Karamatsu resigns as deputy prosecutor after 2nd DUI arrest

Local News

Honolulu City Prosecuting Attorney Keith Kaneshiro accepted the resignation of deputy prosecutor Jon Riki Karamatsu Tuesday.

Karamatsu thanked Kaneshiro for allowing him the opportunity to serve as a prosecutor and said he did not want his pending DUI case to distract from the work of the office.

He approached the prosecutor shortly after his arrest on Saturday, April 4, and indicated his intention to resign, the office said.

  • Click here to read Karamatsu’s letter of resignation in its entirety.

A former member of the Hawaii State House of Representatives, Karamatsu was arrested over the weekend for driving under the influence for the second time.

He was arrested just after 1:30 a.m. Saturday on Ala Moana Boulevard and Hobron Lane. Sources say it was at a DUI checkpoint.

Karamatsu was also arrested for refusing to take a breathalyzer test or blood alcohol test.

It’s not clear what Karamatsu was under the influence of, but we do know that he was arrested and convicted of drunk driving in the past.

In October 2007, Karamatsu was driving on Moanalua Freeway when he slammed into a concrete median. He was serving as a state representative for the 41st District at the time.

“I learned from my mistake. I feel deeply sorry and I’m very fortunate that no one got hurt,” said Karamatsu in 2007. “I don’t have an alcohol problem, but I do admit that, that night, I made a mistake.”

We wanted to know what a second DUI would mean for Karamatsu’s driving status, so we spoke to an attorney to find out.

“So if it’s outside five years, the first DUI, then this one becomes a first offense. So he’s subject to the first time of penalties, which is possibility of jail, community service, fine. He’ll have to do an alcohol assessment and he’ll have to do a class,” said attorney Paul Cunney.

“What challenges does Mr. Karamatsu face trying to fight this?” asked KHON2.

“Well, if he fights it and loses, it’s not gonna look good because he’s not taking responsibility,” said Cunney. “But I think one of the biggest problems he has is the Office of Disciplinary Council because as an attorney, they hold you to certain standards. If they feel there’s a drinking problem, they’re gonna make him get help and hopefully he doesn’t get suspended as an attorney.”

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