VSombat by conservatives and police, the young activist lawyer elected San Francisco prosecutor in 2019 lost an “impeachment vote” on Tuesday. Chesa Boudin was considered too progressive, even within this Californian city, which was nevertheless very leftist. “Voters were not given the opportunity to choose between criminal justice reforms and something else. We gave them the opportunity to voice their frustrations and their indignation and they seized it,” commented Chesa Boudin during a speech to his supporters after the vote.
This procedure was organized as part of the primary elections held in California and six other American states. It paved the way for the dismissal of several prosecutors considered too reformist, such as in Los Angeles, Chicago or Philadelphia, according to the promoters of this local initiative.
Measures too hard for the Conservatives to bear
Elected at the end of 2019 with only a few hundred votes in advance, Chesa Boudin, 41, implemented the flagship measures he had promised: he was the first San Francisco prosecutor to initiate proceedings against a police officer for homicide. , he contributed to the release of a man wrongly imprisoned for decades, reduced the prison population… He also refused to judge adolescents as adults or to condemn petty drug addicts to prison terms, preferring measures of care .
A policy that has struggled to pass with many American voters, even in very progressive San Francisco. Especially since these reforms were concomitant with a marked increase in break-ins, especially in cars. A few well-publicized attacks, highlighted by those who demanded the departure of Mr. Boudin, added to a strong feeling of insecurity among the population.
An equally contested personality
Chesa Boudin is the son of far-left activists sentenced to long prison terms for participating in a murderous robbery in which two police officers and a security guard were killed in 1981. He was also a translator for the deceased populist Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez before choosing a career as a criminal lawyer.
The San Francisco Police Association had spent more than $600,000 on an ad campaign against her running for city attorney, calling Chesa Boudin “the number one choice of felons and gang members.” According to Chesa Boudin, the police have once again mobilized behind the dismissal procedure which targeted him, allying themselves for the occasion with Republican activists and conservative tycoons from the technology industry.
It is a strategy to ‘delegitimize and instill fear’ to ‘attack progressive prosecutors who have won elections across the country’, he told the British daily. The Guardian. The Democratic mayor of San Francisco, who has never openly supported him, must now appoint an interim replacement.