tv [untitled] September 16, 2011 1:30pm-2:00pm PDT
and that is what i will support as district attorney. >> i do not think the district attorney should be trying to be keeping out evidence from the court room just because of the conduct of the police. that is an admissibility issue that should be decided by the judge. but the eyewitness is a terrible witness. it has been proven time and time again. we have a study that shows 88% of women that have been raped -- imagine how close of a contact that is -- and yet, they get the wrong person. so we have to modernize investigative unit again. dna is very important. it is what is needed here in our public area, a dense area like san francisco, we need to provide the people with the same type of tools. that is the privilege people
have and the government has, which is a camera. some type of surveillance system. we have to change the way we investigate. >> thank you. i think this question goes to a heart of why experience matters. i have been a prosecutor for 22 years. during that time, i have tried a variety of cases from misdemeanors to murder. my conviction rate is 95%. i can tell you that corroboration is key. it -- a case must be more than just eyewitness testimony because it is unreliable in many regards, and as many issues that the jury does look at, such as whether it is a cross-racial it -- id. it is essential to shift our focus to corroboration, to demand corroboration, and supplement what we do with evidence such as dna, which really is the tool of the future and why our crime lab and current response is so critical and why the multi-disciplinary team approach i have bought --
brought to alameda county as we committed to bringing here where we bring law enforcement, victim witness advocates, and prosecutors all at the table at the same time to look at issues as critical as corroboration with the dna. >> the next question is one of those lightning round questions i told you i have, which calls for a yes or no answer. to do this, rather than alphabetically, i am just going to go in reverse order for the last question. would you agree to a blanket policy that san francisco not use the death penalty under any circumstances, yes or no? >> i am 100% opposed to the death penalty. >> would you agree to a blanket policy against using it? >> as i said, i am 100% against the death penalty. >> yes. >> yes. >> yes. >> going back to our offered medical questions, what are your
views on the levels, if any, of wrongdoing or dishonesty by members of the san francisco police department, and how did you plan on dealing with your obligations under brady versus maryland, particularly where it may appear the police department is hiding officer misconduct history? >> i am glad that you brought the question. i am actually the one who brought the brady issue into this jurisdiction. when i came here, i realized that the county did not have a written brady policy. i actually worked in the county of l.a. and the city of l.a. to create a great policy there are approximately 10 years ago. when i realized we did not have a brady policy, we immediately started to work with the district attorney and the police officer association to create a great policy for the police department. we took a look back 30 years to police behavior, an unprecedented step in order to
make sure that we were good. when i became district attorney, the first thing i did through the reorganization was create a unit that not only holds ourself accountable, the police department, to make sure that any brady issue comes to our attention and is handled appropriately. >> officer misconduct really strikes at the heart of building trust between law enforcement and the community, which is absolutely essential to keeping us safer. it is very important that we take that very seriously. unfortunately, in the current office, we have a situation where the former police chief has become the district attorney, which is simply a walking conflict of interest. that has never happened before not only in the history of san francisco, but in the history of our country. it is not george's fault. anyone in that position would have conflicts of interest. but the problem that did happen is we have allegations of officers doing illegal searches
and then lying about it. officers are innocent until proven guilty, but george was chief at the time, and he cannot fairly investigate this case is. he has not recused himself. he does not have a conflict of interest policy. i will have a strong conflict of interest policy and surely allocate conflicts of interest. >> the reason that police officers can come and live is again the way we asked them to investigate. we asked them to go into an investigation and interact with the criminal element and come back and tell us exactly what occurred. besides the undercover police officer, there is no need for that. if you go out, use modern technology. camera up. mic up. bring us back the truth. we can stop this continual
process of verbalizing and lying. we do not need that. you hear about 15 hours of work and waiting three or four hours for a terminal. if you camera up, i do not need you to write anything. i will see it. with regard to brady material, which should be able to see everything. only privilege and confidential material needs to be protected. >> this goes to the heart of why we need a lead to a prosecutor as our next d.a. your sword rather have the endorsement of officers for justice. it is equally important if not vital that the independent of one another so that you can be assured in every step, with the issue is police misconduct or a scandal rocking our dna lab, that there is transparency and accountability in everything that the police and da do together. that is the very cornerstone -- trust, checks and balances,
accountability. very cornerstone of our justice system. we need to turn over what we have said the defense can do their jobs and prosecution achieve justice at the end of the day. >> the question is what we will do about police misconduct as a district attorney? you investigate the case. if you have the evidence, you prosecute the individuals. i have prosecuted police officers>> i think police offic, above all else, do not want a dirty cop in their presence, it is not good for anybody. they are held to a higher standard. we should hold them to a higher standard. i am independent, i am not beholden to anybody. i did not have any concerns. i will honestly and fairly prosecute police officers as
