KQED Election 2019: San Francisco District Attorney Debate

When San Franciscans elect a new district attorney this November, it will be the first time in over a century that an incumbent hasn't been in the race. With current DA George Gascón stepping down, four candidates--all attorneys with experience working within San Francisco's criminal justice system--are vying for the position. We'll hear from the candidates on their vision for the top prosecutor role in San Francisco and their approach to issues like police use of force, illegal drug use, homelessness and more.

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This November, We Could End Mass Incarceration in San Francisco

When Chesa Boudin was just 14 months old, his parents dropped him off with a babysitter and never came back. That day, they drove a getaway car in a robbery that tragically took the lives of three men. Growing up, Chesa became all too familiar with the experience of going through metal detectors and steel gates to give his parents a hug. Today, he’s one of the most outspoken voices for criminal justice reform in the country. And this November he’s running to be San Francisco’s next district attorney.

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SF DA Candidate Knows Pain of Prison: His radical dad is locked up

Here’s the fourth and final installation of The Chronicle’s D.A. Tuesday — and surely the most interesting one when it comes to a candidate’s biography. Chesa Boudin, 39, is an attorney in the San Francisco public defender’s office who Hollywood script writers should get to know.

His up-close view of our prison system began before he can even remember. When he was just 14 months old, his parents, Kathy Boudin and David Gilbert, left-wing radicals in the Weather Underground — the militant group active in the 1960s and ’70s — served as getaway drivers in a notorious 1981 Brinks armored car robbery outside New York City that ended in the killing of two police officers and a security guard.

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DA candidate calls for reshaping criminal justice system

San Francisco District Attorney candidate and Deputy Public Defender Chesa Boudin stood alongside criminal justice reform advocates today to announce a racial bias policy that he said would fundamentally reshape San Francisco’s criminal justice system as we know it.

“In every facet of American life, we have racial prejudice and racial bias. It is infecting our country. And the place where it’s the most tragic, damaging, and obvious is the criminal justice system,” Boudin declared.

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The money bail system is morally, fiscally, and intellectually bankrupt

By Chesa Boudin

Money bail is the system where innocent people can be kept in jail because they’re poor, while wealthy people who are guilty and dangerous go free. It’s time to end it.

Four years ago, the system was challenged in a groundbreaking lawsuit named after two women, Riana Buffin and Crystal Patterson, who were unconstitutionally jailed in San Francisco and never even charged with a crime. On September 3, a federal judge finally issued an injunction that puts an end to this shameful, dangerous practice.Assuming that the injunction takes effect—which turns on the approval of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors—it will prohibit San Francisco from using money bail after an arrest and prior to an initial court appearance.

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He Was A Child Of Incarcerated Parents. He Could Be San Francisco’s Next District Attorney.

SAN FRANCISCO ― Chesa Boudin’s dad has been incarcerated since he was just a year old, and his mom was behind bars for decades. He thinks that makes him the best candidate for district attorney of San Francisco.

“The experience of having parents incarcerated is actually, sadly, really normal in this country,” Boudin, 39, told HuffPost in August, noting that nearly half of Americans have close family currently or formerly in jail or prison. “That’s a lived experience that is in many ways a defining part of modern American culture, but one that’s all too often removed from or ignored by the political class.”

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San Francisco Deserves Restorative Justice

Our response to crime should focus on healing and accountability, not punishment and retribution.
If they loved me more, they wouldn’t have gone. They wouldn’t have risked losing me. That’s how I felt for years.

When I was 14 months old, my parents left me at my babysitter’s house and participated in an armored car robbery that ended in disaster. Their accomplices shot and killed three men, including two police officers. My mother and father received 20- and 75-year minimum sentences. Though I was not physically injured that terrible day, nor did my loved ones die, I was one of the dozens of people whose lives were devastated. Like them, I was angry, too.

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The District Attorney Has a Role to Play in Protecting Tenants

San Francisco is in the midst of a housing crisis. In the last five years alone, 40,000 tenants have faced eviction in the city. The majority of evictions are served on at-risk tenants — low-income, elderly, or those who speak English as a second language, if at all. Since Prop F passed in 2018, every tenant facing eviction has the right to an attorney. But we must do more to protect tenants against landlords—and their agents—who break the law.

People who are evicted generally face a huge rent hike if they choose to stay in the city or, most likely, they become displaced, either to other parts of the Bay or onto the streets. In San Francisco, 71 percent of the unhoused people were formerly housed in our city — evictions are a primary cause of increasing homelessness.

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These Progressive Prosecutors Want to Reshape Justice in Major American Cities

Thirty-eight-year-old deputy public defender Chesa Boudin has had an inside view of the criminal justice system for his entire life. When he was a year old, his parents, who were members of radical 1960s leftist group the Weather Underground, were arrested after they participated in an armored-car robbery that resulted in the deaths of two police officers and a security guard.

Boudin went on to become a Rhodes Scholar, graduated from Yale Law School, and landed a job as deputy public defender in San Francisco. Since taking on that role, he helped steer a successful case to overhaul San Francisco’s cash-bail system.

Boudin is now running for DA of San Francisco, and this election will take place in November.

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SF Public Defender Running for DA Calls for Unit to Protect Immigrants from Deportation



A San Francisco deputy public defender says he would create a unit to help prevent undocumented immigrants charged with crimes from being deported if elected as district attorney in November.

The Immigration Unit proposed by candidate Chesa Boudin would work to assure that defendants are not offered plea deals that have unintended consequences on their immigration status.

“This isn’t about trying to privilege immigrants,” Boudin said. “It’s about helping to protect our immigrant communities from being punished by the federal government for something that we’ve already punished them for.”

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