FAQ

  • Why are you calling this a Republican recall?

    Answer

    The effort to recall our DA was started by local Republicans, is funded almost entirely by billionaire Republicans, and is endorsed by the SF Republican Party. The Democratic Party unequivocally endorsed a no vote on the recall and is pouring money and resources AGAINST the recall. Not ONE elected Democrat supports the recall. Every labor union, judge, and major publication that has taken a stance in the race has endorsed a NO vote on the recall (including the Democratic Party, ACLU, and the SF Chronicle). Of course there are individual Democrats who support it because the millions of dollars being poured into this race by Republican donors (like William Obendorf who has donated millions to Mitch McConnell) has been very effective at spreading lies and misinformation. This recall is part of a rash of Republican efforts to attack reform-minded DA’s across the country. Fox News, Tucker Carlson, and Ted Cruz have all attacked progressive DAs, including Chesa.

  • What do you mean by the Republican attacks on reform minded DAs?

    Answer

    Republicans and Fox News have been targeting progressive prosecutors across the country and have falsely blamed them for crimes–even though Republican jurisdictions have higher crime rates.   They attacked Larry Krasner in Philly and Kim Foxx in Chicago–but both were soundly reelected.

    Not deterred, conservatives adopted a new approach: the recall.   An easier way to attack a prosecutor without the campaign finance restrictions of general elections.   It’s no coincidence that George Gascon is also facing a recall–and conservative legislators in Illinois are actually trying to create a recall process solely to recall their DA, Kim Foxx.

    There is no better example than the 2021 Attorney General race in Virginia, where Republican Jason Miyares unseated the Attorney General. After his historic upset, he told the Republican Party to focus on Progressive Prosecutors as a way to move a state from blue to red.   He says - “step one, find a progressive prosecutor - step two, make them famous. Make them the face of Democrats on police and crime, and prepare for victory. Make an argument about progressive prosecutors running amok in the criminal justice system, and Republicans could highlight, not dusty white papers or data, but very very real human stories, incredibly gut-wrenching stories.” The Rep. Virginia Attorney General told lawmakers to work with their local TV outlets, because many on-air reporters begin and end their day checking “the police blotter.” He says television helps tell a better, fuller story, reiterating the importance of the “visceral” element. He tells them to “say they are far-left, special interest groups that have a criminal-first, victim-last mentality. That gets my message across.”

    Sound familiar? TV stories that fear-monger, false attacks on progressives for crime, and anecdotes being used to drive policy? Straight out of that playbook. There’s a reason Tom Cotton, Ted Cruz, and Tucker Carlson love to talk about progressive prosecutors like Chesa every night on Fox.

  • Why oppose the recall, even if I am not sure how I feel about Chesa Boudin?

    Answer

    Chesa is doing exactly what he was elected to do. He has followed through on the promises he made to voters.   This is a democracy: SF voters should have a say in who their district attorney is–and they chose Chesa. A recall doesn’t let voters choose between two candidates–it allows the Mayor to appoint whomever she wants. We have no idea who would be the DA if Chesa is recalled.

    The recall is essentially allowing a losing side to try and buy a new result. How so? Well, in the 2019 election, donors were limited to $500 donations.   But for the recall, there are no campaign limits, which is how Republican billionaires are able to donate millions of dollars to try to get a new result. Prop H was put on the ballot by William Oberndorf’s million dollars - a Republican mega donor to Mitch McConnell. We must not let our city get conned by these Republican billionaires who never supported Chesa’s policies and just want to advance their conservative approaches to crime.

  • Why should I worry about Mayor Breed appointing a new DA? She is a Democrat.

    Answer

    Our city government is designed to have separate branches–not one person controlling many elected positions. Voters should decide who will be their DA.

    Furthermore, any person appointed will have just seen millions of dollars used to attack Boudin because he was willing to take on special interests and tough issues. The message will be clear to all elected officials: keep your head down or you will be next.

  • The petition for the recall got 83,000 signatures. Doesn’t this show that the recall is a grassroots movement?

    Answer

    That is a self-reported number of signatures - that number has never been audited or validated. The people collecting signatures were not volunteers, and most did not live in San Francisco. The truth is that the recall campaign paid signature gatherers a whopping $12 a signature and flew signature gatherers in from all over the country - the highest rate per signature in history.

    But hey, it doesn’t change the fact that a lot of people seem to have signed. What any political consultant in California politics will tell you is that you can qualify anything you want for the ballot if you spend enough money to hire professional signatures gatherers. Campaigns incentivize signature gathering by paying them per signature and sending them across the city saying things like “Do you want to stop sexual assault? Sign here” or even tell them to say straight up lies to get people to sign.   If you are allowed to employ those tactics and have unlimited money, then yes, you will get lots of signatures. But that’s a reflection of the money you spend, not necessarily popular support.

    What do you mean it is self reported and never audited? They use a random sampling of 10,000 and if they get to a certain percentage interval of signatures then they stop counting.

  • Why is Chesa always out campaigning instead of doing his job?

    Answer

    That is a key strategy in these Republican recalls - it distracts Chesa from doing the job he was elected to do by requiring him to campaign for the entirety of his tenure. Chesa has to juggle a lot: a busy, demanding job with a campaign seeking to stop the very work he is so committed to doing.   He’d like to get back to focusing full time on the important work he has to do to keep SF safe and just–and when he defeats the recall, he can do just that.

  • If Chesa is doing well, why is he getting recalled?

    Answer

    Here’s what’s important to know: In the 2019 election, the most any donor could give was $500. By contrast, recall campaigns are allowed to accept unlimited donations. That’s significant, because the single biggest contributor to the recall is a committee called Neighbors for a Better San Francisco that has given about a $2.75 million donation so far. We’re not dealing with a grassroots movement. We’re dealing with a small number of wealthy individuals, many of whom are national Republican major donors.

    Why are the wealthy so against him? Chesa created a worker-protection unit that filed lawsuits against some gig-economy companies that have exploited and underpaid workers. Several of the people donating to the recall are investors in those companies.

  • Isn’t crime out of control? I/my neighbors don’t feel safe.

    Answer

    SFPD’s own crime statistics show that reported crime has actually gone down in most categories since Chesa Boudin took office in 2020. The pandemic has exacerbated problems like homelessness, mental health crises, and addiction, and has limited available treatment and housing. This makes the streets feel less safe.

    Also crime trends have shifted into different neighborhoods, which may impact how crime feels.

    Though there have been some categories of crime that have gone up, it’s important to note that crime has gone up across the country, and SF is actually an exception to many national trends since overall crime has declined here.

  • I have lived in San Francisco my whole life and this city is much worse in the last couple of years than it ever has been before. How is that not Chesa’s fault?

    Answer

    DA Boudin has become the scapegoat for all of San Francisco’s problems, getting blamed for homelessness, addiction, and mental illness and the consequences of a global pandemic that sheltered us in our homes. These are not criminal justice problems–they’re city problems, public health problems.

    There is also a lot of misinformation that ignores the impact of the pandemic. Just one example - the recallers are sending around mailers saying that DA Boudin did not take one drug case to trial in his first year in office. You know why? Because it was the middle of COVID and most of our courtrooms were shut down for COVID and almost no trials were able to happen all year!

    Yet even without the ability to hold trials, DA Boudin still filed about 10,000 new cases since taking office, and his administration has served the most victims through the DA’s Victim Services Division in San Francisco history. Our city has been through a lot in the last two years and the DA should have the opportunity to do the job he was elected to do.

  • If the DA is doing his job then why have homicides spiked in San Francisco?

    Answer

    The increase in homicides is not unique to SF (it’s actually much lower here than in other cities). It is also not a progressive city problem, but a national trend and much more pronounced in red states than blue. There is absolutely no correlation between crime trends and progressive prosecutor jurisdictions; in fact the most significant crime increases in California have been in conservative DA counties. Data show that recent murder rates have been 40% higher in Republican-run cities. The approach of progressive prosecutors is making us safer.

  • Property crime has skyrocketed in San Francisco. What is DA Boudin doing about it?

    Answer

    Property crimes have long been a problem in SF and the types of those crimes have changed during the pandemic. We are now seeing a return to pre-pandemic trends but the numbers show that property crimes are lower today than they were in 2019 even though it can sometimes feel like these crimes have increased because of viral videos or social media posts.

    That said, DA Boudin is filing property crime charges at high rates (he has filed charges in about 70% of theft cases presented by police and about 75% of burglaries since 2021).

