tv [untitled] October 13, 2011 4:00am-4:30am PDT
continue or whether or not their sentence had been changed to life without parole simply resolve all the issues in their case and ended the appeals process. >> we've got less than five minutes, so i want to invite the panelists each to say something in closing. maybe you could each take a minute, whoever would like to go first. >> we can go this way, so i will start. it is a great pleasure to be here. it is a wonderful crowd today, and this is a wonderful panel to be here with. each of these individuals have enormous life experience that is so much more important than anything i could say, and i have learned a lot being on this panel which east of them -- with each of them, and i appreciate them taking the time to share their views and being so honest and forthcoming. these are exactly the voices we need to end the death penalty in california and across the country, and i hope all of you will get involved and go to the
website -- deathpenalty.org -- and you will find many ways to get involved. particularly right now, telling the governor to cut the death penalty, to convert all death sentences. if each of you were to go home and take that action, to send an e-mail message or hand write a letter to the governor, that would make a huge difference. together, we can end the death penalty in california. [applause] >> thank you for having me here today. i would like to close by saying i have had the opportunity to view this issue from every point of view, having been the warden at san quentin state prison. i am absolutely impassioned about the fact that it is time to end the death penalty in this state. life without possibility of parole is the real sentence. hold people accountable and gives them the opportunity to change within the prison system, and they can give back by working within the prison system, giving restitution to
family members and working on behalf of the state of california on a variety of projects that go on inside prisons. i also want to echo what the process said -- please join, please help -- i also want to echo what natasha said. talk to 10 of your friends, send e-mails, send letters. thank you. [applause] >> 1985, when i was sentenced to death for a crime i did not commit, i thought right away that this would be rectified. i was convicted of two different crimes. it took 18 years. it took me seven execution dates. i watched 12 then be executed while i was there -- i watched 12 and then be executed while i was there. i'm not in a position to say
whether either of them -- whether any of them were guilty or innocent. mr. d.a., i am asking you, truly consider leaving the death penalty along. let that be in god's hands, what that person goes through or deals with. there are too many flaws in our system that we cannot control and we cannot trust a man. i am asking you to consider that, to take the consideration of that. the question we did not answer was it one of these guys were in this and that was executed by a prosecutor that had evidence that was clearly convincing that that person was innocent, what would you do? that was a simple question to me. that was not a tricky question. it was a straight up question dealing with innocence and the prosecutor doing something that was considered murder or attempted murder.
you could answer that. you faded around that question, and to me, that is enough to make me think you should consider not dealing with the death penalty and joining in the fight to abolish the death penalty. we went to illinois, and i was with another group. we would go from state to state that have the death penalty and go to legislators and everyone asking them to abolish the death penalty. in the last two years, we have been successful. it appears like we are going to have to put california on our list. but that is all i wanted to say. that is something that once you take a life, you cannot bring it back. accountability needs to be on your part, too, on the district attorney's part, so if he knew a man was innocent and still
prosecuted him, that a straight up murder -- that is straight up murder. that is not malfeasance. [applause] >> i want to thank the public defender's office for putting this panel together. i understand there was a good panel this morning. these are issues that are conflicts, and they require continuing dialogue. the law is not perfect. the law is always evolving. it was an honor also to be with the other panelists here. i think that the issue of the death penalty is one that obviously is right -- ripe for us to bring this back to the voters. i think there is a great deal of evidence today that speaks to the problems of wrongful convictions. i think we all understand what the factors are. we know there is a problem with
wrongful convictions -- convictions. there is certainly a problem with prisoner treatment, and there is a problem with closure to the victims as well as the financial costs. it is up to all of us collectively to talk about how we deal with this and create a more profitable policy around dealing with very serious crimes, and i welcome the opportunity for having been here today. thank you very much. [applause] >> jeff adacci has a few closing remarks. >> i am a public defender. >> good afternoon. i am with the d a's office. >> in closing today's program, we want to first of all thank all of you for being here and being part of this discussion. no doubt, we achieved a great
deal. this was not just another talking head conference where people were just here to give a speech. you really heard engaged discussion from this morning all the way up until now. we thank our panelists because they came here with an open heart and an open mind. we are going to talk in a minute about how we are going to move things forward. i want to thank the staff of the public defender's office and the many volunteers who made this possible. we thank the library staff as well as sfgovtv for their good work here. john came here because we invited him and because he knew
that he is making a difference and will continue to make a difference. after serving 14 years on death row and spending 18 years of his life fighting the case, he continued to fight for justice, and he brought his case to the united states supreme court. he received a $40 million jury verdict, and in april, the united states supreme court overturned that, even though in this case, there were three prosecutors who have -- who were found to have intentionally withheld evidence that would have exonerated him. plus, and this is a great lesson for all of us, it was a prosecutor who was the hero. he stood up and came forward and told everybody what the other two prosecutors did. when he did that, his efforts were rebuked by the district
attorney. as a result, he left his job. it tells you that there are heroes everywhere. people are standing up for justice everywhere. we have to reach everyone everywhere every place in order to solve this problem. we do have a plaque to presented -- present to j.t > as a result of everything he has been through, but more importantly, to help him in the future -- present to j.t. as a result of everything he has been through, but more importantly, for everything he will do in the future. you can support the work he does with a reentry program for persons coming back from prison. so if we could present this to you. [applause]
moving forward, our work cannot stop here. i would like to have christine talk about what we are going to be doing moving forward. we have had meetings with district attorney george gascono about doing things differently. within the police chief, a new district attorney, we have that opportunity -- with a new police chief, a new district attorney, we have that opportunity. i would also like to acknowledge supervisor ross mirkarimi to come up here just for a moment and say hello, and let me have christine close the program.
