Kauai Prosecutor Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho is embroiled in lawsuits — and once again, she’s a defendant.
Kauai Councilman Timothy Bynum this week filed a lawsuit against the prosecutor and the County of Kauai saying that Iseri-Cavalho violated his civil rights by falsely suing him for breaking zoning laws.
Bynum alleges that the charges against him were politically motivated: The prosecutor wanted to get back at him for asking probing questions about her department. He says in the lawsuit that he has taped recordings proving as much.
The case against Iseri-Cavalho comes on the heels of Kauai County spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in settlements for discrimination cases involving the same prosecutor. Earlier this month, the state paid $120,000 to a former deputy prosecutor who said she was harassed because she was white.
In addition to Iseri-Carvalho, Bynum also names Sheila Miyake, a supervisor at the Kauai Planning Department, as a defendant.
Neither Miyake nor Iseri-Carvalho responded to Civil Beat’s requests for comment.
The lawsuit centers around a criminal case Iseri-Carvalho brought against Bynum in 2011. The prosecutor charged Bynum with breaking zoning laws that limit the number of families that can live in a single family household.
The prosecutor alleged that Bynum broke the law by renting out part of his house and allowing the occupant to have her own sink, refrigerator and rice cooker.
In April, a Kauai judge ordered the case be transferred to a special deputy prosecutor after one of Iseri-Carvalho’s former deputies testified that the prosecutor’s office had been scheming against the councilman.
The new prosecutor reviewed the case and dismissed the charges in May.
But Bynum’s lawyer, Margery Bronster, said the damage had been done.
Bronster said that anytime Bynum asked Iseri-Carvalho a question during county council meetings, the prosecutor cited the lawsuit and refused to answer.
“He’s been unable to do the job that he’s been hired to do,” Bronster said.
Bronster also said that Bynum has suffered financially because the lawsuit has made him unable to sell his house.
According to Bronster, the impetus for the zoning lawsuit against was bad blood between Bynum and Iseri-Carvalho during their time together in the Kauai council.
“There was animosity,” Bronster said. “The problem was this animosity then developed into an abuse of the office of the prosecutor… Malicious prosecution is a very telling name.”
Byrum’s lawsuit also alleges that Miyake searched his house in April 2010 without a warrant.
You can read the full text of the complaint here: