San Francisco District Attorney Streamlines Office To Avoid Cuts

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San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – San Francisco’s new District Attorney is reorganizing the office. The office-wide restructuring won’t result in layoffs but prosecutorial teams will be streamlined, District Attorney George Gascon said. In one area of improvement, Gascon said, a new community court system will handle misdemeanor cases so that prosecutors can focus on violent crimes.

Like other city departments, the prosecutor’s office has been asked to trim its budget by 10 percent, a figure Gascon said would result in 18 prosecutor layoffs unless savings can be found elsewhere.

“It costs us roughly between $1,200 and $1,300 per misdemeanor case. We believe that we can go to community court and do it for about $300 per case,” he said.

KCBS’ Margie Shafer Reports:

The pilot community court program that rolls out at the end of April will also handle cases that often languish because it is too expensive to prosecute them, Gascon said.

“This is just another avenue to lower our caseload on the courts.”

The restructuring Gascon announced Wednesday doesn’t actually lower the department’s $39 million budget.

But the former police chief was optimistic the mayor and the supervisors would preserve a budget that had been streamlined to focus on a backlog of felony cases.

“As it is, we already have so much unattended business,” he said.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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