SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — San Francisco has a new district attorney and he is promising immediate justice system reform.
Mayor London Breed presided over Chesa Boudin’s swearing in at the Herbst Theatre Wednesday evening near city hall. Boudin’s mother was in attendance, as were many of the city’s leading progressive politicians. U.S. Supreme Court justice Sonia Sotomayor appeared on video, congratulating Boudin.READ MORE: Early Morning Earthquake Cluster Rattles Central Coast
A former assistant public defender who is now the top prosecutor, Boudin says there are too many people in jail. He calls it “over-incarceration” and he says one of his reforms will be “de-carceration.”
“Join this movement,” Boudin told the enthusiastic crowd. “Join us in rejecting the notion that to be free, we must cage others.” Loud applause followed his words.
But as San Francisco struggles with quality of life issues such as car burglaries and open air drug abuse, many San Franciscans wonder whether Boudin’s justice system reforms could invite criminals to commit crimes because they are not worried about legal consequences.
“Oh, I think we’re going to have some very effective strategies to deter from committing those crimes in San Francisco,” Boudin said. “I hope they don’t commit them anywhere, but if they do, it’s not going to be in San Francisco on my watch.”READ MORE: Oakland Police Intensify Sideshow Crackdown As Violence Escalates
Boudin said he will take a close look at police shooting investigations, but will he prosecute police officers?
“I certainly hope not. I don’t look forward to filing criminal charges against anyone, no matter who they are, no matter what they do. It’s a difficult decision. I know it’s one we’ll have to make in some cases involving civilians and in some cases, involving police as well,” said Boudin.
Boudin says his priorities will be bail reform, sentencing reform and increased collaboration with public defenders. He says he will soon be announcing strategies to deal with sexual assaults as well as auto burglaries.
He said there will likely be changes in the DA’s office, but said they may not happen quickly.MORE NEWS: Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Shipments Could Arrive As Soon As Monday
“Firing people is certainly not a priority,” Boudin said. “But I do want to make sure the office is set up to support the staff. There’s some changes that I’ll be making in the next weeks and months that will help rebuild the morale, increase retention of staff that we need, and also create space to bring in some new energy, some new ideas to rejuvenate and increase morale.”