tv [untitled] September 23, 2011 8:00pm-8:30pm PDT
to those people in the office. people should know that my boss has been there, my boss has done that. the job is district attorney, not district manager or district administrator. >> i know how reliable the evidence is prior. i also believe i am the only district attorney in the state endorsed the policy, i am very pleased that actually passed. >> san francisco is uniformly seen as different from other cities. how should our differences be taken into account in determining what should be prosecuted? >> the question is so vague. [laughter]
>> objection overruled. >> i am serious, what differences are we talking about? how're we different? we are humans. we are subject to the same defilement, but we have different values. there is an over criminalization of crimes. so what should we do with the criminal justice system? if you look at the statistics, it is static. we focus on public safety, we focused on not having the next person dead or injured. we can deter crime. look at my website, have real solutions to this problem. we of different values, but we have constitutional values as well.
that is what keeps us in common. and not what is different amongst us. >> i think it is very important to look at differences. some voices aren't heard. for 20 years, i stood up to those that don't have a voice or are disregarded -- if your shirt was too low, no meant maybe. we trained that it's not because -- we have that same issue with children being sold for sex. people look to them as prostitutes rather than as victims of child abuse. the transgendered the community is targeted for being transgendered. we need a leader with vision that can protect the differences, who can insure that everyone in our society has a
voice and that nobody is marginalized. we are leaders to protect everybody, not just the most powerful. which is why we need a prosecutor and not a politician. >> of course differences are important and that is why we have a different district attorney for each of the counties. san francisco is unique. he moved here recently, i assume, because he liked differences go better than wherever it was he came from. she talked about when she first started prosecuting rape cases of the way people view the people, that is not the way it was in san francisco. i was a prosecutor in the 1970's. we did cases that later became known as date rape cases. my partner and i were at the forefront working with the women against rape and working with the commission.
we aggressively prosecuted sexual assaults on victims that would not have been prosecuted and other counties. he not only need to be someone that has been the court room, but you have to be somebody that knows san francisco's values and represent the city by making certain that the crimes that are important are the ones being prosecuted. >> community values should always play a part in prosecutorial discretion. it must be central for the decision making process. >> i think absolutely the values of an elected law for some of leader have to be reflected in the decisions of what to prosecute and what not to prosecute and how to focus in the office of's resources. for 20 years, i've been working in the communities of san francisco. these are, again, the types of
approaches that we want to bring to the d a's office. not only understands the law for approach but understands the approach from the community and can take those values. from neighborhood groups and clubs at every corner of the city, because i reflect their values and the trust that with me in the d a's office, their values will be reflected in the work that we do. >> another lightning round question. give us a one-sentence description of the most important thing you will do. i will prioritize the juvenile unit to make sure it is the highest priority in the offices of the young people don't enter the criminal justice system. >> work with the community to deal effectively with violent crime and prioritize the juvenile system. >> to achieve justice for victims of violent crime.
>> how to change the whole investigative unit. they will be starting to solve of violent felonies, they are not going to of the bar for the assistant district attorney. >> one possible way to help the process and reopen civil courts is early resolution of criminal cases. many plea agreements are not negotiated until late in the process. how would you solve cases earlier? >> when my car breaks down, i call aaa. i have come up with the plan called eee. first we energize to move cases through the system and 120 days. then we expedite, using proposition 115. those kinds of testimony can be
done through other witnesses and forms. and also evaluate as the last e. we have a 14-day window in which i would prioritize before they are filed in superior court to quash the the court rooms. -- clog up the court rooms. let's move vigorously to make sure that we are not wasting our resources. >> there are things called a motion to continue, defense attorneys are very adept at that. often is a delaying tactic, but more often than not, they needed additional time to prepare. people waved time because they need their attorney to be prepared. what i would do is use by in a knowledge, my institutional knowledge of the san francisco court system and my
understanding in respect for people in the probation department to work together to move things along. to decriminalized by moving people out of the criminal justice system, the diversion process was cut short by a former district attorney and hasn't been increased to the extent it was before by the current district attorney. i would allow more people that are charged with misdemeanors to be -- i would griot misdemeanors so they would be discharged before they ever got into the system. >> first, we are taking 20% of the low-level cases and moving them to another court. we're working with the presiding judge to move cases that the underlying counts of the cases may be. or drug abuse and moving those cases away.
