Retired San Francisco Superior Court Judge Backs Boudin, Speaks Out Against DA Recall

San Francisco DA Chesa Boudin

By Elina Lingappa

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Retired Judge Tomar Mason wrote an opinion article in the San Francisco Examiner last Friday, urging San Franciscans to think critically about the current recall campaign against District Attorney Chesa Boudin, complementing Boudin’s accomplishments and giving an endorsement of his progressive platform.

She identified two misconceptions in the recall campaign: crime is rising in San Francisco and that Boudin is responsible for any upsurge.

Judge Mason served on the San Francisco Superior Court for 21 years, and he called on his extensive experience in the criminal and civil divisions to back up his argument.

In reality, Mason elaborated, crime in San Francisco is at some of the lowest rates since 1975.

Additionally, since taking office, Boudin has actually overseen a further decrease in overall crime rates, especially in rape, assault, and burglary.

Mason has been a member of Criminal Justice Research in California for 35 years. Drawing on her experience, she asserted that crime is frequently born of need, especially economic deprivation.

According to the judge, sending people to jail through harsh prosecution actually exacerbates many underlying issues.

She cited a study conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research which found that high prosecution on first-time misdemeanor offenses actually increases rates of crime, as it leaves already desperate individuals with even fewer options in front of them.

Thus, she feels that Boudin’s progressive prosecuting takes an essential systemic approach that will lead to a long-term decrease in crime.

Judge Mason is not alone in this sentiment.

Earlier this year, Cristine DeBerry, executive director of Prosecutors Alliance of California, wrote her own op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle. DeBerry similarly called out misinformation which fuels the anti-progressive prosecuting rhetoric.

She specifically brought up a tragic car accident which claimed two lives on New Year’s Eve caused by a parolee. This incident acted as a catalyst for the current recall efforts.

However, calling for prison time and an end to Boudin’s term is not the answer according to DeBerry.

“Filling those nonviolent charges [that the parolee was previously arrested for] would not have led to incarceration, and therefore they would not have prevented this tragic crime”, she wrote, “But treatment for substance abuse very well may have.”

The sentiment of both op-eds remains the same: the justice system does not function ideally for anybody.
However, it is necessary to be objective with statistics and transparent about root causes of crime and recidivism in order to ensure safety.

Anti-progressive prosecuting efforts, such as the recall Boudin campaign, does none of this, supporters suggest.

Judge Mason ended his op-ed with a call to action; “look at the faces and understand the lack of effect that a recall would have on crime in San Francisco. And I hope you’ll join me in opposing this wasteful effort to undermine our elections and our choices as voters.”

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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