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SF DA will charge minors as adults when they ‘shock the conscience’

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins announced Tuesday that she will reserve the right to try 16- and 17-year-olds as adults when the crimes they are charged with “shock community consciousness”.

“The crimes that will be considered for examination are listed in Article 707 (b) of the Code of Social Welfare and Institutions and are limited to murder, attempted murder, forcible sexual assault, kidnapping , torture and aggravated mayhem. In addition, the offense must be heinous in nature,” reads a press release from Jenkins’ office. “Transfer hearing applications will only be filed by the District Attorney. only after careful consideration by the General Counsel, the Head of Collaborative Justice and a newly created Juvenile Review Team.”

The Juvenile Review Team, also announced on 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 an overview of the proceedings and understands all points of view,” the press release reads. “The district attorney will make the final decision on whether to file the motion for transfer of fitness with the court, which will decide based on the evidence presented. District Attorney Jenkins’ policy and approach is consistent with the vast majority of progressive prosecutors in California and the country.

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The review team is “the first of its kind in San Francisco,” the press release said.

Jenkins made the announcement of the new policy and review team, effective Tuesday, during a mid-morning press conference. She stressed that she only wanted to charge minors as adults in the most urgent circumstances – but that the right to do so will be reserved, in the interests of justice.

“History has clearly shown that minors of color have been disproportionately charged as adults in the American criminal justice system. should stay in the juvenile justice system where they have access to services like mental health and behavioral health support,” Jenkins said. “I also recognize that as an office of a prosecutor, we have to retain prosecutorial discretion to ensure we protect the public and deliver justice in our most serious and egregious cases in a fair and proportionate manner.”

Jenkins was nominated by the mayor of London Breed over the summer to replace Chesa Boudin, who was elected in November 2019 but was recalled in June amid concerns he was not tough on crime enough. Jenkins had been the public face of the recall effort since resigning from the Boudin-led prosecutor’s office in late 2021.