It's the first week of District Attorney Brooke Jenkins's tenure in the SF DA's Office, and she has told the staff she wants to review all still-unclosed plea offers — and she says she may reconsider drug cases in particular, regardless of a defendant's immigration status.
The news will keep rolling in at a steady clip in the coming weeks as the San Francisco DA's Office gets shaken up, and as some of progressive DA Chesa Boudin's prosecutorial policies get undone by Jenkins. And while Jenkins was part of this office and reportedly supportive of Boudin's work when he first took office in 2020, her opinion sharply changed before she became one of the faces of the campaign to recall him last year — and colleagues say that while she may call herself progressive, that is up for debate.
The mood was "icy" and "uncomfortable" when Jenkins met with the existing staff on Friday, according to sources who spoke to SFGate — and the historically conservative New York Post picked up that story and gleefully re-reported on the tensions "with staff inherited from her booted woke predecessor."
Jenkins reportedly told the 25 or so staffers that no one was being fired on Friday, but that they should expect "reshuffling" to occur at some point.
She also informed the staff that she wanted to review all the unclosed plea offers still on the table — with the Chronicle reporting she wants to focus on drug cases where offers might have been too lenient.
"When I gave my acceptance speech... I indicated to the public that on day one, I will begin enforcing drug crime law," Jenkins tells the Chronicle. "That is something that I wasn’t just saying because it sounded great in a speech, but because that’s what I meant."
The immediate question becomes whether Jenkins will be sensitive to deportable offenses, and cases where an undocumented person was arrested for dealing drugs. Under Boudin, many of these individuals were given plea deals for felony charges of accessory after the fact, instead of possession with the intent to sell, which could lead to deportation.
"There’s a lot of chatter about making someone deportable," Jenkins said in her Chronicle interview. “But the reality of it is that [deportation] is… unlikely."
Jenkins also said she was sensitive to issues around immigration, because her father, who is from El Salvador, is not a U.S. citizen and currently resides in Germany because of civil war in his home country.
For all those SF residents who felt that Boudin was not being tough enough on crime, this may be welcome news. But it's already raising hackles among the other camp, and those who continue to support Boudin's policies in theory and practice.
And, as SFGate notes, "How Jenkins runs the district attorney's office in the coming months will be a source of intrigue both locally and nationally," and it's already leading to speculation that Boudin is going to throw his hat back in and run for the office again in November, or at the very least next year, when he would have been up for reelection anyway.
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