Drug overdoses reached a record high in 2021, with more than 107,000 Americans dead, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As NBC News noted in a report this month, synthetic opioids such as fentanyl drove much of the rise in fatalities.
There were nearly 500 fentanyl deaths alone in San Francisco in 2021, according to a report in last week’s San Francisco Standard.
Yet the publication said the California city’s hard-left district attorney, Chesa Boudin, hadn’t charged a soul with dealing fentanyl during the year.
Not a single one.
Untrue, Boudin’s office claimed. It said the Standard’s reporting was “inaccurate” when called on it by The Daily Caller, a conservative publication.
Fine: The Daily Caller asked the DA’s office to name one fentanyl dealer it had hauled into court.
The result? None, yet again.
(This is hardly the only outrage Boudin has engaged in during his time as San Francisco’s district attorney. Here at The Western Journal, we’ve chronicled how Boudin and his progressive ilk, under the aegis of “criminal justice reform,” have allowed their cities to become cesspools of crime. We’ll keep on standing for law and order. You can help us bring America the truth by subscribing.)
In its report Tuesday, the Standard said data from San Francisco Superior Court showed “Boudin’s office secured just three total convictions for ‘possession with intent to sell’ drugs in 2021: two for methamphetamine and one for a case including heroin and cocaine. By comparison, Boudin’s predecessor, George Gascón, oversaw over 90 drug-dealing convictions by the DA’s Office in 2018.”
When you consider the fact Gascón is currently the district attorney in Los Angeles County and is known for showing the same kind of laxity toward criminals that Boudin has, that’s not a good look.
The unacceptable toll continues: 49 people died in April in San Francisco from drug overdoses — 38 involving fentanyl — bringing the 2022 total to 192 deaths.
— Demian Bulwa (@demianbulwa) May 18, 2022
There were, according to the Standard, convictions involving the sale of fentanyl, just not for dealing it. That’s not, however, a difference without a distinction.
“About 80% of the cases in a type of charge category that included fentanyl dealing — 44 in total — involved a defendant ultimately pleading guilty to a crime called ‘accessory after the fact,’ meaning the accused was convicted of helping another person commit a crime,” the outlet reported. “In a handful of cases, people arrested on multiple charges including fentanyl dealing end up being convicted of other serious felonies.”
And that, the Standard’s reporters noted, meant illegal immigrant dealers could remain in the country; California law requires prosecutors to “consider the avoidance of adverse immigration consequences in the plea negotiation process.”
“Prosecutors and criminal defense attorneys point out that drug dealing convictions are grounds for deportation, and a substantial number of drug dealers in the city are Honduran nationals who could face deadly consequences if deported. The accessory charge still gives them and their families a path toward eventual citizenship,” the outlet reported.
“The deportation-safe convictions are not just going to first-time offenders. In one example of using the ‘accessory after the fact’ conviction for fentanyl dealing, a defendant was arrested and charged five different times from July 2020 through December 2021 for dealing fentanyl, heroin, meth and crack cocaine. According to court documents, evidence included a backpack with cash and ‘numerous’ colorful plastic baggies of drugs.
“All five cases were consolidated for a January 2022 sentencing where he received two ‘accessory after the fact’ felonies and served several months in jail.”
Initially, Boudin’s people didn’t seem to dispute the report, although they defended their record on drug prosecutions.
“Since DA Boudin took office, 322 felony narcotics cases, which included a total of 1,401 narcotics charges, have resulted in a criminal conviction,” said spokeswoman Rachel Marshall.
However, Boudin’s office would go on to characterize the report as “inaccurate” to the Daily Caller News Foundation.
“We secure hundreds of convictions for narcotics cases while also following state law,” Marshall said.
But when the publication pressed Boudin’s office to provide a “possession with intent to sell” conviction for a fentanyl dealer in 2021, guess what? It wasn’t given one.
Even many of San Francisco’s Democrats know it’s time to move on from Boudin’s brand of no-cash-bail, diversion-program-happy, get-out-of-jail-free progressivism when it comes to crime. Back in December, Mayor London Breed declared a state of emergency for the Tenderloin district, where KGO-TV reported 85 percent of the city’s drug arrests take place.
“We are losing over two people a day to drug overdoses, mostly to fentanyl, and mostly in the Tenderloin and SoMa,” Supervisor Matt Haney said in the declaration, referring to the South of Market Street district.
“This is a public health emergency demanding a crisis level response, with massive urgency, coordination, and determination to confront this epidemic.”
Boudin hasn’t gotten the hint, but voters might give the hint for him: The district attorney, who took office in January 2020, faces a recall election on June 7. According to a Feb. 17-21 poll from EMC Research, 68 percent of likely primary voters plan to vote to oust him from the job.
“A total of 74% have an unfavorable opinion of Boudin, with 59% of voters overall having a strongly unfavorable opinion,” EMC Research noted in a March 10 news release, noting that 73 percent disagreed he was “keeping San Francisco safe.”
Why would they believe that, though? In a city where rampant homelessness has long been the norm and residents have taken to parking their cars with the trunk open so that thieves know better than to smash a window in hope of stealing valuables, what’s needed is a Rudy Giuliani type.
San Franciscans will likely never go down that route, but what they’ve ended up with in Boudin is something akin to letting the ghost of radical defense lawyer William Kunstler take over prosecutorial duties in one of the country’s biggest cities.
In a year where drug overdoses claimed more lives than ever before in American history and opioid overdoses ravaged San Francisco, court data show Boudin’s office didn’t prosecute a single fentanyl dealing case — and when Boudin’s office reportedly called this “inaccurate,” it couldn’t produce a single case it had gone forward with.
Even by the low bar set by San Francisco’s progressive voters over the decades, Boudin represents an electoral error of grievous proportions.
On June 7, they should cast their ballot as if their life, or the life of a loved one, is on the line. Thanks to his policies, it very well might be.
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