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Failure of S.F. District Attorney Chesa Boudin

The failure of San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin to prosecute the overwhelming number of felony domestic violence arrests is deeply troubling.

The San Francisco District Attorney’s has a lower filing rate of felony domestic violence charges compared to his predecessor. In 2020, charges were filed in only 15 percent of the 885 arrests made by the San Francisco Police Department. --->

Boudin’s office also dismissed 113 of the 131 felony domestic violence cases in the last three months of 2020.

In order to become a felony domestic violence case a spouse, someone you were in a relationship with or a housemate has to inflict some violence or assault upon you. It becomes felony domestic violence when the assault causes injury.

In reference to a recent high-profile case, Boudin’s office said that the woman declined to cooperate as a victim therefore there wasn’t enough evidence to prosecute the two domestic violence cases. It is often the case in domestic violence cases that the victim does not want to go forward. But district attorney's offices across the Bay Area go forward anyway even if the victim does not want to proceed with the prosecution. The excuse that his office gave is unfortunate and is not a practice widely followed.

As a criminal defense attorney, I have handled over fifty domestic violence cases. I have successfully taken a number to trial.

Supervisor Catherine Stefani is calling for legislation that will require Boudin to publish monthly data domestic violence cases that reveal the number of cases presented by police, how many he pursues, the charges sought, and the final outcomes.

Jim Reilly is a criminal defense and personal injury attorney in San Francisco with offices in the Law Chambers Building. He can be reached at https://defenseandinjury.com/

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