Chesa Boudin has been visiting his parents in prison since he was 14 months old. On Wednesday night, he’ll become San Francisco’s top criminal prosecutor.
After a razor-thin victory whose outcome took six days to sort out this past November, deputy public defender and criminal justice reform advocate Chesa Boudin will be sworn in as district attorney on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. at the Herbst Theatre, per the Bay Area Reporter. Want to attend? You can’t. The free event is already sold out. But after Mayor Breed swears him in as San Francisco’s 30th district attorney — and first openly elected district attorney since 1909— then the freshly married Boudin will get down to business, laying off the prosecution of non-violent crimes, and in the words of his campaign, fighting “for equal justice, for giving victims a voice, for ending the criminalization of mental illness and poverty, and making us all safer by treating the root causes of crime.”
A new report came out tracking whether police are more likely to stop black people on the road.— Chesa Boudin 博徹思 (@chesaboudin) January 3, 2020
SF police had the biggest reported racial disparities: they were 5x more likely to stop black people than their percentage of the population would explain. https://t.co/g6VuFU8zG7
As the Chronicle notes, Boudin inherits a backlog of what we euphemistically call “officer-involved shooting” cases to consider. He was the only DA candidate who said he would have charged officers for the 2015 shooting of Mario Woods, but he’ll have many chances to put his money where his mouth is on other similar cases. The Chron diligently details the police shootings still to be considered for prosecution: the 2017 killing of carjacking suspect of Keita “Iggy” O’Neil, the non-fatal shooting of Sean Moore earlier that year, the “99 shots” killing of Jesus Delgado Duarte in 2018, last September’s shooting of David Wesser and killing his dog after Wesser missed a court date, and last month’s shooting of bottle-of-Grey-Goose assailant Jamaica Hampton, who survived. Four of the five suspects shot were people of color.
The system I know from the inside out CAN be changed. We can achieve equal justice, redemption, and rehabilitation rather than contribute to a racist system of mass incarceration. We can make our city safe & just for everyone.— Chesa Boudin 博徹思 (@chesaboudin) January 5, 2020
Next week we begin. https://t.co/A0tsEcQbj9
Boudin makes the case that a “racist system of mass incarceration” plays a role in these shootings, and his famous biography as the son of jailed Weather Underground activists does give him a lifetime of experience understanding the effects of mass incarceration. Boudin’s parents were arrested and jailed when he was a 14-month-old toddler for their role in the 1981 Weather Underground Brink’s truck robbery that killed a security guard and two police officers. (His mother was released in 2003, his father is still doing time.) On top of that, Boudin was raised in the absence of his biological parents by Bill Ayers, who inspired Sarah Palin’s 2008 “palling around with terrorists” line, but also helped fashion the young Chesa Boudin into a Rhodes Scholar, Yale Law graduate, and eventually, San Francisco District Attorney.
This life story fails to impress the San Francisco Police Officers Association, and the unemployed conservative game show hosts who love them.
Yet the outgoing, interim district attorney Suzy Loftus did lodge one final act in her short, three-month tenure. The Chonicle reports that on Monday, Loftus required a sex crimes prosecutor to be on duty 24/7 in the DA’s department. (Boudin said he “approved the new policies” in a text to the Chronicle.) Loftus said Monday that “Sexual assaults, like many crimes, don’t happen between the hours of 9 to 5.”
Boudin has not yet named staff, but did name a transition team on his website. In a post from late November, he noted that George Gascón’s former chief of staff Cristine Soto DeBerry would be onboard, as well as founders, directors, and senior advisers from and San Francisco Rising, Smart Justice California, and the W. Haywood Burns Institute.