Meet the Honolulu Prosecutor candidates who will participate in tonight’s debate

Local News

Tonight from 6:30-8:30 PM at the Orvis Auditorium at UH Manoa, five candidates for Honolulu Prosecutor will take the stage for a debate hosted by the Hawaii Innocence Project. Acting prosecutor Dwight Nadamoto was invited, but declined to participate.

The prosecuting attorney for Honolulu is currently Keith M. Kaneshiro. He served two terms from 1988 to 1996, then again from 2010 until now. He was named a target in the FBI public corruption scandal that took down his deputy prosecutor Katherine Kealoha, and chose not to run for re-election.

The candidates at tonight’s debate can be expected to address corruption concerns, as well as the rising crime wave that has taken place in recent months.

Here is a quick look at the candidates, with links to their websites for additional info.

Steve Alm: Alm is a former judge, prosecutor and US Attorney. He was a deputy prosecuting attorney for Honolulu from 1985-1994. From 1994-2001 he was the US Attorney for Hawaii. From 2001-2016 he was a judge on the First Circuit Court of Honolulu. He received the State Judiciary’s Jurist of the Year in 2010.
Visit Steve Alm’s website here.

Robert J. Brown: Brown is a former journalist and deputy prosecuting attorney for the City and County of Honolulu. He is currently a civil attorney at the Starn O’toole Marcus & Fisher law firm. He has been a guest lecturer at the William S. Richardson School of Law, and was selected to the 2019 Hawaii Super Lawyers Rising Star List.
Visit RJ Brown’s website here.

Jacquelyn Esser: Esser is a former judicial law clerk at the Hawaii State Judiciary, and has been a Honolulu deputy public defender since 2010. She also has experience as a judicial extern for the US District Court in Hawaii, and as a legal extern for the American Civil Liberties Union.
Visit Jacquelyn Esser’s website here.

Megan Kau: Kau is a former deputy prosecuting attorney for the City and County of Honolulu. She worked for two private law firms — Case Lombardi & Pettit, and Deeley King Pang & Van Etten — before opening her own practice in 2018. She is also a certified public accountant.
Visit Megan Kau’s website here.

Tae Kim: Kim has been a private criminal defense attorney since 1992. He is a graduate of Castle High School and UH Manoa, and received his Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Oklahoma.
Visit Tae Kim’s website here.

KHON2 will be live-streaming the debate tonight. It can be watched on The stream will start at 6:30.

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