Bench Memos

Law & the Courts

San Francisco DA Chesa Boudin, Justice Sotomayor’s ‘Great Beacon’

Back in January 2020 when Chesa Boudin was sworn in as San Francisco’s district attorney, I called attention to the strange video of ardent congratulations that Justice Sonia Sotomayor somehow saw fit to provide Boudin. This devastating California Globe account of how retail stores in San Francisco are shutting down amid a “tidal wave” of shoplifting indicates that Boudin isn’t proving to be the “great beacon” that Sotomayor imagined him to be. An excerpt:

Asked if the presence of armed, uniformed police officers [in stores] had any deterrent effect on thieves, one officer was blunt in his assessment.

They don’t care. There’s no consequences. Literally zero consequences. I’ve kicked out… I’ve been here since 9 AM today. I probably have already kicked out eight or nine people and I’ve recovered a thousand dollars worth of stuff alone off of that. Whether we kick them out, tell them they can’t come back, whether I put them in handcuffs and take them down to the county jail—there is no difference. Because they will not be prosecuted by the district attorney. Therefore, there is nothing documented that they can’t come back here. You know, they get no time in jail to think about what they did, right? There is zero consequence. And that’s why in this store the same exact people come in every other day and in the city the same couple percent of people are the same people committing all the car break-ins, all the robberies and all the shootings, any aggravated assaults right in town where there’s more street people, people fighting. It’s all the same exact people, and there are zero consequences. Therefore you take them to jail they get out of jail. They do it again. It’s a big circle.”

Update: The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the Globe article is wrong in stating that Target has decided to close its Mission Street store.

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