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The new district attorney in San Francisco is cleaning house after the ouster of her embattled progressive predecessor Chesa Boudin, firing at least 15 employees from the prosecutor’s office.
San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins, whom Mayor London Breed swore in eight days prior, issued a statement Friday saying she made “difficult, but important changes to my management team and staff that will help advance my vision to restore a sense of safety in San Francisco by holding serious and repeat offenders accountable and implementing smart criminal justice reforms.”
“I promised the public that I would restore accountability and consequences to the criminal justice system while advancing smart reforms responsibly,” Jenkins said in the statement, reported by SF Gate. “My new management team, which will include the addition of three women of color, with decades of prosecutorial experience at the highest levels, will help our office deliver on that promise. I have full faith and confidence that these women will promote and protect public safety while delivering justice in all of its various forms.”
Among those on Jenkins’ chopping block was Managing Attorney Arcelia Hurtado, who served as the district attorney’s representative on the city’s Innocence Commission, which Boudin established in 2020 to investigate potential wrongful convictions in San Francisco. Hurtado took to Twitter to express her frustration after losing her job.
“After over 2 years of tireless and devoted service to the City and Cty of SF, I was unceremoniously fired without cause via phone by the Mayor’s appointed DA,” she tweeted. “I am the highest-ranking Latina/LGBTQ member of the management team at that office. I will continue the fight 4justice.”
Lara Bazelon, law professor at the University of San Francisco and chair of the commission, called Hurtado’s dismissal “concerning” because Hurtado “was the head of the DA’s post-conviction review unit, which, among other things, is currently considering the petition by Mayor London Breed’s brother Napoleon Brown to be granted leniency and released from prison following his conviction for carjacking and manslaughter.”
In remarks to SF Gate, Bazelon added: “I can see no legitimate reason for firing an attorney as rigorous, competent and ethical as Arcelia.”
Others to lose their jobs included Rachel Marshall and Simin Shamji, KHRON reported.
Meanwhile, Jenkins hired Ana Gonzalez as chief assistant, Nancy Tung as chief of special prosecutions & community partnerships, Tiffany Sutton as chief of alternative programs & initiatives & juvenile and Kulvidar “Rani” Singh Mann as senior transition advisor.
Boudin, a former public defender elected in 2019, was ousted in a June 7 recall election fueled by frustration over public safety in the deeply Democratic city. Viral video footage of people shoplifting and attacking seniors, particularly Asian Americans, rattled residents. Jenkins, who quit Boudin’s office in 2021 to volunteer for the recall, is both Black and Latina. She is San Francisco’s first Latina district attorney. Vice President Kamala Harris was the city’s first Black DA.
Jenkins, who also considers herself a progressive prosecutor, said during the campaign that Boudin was too rigid. He eliminated cash bail for defendants and declared that minors would not be tried as adults, no matter how serious the crime. Jenkins said she would like those tools available for prosecutors to use at their discretion, according to The Associated Press.
Jenkins joined the San Francisco district attorney’s office in 2014.
She said she plans to run in November to serve the rest of Boudin’s term through 2023.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.