anyone else i have found violated the laws. >> the san francisco crime lab scandals, recently, a local newspaper, they conducted an audit of san francisco's dna procedures. both the newspaper article said the police department and the da's office have suppressed that report. how can the san francisco criminal justice system go about having -- we will start over here. >> in terms of the crime lab and the dna labs generally, i would turn it over to an independent
agency has, given all the scandals and the continuing news stories that come out every single day. we need an independent crime lab that was adequately funded. in the last few days, there is a lot of talk about the memo. and the d.a. said in a debate last night that he had given it to defense counsel according to a story today that the defense council said that they had not, in fact, seen in. they do not know what is happening and his court rooms. those are the only two explanations that we can come up with >> they say that the memo is confidential. he was working for the san
francisco district attorney. if it is not confidential, they should release it to the public. if it is confidential, it is up to the district attorney to release a: not. why do we have a crime lab that belongs to the police? san francisco should have an independent crime lab that is headed by scientists. the uno a police officer that is smarter than a scientist? there are some, but not too many. their focus should be on law enforcement, not science. we have a problem having an independent judiciary. in-house they are in there sniffing cocaine into stealing cocaine, we need to get rid of that. it needs to be independent and we have to deal with this year. >> he actually trained me, and when i took over his job, the
memo that he wrote was to test to examine the procedures that are used to the late ray and the murder dna. as we're talking about here about brady, there is no confidentiality exception. as b.a., i would not be covering it up, i would be fixing it. we need to fix it up, not a cover-up solution. that entire lives could be called into question. i hope that doesn't happen, but is much more than handing it over to the defense attorneys. they determine whether or not a live is accredited. that was the story i told you.
>> it would be preferable to have an independent live than one associated with the district attorney's office for the police department. if we can do it in this economy, that is another thing. the district attorney may have an excellent police chief, but he doesn't go to court. there was a discussion about eyewitness identification a moment ago. i was in court today. i found out by talking to one of my colleagues that the defendant was acquitted of the murder case. what was the defense? they do take cases to trial that are based exclusively on eyewitness identification, and after a lengthy trial, they
don't get a conviction. because he is not a practicing lawyer, he does not have any right to be in that position. >> and this was presented to a judge in court, and the judge determined that this memo was not brady material. further, there was an additional staff with the city attorney that has also reviewed it. given that we have a court that has stated very clearly, we have advice from the city attorney, we are taking back accordingly. >> we will go in reverse order. if evidence showed a police officer intentionally falsely testified about having probable cause to search, would you prosecute them for perjury?
>> ps. >> yes. >> yes. >> yes. >> yes. >> over one else in marijuana houses make a significant portion of the criminal caseload. what are your views on these types of cases, and would you agree to a policy where cases with less than a certain number of plants be treated by the first offense? >> if they are growing marijuana for the use of medicinal under proposition 215, then we should educate these people that are growing and. it must be going to dispensaries that we have in the city. we shouldn't clogged up the courts with marijuana a prosecution.
we should focus on public safety, irreparable physical harm. with marijuana, it is unbelievable. every street has a store. why are we busting people when we have the store every other street that is selling marijuana? i wouldn't even bring them in, we have to find real solutions regarding marijuana. proposition 215 has been around since 1996. >> i am committed to doing what works for our city. prosecuting people with addiction issues is not an effective response. i like to see people that have possession diverted rather than put behind bars. we need to really look at what the root of the marijuana issue is. i am committed to having it
removed from schedule one because i think it doesn't belong there. because we can have a cannabis club, if someone is driving it to the club, they can be arrested for transportation and if they are growing it, they can be arrested for cultivation. there is an incongruity. i am committed to that kind of comprehensive reform. >> the war on drugs has been lost a long time ago. we should entertain ourselves with a discussion. as it relates to your question, marijuana and grow houses are unfortunately dangerous because they are fire hazards. they are prosecuting them in san francisco and they are prosecuting them as felonies. i was able to convince the deputy district attorney to reduce it to a misdemeanor.
and and i would try to do something unique in get the attorney's office involved. perhaps the city attorney can take action against them. they are making a lot of money. they're causing actual fire hazards. it is low priority. which should instruct the police officers not to focus on that unless it becomes a danger to the community. >> drug use should be treated as a health issue. we are working with a lot of the licensed clubs to try to continue to evolve and the policy the city create to support the club's operating with a license. we want to make sure that we protect the people that are working with and the lot and are using safe methods of providing medicine to the clubs. at the same time, we have to
evaluate individual growers and determine what is the appropriate course of action. we are increasing the number of cases we are sending because we know that when drug abuse is the underlying reason for the crime, we can be very successful. in-house whereas when we kill people, only failed by 70% of the time. >> of the war on drugs is failed. i love the onion headlined before it became more popular, "drugs win drug war." that sums up where we are. i have said on the record that i support the legalization of marijuana of the live prost -- though i opposed 215 the cuddly have to do it the right way.