    DA Boudin has also shown leadership to prevent property crime by forming an alliance with other Bay Area prosecutors and Attorney General Bonta to combat organized retail theft; forming partnerships to support retail stores experiencing retail thefts; and conducting numerous operations to hold those who are leading organized retail theft accountable.

    He has also worked to support victims of property crime–especially home burglaries. Under District Attorney Boudin’s leadership, the District Attorney’s Office’s Victim Services Division has funding for the first time in office history, to support victims of property crime through two property crime advocates. 

  • How can you tell me that crime is down if my lived experience says otherwise?

    Answer

    It is Chesa’s goal to make sure that all San Franciscans both are and feel safe. And if people aren’t feeling safe, then we have more work to do. When people become victims of crime or have loved ones who are victims of crime, they don’t care about data, they feel unsafe - and that is one of the reasons why Chesa has prioritized expanding victim services in the San Francisco District Attorney's Office. He has added 10 new victim advocates - including 2 advocates who specifically focus on property crime victims - a crime type that previously was not offered services by the Victim Services Division. He is also invested in addressing the root causes of crime to stop crime long-term.

  • Isn’t it true that criminals know he won’t prosecute and so crimes are becoming more brazen? Are car and home break-ins skyrocketing because criminals “know they will get away with it”?

    Answer

    Unlike the DA’s prosecution rates–which are either in line or higher than his predecessors–SFPD’s clearance rates have plummeted since Chesa took office, solving on average less than 10% of crime and a shocking less than 1% of crimes like auto break-ins. Chief Scott recently admitted to the Police Commission that SFPD doesn’t even try to investigate or follow up on most car break-ins.

    Evidence shows that what deters crime is not the length of sentence but the likelihood of getting caught.   With theft in San Francisco, people believe they can get away with it because most of them do–they’re never caught by police. In SF, if you commit a car break-in you are more than 99% likely to get away with it.

    That said, Boudin’s charging rates are comparable to and often higher than his predecessor. In the two areas mentioned above: prosecution rates for auto burglaries were HIGHER in 2021 and 2022 (67.3%) than 2011 - 2019 (63.35%). Prosecution rates for home burglaries were 69.6% in 2021 and 2022 compared with 68.77 from 2011 - 2019.

  • How is Chesa addressing the root causes of crime?

    Answer

    Addressing the root causes of crime helps keep us all safer by remedying the underlying problem that pushes someone to criminal behavior. Here are just some examples of how Chesa is addressing root causes of crimes:

    • Chesa recognized that ghost guns (unregulated, untraceable firearms purchased in kits and easily assembled at home)are an ever-growing problem in SF (linked to about 50% of gun homicides in 2020). So, rather than waiting for a violent crime to happen, Chesa has sued the ghost-gun companies to prohibit them from flooding our streets with their guns.
    • Chesa has expanded the use of diversion programs (essentially treatment courts) that help people with mental health, homelessness, and addiction get the treatment and support they need to get back on track.
    • Chesa has also tried to address retail theft at the source: he has conducted numerous operations to stop the fencing networks that make retail theft profitable. One joint operation with other agencies led to the recovery of over $8 million in stolen goods.
  • Doesn’t Chesa care more about criminals than victims of crime?

    Answer

    No! He cares about justice and public safety and believes we can have both. He has dramatically increased support for victims and expanded the Victim Services Division, which serves victims even when an arrest is not made. He has promoted increased language access and cultural competency for the office. In every budget cycle, he has pushed for more support for victims.

    Chesa also believes that the public is safer when we promote justice. Communities targeted by police violence feel safer when police are held accountable and are more likely to cooperate with law enforcement to solve crimes. When we address root causes of crime, we prevent recidivism. And when people feel treated with respect and dignity–rather than dehumanized–they are more likely to stay on track and contribute to their community.

  • What is DA Boudin doing about car break ins?

    Answer

    Of the more than 20,000 reported smash-and-grab car break in cases reported each year, police make arrests in less than 1%. DA Boudin is targeting the higher-level criminals who profit off the city’s smash-and-grab epidemic.

    DA Boudin created Operation Autopilot, an extensive operation where the DA’s Office placed bait cars with bags inside containing items with tracking devices on them. The Office was then able to track the flow of the stolen goods–which went to Southern California, Texas, and even internationally.   The DA’s Office then arrested one suspect and recovered over 1000 laptops, phones, cameras and other devices.

