After the Chronicle broke a story that DA Brooke Jenkins’s office had been disqualified from a case involving her family member, Jenkins took to Twitter to excoriate the paper’s seemingly accurate reporting on the topic.
The Chronicle had themselves a nice little mini-scoop Wednesday — not a huge story, but some good original reporting that would be of interest in legal circles — that DA Brooke Jenkins’s office had been disqualified by a state appeals court from prosecuting a murder case that involved a family member. The case was that of three suspects accused of murdering Jenkins’s husband’s cousin Jerome Mallory in 2020 while Chesa Boudin was still DA, and Jenkins spoke critically of Boudin’s handling of the case in a 2021 Chronicle profile by Heather Knight that in retrospect, may have launched Jenkins’s political career.
Jenkins did indeed personally recuse herself from that case in 2020, when she was at the time Boudin’s assistant DA. And now that she’s the DA, it has been well-covered in the media that the judges were skeptical Jenkins’s office could be objective in this prosecution. They eventually did disqualify her office, that decision was appealed, and the state appeals court upheld that decision Wednesday. None of this is terribly unusual.
But Golly Ned, is Jenkins fuming at the Chronicle over their coverage of the matter. Jenkins fired off an angry ten-tweet diatribe at the paper on Thursday, taking bitter umbrage with the Chronicle’s headline “S.F. D.A.’s office is disqualified from prosecuting murder case following Jenkins’ comments.”
"This headline is inaccurate + misleading. Please correct + do better,” Jenkins tweeted, Later in the thread, she adds, “This decision has nothing to do at all with my ‘comments.’ However, the headline grossly suggests otherwise.”
“The Chronicle may not have experience covering a DA, or DA’s, whose family members have been direct victims of violence. But that is my lived, personal experience as a Black and Latina woman,” her thread continues. “Your headline fails on the news and also fails to recognize my family’s continued pain and suffering while we continue to seek justice - just for the sake of clicks.”
(As an aside I work in media. I can assure you that articles about state appeals court decisions generally do not get clicks.)
But is the Chronicle wrong in reporting that Jenkins’s 2021 comments were part of the appeals court’s decision? The full 22-page ruling is available online, and the judge who wrote the decision specifically says that “Jenkins made these critical remarks to the press in support of a highly publicized campaign to recall the district attorney at the time. Indeed, more than one newspaper published her criticisms of the [Jerome] Mallory prosecution, including the Chronicle, the largest newspaper in California.”
I’m no legal scholar, but I’m pretty sure the judge there is referring to remarks Brooke Jenkins made to the Chronicle.
Hey, we can all sympathize with someone who’s lost a family member to violent crime, as too many of us have. But sympathy does not apply to professional, taxpayer-funded public service duties. And Jenkins sure seems to have more recusal drama and conflict of interest trouble than any SF DA I can remember in recent decades. Plus, much of it is the result of her media grandstanding to get Boudin recalled, which we have since learned, was not exactly “volunteer’ work.
Either way, the case of slain Jerome Mallory, and the three defendants Stevie Mitchell, Sincere Pomar, and Ravenell Young, will now be assigned to either state AG Rob Bonta’s office, or to a nearby county’s DA office.
Image: SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 31: San Francisco district attorney Brooke Jenkins speaks during a news conference on October 31, 2022 in San Francisco, California. Jenkins announced state level charges against David Wayne DePape who attacked Paul Pelosi, husband of U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, after breaking into their home. DePape is being charged with attempted murder, residential burglary, assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse, false imprisonment of an elder and threats to a public official and their family. The U.S. attorney has also filed federal charges against DePape. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)