COVID, Courtrooms, AAPI Hate and Shoplifting Highlight District Attorney Office Weekly Update

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SF DA Chesa Boudin

By S. Priana Aquino

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – An end-of-week update from the District Attorney’s Office details the complications and accomplishments despite the spread of the Delta variant in San Francisco.

Eleven new courtrooms have been opened in San Francisco, increasing the amount of trials that may be heard in a day. There is currently a backlog of hundreds of cases waiting to be heard, and the DA’s office is optimistic that more courtrooms open can decrease the wait time for defendants.

However, COVID still plays a role in the speed in which cases are heard. Recently, a judge declared a mistrial in one of the DA’s arson trials because a juror contracted COVID. Such setbacks seem inevitable as the city navigates reopening.

The District Attorney’s Office has also announced the expansion of their Victim Services unit—a change that SF District Attorney Chesa Boudin has spoken often about implementing.

For the first time, the Victim Services Division will include two Property Crime Advocates to support victims of property crime. Their help will include assisting property crime victims file restitution and insurance claims and working with businesses affected by property crimes.

Additionally, two clinical social workers who will serve as Intensive Care Victim Advocates have joined the Victim Services Division. Victim Advocates will ensure that those with more intensive needs are assisted and supported.

The DA Office update highlighted their prioritization of addressing gun violence. In response to this, it has created the Our Gun Violence Restraining Order (GVRO) Program.

According to the DA’s website, “a GVRO temporarily removes firearms and ammunition from the possession of someone who (1) is a threat to themselves, or (2) is a threat to someone else.”

This new program helps people in obtaining gun violence restraining orders to remove guns from those who pose a danger to themselves or others.

In response to the uptick in retail crimes, the DA’s office detailed efforts in stopping them. “To further disrupt and deter these operations, we partnered with ALTO, an organization that represents stores like Walgreens and helps coordinate loss prevention efforts,” stated the report.

Another issue highlighted in their update was this year’s increase in hate and violence against the AAPI community.

The District Attorney’s Office restated its commitment to safety and protection of the AAPI community. The office has held numerous trainings on hate crimes and partnered with law enforcement to develop new tools to combat these crimes.

In a public service announcement with SFPD Police Chief Scott, SFDA Chesa Boudin reminded the public of the importance of reporting and preventing hate crimes.

The office update also spoke about an Anti-AAPI Violence and Hate Crimes Virtual Summit: Keeping our AAPI Community Safe event that was hosted last May.

“I am humbled by the experiences shared during this summit and our office came away with strengthened partnerships to end the hate and violence against the AAPI community,” wrote Boudin.

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About The Author

S. Priana Aquino is a rising Senior at the University of San Francisco, majoring in Business with minors in Legal Studies and Public Service & Community Engagement. Upon graduation, she hopes to attend law school and continue her work in uplifting and advocating for communities of color.

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