  • Did Chesa Boudin set the $950 threshold for theft?

    Answer

    No. Proposition 47 has nothing to do with DA Boudin. California passed Proposition 47 seven years ago to set the felony theft threshold at $950, which is still among the lowest in the country ( 38 states have felony thresholds at or above $1,000 and Texas has a threshold of $2,500).   It did not decriminalize theft–it is still a crime to steal less than $950, it is just a misdemeanor rather than a felony.   The DA does prosecute misdemeanors, and recently took a misdemeanor theft case to trial.

    Blaming Prop 47 for property crime is silly: following the implementation of Prop 47, California saw a decline in property crimes.

  • Doesn’t Chesa refuse to hold accountable repeat offenders? They’re just back out on the street immediately?

    Answer

    Recidivism is unfortunately a reality in the criminal justice system.   66% of people released from California prisons will be arrested again in just a few years. Our current approach has failed to keep us safe.

    Chesa absolutely holds people accountable when they commit repeated crimes–and uses incarceration when it is the best resort.   But he also recognizes that to break the cycle of crime that leads someone to continually reoffend we must address the root causes.   That will help prevent recidivism and promote safety.

  • What is DA Boudin doing about the smash and grab retail thefts occurring in San Francisco?

    Answer

    As shown in this data dashboard, Chesa’s office has filed charges in 86% of commercial burglary cases presented to his office by SFPD. When union square businesses were robbed, Chesa Boudin filed felony charges in every single arrest related to these incidents, and he worked with SFPD to identify others involved to hopefully lead to their arrest. And this was not unique to San Francisco. The same weekend Union Square got robbed, the same thing was happening in Walnut Creek, Hayward, Oakland and San Jose. In response to these brazen and clearly organized instances of retail theft, Boudin announced an alliance between San Francisco, San Joaquin, Alameda, Marin, San Mateo, and Santa Clara counties; law enforcement; and state agencies to combat the recent increase in organized retail theft.

    This partnership between the counties allows for better sharing of information through data collection, crime analytics, as well as pooled investigative tools to successfully prosecute those involved with organized retail theft schemes. In addition to Chesa’s work to hold those who commit crimes accountable, the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office is conducting ongoing work to deter, disrupt, and dismantle organized retail theft operations. Chesa’s office is working with state, federal, and local law enforcement agencies to identify and dismantle the fencing networks that make these crimes profitable. There are currently over half a dozen confidential operations underway.

  • What is he doing about drug use in the Tenderloin?

    Answer

    DA Boudin prosecutes drug sales at very high rates: in 2021, he has prosecuted 85% of drug sales/possession for sale cases presented by police. The Tenderloin has been an ongoing public-health crisis and state of emergency for at least a decade. This is not a new problem. For years the right-wing media has loved to point to the Tenderloin as an example of the failures of progressive policies. The emergence of fentanyl and the increase in overdose deaths is a crisis–which is why DA Boudin asked the Mayor to fund a fentanyl task force in 2020   just to focus on this issue, but his request was unfortunately denied.

    In San Francisco, we need to have safe consumption sites, because people don’t die of overdoses at safe consumption sites. The second thing we need is people who are drug-addicted to have an easier time accessing treatment and services than they do buying drugs on the street corner. We are prosecuting people the police arrest. It’s not working because there is an insatiable demand for drugs from people who don’t have housing, access to health care, access to employment and access to treatment that can help them reduce their dependence on dangerous drugs.

  • What is he doing to address Anti-Asian hate crimes?

    Answer

    Attacks against Asian Americans surged across the nation starting in 2020. In San Francisco, the DA has taken bold action in response to that increase.   He filed more than 20 hate crime charges since 2021.   He provided more than a dozen hate crime trainings for prosecutors, police and other agencies. He has a full time DA devoted to prosecuting hate crimes.   He created a field card for offices to use to better investigate and collect evidence in possible hate crime cases. He organized and led a summit in May of 2021 devoted to responding to AAPI hate. He has organized an AAPI Elder Abuse Steering Committee to protect vulnerable AAPI victims.

    DA Boudin has also promoted Asian staff members to key positions in his office.   Kasie Lee was promoted as the first Chinese-American Chief of Victim Services–and immediately began fighting to improve language access throughout the division.   His Chief Attorney in the office is a Chinese-American longtime prosecutor.   He has added numerous additional victim advocates, and increased the number of advocates who speak Cantonese, Mandarin, and other languages.

