has been highlighted in national community policing training for Weed and Seed projects.

Among the many community initiatives and projects that Roth helped establish while in Honolulu were the Community Coalition for Neighborhood Safety & Honolulu’s First Weed and Seed project. He also received the Honolulu Prosecutor’s Award of Excellence.

Since 1996, Roth has been an instructor for the Western Community Policing Institute, and served as board chair. He has been recognized as one of the top instructors in Community Policing, and is frequently invited to present in other states.

Another community focus for Roth is traffic safety. He is the chair of the State of Hawaii’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan whose goal is to reduce traffic fatalities. He was also on the Ignition Interlock task force that helped pass the law requiring person convicted of driving under the influence to have an in car breathalyzer installed before driving. He was instrumental in bringing the Shattered Dreams alcohol prevention program to High Schools on the Big Island.

In 2001, Roth was instrumental in starting the Visitors Aloha Society of Hawaii (VASH) on the Big Island. This organization helps visitors who have been victims of crime or other traumatic incidences while on our island. Over the last 10 years he has served as board president and is currently a board member.

Mitch’s commitment to the community of Hawaii Island extends well beyond the legal realm. Among his many activities, Roth has served on the YMCA Corporate Board, Turning Point for Families Board, the Boards for the Boys and Girls Club of the Big Island the State Highway Safety Committee and the Healing our Island grant committee.

He has served as the PTA president at Waiakeawaena as well as the Cub Master for Pack 65. He is currently on the boards Crime Stoppers, VASH, Citizens Corp., and the State Strategic Safety Highway Plan.

Roth has also received awards from the Rotary for Outstanding and Distinguished Service, Mothers Against Drunk Driving for Outstanding Service, Turning Point for Families’ Advocate of the year, and the Olo Pono Award.

He and his wife, Noriko, have three children (Anne 12, Aaron 14 and Alexandra 17), two enrolled in Hilo public schools and the third, a graduate of Waiakea High, is currently studying at Nanzan University in Japan as an international exchange student through the University of Hawaii at Hilo.

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