San Francisco’s progressive District Attorney Chesa Boudin, who has been slammed by critics for being soft on crime and for not pursuing criminals aggressively enough, faces a possible recall vote Tuesday.
Residents in the politically liberal city are set to vote on whether a recall election should take place — less than three years after the 41-year-old was elected and became one of the most progressive prosecutors in the country.
Supporters of the recall effort argue that Boudin, who was elected on a platform of reducing incarceration, is putting residents at risk with his approach.
The DA’s critics say he often seeks to avoid charging criminals and sides with defendants over the victims.
Under his policies, Boudin’s prosecutors also aren’t allowed to seek cash bail, try juveniles as adults or seek lengthy prison sentences for offenders with gang affiliations.
Those in support of the recall effort have so far raised $7 million, including funding from the real estate industry and Republican billionaire William Oberndorf. The funding is double what Boudin’s supporters have collected, according to San Francisco’s campaign finance dashboard.
A recent poll regarding the recall vote showed Boudin was at risk of losing his seat, the SFGate reported last month.
If the recall is successful, San Francisco Mayor London Breed will have to supplement a replacement DA until the term ends in November next year.
Recall supporter and former prosecutor Brooke Jenkins, who left the DA’s office last October, argued that Boudin had completely removed prosecutorial discretion since taking office.
“We are conditioning people to believe they can do whatever they want in San Francisco with no consequences,” Jenkins said.
“I think San Francisco sees the need for a little bit more balance to social justice and criminal justice issues.”
The vote comes amid widespread frustration over a string of brutal attacks on Asian seniors and viral videos of smash-and grab robberies across the city.
Boudin, as well as his supporters, have suggested that he is bearing the brunt of general angst in the wake of the pandemic — and is being unfairly blamed by conservatives for increased crime across the country.
“Part of it is a tremendous amount of understandable frustration and anxiety that people have felt in the context of COVID, uncertainty about the direction our country’s headed, anger at the Trump administration and misinformation that administration fueled on everything from public safety to vaccines,” Boudin told the Associated Press last week.
According to his office’s annual report, charges were brought in 62% of arrests made by San Francisco cops in 2021 — up from a low of 45% in his first year.
The recall effort against Boudin, whose own radical parents served decades in prison over a botched 1981 robbery that left two cops dead, is just one of several that have made headlines in recent months.
Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom defeated a Republican-led effort to recall him in September last year.
Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón, who was San Francisco’s top prosecutor between 2011 and 2019, is facing his second recall attempt.
With post wires