>> good afternoon, everybody. it was a pleasure to listen to the last panel this afternoon. i am the chief of staff for mr. gascon, and i joined him when he moved over to the d.a.'s office. joining the office on his request, because i think we really have a unique perspective, having worked on the defense side and on policy issues, and i can attest that he is undertaking a wholehearted effort to really bring some reform to the criminal justice system on many fronts, this being one of them that we are evaluating. i hope that you as city and county residents will see in our work that we really take some efforts that will reform. anybody that has participated in the criminal justice system for any length of time knows that it does not work from whatever and will you are looking at it, so the question is how do we make it better? we hope to engage all of you in
that. we are starting neighborhood courts, and a lot of efforts that we hope to engage the city and county in supporting us and looking at ways to move away from the over incarceration of people and look at ways to reform their behavior. the efforts we have undertaken when george was appointed to the position -- jeff asked him to come to the public defender's office to have a question and answer session, which he did, and i attended with him. we are told that was the first time that had ever happened, and we reciprocated by asking jeff to meet with the district attorneys in our office. we have begun a dialogue that both sides think is very healthy. we have identified a number of issues that we think require further exploration, so we are creating working group's staff by the people from the d.a.'s office and the public defender's office to look at improving things like discovery, which is an important issue, making sure that we have reciprocal discovery and that it is transparent and complete.
looking at workers from collaborative courts, looking at solutions besides incarceration, dealing with mental health and behavioral health issues, rather than using the jails as a solution to that, and we are also working around juvenile issues to make sure we are doing all we can for those under the age of 18 in our community. those are the efforts we are undertaking. jeff and matt have been a fantastic partners in this. as far as we know, it is a new day in these efforts and really trying to work collaboratively and we hope to have all your support in doing that. [applause] >> of course, that is not to say that we are not going to fight it out in court because, of course, that is what we do. i would like to briefly introduce ross mirkarimi, who is a supervisor here in the city,
and he has been a champion of many criminal justice issues, including prisoner reentry. i also want to thank and acknowledge debra atherton. thank you. supervisor mirkarimi: it is nice to see everybody. jeff is generous. i was not expecting to be up here. i know you have had a productive day. i think that the public defender's summit is something not to be missed and a template for the rest of california and probably the nation to follow. i am proud of our public defender. i am proud of our criminal justice partners because over the last four years, we have seen a great amount of innovation. jeff and i started the city's first reentry council, and it might be bewildering to you, but before we started it, believe it or not, those stakeholders in
the criminal-justice system really very irregularly rarely would come together and talk about ways that we might mitigate, reduce our recidivism rate. great progress has been made, but san francisco still needs to step up its game. i was delighted to hear the conversation that took place here, but no the statistic that for every four people that sanford's is the police department arrests and the da prosecutes, nearly three are repeat offenders -- for every four people that san francisco police department arrests and the da prosecutes -- the d.a. prosecutes. there is evidence to show that doing everything we can to try to divert some of his life from repeating their offense, but we will have to really vigorously enhance our approach. one way to do that obviously is the collaboration being fostered
and demonstrated here today, but it is more than just today. it will have to be every single day, or else california will continue to be building more prisons, and san francisco may not be far behind. thanks. [applause] >> once again, thanks for the flag. [laughter] have a good time. have a good evening. thank you very much. [applause]
>> the san francisco cons tri of flowers in golden gate park is now showing a new exhibit that changes the way we see the plants around us. amy stewart's best-selling book, "wicked plants" is the inspiration behind the new exhibit that takes us to the dark side of the plant world. >> i am amy stewart. i am the arthur of "wicked plants," the weeds that killed lincoln's mother and other botanical atrocities. with the screens fly trap, that is kind of where everybody went initially, you mean like that? i kind of thought, well, all it does is eat up bugs. that is not very wicked. so what? by wicked, what i mean is that they are poisonous, dangerous,
deadly or immoral or maybe illegal or offensive or awful in some way. i am in the profession of going around and interviewing botanists, horticulturalists and plant scientists. they all seem to have some little plant tucked away in the corner of a greenhouse that maybe they weren't supposed to have. i got interested in this idea that maybe there was a dark side to plants. >> the white snake root. people who consumed milk or meat from a cow that fed on white snake root faced severe pain. milk sickness, as it was culled, resulted in vomiting, tremors, delirium and death. one of the most famous victims of milk sickness was nancy hangs lincoln. she died at the age of 34,