  • What is Chesa doing to support victims?

    Answer

      DA Boudin has also expanded the number of victim advocates to provide more support for crime victims. He has:

      • Expanded the DA’s Victim Services Division:
        • Added, for the first time ever, two advocates to focus exclusively on property crimes.
        • Increased the number of multilingual victim service advocates
          • From 1 Cantonese speaker to 5
          • 0 Mandarin speakers to 2
          • 1 Laotian speaker
          • 1 Tagalog speaker
          • 1 Hindi/Urdu speaker.
    • Increased the number of multilingual victim service advocates
    • Hired Kasie Lee, a multilingual Chinese American, as the Chief of Victim Services
    • Hired, for the first time ever, advocates to focus on property crimes.
    • Created new policies to expand language access for victims, including by providing in court translators for victims observing court proceedings (previously this service was only provided when they testified)
    • Advocated for sexual assault victims
    • Supported victimized small businesses
      • Provided merchants with reimbursements in vandalism cases (piloted in D5; since expanded citywide)
      • Filed civil prosecution against a law firm for fraudulently suing small businesses, often immigrant-owned
  • If the police won’t work with him, regardless of whether it is Chesa’s fault or not, how can we proceed if we want to be safe? We can’t recall the cops.

    Answer

    The DA’s Office works with police every day.   They communicate constantly about cases, arrest warrants, etc.; frequently partner on operations; and the DA relies on police in proving cases in court.

    But it is important to note that police in SF and the police union (POA) have a long history of opposing every DA for the past several decades–including Terrence Hallinan, Kamala Harris, and George Gascon.   The POA has fought criminal justice reform for many years. The police protested Kamala for progressive policies like refusing to seek the death penalty.   Now, they protest Chesa because he is holding officers who beat or kill people unlawfully accountable.

    There have been many stories of police refusing to make arrests or investigate because they falsely claim that the DA won’t prosecute (again: false–the DA has higher filing rates than previous administrations).   We can’t reward bad behavior: we cannot allow the police to refuse to do their jobs and solve fewer crimes than ever before and then allow them to force us to get rid of a DA they don’t like.   That would allow police to hold us hostage.   Instead, we must send a clear message to police that voters want Chesa to continue the work he was elected to do.

    Chesa also created a Special Investigations Unit that exists to work directly with SFPD to investigate and prosecute complex cases like retail theft. A coordinated operation by the Special Investigations Unit and the San Francisco Police Department’s Major Crimes Burglary Detail has resulted in more than two dozen felony charges being filed against two defendants for 28 separate residential burglaries over a four-month period.

  • Why won’t Chesa prosecute strikes or gang enhancements?

    Answer

    Chesa believes that we should punish people for their crimes, and not for who they are or their past.   The Three Strikes Law has led California prisons to balloon–disproportionately with people of color–and has meant people have been sentenced to life sentences for minor offenses.   Gang enhancements have a documented history of being racist, and disproportionately and wrongly targeting Black and Latinx men.

    When someone commits a robbery, Chesa will punish them for the robbery (which can be up to five years in prison).   When they commit a murder, he will prosecute them for the murder (which can be life in prison).   The enhancements just add additional penalties that increase sentences excessively and promote racial disparities and injustice.

    That said, Chesa’s policy is not absolute.   There are cases where he makes an exception and decides it is appropriate to allege a prior strike or a gang enhancement.

  • Didn’t Chesa’s end of cash bail mean that all these dangerous criminals were just getting immediately re-released back onto the streets as they waited for trial?

    Answer

    No. Eliminating bail actually makes us safer.   When cash bail is used, it means someone can be released from jail if they have money to buy their freedom, no matter how dangerous their crime.   By contrast, without bail, the DA will ask for someone who poses a public safety risk to be held in jail, with no option to post bail.   For other crimes that are not inherently dangerous, the DA will ask the judge to release them, but may ask for conditions like an ankle monitor.