we're working on creating a system of resolutions in order to be able to do risk assessment early on and check those cases to provide meaningful and real resolution to those cases. not only looking at what is happening today, but trying to assess the long-term outcome is. we really do not do anyone any favors when we do not look at a case in the totality of the circle. >> we need to divert as many low level cases as possible so they are not clogging up the courts. we need to look at what is happening in the plea bargaining process, it is a very non- transparent area. we need to open up our books and bring in outsiders to show us how we can improve case processes. it is something that i have a lot of expertise in working
along the country. stanford, at berkeley were worked out, for we have had preliminary conversations about their interests to come out and help improve the system, we look at the data to see where cases are clogging up the courts. >> that's a good way to end it. what is the problem? it has to be because we have some and a misdemeanor cases. i am told that the only trial that goes on in seven it is are misdemeanors are homicides -- or homicides. misdemeanants, we can deal with them. let's identify them. get their attorneys on board and get their dna.
deal with them, but a seriously violent offender, what are we going to do? we're going to prosecute all serious and violent offenders. you come to san francisco, you commit a serious and violent act, we will prosecute. >> minority communities historic the distrust of the criminal justice system. they are in most vulnerable to law enforcement of use. what'll you do to address those problems? >> i would bring the district attorney's office into the community. it doesn't cost anything and as a step in the right direction. by the district attorney that lives in the community. find somebody that is in a central station district or bayview, park station. he asked that district attorney to be the district attorney for mission station. he or she deals with the
problems that happen between prosecutors and between police officers, anything from police officers missing court dates to district attorneys being late. it becomes a vital part of that community. the community does that they have a district attorney that they can talk to that will have the ears and eyes of the district attorney. that individual would work well with the community in making sure that the district attorney's office is stepping into the community to do the right thing. >> i agree completely, but that is already being done. i think we need a new idea. we actually have never heard prosecutors assigned to stations. we have the four districts with prosecutors and they are working with the police in the local community in order to problem solve. this is an idea that has been around for many years.
the other thing we're doing is we are servicing the community. we are going to those most underserved communities. it is a case with the prosecutors, my plan is to have every police station serve quarterly. i am working with community- based organizations, working with foreign council. in order to reach out to communities. but in order to make ourselves more accessible. we actually have to tell you are absolutely right, this is one of the biggest problems facing all of us. public safety depends on the community trust in law enforcement. we need to have the highest ethical standards to be completely transparent and we
need to work with every community in this city collaborative way which, again, is what i have been doing for the last 20 years. who are leaders in the community based organizations? they work in partnership with them for 20 years. i have worked on focusing to reduce the representation of the use of color. we need to change our policies and practices to make them fairer so that everyone is treated equally and we need to have the community partner with us that we build trust. >> our black community is going down to about 5%. if the jails are filled up with a black suspect, there are racial profiling. they're doing a violation of the fourth amendment, targeting
someone based on race. how do you combat that? you look of them with a video camera. are you out there just looking at someone because of their race? stop it. police properly. he did not in bed ada into the police station. that is a bad idea. they start sleeping with each other, literally. i am serious. keep independent. you should have a representative of each district, but don't put them in a police station. >> we still have community issues. what is the problem? we are not keeping it real. we have to talk about the elephant in the room. many communities feel that they are being targeted because of
their skin color or a variety of other reasons. we have to talk about it. racial tensions are not new to me. how do we deal with those issues? by talking about them. by bringing the d a s a leader of an umbrella action to talk about these issues, to hammer out a solution where trust is restored because we are experiencing a crisis in confidence. video the flareups is not going to solve the problem. the can't ignore it, we actually have to talk about what the problem is. people feel that they're being targeted because of their skin color or their socio-economic status. that has to end. >> the site of money, what is the greatest obstacle to the attorney's office?
>> aside from money, the lack of technology. the technology is very antiquated and this is an area i've been working very aggressively to operate. we have been reaching out to other partners in the community. we have already started a modernization process. we're leaning towards the creation of a better technological solution to many of our cases. >> this is similar to my answer to the last question. but we are missing through trust and collaboration with the community. that is what we need to make it safer. we need people in every neighborhood of the city to trust the police, trust our prosecutors, to come forward as victims and work together to make our streets safer.
right now, that trust is not very and i am running for district attorney to bring that trust back. >> we need to modernize the investigative unit. you need to go out and solve crimes. modernize that unit, and regarding the lawyers, it raises the bar. you make them highly efficient. >> experience and visionary leadership. i've experienced leadership by leading the aledo trial teams from public integrity, restitution, sexual assault, creating model programs throughout the state and throughout the country. and leadership outside the office, there are over 111 police agencies.
