Advisors come with decades of combined experience in justice reform policy and implementation
(From Press Release)– District Attorney-elect Chesa Boudin announced today his Transition Leadership team – a group of special advisors that will help guide the process of establishing the new District Attorney’s office and implementing key policies. The transition team is convening community members, experts, and those who work in the criminal legal system to develop policies to end cash bail and reduce pretrial detention; establish a wrongful conviction unit; end the use of three strikes; establish a restorative justice program that provides healing for victims and survivors and accountability for those who commit harm; establish an immigration unit within the DA’s office to protect immigrants from ICE and deportation; transform the system of youth justice into one that cares for rather than harms children; and shifts resources in order to address the root causes of crime.
“I am proud to have this group of talented and committed leaders on board to help ensure the San Francisco District Attorney’s office will begin delivering the change voters demanded on day-one,” said DA-Elect Chesa Boudin. “Together, we can take the critical steps needed to create a more fair and just system that will improve public safety for every member of our community.”
James Bell is the Founder and President of the W. Haywood Burns Institute. The Burns Institute has worked in over 200 counties in 23 states to engage justice stakeholders and communities across the country to build equity in the administration of justice. He has trained and addressed thousands of human services professionals and community members on a vision of well-being as the preferred and most effective way to achieve community safety. James has appeared on numerous national television shows, conducted several radio interviews and written blogs for the Huffington Post. He has authored sections of published anthologies on intersections of justice and school discipline, social determinants of health and equity.
Kate Chatfield is the Senior Advisor for Legislation and Policy at The Justice Collaborative, where she works with state legislators to assist their efforts to enact criminal justice reform. Kate was the lead drafter for Senator Nancy Skinner’s landmark legislation, Senate Bill 1437, which amended California’s felony murder rule and other common law doctrines related to accomplice liability for homicides. Kate wrote the Guidebook for Petitioners and continues to train attorneys and jurists in implementing this reform. Kate was a criminal defense attorney, representing clients in trial and appellate courts, both in private practice and at the Office of the State Public Defender.
Anne Irwin is the Founder and Director of Smart Justice California, where she works to elect and educate state and local policymakers who support meaningful criminal justice reforms that promote justice, safety and healthy communities. Anne works closely with policymakers and stakeholders to adopt new, forward-thinking approaches to accountability, criminalization, and incarceration. Anne is also Vice President of the JK Irwin Foundation, a family foundation focused on criminal justice reform. Prior to her policy and political work, Anne worked as a trial attorney in the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office.
Emily Lee is the Director of San Francisco Rising, a multi-racial alliance of community organizations building the political power of low-income communities of color in San Francisco. Emily has 15 years of experience in grassroots leadership development and community organizing. Emily has played a key role in leading campaigns to raise the minimum wage and protect affordable housing in San Francisco. SF Rising is rooted in Latino, Chinese, Filipino and Black communities that are directly impacted by the criminal justice system but have been excluded from political and policy decisions.
Simin Shamji is the Director of Specialty Courts and Reentry Programs where she manages collaborative courts and oversees policy and operations of the Reentry Division which includes the Bail and Pretrial Release Units, as well as the Social Work Unit and Clean Slate Program. She has worked at the San Francisco Public Defender’s office for over 20 years. After practicing as a trial attorney for many years, she began working on criminal justice policy issues including bail and sentencing reform, criminal fines and fees, racial disparities, and decarceration. She served as a board member on the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California from 2012 through 2016.
Cristine Soto DeBerry is a policy strategist, specializing in generating and implementing cutting edge criminal justice reform. She served two-terms as the Chief of Staff for San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón. During her tenure, she developed a robust policy and communications agenda, making San Francisco one of the nation’s first reform administrations. With over twenty years of legal and policy experience Cristine guided many successful large-scale reforms including developing the nation’s first proactive mass record clearance for marijuana convictions, creating the nations first “blind charging” tool, creating a national model for investigating police shootings and use of force and drafting the nation’s broadest record clearance bill.
Additional appointees to the transition team will be announced in the coming days.