Mike Soong turns 40 in November.
It’s dollars to doughnuts he’ll celebrate
the Big Four-O as the Kaua’i County prosecuting attorney, because Soong is
running unopposed for his second term in that month’s general election.
former deputy prosecutor (1991 to 1996) credits his staff of nine attorneys,
two investigators and 14 other personnel for his first-term
“I’ve been lucky to have good people in the office,” Soong
He hired all new lawyers when he took over four years ago, and he
restructured the office into specialized units, including a federally funded
sexual assault unit.
He also did a little public relations work.
reestablished good relationships with the police,” he said. “We have a good
relationship because we are available to them 24 hours a day. Previously, it
was not always like that.
“We told them to get us involved early on in
cases. We’ll help in the investigation any way we can.”
For example, Soong
and his chief deputy have been to the murder site of Daren Singer, the Maui
woman brutally murdered on the west side of the island last month.
father of three young children also has an interest in community affair. His
office supported a juvenile peers court and family mediation, especially for
some misdemeanor offenses.
“The courtroom isn’t the best place to resolve
some of this stuff,” he said.
The biggest crime problem Soong sees on the
island is methamphetamine use and sales.
“Nearly every crime — theft,
burglaries, domestic violence — can be traced to drugs,” he said.
next four years, Soong said, he wants to implement more changes.
to try community-based prosecution, which is a new trend. Traditional
prosecution is reactive. The police make an arrest and then send it to us.
Community-based prosecuting gets your deputy prosecutors out into the
neighborhoods,” Soong said.
It was done on Oahu in the Chinatown district,
where there was “lots of drugs and prostitution. They were able to clean up the
neighborhood,” he said. “We don’t necessarily have those types of districts.
But we want to try and involve business, church and school leaders and reduce
crime at the front end.”
Soong valued his experience as a public defender
for the state of Hawai’i (1987-1989) so much that he has hired more former
“It’s good because they can see both sides of a (court)
situation,” he said.
He’s also streamlined the prosecution
“We’ve begun immediate prosecution upon arrest. If (defendants)
can’t make bail, they go to jail. In the old days, police would wait a week or
two to submit a report. Now we get some sort of report within 48 hours,” Soong
He said immediate prosecution works on the felons’ minds,
“They figure they are caught and we make them a plea offer. Once they
get out (before trial if not immediately prosecuted), then they start thinking
maybe they won’t be punished,” he said.
After crediting judges, police and
his staff, Soong takes a modest bow himself.
“Kaua’i has had the lowest
crime rate in the islands the last three years,” he said.
Dennis Wilken can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 252) and