District Attorney Kamala Harris announced today that she will appoint a high-powered private attorney to review the growing scandal over her office's failure to disclose the criminal backgrounds of dozens of San Francisco police employees.
In a press release, D.A. spokeswoman Erica Derryck said Harris has appointed private San Francisco attorney John Keker — the chief prosecutor in the famous 1988 trial of former National Security Council member Oliver North as a result of the Iran-Contra scandal — to “advise” her office on how to handle the disclosure of police officers' and civilian police employees' criminal backgrounds.
Earlier this month, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that more than 80 police officers and other police employees who have testified in court proceedings have criminal backgrounds that were not properly disclosed to defense lawyers. As a result of this oversight, numerous convictions could be overturned. The damaging revelations came after controversy over the criminal background and alleged drug-thieving habits of SFPD crime-lab technician Deborah Madden, whose mishandling of narcotics evidence forced the closure of the lab's drug unit in March and led to hundreds of dropped drug cases.