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Monday, January 10, 2011

Gascon Says He Will Seek The Death Penalty In Cases That 'Warrant' It

Posted By on Mon, Jan 10, 2011 at 8:51 AM

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It's no secret that San Francisco's District Attorney's Office and The Police Department have a long history of tension and soured relations, even long before the fajitagate incident when the famously left-wing Terence Hallinan indicted the top brass of the SFPD.

Things didn't get much smoother for police under the auspices of Kamala Harris, who was blasted by SFPD for not seeking the death penalty for David Hill, the career criminal convicted of shooting 29-year-old Officer Issac Espinoza.

Cops were further frustrated because Harris touted a strong conviction rate, but records show those numbers only really applied to plea deals. In fact, felony convictions that went to a jury trial had declined over the last few years. 

But now that the newly-appointed District Attorney is a former cop himself, will this help the two agencies cooperate? Some say yes. 

Gascon, who was appointed Sunday afternoon, is almost certain to change the culture and the working relationship between the DA and the SFPD. As one City Hall insider noted: "The two agencies have not been the closest but having the former police chief at the helm of the DA's Office means rank and file cops and police management will feel comfortable interacting with the DA's Office."

Gascon, who leans more moderate, has already confirmed in media reports that he plans to keep most of Harris' programs intact -- except for one. 

Gascon indicated in the Chronicle that he will take a pro law enforcement approach to convictions, seeking the death penalty "in cases that warrant it."

That will surely bring cops closer to his new camp. 

If you don't like that, vote against Gascon next year, when he plans to run for a 4-year term as DA.

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert has been Online News Editor for SF Weekly since 2010. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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