In a conversation with the Chronicle's editorial board, Mayor Ed Lee expressed an interesting opinion on just who, exactly, is to blame for the fact that San Francisco now has the highest per capita property crime rate in the US: judges. That's right, not the criminals themselves, not policing strategies, nor the larger economy leaving behind low-skilled workers, nor a lack of drug addiction treatment services, and not even Prop 47. Instead, the mayor points the finger at our appointed and elected Superior Court judges.
“When you go in court and you go through these cases, many judges will say these are low-level property crimes, and therefore the consequences that we expect — especially with repeat offenders — is not getting that level of attention,” Lee rambled to the Chron. “Judges do get elected. They have to be accountable.”
In other words, judges are not punishing criminals harshly enough, and the citizens of SF should replace them with ones who will. And just what Judge Dredds should replace them? Well, Lee has just the recommendation for all you law-and-order types.
As the Chron helpfully reminds us, although Superior Court judges are appointed by the governor, they still face a "retention" election every six years. Also, an election is held when a judge retires early or dies while still on the bench. As a sitting judge has retired, we have the chance to vote in a new one — and Lee has endorsed candidates Paul Henderson and Victor Hwang.
But Lee doesn't stop there. He also thinks we should have groups that monitor judges and second guess their sentencing decisions. “We have to have a group of citizens ... that will monitor what happens in court, particularly with individuals we identify as repeat offenders, and hold the judges accountable,” Lee bloviated. “Nobody is monitoring those cases of (property crime). And the judges know that.”
So, there you have it. Property crime is the fault of too lenient judges, and if you vote for one of Lee's candidates everything will be better.