Boudin will serve as the founding executive director of Berkeley Law’s new Criminal Law and Justice Center; he calls the role a “perfect fit.” The center will be focused on research and advocacy in order to boost Berkeley Law’s public mission in the criminal justice arena, the university said.
Boudin tells KRON4 he’s excited to be working at the country’s premier public law school. “This job will draw on my lived experience visiting my parents in prison for decades, as well as my professional experience as a public defender and as elected district attorney,” he said.
Dean Erwin Chemerinksy said that the university conducted a national search to fill the role. The announcement detailed Boudin’s personal experience with the criminal justice system, which started when he was only one year old. Both of his parents served over two decades in prison for their role in a Brinks truck robbery that left three people dead in 1981.
Renowned civil rights activist Angela Davis also spoke to the university about Boudin’s appointment to the role. “Many people fear change, and the type of change he’s pursuing would be transformative. Chesa is an exceptional leader, with a nuanced understanding of the challenges and barriers our system creates. He’ll help Berkeley Law students become the kind of lawyers who propel true reform,” Davis said.
The announcement of Boudin’s new role came the same day that he published an opinion article the San Francisco Chronicle. In the piece, Boudin takes aim at Republican candidates who “tried to exploit sensationalistic media coverage and voter polls that identified crime and public safety as a top issue of concern.” Boudin goes on to say that the current “manufactured frenzy” failed to help elect conservatives but managed to leave a negative impact on criminal justice policy.
“As I learned during my two-and-a-half years as San Francisco’s elected district attorney, it takes far more than winning elections to achieve lasting progress,” Boudin writes. “That’s why, rather than seek another elected office in 2024, I’m choosing a different path for now — one that is still consistent with my lifelong commitment to fixing the criminal legal system, ending mass incarceration and innovating data-driven solutions to public safety challenges.”