    The important thing to remember is that judges, not DAs, make decisions about who to release.   The California Supreme Court also limits who can be held in jail pretrial for what kind of crimes–Chesa was actually ahead of his time in his policy.   As a result, many people are automatically released after arrest even before the DA learns about the case.   That doesn’t mean their case goes away or isn’t being prosecuted–it just means they have the right to be out of jail pending trial.   Don’t forget–jail pretrial is not supposed to be a punishment since everyone pretrial is presumed innocent. Eliminating bail means that the system is more fair and that rich people can’t buy their way out of jail and poor people aren’t stuck in jail for their poverty.

  • Doesn’t Chesa just send everyone to diversion or restorative justice and fail to have real accountability?

    Answer

      Some forms of diversion (pre-filing) are decided by the DA instead of filing charges, but most are after the DA has filed charges and diversion eligibility is determined and run by the court. Some forms of diversion are state-wide laws (like mental health diversion) and others are programs run in SF courts for decades.   These are essentially treatment courts that try to address the struggles or situations someone is facing that led them to commit a crime–whether it’s mental health, addiction, being a young adult, or homelessness.   These are intensive programs that require participants to follow up on many strict requirements and have meaningful accountability.   If they succeed, they can earn a dismissal.   If they don’t? Well, then the DA can still prosecute the traditional route.

    Diversion programs are shown to reduce recidivism , especially for drug and violent crimes. A California Policy Lab evaluation from this year that looked at more than 10 years of SF collaborative court diversion looked at recidivism for the 5 years after a crime occurred and found that felony defendants who go through collaborative courts are almost 20% less likely to be convicted of a new crime than if they went through traditional prosecution. It found positive effects just from being sent to diversion even for folks who don’t complete the entire program.

    Restorative justice is a program that focuses on accountability by forcing someone who commits a crime to take responsibility and try to repair the harm. It centers the victim and their needs–which is why victims who undergo restorative justice tend to feel more satisfied with the process.   The California Policy Lab also found that young people referred to restorative justice in SF were 44% less likely to be rearrested than kids who aren’t in the program.

  • Why have more than 50% of his staff quit his office if he is doing a good job?

    Answer

    The percentage of people leaving the office under Chesa’s administration is relatively on par with 2019, the year before Chesa took office.   The SF DA’s Office has long had high turnover, as it is challenging work. Additionally, during the pandemic the United States has experienced the “Great Resignation” - record numbers of people quitting their jobs and choosing new priorities as a result of the pandemic.

    That said, some people did leave for philosophical differences–as is common in a new administration dedicated to a new approach–and they were quickly replaced with dedicated prosecutors committed to their work.   In fact more than ten prosecutors who had previously worked at the DA’s Office before Chesa came back to the office specifically to work for him!

    Many DAs offices around the country were especially hard-hit by the Great Resignation–and many across the state have faced hiring challenges.   By contrast, the DA’s Office has had record numbers of applicants from impressive pedigrees and has very few vacancies.

  • What about Brooke Jenkins and Don DuBain’s claims that Chesa refuses to follow the law?

    Answer

    Brooke and Don are progressives in name only.

    • Don was previously the elected District Attorney in Solano County - he is a conservative prosecutor who pushes for overly punitive punishments.   He lost reelection in the shadow of a scandal where he was accused of misconduct.
    • Brooke is a conservative prosecutor who also has been accused of misconduct. She has stated that she considered running for District Attorney herself in 2019.   Her purported basis for being angry at Chesa has to do with a homicide case she tried.   Most of the victim’s family and 3 separate medical experts found the defendant insane, which would mean he would go to a mental hospital for the rest of his life.   Despite that, Brooke insisted on arguing to a jury that he was sane, as she wanted him in prison–rather than a hospital–for life.   Chesa let her do that–but she lost, and the jury deadlocked (with most jurors believing the defendant was insane).   It was only at that point that Chesa intervened to say that they should not continue to argue he was sane.   He was sentenced to a state mental institution.
  • Didn’t Chesa just fill his office with public defenders who are unqualified to work as prosecutors?

    Answer

    Chesa has hired a diverse range of attorneys in the office–and is facing record numbers of applications.   He has hired career prosecutors, statewide experts, lawyers from law firms, and more. He did hire some former public defenders–many of whom are the most talented prosecutors in the office, as they have an understanding of defense tactics.

    Justice Ketanji Brown-Jackson was a former public defender and Republicans tried to disparage her and suggest she could not be a judge as a result.   That was ridiculous–she is a brilliant addition to the Supreme Court.   The same is true for former public defenders in the DA’s Office–they are committed to their new roles and their unique perspectives as public defenders only makes them more of an asset.

