A deputy city prosecutor who lost track of a misdemeanor negligent homicide case more than a year ago was suspended without pay for four days earlier this month.
Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Keith Kaneshiro initially declined to reveal what, if any, disciplinary action had been taken against the deputy prosecutor, citing what he called employee confidentiality concerns.
But state law requires disciplinary information about public employees to be released if the employees have been suspended or discharged. So on Monday Kaneshiro’s office provided Civil Beat with a letter, dated Oct. 27, suspending the deputy, Clinton Piper, for four days — Nov. 5 through Nov. 10.
Piper was the deputy handling a case involving the death of 77-year-old Wallace Nakama, a pedestrian who was killed when he was hit by a truck in January 2012. A year later, in February 2013, prosecutors decided to charge the driver with third-degree negligent homicide.
But files were misplaced and Piper lost track of the case. When Nakama’s family finally contacted the prosecutor’s office to find out what was happening it turned out the two-year statute of limitations in the case had run out, Kaneshiro told Honolulu City Council members at a committee meeting last week.
Honolulu City Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro responds to a question during an editorial board meeting at Civil Beat’s Kaimuki office, Oct. 24, 2014.
Nathan Eagle/Civil Beat
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Patti Epler is the Editor and General Manager of Civil Beat. She's been a reporter and editor for more than 30 years, primarily in Hawaii, Alaska, Washington and Arizona. You can follow her on twitter at @PattiEpler, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 808-377-0561.