SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – The murder of a 7-month-old baby is raising concerns about the San Francisco District Attorney’s record on charging domestic violence cases.
That’s because the baby’s accused killer had previously been arrested twice on suspicion of domestic violence charges this year but charges were never filed.
According to police, the 7-month-old baby was pronounced dead after being brought to the ER at CPMC’s Van Ness Hospital.
The baby was unresponsive with signs of trauma by an adult male caregiver.
Murder charges have been filed against Joseph Gerome Williams.
According to the DA’s office, Williams had been arrested in January and in March on suspicion of felony domestic violence involving a woman who is not the baby’s mother.
Those charges were dropped, in part, because the woman told police she started the fights and did not want to prosecute and the evidence could not prove Williams was criminally responsible.
“Intervention should’ve happened, that baby did not have to die,” Supervisor Catherine Stefani said.
Supervisor Catherine Stefani says she was already hearing concerns from domestic violence advocates about DA Chesa Boudin not filing charges in felony domestic violence cases.
She got this data from the police chief that shows in the last quarter of 2020 — 131 felony domestic violence cases.
“The DA’s office did not file charges in 113 of those cases which is very shocking to me it was very surprising,” Stefani said.
She is introducing legislation Tuesday that would require law enforcement to provide monthly data on domestic violence cases.
“We’re not gonna have criminal justice reform if people continue to commit crimes and they are not held accountable and they are not charged, if you let them go over and over again they are going to re-offend and they’re not gonna get directed or into the services they need to make sure they’re not stuck in the criminal justice system,” Stefani said.
Williams is set to enter a plea in the death of the baby on Tuesday.
The DA’s office says they aren’t second-guessing their decision to drop the earlier cases against Williams but in light of this tragedy, they will be reviewing all policies relating to charging domestic violence crimes.