  • Does the DA’s Office hide data and refuse to be transparent?

    Answer

    No! Chesa inherited an antiquated case management system that his team has worked diligently to upgrade over the past two years. In fact, he hired Dr. Mikaela Rabinowitz, an expert on criminal justice data, to spearhead that process–which she began working on long before any requests for those data.

    The SF DA’s Office is actually one of only three district attorney’s offices out of 58 in California that have publicly-accessible, up-to-date data dashboards. The DA’s Office is a model in data transparency.

  • Why did Superior Court Judge Bruce Chan question the stability of Boudin’s office?

    Answer

    Judge Chan apologized for these comments, which came in the context of his frustration about a particular case after inaccurate assertions were made by opposing counsel. Judge Chan praised Boudin’s office for its integrity just weeks later.

  • What about the two innocent women that were killed on New Years Eve? Wouldn’t they have been alive if Chesa didn’t let that person out of prison?

    Answer

    That case was a terrible tragedy that took two lives.   Certainly, if we could have predicted the future, Chesa would have responded differently.   But he made decisions based on the information we had at the time.   Chesa settled Mr. McAlister’s prior case in 2020 for the maximum–5 years–for a robbery, consistent with his general policy to punish people for the crime they commit and not their priors.   Because he had already been in jail for 5 years, he was released.

    Mr. McAlister then was arrested for several nonviolent offenses.   In each new non-violent arrest the DA’s office referred the case to the parole department - consistent with longstanding policy–and expected that parole would respond accordingly. Instead, parole failed to take action each time. The DA’s Office had not been informed that because of the pandemic parole was only responding to violent violations. This was a communication failure.

    In the days right before the New Year's tragedy, Daly City police received a report of Mr. McAlister stealing a car while armed with a gun–a much more serious case than the nonviolent arrests he had recently had.   The victim of the car theft reported it to police and provided his name and identifying information.   Despite Daly City knowing his name and address, they inexplicably decided to follow up on January 3–which was too late as by that time Mr. McAlister had driven the stolen car (with the gun inside) and crashed into Hanako Abe and Elizabeth Platt, killing them both.

    There is nothing we can do to bring back Ms. Abe or Ms. Platt, but Chesa did implement dramatic reforms after their deaths. He decided that, rather than referring cases to parole when someone violates parole, the DA’s Office itself would file those violations.   The reason parole violations are important is they allow someone to be held in jail on a much lower standard and with much less evidence. So now the DA’s Office will file parole violations, rather than waiting to see if parole does it.   Since beginning this policy, the DA’s Office has been filing MORE parole violations than the parole division itself!   This year, the DA’s Office has filed 45 violations–and parole has only filed 40.

    Only the DA’s Office has made real changes and improvements as a result of this tragedy. What is important is that this tragedy not be exploited by a campaign seeking to use it to advance their agenda.

  • Doesn’t DA Boudin only charge 14% of Domestic Violence cases, as it says on the recall mailer?

    Answer

    No! This is another recall lie. Chesa is actually filing domestic violence cases at historic high rates (45% in 2022–significantly higher than Gascon’s rate of 29%).   DA Boudin’s overall filing rate for his entire tenure for felony domestic cases is 30%.   When excluding 2020 (a year impacted by the pandemic), the rate is 36%.   And in 2022, DA Boudin’s filing rate for domestic violence cases so far is 45%--significantly HIGHER than under George Gascon where it was 29%. The recall picked one quarter of the DA’s first year in office–at the height of a pandemic surge–and intentionally misled to suggest that it reflects the DA’s overall domestic violence filing rates.

    DA Boudin has hired and promoted a state-wide expert on domestic violence–who teaches and advises prosecutors across the state–to head the office’s domestic violence unit. She takes these cases very seriously and files charges in every case she can prove–even when a victim does not cooperate.

  • But didn’t Chesa refuse to file charges against the abuser of Dr. Michelle, as the recall mailer and ads say?

    Answer

    That story is wildly inaccurate. As this 48 Hills article explains, “In this case, court records show, Michelle (I am withholding her last name) and her husband were going through a contentious breakup. According to law-enforcement sources, the husband was arrested after an incident at their home, but never charged; the charges weren’t “dismissed.” A senior prosecutor, with 23 years of experience handling DV cases, determined that there wasn’t enough evidence to pursue the case.

