LIHU‘E — Justin Kollar may not be a big name in the Kaua‘i community yet, but the deputy county attorney has made waves in the law enforcement community by waging war on drunk drivers as a deputy prosecutor, assisting police as their legal advisor and serving as the president of the Kaua‘i Bar Association.
“Justin has been a huge asset for KPD,” said Police Chief Darryl Perry, describing Kollar’s work as a blessing. “I know he was a very, very good prosecutor and his talents just translated over to us.”
Kollar, 37, recently announced his plans to take those talents to the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney if he wins the prosecutor seat held by Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho. The prosecutor said she intends to run for re-election in the 2012 race.
“I am not somebody who is very well known but I am running on the track record of what I have accomplished here and the relationships that I have developed,” Kollar said.
Craig De Costa, the former Kaua‘i prosecuting attorney, said Kollar has the skills necessary to serve. He brought Kollar into the OPA in 2008, where he excelled at handling driving under the influence cases on the island.
“I believe he has what it takes to be an effective prosecutor,” De Costa said. “He’s been there in the office, he understands what the role of that office is, which is to seek justice. And he has the ability to work with the police, courts and the community collaboratively.”
He added that Kollar’s demeanor, intelligence, willingness to listen to and work with others makes him a strong contender.
Perry agreed that Kollar would make a viable candidate for the position.
“He has the experience, temperament, and requisite legal skill sets to do an outstanding job,” Perry said. “He is very dedicated and committed to serving the people of Kauai.”
A 3-year-resident of the island, Kollar was born in Allentown, Penn. to working-class parents, who raised him to value hard work, determination and family.
“I want to honor everything they did to get me where I am in life by doing everything I can to make the community around me a better and safer place,” Kollar said.
After graduating from Boston University with honors and a double major in History and Political Science, Kollar became a manager for a printing company. He eventually pursued law school at Suffolk University.
He went on to work as an Assistant Corporation Counsel and then a clerkship for the Honorable Daniel R. Foley on the State of Hawaii’s Intermediate Court of Appeals in 2005. That was followed by his position with De Costa, working his way up to felony drug and vehicular homicide cases.
In October 2009, he began work with KPD as its legal adviser. Kollar also serves as a member of the Board of Examiners of the Hawai‘i Supreme Court and is a member of the state Ignition Interlock Task Force among other professional associations.
“I believe for the criminal justice system to work effectively all the different pieces in the machine have to work together — police, prosecutors, judiciary, community and the legal community,” Kollar said. “I’ve earned the trust and the credibility with those elements such that they can work together effectively and efficiently.”
If elected, he said he will work to protect Kaua‘i’s ohana by focusing on quality life issues that effect families and their homes, including drunk driving, drug abuse and property crime tied to those addictions.
“The first step is to build a team of dedicated and talented deputy prosecutors that can go into court and stand toe-to-toe with the defense attorneys and have the trust and credibility they need to do their jobs,” Kollar said.
While he realizes his announcement is somewhat early, Kollar said he plans to spend time speaking with community members about who he is and why this race is important.
“I’ll walk to every house on this island, if that’s what it takes.”