California Hires Recalled SF District Attorney to Train Law Students in Criminal Justice

California Hires Recalled SF District Attorney to Train Law Students in Criminal Justice
San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin stands outside of the Castro Street MUNI station in San Francisco on June 7, 2022. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
James Breslo
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Commentary

California leaders continue to charge ahead in implementing a radical “progressive” (a.k.a. socialist) agenda even when it goes directly against the will of the people. For instance, California voters have twice voted to ban the use of affirmative action in hiring and school admissions. But the state’s leaders continue to implement gender and racial “equity” through a myriad of laws, programs, and policies. The state’s universities even banned the use of objective measures of merit like SAT scores in order to allow them to implement more “equitable” standards for admissions.

The latest example is the hiring of ousted San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin by the state’s most prestigious public law school, University of California–Berkeley. Boudin’s hiring came less than one year after the people of San Francisco voted to recall him from his position by an over ten-point margin. Some defended the controversial hire, noting that law students must be open to hearing all views. But, speaking from experience, when you are 22 years old and learning criminal law for the first time, who teaches it and what is taught has a lasting impression. Most law students do not have a sufficient frame of reference to disagree with a law professor.

Further, he was not just hired as a professor. He was hired as the executive director for the school’s new Criminal Law & Justice Center. The purpose of the center appears to be to promote the implementation of precisely the type of criminal justice Boudin implemented in San Francisco. According to Berkeley Law’s website, the center was created to “tackle projects to address foundational problems—including structural inequities related to poverty and racism.” It goes on to note, “Studies show that Black men have a 1 in 4 chance of being incarcerated compared to 1 in 23 for white men, Black women are six times as likely to be imprisoned as white women, and ethnic minorities are arrested more often and punished more severely than white people for the same offenses.”

The center, like Boudin, simply assumes that any disparity in incarceration rates between white and black people and “ethnic minorities” are the result of racism. This is simply false. As Barack Obama said in 2008, “Children who grow up without a father are 5 times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime, 9 times more likely to drop out of school and 20 times more likely to end up in prison.”

Indeed, black children are far more likely to live in a single-parent families, at 64 percent. Only 24 percent of white children do, and only 16 percent of Asians. Incarceration rates mirror these numbers, with Asians having by far the lowest rate, followed by white people, with black people having the highest. The center conveniently does not address Asians specifically, only “ethnic minorities.” If it did, it would have to acknowledge that, miraculously, this minority group does not suffer from any discrimination in criminal justice.

The Boudin hire could be seen as a slap in the face to residents of San Francisco who suffered a huge increase in crime and general lawlessness as a result of Boudin’s radical reforms. He was accused of turning the district attorney’s office into a second public defender’s office.

Boudin allegedly fired the city’s best prosecutors, replacing them with former public defenders. Around fifty percent of his district attorney staff either quit, were fired, or retired. Rather than doing the job of the district attorney, i.e., prosecuting criminals according to the laws, he took it upon himself to implement policies designed to reduce the prison population. This includes ending cash bail, not charging for lesser crimes, reducing charges on all crimes, and allowing for early release of prisoners.

In addition, Boudin took office as the city’s top prosecutor having never been a prosecutor himself. A poll taken a few months before the recall showed 70 percent of residents disapproved of Boudin’s performance.

“These [George] Soros-backed prosecutors are 1960s-type radicals, pure and simple,” said Jonathan Hatami, a Los Angeles assistant district attorney who sued the current district attorney, George Gascón, over his policies and is now the leading candidate to unseat him in the upcoming election.

“Boudin and Gascón refuse to carry out the basic functions of their job. They take whole classes of crimes and reclassify them as non-crimes. In both San Francisco and L.A. their leadership had resulted in an institutional breakdown of professional and prosecutorial norms. They run the office like a parallel public defender’s office,” Hatami said.

Former District Attorney Boudin was also a former translator for the late Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez. His family background includes Marxist theoreticians, socialist party leaders, and members of the Weather Underground leftist radical group founded in the 1960s. His parents were convicted of murder for their role in the killing of three people during the 1981 robbery of a Brink’s armored car. With his parents behind bars, Boudin was raised by infamous Weather Underground members Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn.

Who decided to hire this guy to work for a state university that operates on taxpayer money to train the next generation of lawyers on criminal law? Berkeley Law School Dean Erwin Chemerinsky, who is viewed by many as the architect of this brand of leftist criminal justice reform. He worked with Gascón to implement 66 blanket directives upon taking office, all designed to limit the ability of prosecutors to do their job.

Boudin and Gascón are exactly the type of district attorneys that Chemerinsky contends are needed. He wrote a passionate defense of Gascón in the Los Angeles Times when he was facing a recall. “Gascón’s new policies ... move the office away from excessive ’tough on crime' charging and sentencing practices that did not enhance public safety but instead have produced overcrowding in prisons and jails,” Chemerinsky wrote.

Gascón had also never been a prosecutor, indeed had never even practiced law, when San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom appointed him district attorney. After two terms, he declined to seek reelection and later ran in Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney is up for reelection in 2024. With the city suffering the same problems San Francisco suffered under Boudin, Angelenos are poised to replace Gascón with someone like Hatami, who plans to actually do the job and enforce the law. A place at Berkeley’s Law & Criminal Justice Center will no doubt be waiting for Gascón. We can only hope it will soon house all the state’s leftist radicals.

Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.
James Breslo is an attorney and host of the “Hidden Truth Show” podcast. He is a former partner at the international law firm Seyfarth Shaw and public company president. He has appeared numerous times as a legal expert on Fox News and CNN, and serves on the Heritage Foundation's Project 2025 Public Diplomacy committee.
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