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 February 21, 2024

Pandemic delays forced San Francisco to dismiss hundreds of cases

An alarming increase in petty crimes has San Francisco, which is known for it's tourist appeal, reeling from a massive crime wave.

The city is facing a massive problem in the form of a huge backlog of misdemeanor cases brought on by the pandemic, as the publication Hot Air reported.

This is an issue that former President and again presidential candidate Donald Trump was vocal about, pointing to the Democrat leadership as a bolster for crime in the area.

The Buildup of Cases

The backlog, which has persisted since 2020, has resulted in the dismissal of 705 cases, in some cases absolving defendants of any possible legal ramifications of their actions.

A recent incident with Brenda Carroll has been considered powerful illustration of this. An argument between her, her partner, and a man in her care, inflamed by alcohol, led to accusations of elder abuse and domestic violence in May 2023.

Carroll flew into a San Francisco courthouse minutes before her case was dropped, leaving her grinning with joy. The court system has a backlog of cases, and hers is only one of many.

The defendants' constitutional rights were allegedly violated, leading the public defense to sue the court for the four-year backlog.

The Blame Game

The court and District Attorney Brooke Jenkins seems to be engaging in a blame game, with neither party willing to accept responsibility for the growing crisis.

Without providing any justification, the court keeps adding cases to the backlog, and DA Jenkins maintains that dismissing cases is not her job, thus the courts get to decide.

The State Supreme Court is currently reviewing a case that a public defender filed in 2021 against the municipality. The city has since reversed its position, saying that decisions will be delayed until the lawsuit is resolved.

Internal Changes

The city has recently changed its strategy in an effort to reduce the backlog, and as a result, over a dozen cases are being dropped every day. Bringing these cases to trial is something the DA has said they aren't ready to do.

A recent incident from a courtroom showed the clear stress as the bailiff battled to keep order as the attorneys waited their turn. In 2020, Emerson Deras-Gonzalez was brought before Deputy Public Defender Daniel Meyer to be prepared for trial on DUI charges.

Nevertheless, the ADA acknowledged their lack of readiness and later dropped the case, placing the blame on the court for the postponement.

The Blowback

The ramifications are severe as officials pass the buck. Potentially guilty individuals are evading consequences while they stroll free, even if they may be guilty of offenses like DUI.

Because of the backlog, there are serious doubts regarding the likelihood of successfully appealing convictions. A judge who was presiding over cases in the backlog even decided to keep a sexual battery case going, giving the ADA just ten days to get ready for trial.

It seems like the city's rule of law was retrospectively suspended during the pandemic, which is a frightening picture. Hundreds of people, some of whom may have committed crimes, are smiling as they walk out of courtrooms, avoiding punishment.

Written By:
Charlotte Tyler

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