Acting Attorney Like Goes After A Permanent Position

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Editor’s Note: The special primary election for prosecutor will be held on Saturday, December 18, and a special general election will be held on Saturday, February 26, 2022. The ballot will include Acting Prosecutor Rebecca Like and former member of the county council and prosecutor Shaylene Iseri. The profiles of the two candidates are available on thegardenisland.com.

Rebecca “Becky” Like promises to build on the progressive policies started under former prosecutor Justin Kollar, if she is elected to her old post.

Like (pronounced lee-kay) was appointed acting prosecutor following Kollar’s resignation in September, having served as second deputy prosecutor for nine of his 11 years in the Kaua’i prosecutor’s office (OPA).

Like and Kollar, who backs her candidacy, modernized the filing and registration systems while creating a cohesive team during this time, she said in a recent interview.

“We really made a lot of progress in cleaning up the mess that was left,” she said. “… Before Justin took over, there was a lot of turnover in the office. But since we’ve been able to keep and build such a great staff, we’ve really been able to get MPs to focus their training and expertise on certain areas, (including) drugs, trafficking, violence. domestic, sexual offenses. “

Kollar called his former colleague the right fit for the job.

“I worked side by side with her throughout my tenure as attorney general,” he told The Garden Island. “She has the management background, courtroom skills, integrity and temperament to be a great prosecutor.”

Like the claims, it will continue to digitize, collate and share case data while advocating for more video hearings, with the aim of increasing courtroom transparency and accessibility. She also cites plans to reduce recidivism through evidence-based diversion programs for people with addiction disorders or mental illness. Such initiatives could see qualified people attend mandatory meetings with a doctor and take medication and other measures, rather than plead guilty or be tried.

“This translates into better results for these people, which means more public safety for our community. If we have people with mental health and addiction issues on the streets, our community members are going to interact with those people, ”Like said. “It’s best to prepare them for success through a program where they will have housing, medical care and things like that, so that they don’t reoffend, encroach, steal, or enter. contact with the Kaua ‘i Police Department.

Widespread drug addiction is the most pressing public safety issue in Kaua’i, according to Like, whose focus on the link between public health and public safety stems from personal experience. Like was hospitalized with addiction issues after high school and faced major depression after the birth of her first son and the death of her mother from cancer.

Under Like’s leadership, the Kaua’i OPA would promote drug treatment resources on the island while working with the KPD to enforce drug dealers, drug carriers and drug houses. .

“More recently, fentanyl overdoses have been a serious problem in our community,” Like said. “This goes back to my previous statement about how public safety and public health overlap. It is essential that we use medical treatment options for opioid addicts. These systems prepare people for success.

KPD has issued a public warning following a series of fentanyl-related incidents this fall. At least some of those overdoses resulted in death, a department official said at the time.

Domestic violence is also pervasive in the Kaua’i community, as said, claiming that the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated the problem, especially among multigenerational households.

“More and more people are stuck at home together… the kids are coming home from school. There are more people in the same area unable to exit, ”she explained. “There has also been an increase in stressors due to the pandemic. “

Like’s only opponent in the upcoming election is former county prosecutor Shaylene Iseri, who Kollar ousted from her post in the 2012 election. Like brought a lawsuit against Iseri that same year, claiming her employer fought back after he was killed. Like did not openly support Iseri’s candidacy.

As confirmed, the case has been settled, but could not comment on the terms of the settlement.

“Shay’s story speaks for itself. I encourage readers to do a quick Google search to get an idea of ​​the kind of legacy she left when she left our office, ”Like said. “It took a long time to clean up this mess, and I was in the office doing this job during that time.”

A primary election is scheduled for December 18.

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