During his time as Hawaii County Prosecuting Attorney, Mitch has brought change and leadership to the office. He has brought new vision. He tries to get to the source of the problem rather than treating the symptoms. Check out some of Mitch's notable achievements.
Created a Sex Assault Unit
During Mitch’s tenure, the Office applied for and received several grants to start a Sexual Assault Team and other initiatives dealing with sexual assault.
The Office has improved its response to sexual assault and has taken a more aggressive stance on prosecuting and obtaining sex assault convictions. The office also looked into older unprosecuted sex assault cases, resulting in indictments and convictions on some.
There are free Sexual Assault services and assistance available in our community and the Prosecutor’s Office works with those agencies to get victims the support they need.
They also acquired a Courthouse Dog that helps victims with trauma tell their story.
Hawai'i Island Restorative Justice Unit
Under Mitch’s leadership, Hawaii County’s Prosecutor’s Office became the first in the nation to start a Restorative Justice Program within a prosecutor’s office.
Hawaii Island Restorative Justice, “Making Things Pono,” reaches back to indigenous cultural practices to find ways for comprehensive and restorative efforts that honors victims and holds offenders accountable.
One effort of the Restorative Justice Unit is to conduct victim-offender dialogues in select juvenile cases where the victim first makes the choice to participate. In these cases recidivism, the rate in which people re-offend, has been very low, and the victim satisfaction has been near 100%.
Crime Prevention Justice Assistance Group
Mitch helped create the CPJAG (Crime Prevention Justice Assistance Group), a team that connects with other government agencies, non-profits, law enforcement and relevant community groups to prevent crime before it happens.
This forward-thinking program is concentrated on domestic violence, sexual assault, juvenile issues, drug education and prevention. Over the past 7 years, The Big Island’s juvenile crime has decreased by 50%
Big Island Juvenile Intake and Assessment Center
BIJIAC, which opened its doors in Hilo in 2013, provides an immediate intervention by assessing youth received from Hawai’i police officers and identifying prevalent risk behaviors.
Not only does this allow police officers to return to patrol duties, but also allows BIJIAC staff the opportunity to build relationships with the youth in their care, and their families, to ultimately recommend community resources that address both behavioral and basic needs issues.
The Office of the Prosecuting Attorney played an integral role in facilitating interagency participation in the development of this intervention program, and continues this support through grant administration and interagency collaboration. This helped reduce juvenile crime in Hawaii County by over 50%
When elected, Mitch said he would look into cold cases with a fresh set of eyes. Mitch has kept his promise and has not only indicted several cold cases, but has also obtained convictions and brought closure to families and friends of victims.
Veteran's Treatment Court
For the last several years I have been very involved in veterans issues. One of my friends and former mentor, Judge Ed Kubo started a Veterans Treatment Court in Honolulu. This court work with veterans who have committed crimes. The goal of the Veterans Treatment Court is to reduce recidivism and help these veterans get back to living a
law-abiding life. The success rate from these courts has been phenomenal.
Soon after being elected I was approached and asked if we could start a Veterans Treatment Court in Hawaii County.
In 2015, the judiciary received a federal grant and started the Veteran’s Treatment Court in Hawaii county. Veterans are the only people who have paid for our freedom, and they have done so with a blank check when everything up to and including their lives.