Lingle’s pick for court
led campaign funds

Carlisle worries about confirmation
fallout for his veteran deputy

City Prosecutor Peter Carlisle said the confirmation of his deputy, Randal Lee, to the Circuit Court bench could be controversial because of his investigations into campaign donations and politicians.

Randal Lee


Age: 50
Graduated: Southwestern University School of Law in Los Angeles and the University of Hawaii
Job: A deputy prosecuting attorney and a former attorney in the Appellate Branch and Family Court Trials Branch of the Office of the Public Defender

"My only concern is the confirmation process, because he (Lee) has ruffled feathers at very high levels," said Carlisle, who fears that Lee's investigations into some of the state's top design, engineering and architectural firms' campaign donations will have repercussions.

"Take a look at all the people who were prosecuted in the campaign-spending case," Carlisle said. "The only way this guy is not going to get the job is because of external influences that have nothing to do with the job he has been doing."

But Senate Judiciary Chairwoman Colleen Hanabusa discounted Carlisle's worries, saying she hasn't heard any complaints from fellow senators.

"The reverse might be true, that people may be happy to have Mr. Lee get to the bench -- those with outstanding problems with the Campaign Spending Commission," Hanabusa (D, Nanakuli-Makua) said.

Hanabusa said she thought Lee has been doing a good job.

"I think that Mr. Lee in his prosecution has shown himself to be a rather independent person. I haven't heard anyone say that his prosecutions has been personal or vindictive," she said.

Lee has been the city's top white-collar crime prosecutor and has run the three-year investigation into campaign-spending law violations surrounding the administration of former Mayor Jeremy Harris. Lee also prosecuted Michael Kahapea for stealing $5.8 million in city funds in Ewa Villages.

The investigation has involved dozens of firms and individuals bundling contributions or giving contributions to Harris and former Gov. Ben Cayetano and ex-Lt. Gov. Mazie Hirono under false names to get around campaign spending limits.

Bob Watada, Campaign Spending Commission executive director, also praised Lee.

"I think the right person is being nominated. He is fair, he is honest and he is a very good person," Watada said.

Carlisle called Lee "a man of remarkable integrity and ability."

"It is a position he deserves and is phenomenally well qualified for," Carlisle said.

Both Watada and Carlisle said Lee's nomination will not stop the city's investigation in campaign spending violations.

"We can handle it. ... We made contingency plans," Carlisle said.

Watada said he discussed the investigation and prosecution with Carlisle and was assured that other deputy prosecutors could take over the case.

Gov. Linda Lingle said Lee has the experience as both a prosecutor and public defender.

"Randal's experience as a deputy prosecuting attorney, as well as his background with the Public Defender's Office, gives him a broad perspective and understanding of the judicial system," Lingle said.

Lingle selected Lee from a list of six candidates that was submitted by the Judicial Selection Commission earlier this month.

State Judiciary

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