As many as 20 sex crimes victims will never see justice served, because the city prosecutor says his office lost track of the cases.
As KHON2 first reported, Keith Kaneshiro says his office had not filed charges in those cases, and by the time he discovered it after being elected to office two years ago, the statute of limitations had expired and all the cases had to be dismissed.
Kaneshiro was called to speak before the city council after a KHON2 report on lapses at the prosecutors office.
Kaneshiro says he’s implemented a new system to make sure other cases don’t fall through the cracks, but it seems the damage has already been done.
“Something like this that happens completely undermines the entire process of trying to get a victim to walk through and sustain an entire court process,” said executive director of Pacific Alliance to Stop Slavery, Kathryn Xian. “I can’t imagine how devastated the victims and the families feel right now knowing that they’ve put so much investment into the justice system,” she added.
Kaneshiro said his office is utilizing a new tracking system to keep track of cases, but the real question is what about justice for the victims in these cases that were dismissed.
“Where do you get justice from?” asked UH criminal law professor, Ken Lawson. “What happens now? You’ve got perpetrators out there who committed felony offenses that get to go scott free,because you don’t know how to keep a calendar? I mean it’s inexcusable,” he said.
“It’s kind of scary to think about any other cases there falling through the cracks,” said Lawson.
In this case it seems that’s exactly what happened, leaving those who depend on the justice system with more questions than answers.
“Prosecutors tell me all the time that oh we need victims to come forward. Well they also need to do their part when a victim is brave enough to come forward,” said Xian.
“It shows a lack of caring for the people you’re supposed to protect,” said Lawson.