San Francisco, CA – San Francisco’s new district attorney fired several senior prosecutors on Friday, just two days after he was sworn into office.
Chesa Boudin, who ran on a platform to fix the city’s “broken justice system” and put fewer people behind bars, was sworn into office as district attorney on Wednesday, according to KTVU.
"I had to make difficult staffing decisions today in order to put in place a management team that will help me accomplish the work I committed to do for San Francisco,” Boudin said in a written statement released after the terminations became public.
The new district attorney is a career public defender who is the son of two cop killers and had never prosecuted a criminal case in his life before he became the district attorney of crime-ridden San Francisco in the city’s latest election.
Boudin is the son of Kathy Boudin and David Gilbert, two members of The Weather Underground who were convicted of murdering two police officers and a Brinks security guard during an armed robbery in 1981, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
His mother, Kathy Boudin, was released from prison in 2003 after serving 22 years for the murders, but his father, David Gilbert, remains behind bars serving life in prison, NBC News reported.
The newly-elected district attorney ran his campaign on criminal justice reform, claiming that he was also a “victim” of his parents’ armed robbery in 1981 that left three people dead, two of them police officers.
Boudin has claimed he was motivated to run for office because he has experienced the results of the “destructive effects of mass incarceration,” NBC News reported.
He campaigned on a promise of sweeping reforms and beat an establishment favorite, interim District Attorney Suzy Loftus.
Boudin said his victory is a call for refocusing the criminal justice system on rehabilitation instead of incarceration or punishment, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Shortly after he was elected, Boudin announced that he planned to do away with adding gang enhancements to charges against defendants.
“I want to focus on holding people accountable for what they’ve done — not who they are,” Boudin said. “People are seeing their families impacted by overzealous uses of these gang allegations.”
Gang enhancements add years to felony sentences if prosecutors can show the crime committed benefitted a street gang, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
It was predicted that Boudin might do away with the district attorney’s gang investigation unit entirely, but instead, he simply fired its boss.
Gang Unit Managing Attorney Ana Gonzalez was one of the first to go, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
Boudin also terminated Michael Swart, the head of the Homicide Unite, and both managing attorneys in the General Felonies Unit, Todd Barrett and Linda Allen.
Felony trial attorney Kara Lacey and Tom Ostly, a trial attorney in the Crime Strategies Unit, also found themselves on the chopping block, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
Boudin reportedly called the attorneys into his office one after the other on Jan. 10 and fired them.
Those who had already left the office for the day received a termination phone call from the new district attorney.
Sources told the San Francisco Chronicle that the move was detrimental to the morale of the entire District Attorney’s Office.
All of the prosecutors are at-will employees and the city charter allows them to be fired without giving them a reason.
But despite the fact they were not entitled to civil service protections, some of the now-former prosecutors said they may file lawsuits, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
Boudin campaigned on a promise to focus the District Attorney’s Office on violent crime, so many are questioning why he decided to terminate so many of his most experienced felony attorneys.