leaving behind 9-year-old abraham lincoln. he helped build his mother's casket by carving the woodallen petition douche the wooden petition himself. >> we transformed the gallery to and eerie victorian garden. my name is lowe hodges, and i am the director of operations and exhibitions at the conls tore of -- cons tore of flowers. we decided it needed context. so we needed a house or a building. the story behind the couple in the window, you can see his wife has just served him a glass of wine, and he is slumped over the table as the poison takes affect. a neat little factold dominion
about that house is actually built out of three panels from old james bond movie. we wanted people to feel like i am not supposed to be in this room. this is the one that is supposed to be barred off and locked up. >> the ole andersonner -- oleander. this popular shrub is popular in warm climates. it has been implicated in a surprising number of murders and accidental deaths. children are at risk because it takes only a few leaves to kill them. a southern california woman tried to collect on her husband's life insurance by putting the leaves in his food. she is now one of 15 women on california's death rowan the only one who attempted to murder with a plant. >> people who may haven't been to their cons tore or been to
-- do serve tore or their botanical garden, it gives them a reason to come back. you think let's go and look at the pretty flowers. these are pretty flowers, but they are flowers with weird and fascinating stories behind them. that is really fun and really not what people normally think of when they come to a horticultural institution. >> "wicked plants" is now showing at the san francisco conserve tore of flowers. unless next time, get out and play.
struggled to take care of the priceless collection because of limited resources. in an effort to gather more funding for the maintenance of the collection, the art commission has joined forces with the san francisco art dealers association to establish art care, a new initiative that provides a way for the public to get involved. the director of public affairs recently met with the founder and liquor -- local gallery owner to check out the first art care project. ♪ >> many san franciscans are not aware that there is a civic art collection of numbers almost 4000 works of art. preserving the collection and maintaining it is something being addressed by a new program
called art care. it is a way for citizens to participate in the preservation of the civic art collection. with me is the creator of the art care program. welcome. the reason we wanted to interview you is that the artist in question is peter volkas. why is he so important to the history of san francisco art? >> he is a very famous ceramic ist. knowing the limitations of clay, he got involved in bronze in around 1962. he was teaching at the university of california, berkeley. >> your gallery celebrated the
50th anniversary of continuous operation. you are a pioneer in introducing the work and representing him. >> i have represented him since 1966. i was not in business until 1961. he made a big deal out of working in clay. the things he was doing was something never seen before. >> it is a large scale bronze. it has been sitting here of the hall of justice since 1971. talk about what happens to the work of art out of the elements. >> the arts commission commissioned the piece. they did not set aside money for repair. it has slowly changed color. it was black. it has been restored.
>> it has been restored to the original patina. >> there was no damage done to its. i do not think there were any holes made in it. they have been working on it for six or eight weeks. it is practically ready to go. i am very excited to see it done. >> over the course of the arts in richmond program, we have added almost 800 works of art into the public space. maintaining that is not something that the bond funds allow us to do. this is why you came up with the idea of art care. >> i hope we get the community going and get people who really like to be involved. we will give them a chance to be involved.
if you are interested in art, this is a marvelous way to get involved. there is work all over the city where every year ago. -- there is artwork all over the city wherever you go. my idea was to get people in the neighborhood to take care of the pieces and let the art commission have the money for the bigger pieces. >> i was talking to the former president of the arts commission yesterday. the 2% ordnance is something he helped to champion. >> it is all over california and other states now. we really were the forerunners. it is a wonderful thing to bring the community into this now. people have seen art being put into the community. this has not been touched by any
graffiti. it just faded over time. it is so open here. there is nobody watching this. i think that is a plus to the community. i hope the graffiti people do not go out there now that i am opening of my mouth. >> i want to thank you for the 50 years you have already given to the city as an arts leader. >> i started in to briberon, i's only been 45. >> you have championed his work over these years. >> it has been exciting working with him. it is one of the highlights of my life. >> thank you for being part of "culture wire" today. >> to learn more about the program and the list