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Brooke Jenkins replaces ousted San Francisco DA Chesa Boudin

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SAN FRANCISCO — The mayor of San Francisco has named an outspoken critic of deposed prosecutor Chesa Boudin as his replacement.

Mayor London Breed announced on Thursday that Brooke Jenkins will be the next prosecutor after voters in the famed liberal city evicted the politically progressive Boudin in a special recall election last month. She will be sworn in on Friday.

Jenkins, who left Boudin’s office in 2021 to volunteer for the recall, is both Black and Latina. She becomes the first prosecutor in Latina in San Francisco. Vice President Kamala Harris was the city’s first Black DA.

“We are a city of second chances. But the truth is, we have to draw a line with people who choose hatred, violence and a life of crime,” Jenkins said at a news conference announcing her appointment. “I want to make it clear: holding offenders accountable does not prevent us from continuing with vital and important reforms of our criminal justice system.”

Boudin, a former public defender elected in 2019, was impeached in a June 7 recall election, fueled by frustration with public safety in the deeply democratic city. Viral video footage of people shoplifting and attacking seniors, especially Asian Americans, confused residents.

Former district attorney Chesa Boudin was ousted in a recall election on June 7 due to a rapid decline in San Francisco’s public safety during his tenure.
San Francisco Chronicle via Gett

Breed said she chose Jenkins because of her experience, sense of fairness and compassion for victims and perpetrators alike. The mayor did not disclose how she voted in the recall, but clashed with Boudin over enforcement.

“She sacrificed her career to fight for people in this city, to fight for victims who needed a voice in the city,” Breed said.

Jenkins, who also considers himself a progressive prosecutor, said Boudin was too rigid during the campaign. He canceled cash bail for suspects and stated that minors would not be tried as adults, no matter how serious the crime was. Jenkins said she would like these tools to be available for prosecutors to use as they see fit.

In an interview with The Associated Press before the election, Jenkins said being a progressive prosecutor meant “being innovative in finding alternatives to incarceration, but trying to make sure our defendants don’t go wrong again.”

Boudin, who has not ruled out running for prosecutor again, said his tenure was hampered by a pandemic that closed courts and the intensive treatment and counseling programs relied on to rehabilitate offenders.

Jenkins joined the San Francisco District Attorney’s office in 2014.

She said she plans to run in November to serve the remainder of Boudin’s term until 2023.

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