Brooke Jenkins, the San Francisco District Attorney, is withdrawing pleas offered by her predecessor in more than 30 fentanyl trafficking cases in one of the first major changes in the Office’s approach under the new DA
The move is part of a series of policy changes targeting drug dealers, particularly in fentanyl cases, which could result in increased incarceration rates and better sentencing.
“We need to make changes now to save lives,” Jenkins said at a press conference Wednesday announcing the changes.
Under the new guidelines, those arrested with more than 5 grams of drugs will no longer be rerouted to San Francisco Municipal Courts; Dealers selling drugs within 300 meters of a school could face higher penalties; and “extreme” cases of fentanyl trafficking could lead to pre-trial detention.
For those whose pleas are revoked, prosecutors will file felony charges that could include jail time as part of a new offer, the office said.
“We need to send a strong message that people who choose to sell drugs in our city are held accountable,” Jenkins said.
The new policy is a reversal of that of Chesa Boudin, the former district attorney who lost a voter recall attempt in June after a harsh push from conservative activists and residents who criticized his administration for being too progressive and saying it was making San Francisco unsafe . Jenkins, a former homicide prosecutor in Boudin’s office who resigned last October and became a vocal critic of her former boss, campaigned for Boudin’s firing.
According to Jenkins’ office, one of the “more egregious” deals being canceled involves a defendant involved in six open cases for allegedly dealing in fentanyl in Tenderloin, a neighborhood at the heart of the city’s drug crisis. The defendant was in community court and originally offered to plead guilty to a single misdemeanor in order to settle all six cases.
Local officials and residents chimed in online, with some criticizing the policy as a return to the failed drug war of the 1990s, which disproportionately affected people of color and poor communities.
“If District Attorney Jenkins truly wants to address our city’s problems, she should not rely on outdated and politically meaningful comments about tougher enforcement,” San Francisco public defender Mano Raju said in a statement. “Fifty years of evidence from the War on Drugs has shown that these punitive practices have not prevented recidivism or improved community health and safety.”
Jenkins, who was appointed to the post by Mayor London Breed following Boudin’s impeachment, will face voters in November as they decide whether she or another candidate will end Boudin’s term.
https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-08-04/san-francisco-district-attorney-brooke-jenkins-revokes-plea-deals-in-drug-cases-announces-new-policies-fentanyl San Francisco D.A. revokes plea deals in drug cases, announces new policies