a felony or a misdemeanor that is supported by the counties of norfolk. i put out a statement supporting that bill. in terms of your issue of whether there should be an option for misdemeanor, absolutely. again, the medical marijuana community is very strongly behind me. look at who is supporting me in you'll see who has the real drug policy. >> i believe 100 percent of crime is committed standing up. as a matter of practicality, a political hot button measures don't work. we have the right to use and enjoy our city sidewalks and parks, but we need to do something that is a long lasting
concrete solution. i support focusing on programs like the community justice center. early deal with not just of the symptom, but the cause. that we have a concrete solution that lasts through time. san francisco deserves better than that. we have world-class programs, great nonprofit organizations. let's deal with these issues and by expanding the diversion court and doing something that works rather than prosecuting people that are sitting down. >> as an elected member of the committee, i voted against the resolution or proposition that was on the ballot. if unlike some of my colleagues , it will cause a great deal of people being incarcerated, it is
highly unlikely under the sheriffs. there are many other laws the police officers can use. he didn't even have to be creative. people that are causing a disturbance, blocking sidewalks, engaged in inappropriate conduct can be moved along and if necessary, arrested. these are one of those feel-good legislation is. i was opposed to its. i am still opposed to it. it is unnecessary and there would be no reason to prosecute individuals. >> i was one of those that supported if and it is working very well. if you talk to the people working -- and looking for assistance, it was never intended to be a tool to incarcerate people. it is often used as a gateway.
i am glad that they agreed to do the things that we are already doing. people are committing offenses where they are driven by mental health problems and drug abuse problems. there is nothing humane about leaving people on the sidewalks unattended. people in victimizing others need to be attended with. working together with our members of the community, dealing with problems that are real as opposed to when we talk about in this the satiric or theoretical debates where people have very little experience. >> i oppose and continue to oppose sit lie. it never works. look at three strikes or prop 21. it is no way to make criminal
justice policy. someone violating the law is committing critical tax and should be dealt with. for someone violating the law, i will not prosecute those cases. we should look at the version for people that need services, people that need support. it does not serve a purpose. i said the day before the election, we will have the same problems on the streets of san francisco. >> it is very vague. it is most likely pre-empted by state law. what do i mean by that? what if you had a law enforcement officer like his
enemy, why does this person not want to walk around looking for illegals? in he can start picking on people. it is unconstitutionally vague. look at people code 647. if they are blocking the road or blocking a someone's door, call the police. bring the men, arrested them. it is already pre-empted. this problem is not unique to san francisco. that is why the state is taking care of that. >> they do direct filings. this puts a juvenile as young as 14 years old into the court system?
>> i think it is inappropriate to file rather than the district attorney's offices. i've believe, as i said, it would be more for them to do it in that particular manner. most of the crimes are committed by young males. the juvenile justice department gives us the opportunity of changing people. there is a big difference. in the rare case, somebody has a long history has more crimes of that nature. she is acting as an adult.
>> generally, i am opposed, but there are times where you have cases where you have a juvenile and adult committing crimes. we had a case involving a german tourist late last year that we are prosecuting now, where the evidence would of been compromised if we have a slick, -- prosecution. >> i will not direct file under any circumstances. he evidence is clear that trying juvenile as adults does not make us safer. juvenile the good of the adult system and do much worse when they come back out and have much higher rates of recidivism. there are cases that are. we should go to the judge in the
very rare cases where we want to bring a juvenile to an adult court. the probation department and the public defender can weigh in on other options. i will not direct file under any circumstances. >> my first language was vietnamese. and that i learned english. i can't follow the logic of saying a juvenile as an adult. a juvenile is a juvenile. an adult as an adult? give me a definition. if you look at the rich and the privileged, you ever see that movie "stepbrother? these guys are 40 years old, oh, my baby. and some 14-year-old, some orphan, is an adult? make clear, make the definition
clear. it should be based on age. tell me what age you want me to prosecute as an adult and i don't care who your daddy is. if he is under that age, he is a juvenile. >> justice is in the gray. nothing is ever black and white. we need to have a much more effective response. does do everything we can to stop our kids from getting into the juvenile justice system in the first place. the other is a judge to do that. there were a enough partners brought to the table.
they were all there, health education focusing on the best response. it has gotten federal funding and is an effective way to deal with highly -- to look at how we deal with kids in the system. at the end of the day, you want somebody experienced. i will only exercise in extremely isolated circumstances. >> another lightning round question. regardless of your earlier answer about reporting adults to immigration authorities, would you follow a policy of not reporting juvenile to emigration and to adjudication? >> we need a conviction first. >> i'm against any reporting. >> that's yes. >> yes. >> no. >> yes.