nobody is talking to anybody. we have to work with other jurisdictions that have a regional approach. criminals don't respect the borders. our criminal justice response needs to be one of coordinated action. i had a nine-county task force. i acquired three of the thousand dollars of federal funding. i want to bring the same regional approach in dealing with criminal justice going forward in partnership with organizations beyond san francisco. >> it is largely a trial attorney's office. one thing that they really don't need is technology. very few people have computers. lucky need is leadership,
training, and the need to give the district attorney's discretion. so they won't have to run to their boss who doesn't want to make a decision. let the young district attorney make decisions. if they make the wrong decision, they will hopefully learn from the errors of their ways. who is best equipped to do that? somebody who has never been in a courtroom before. they'll get the respect of the deputies that go there every day. >> if it is shown that they intentionally withheld evidence, would you promised to fire that lawyer? >> to file criminal charges against him like they would
police officers >-- >> what steps would you take in administering the san francisco -- what you do to ensure a healthy balance in having the best career prosecutors and still getting a continuing infusion of new and talented lawyers? >> we need to being the best -- and bring the best and brightest attorneys. there is an incredible lack of talent that meets the proper leadership and the proper vision. as we bring in new talent, we should be bringing in the best people throughout the country
and bringing in attorneys that reflect the diversity of san francisco, also in the management levels. i think there is no reason that we should be known as having the best district attorney's office in the country. it does have that reputation. they want to come to san francisco. i want to make the office in a destination for people around the country that would like to work in the d.a.'s office. >> the office is a bureaucracy right now. it is a story about when he was fired by the da. the d.a. claims that he wanted to be no. 2. so he fired him. you know, if you want to be no.
2, and i was the leader, i would fire you. if you want to be number one, you are on. give them protection. when you have fear, you can't execute. they work at will. they're firing anybody they want for anybody. they need a civil service protection. the unions understand them. police understand them. we should bring that to justice. and then we will see the justice gets done. >> i think it is important to have an office that people want to come to. it is my commitment to make san francisco one of the best in the country so it is no longer just to the county referred to when we talk about the best offices in the country. we need to have leadership that has been there and done that,
leadership that can train the lawyers. in order to lead an army of trial lawyers, you need to walk a mile in their shoes to earn and gained the trust of those lawyers. i have a federal clerkship in the northern district. i chose to go to the d a's office. i like these advances could be a office to be the place that people turned down offers to go to. it is important to have an internship program that is one of the best in the country. they know how they are in it for the duration. >> i am here to defend the district attorney's office. it was one of the most enviable job to get in today, i see a lot of that edta is here. no trouble, no problem
attracting people. this is san francisco. would you rather live in san francisco or oakland? [laughter] san francisco going way back to the days of terence howard has a very diverse administration. there are african americans and asians administrative -- asian- americans in administrative places. i know more people in that office than anybody up there. i will work with them and inspire them to bigger and better things. have they will do well because they want to do well. >> i agree, as a matter of fact, they are reaching rounds of interviews where we are attracting many candidates for compensation. recruitment is not a problem. it is a very desirable place to
work. it goes beyond that. i have restructured the office and we have the highest number of women that are in positions of authority. two women in the very top echelons. we are also looking to have people that have different skills sets whether it is cultural or language. i created working groups in the office. they are looking for ways to improve the quality of the offices. we have created a more formalized internship program. we're also creating more formalized training. the also want to make sure that people are promoted to based on merit. >> other areas of concern related to political corruption? and would you give special emphasis to prosecution?
>> i am sure there is a concern with federal corruption everywhere, including san francisco and all through the states. a name for me the last politician here over in city hall. the guy was a supervisor and he is leading his community. -- bleeding his community. it is a serious crime to the chinese community. but when you have a minority community that there is no trust, if it is happening with the board of supervisors, it is systemic. we need to take care of that problem. i will make that my number one issue, political corruption and government corruption. >> can you repeat the question?
>> other areas of concern relating to political corruption? would you give any special emphasis to prosecution of political corruption? >> there is a concern about how allegations are being handled. you can read the paper. investigations that need to occur aren't occurring. we know as lawyers, the standard and sufficiency of the evidence is not a standard for opening an investigation. and yet, we hear from the dna that was a political appointee that there is insufficient evidence to open an investigation. first and foremost, we don't put politics first. that is why this is a job for a prosecutor that knows what she is doing and that has the ability to stand up to interests. and to do what is right no
matter how powerful and influential people are. investigation clear is a cloud of suspicion even if the cloud is wrongfully there. everyone is served by a vigorous unit like the one that i had to oversee public integrity and corruption. >> there is often a sense of political corruption in san francisco and very little has been done about it. i looked at the city charter. one of the provisions said that in order to the district attorney, you have to be an active member of the bar five years preceding the election. as you read it down, the city attorney is prohibited from endorsing any elected official. a thought to myself, i am getting in this race late. most of the people that would endorse me before including other alexiansve