Jacquelyn “Jacquie” Esser, who has been a Honolulu deputy public defender for the past 10 years, has entered the 2020 race for city prosecutor.

Esser said in a press release Monday that she’s running “to bring restorative change to the criminal justice system.”

Jacquelyn “Jacquie” Esser. 

She said, “I am running for prosecutor because I have seen firsthand how our criminal justice system is failing the people of Hawaii and wasting taxpayer dollars. I am the first deputy public defender to run for Honolulu prosecutor. I know how broken our criminal justice system is and I know how to fix it.”

The Arizona-born Esser moved to Hawaii to attend the University of Hawaii Manoa, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in business management and a law degree.

Like Esser, Honolulu attorney Tae Kim also filed an organizational report this week with the Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission. Civil Beat left a message with the phone number listed on Kim’s form.

Esser and Kim join Honolulu attorney Megan Kau and former deputy prosecuting attorney RJ Brown in the election to succeed Keith Kaneshiro, who is not expected to run for another term. He is on leave due to a federal investigation tied to former Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha and former prosecutor Katherine Kealoha.

Other attorneys mentioned as possible candidates for prosecutor include former Oahu 1st Circuit Court Judge Steve Alm, Honolulu Police Commission Chair Loretta Sheehan and acting Honolulu Prosecutor Dwight Nadamoto.

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