(BCN) — The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted unanimously on Tuesday to call on new District Attorney Brooke Jenkins to keep a criminal justice reform program that was begun under her predecessor, Chesa Boudin, who was recalled in June.
The Independent Innocence Commission was begun in 2020 by Boudin and was staffed by liaison attorney Arcelia Hurtado, who was fired by Jenkins once she became DA, as well as several other post-conviction attorneys.
The Commission recently helped exonerate Joaquin Ciria, who had been incarcerated for over 30 years for a murder he did not commit.
“After the District Attorney set up the commission in 2020, they looked at every piece of evidence in my case,” said Ciria. “I had prayed so long for this to happen.”
According to Supervisor Dean Preston’s office, the DA’s office previously had an Internal Conviction Integrity Unit before Boudin’s tenure, but it “did not exonerate a single person through its existence.”
KRON On is streaming news live now
The Innocence Commission currently works with the University of San Francisco School of Law’s Racial Justice Clinic. Under the current charter, the DA gives great weight to the Innocence Commission’s recommendations but retains final discretion on all cases, Preston’s office said.
Noted law Professor Lara Bazelon is the chair of the Innocence Commission.
“We want to express our deepest appreciation to the board of supervisors for recognizing the crucial importance of our work,” she said in a statement. “[It is] painstaking, complicated, and offered pro bono in service of the DA’s duty to see that justice is done.”
Copyright © 2022 Bay City News, Inc.