Let’s Shine a Light on Our Mysterious Judges

  1. The California Policy Lab study looked at re-offenses from 2016 to 2019. But two high-profile cases this year give added relevance to the report:
    — The suspect who stabbed two Asian seniors as they waited for a downtown bus in May had recently completed a diversion program for an earlier assault charge.
    — The suspect who stabbed a 94-year-old Asian woman as she walked outside her Lower Nob Hill home in June had been released by Judge Richard Darwin weeks earlier. The suspect was facing burglary charges and Judge Darwin put him back on the street with an ankle monitor despite an extensive criminal history and a request by the district attorney’s office to keep him in custody.
  2. When a suspect is released before trial, they can be put in a pre-trial diversion program. This helps reduce the jail population and gives people a chance for rehabilitation, which is a good goal. But Supervisor Catherine Stefani told ABC-7 News she doesn’t have confidence in the success rate reported by San Francisco’s Pretrial Diversion Project. “They are masking what is actually happening,” she said. “The data wasn’t matching what we were seeing out on the streets.” The Pretrial Diversion Project only counts re-offenses within San Francisco during a four-month period. The California Policy Lab study, however, counted all new crimes committed regardless of location and time. That’s why the numbers posted by the Pretrial Diversion Project didn’t match. Stefani was the only supervisor to vote against renewing the Pretrial Diversion Project’s contract. She plans to introduce legislation to ensure reoffense rates include all crimes committed. Diversion programs are not the problem. They are preferable to jail and help people turn their lives around. It’s important to measure every program for success so we can support the ones that work best.

Another Mystery: Why Did Judge Roeca Dismiss Case Against Man Who Grabbed Girl?

Judge Russell Roeca and suspect Bill Gene Hobbs.

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