District Attorney Chesa Boudin Files Murder Charges against Accused Infant Murderer

SF DA Chesa Boudin

By Elina Lingappa

SAN FRANCISCO – District Attorney Chesa Boudin continues to emphasize domestic violence survivor rights, announcing Monday his office has filed murder and assault charges against defendant Joseph Williams for the death of a seven-month-old infant.

The infant, who is not Williams’ child, displayed clear signs of blunt force trauma when brought to the hospital last week, said the DA.

Williams had two arrests prior to this incident, both of which were domestic violence-related with the same individual (the other person shares no relation with the infant).

The prosecution was unable to press charges during both of these arrests, because there was insufficient evidence to prove Williams was more criminally responsible than the other party involved.

This incident underscores the difficulty and nuance in prosecuting domestic violence cases, said the DA, noting that many DV cases take place in the privacy of people’s homes, making evidence much more difficult to gather.

Additionally, many witnesses and victims don’t want the case to be charged, because they often have personal connections to or dependency on the offender.

The DA’s office has been transparent in their commitment to prosecute as many of these cases as possible, promising it will seek charges if evidence allows, with or without victim cooperation, in order to ensure residents are kept safe.

Even when evidence does not allow for prosecution, Boudin has still supported survivor’s rights, ensuring that, even without official charges, various assistance is provided to the victim. This includes counseling, transportation, housing assistance, or anything else pertinent to the case.

DV experts, including Kelly Weisberg of UC Hastings School of Law, have aided the DA office with domestic violence training, and applauded Boudin on his track record thus far.

In a recent article, she adamantly expressed that she was “impressed that San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin recognized right away that the pandemic created heightened dangers for domestic violence victims and worked to secure resources.”

“The way we treat victims and how we listen to and support them says a tremendous amount about who we are as a society,” Boudin said.

The recent Joseph Williams case is no exception to Boudin’s focus.

“We know nothing can make the family whole again, but we will work our hardest to make sure there is justice,” the district attorney said. “Please know that our office is mourning with and for you,” he said to DV victims.

Elina Lingappa is a sophomore at the University of San Francisco double majoring in Sociology and Politics. She is originally from Seattle, Washington, and she is deeply passionate about the spheres of criminal justice and education equity.

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About The Author

The Vanguard Court Watch operates in Yolo, Sacramento and Sacramento Counties with a mission to monitor and report on court cases. Anyone interested in interning at the Courthouse or volunteering to monitor cases should contact the Vanguard at info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org - please email info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org if you find inaccuracies in this report.

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