    Then Dr. Michell asked for a restraining order against her husband, banning him from coming to their apartment. But it was complex, because his 98-year-old mother owned the building where they lived, and occupied the unit below the one occupied by his soon-to-be ex-wife. He opposed the order, and after considerable legal wrangling, both sides stipulated to an order; she agreed to move out soon, and he agreed not to come to the apartment while she was there. But the order, which I got from Superior Court, clearly states that he had the right to come and visit his mother on certain days and times, when it was likely Michelle would be at work.

    At one point, his mother was ill and in a hospital, and he came to the house on a date and time that the order allowed, to get her a blanket and pick up her mail. He also dropped off an envelope with money he owed Michelle in the mailbox of the unit where she was living. Michelle was home, and alleged that he had violated the order.

    The case went to a senior prosecutor, a woman who is known statewide as an expert on prosecuting DV cases. She didn’t see how she could take this to a jury. When Michelle complained, Boudin called in an outside expert, another career DV prosecutor from another jurisdiction, to review the case. That outside review concluded that the evidence failed to suggest that the husband willfully violated the order.”

    https://48hills.org/2022/04/two-misleading-anti-boudin-ads-are-going-to-hit-local-tv-this-week/

  • What about Shirin Oloumi, who quit and said Chesa dismantled her auto burglary unit and refused to let her cooperate with police?

    Answer

    Not only did DA Boudin NOT dismantle auto burglary work–he created a brand new Operation AutoPilot–an extensive operation to track stolen goods using bait cars and tracking device. It recently led to the discovery of an international fencing operation that led the DA to seize over $100,000 worth of stolen property and recover over 1,000 laptops, phones, cameras, and other devices. So no, the unit was not dismantled. In fact, in a July 27th farewell email to her colleagues, Oloumi references Operation Autopilot specifically and said she had “no doubt I will be reading about the success of (it) in the news soon,” according to a copy of the email obtained by The Chronicle.

    https://48hills.org/2022/04/two-misleading-anti-boudin-ads-are-going-to-hit-local-tv-this-week/

    SF boba shop was a front for an international car-burglary operation, DA Boudin says

  • Did DA Boudin just take credit for the operation that was started before him?

    Answer

    No. DA Boudin created, launched, and implemented Operation Auto Pilot.   One suspect arrested in the operation, Quoc Le, did have previous charges before DA Boudin. Those were separate charges and remain pending–the prior administration failed to secure a conviction and he was out on bail (a reminder of why bail is bad policy). DA Boudin has filed many new felony charges on this new operation.

  • Why did Boudin claim the killing of an elderly Asian grandfather wasn’t racially motivated because the suspect was having a “temper tantrum” before the attack?

    Answer

    This is a distortion of a statement Boudin gave describing the actions of the suspect BEFORE the attack and was not remotely excusing any of the defendant’s behavior. DA Boudin charged that defendant with murder and remains pending. Boudin has always taken this crime very seriously and charged the defendant based on the evidence presented by police.   Police did not present any evidence of motive in this case, and there was no evidence showing that the defendant even saw or knew the race of the victim during the attack, much less that he was motivated by race to commit the attack. See full context of his statement below:

    In the hours before the attack, Mr. Watson had a string of setbacks. He left his home because of a family dispute and got in a traffic accident in San Francisco at 2 a.m. He was cited by the San Francisco police for running a stop sign and reckless driving and then slept that night in his car.

    On that morning a number of security cameras in the area captured Mr. Watson banging a car with his hand, according to Mr. Boudin, the district attorney.

    “It appears that the defendant was in some sort of a temper tantrum,” Mr. Boudin said.

    It was then that Mr. Vicha walked up Anzavista Avenue, a street with views of skyscrapers in the city’s financial district. [New York Times, 2/27/21]

  • Why did one of Boudin’s criminal investigators say that they were told to withhold evidence in a case and believed she would be fired if she refused?

    Answer

    The judge who heard this investigator’s testimony examined this claim and found that no evidence was withheld. In fact, she was primarily describing events that happened before DA Boudin even took office. The investigator also admitted to lying to police on her own volition–which was never known or condoned by the DA’s Office.