Lisa Arin: Wants to protect keiki, stop growing meth problem and address domestic violence

LIHUE — Lisa Arin said she’s running for Kauai prosecutor because she cares about the safety of the community and the well-being of the Garden Isle’s keiki.

“Our home is a beautiful place to live,” Arin said. “It should also be a safe place to live. Serious crimes, repeat offenders, domestic violence and drugs make our community unsafe and hurt our children both physically and mentally. These crimes are threatening our future, their future and the future of Kauai, and they need to be taken seriously and handled appropriately.”

The 51-year-old Anahola resident, who has more than 20 years of experience in criminal trial work and mentoring newer attorneys, said she’s a “prosecutor, not a politician.”

“The Kauai Office of the Prosecuting Attorney is a relatively small office — only 15 deputies — so Kauai needs a prosecutor who can and will handle significant cases and be hands-on in court helping the deputies,” Arin said.

The former Kauai prosecutor who once practiced criminal law in California said she will tackle the island’s methamphetamine problem, beginning by making sure children are safe in their homes.

“Education, accessibility to prosocial activities and positive mentors, as well as treatment, are essential,” she said. “Therefore, I will address all crimes properly to assist in making kids safe at home and in their community, and I will advocate for and support programs that provide education, accessibility to prosocial activities and positive mentoring, and expanded treatment options on Kauai.”

Arin said adult drug dealers need to be treated differently in the criminal justice system than drug users.

“Drug dealers will be dealt with seriously and incarcerated to protect our kids and those drug users who are trying desperately to get and keep clean,” Arin said. “Drug users who commit other criminal offenses will be held accountable the same as a non-drug user who commits a similar offense, and also be provided with necessary treatment to assist them in their overall rehabilitation.”

Arin, who received her law degree from Western State University College of Law in California, said she understands that bad situations can occur between an officer and a citizen.

“For most things, including this highly charged situation, Kauai cannot be compared to the Mainland,” she said. “The Kauai Police Department has taken measures to very carefully screen recruits to lessen the chance for inappropriate candidates to make it through the process.”

KPD implemented the use of body cameras for officers, which could discourage citizens who might become aggressive or violent, since their actions will be recorded, she said.

“As the prosecutor, if an officer acts outside of the bounds of KPD policy and the criminal law, the officer will be held equally accountable under the law, just as a citizen would in a similar situation,” Arin said.

One thing that most people don’t like to talk about, but that needs to be addressed openly, is domestic violence, Arin said.

“So what we can do as a community is to accept that domestic violence isn’t just a relationship issue that we should not be involved in, we should help the victim, their family and the offender by being honest about what is going on and holding the offender accountable for their actions,” Arin said.

Her biggest accomplishments are having helped abused children get through the court process and achieving justice for them, she said.

“The resilience and courage our keiki have to stand up and to speak out is what has inspired me to step up and take on this challenge of improving our prosecutor’s office and our criminal justice system,” Arin said.

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