SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins announced Tuesday she will reserve the right to try 16- and 17-year-olds as adults when the crimes with which they’re accused “shock the conscience of the community.”
“Crimes that will be considered for review are listed in the Welfare and Institutions Code section 707(b) and are limited to murder, attempted murder, forcible sexual assault, kidnapping, torture, and aggravated mayhem, in addition, the offense must be heinous in nature,” a press release from Jenkins’ office sates. “Transfer hearing petitions will only be filed by the District Attorney after careful review by the managing attorney, Chief of Collaborative Justice, and a newly established Juvenile Review Team.”
The Juvenile Review Team, also announced Tuesday, will review each case and forward a recommendation and any dissenting opinions to Jenkins.
“The Juvenile Review Team will provide all opinions to ensure that District Attorney Jenkins has insight into the proceedings and understands all points of view,” the press release states. “The district attorney will make the final decision regarding whether to file the fitness transfer petition to the court, who will rule based on the evidence presented. District Attorney Jenkins’ policy and approach is in alignment with the vast majority of progressive prosecutors in California and across the country.”
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The review team is “the first of its kind in San Francisco,” the press release states.
Jenkins made the announcement of the new policy and review team, effective Tuesday, at a mid-morning press conference. She stressed that she wants to charge minors as adults only in the most exigent circumstances — but that the right to do so will be reserved, in the interest of justice.
“History has made it clear that juveniles of color have been disproportionately charged as adults in the American criminal justice system. This is something that we must correct by always presuming that our justice-involved youth should remain in the juvenile justice system where they have access to services like mental health and behavioral health support,” Jenkins stated. “I also recognize that as a DA’s office we must retain prosecutorial discretion to ensure that we protect the public and deliver justice in our most serious and egregious cases that is fair and proportional.”
Jenkins was appointed by Mayor London Breed over the summer to replace Chesa Boudin, who was elected in November 2019 but who was recalled in June amid concerns he was not tough enough on crime. Jenkins had been the public face of the recall effort since her resignation from the Boudin-led DA’s office in late 2021.