Elected to “Advocate on behalf of the People”, he instead champions those who prey upon them
Be careful of what you wish for; you may just get it. San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin is experiencing the truth in that adage. Boudin wanted to create a system that radically decreased jail sentences for criminals. He’s done it. Boudin wanted the responsibility of being our City’s top law-enforcement official and chief prosecutor. He is. And now we see the outcome of Boudin getting exactly what he wished for, destruction.
On New Year’s Eve, two San Franciscans were victims of Boudin’s destruction. A long-time career criminal, Troy McAllister, drove a stolen car, under the influence, through a red light and mowed down Hanako Abe and Elizabeth Platt, killing both. McAllister was out on parole following a sweetheart deal cut by Boudin. While on parole, he was arrested in San Francisco at least five times. Boudin failed to file charges on any of those cases, leaving McAllister on the streets to continue to commit more crimes and ultimately kill two people.
Is this a surprise? It shouldn’t be. Boudin’s refusal to ever hold McAllister accountable again for his continued crime spree is merely an extension of the policies he’s barnstorming the nation to impose on other communities. His approach to criminal justice starts with the foundation that the criminal is not at fault. Rather, it’s society’s fault. It continues with a belief that it is society’s duty to “fix” criminals rather than hold them accountable for their actions and ensure there is restitution made to the victims. The main goal is to save the criminal, and that starts by eliminating incarceration. This means, Mr. McAllister, you’re free to go.
When you look closer at Boudin’s personal behavior following McAllister’s killings, however, you can see how it informs Boudin’s policy approach. Rather than accept the responsibility for his policy decisions to let McAllister go free repeatedly, he aggressively pointed every finger he could find at someone else: state parole officers, San Francisco Police officers, Daly City Police officers, the “system.” He probably would’ve blamed Santa Claus himself if he was still in town. It was a shameful and juvenile display, utterly unbecoming of a leader.
The killings of Abe and Platt shine a bright spotlight on the fallacies of the policy platform Boudin sold a minority of voters to get himself elected. Boudin and his fellow reform evangelicals present “criminal justice reform” as a simple solution that everyone else was too stupid to see. In their arrogant approach, however, they completely gloss over the reality that justice is messy. Rehabilitation is a goal we all share; however, State and local programs fail convicted criminal’s way more than they succeed. Boudin has never provided the public with an honest assessment of what happens to repeat offenders who are “diverted” from jails and prisons. Boudin doesn’t tell you that the State’s rehabilitation program for prisoners is completely broken. In fact, the California State Auditor (see link at end of article)found that inmates who participated in the State programs were just as likely to re-offend as those who did not participate.
As a former criminal defense attorney, Boudin is very much aware of this, yet he purposefully does not publicly talk about it. He’s not demanding or pursuing an overhaul of prisoner education. Instead, he’s pushing to release as many convicted criminals and criminal suspects back on the streets as fast as possible with zero support. In short, he’s setting them up to fail and shaming anyone who challenges this approach.
Police officers are weary of arresting the same suspects over and over again. Residents are frustrated with seeing crime go unpunished. Rather than rush to push a personal political agenda, Boudin should be working across the system to ensure victims are protected, criminals are held accountable, and there’s a legitimate path for success for those who want to turn their lives around. Unfortunately, Boudin has proven he does not have the ability to set ego aside and work towards actual change. He’d rather grab headlines when things go well and point fingers when he comes up short.
San Francisco voters, be careful of what you wish for; you may have just gotten it.