‘If Boudin was hired to relate his experience, the only take could be how to destroy a city’s criminal justice system piece by piece,’ critic says
A former leftist prosecutor in San Francisco who lost a recall election as district attorney due to voter dissatisfaction with his soft-on-crime policies is going to be paid $210,000 per year in his new job at the University of California Berkeley.
The contract for his new role as executive director of the Criminal Justice Center at the university’s law school also includes a commitment by UC Berkeley of $400,000 in funds for the next three years. The goal is that the center becomes “financially self-sufficient” at the end of that time.
The new law center director is the son of Kathy Boudin and David Gilbert, who both served time in prison for murder and robbery.
The original Berkeley news release stated Boudin was raised by his “adoptive parents,” but never names them – he was raised by domestic terrorist Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn. The two couples were involved in the domestic terrorism group Weather Underground.
Boudin will report to the dean of the law school, Erwin Chemerinsky, who commented to The Fix on why he chose Boudin. The Fix specifically asked about other candidates considered and how the law school took into account Boudin’s rejection by voters.
“There was a national search and all who applied were carefully considered,” Dean Chemerinsky told The Fix via email. “Yes, other individual(s) were interviewed.”
“Chesa Boudin has extensive experience as a public defender as well as having been a prosecutor,” Chemerinsky said, in response to a question about criticism of Boudin for not keeping a criminal in jail who ended up allegedly drunk driving and killing two people.
“He has written thoughtfully about many aspects of the criminal justice system,” the dean said. “The goal is that he will create a first-class center to research issues regarding the criminal justice system.”
The university, in its initial news release, praised Boudin for “eliminat[ing] cash bail, establish[ing] a unit to reevaluate wrongful convictions…increas[ing] police accountability, and lower[ing] sentences for nonviolent offenses while calling for improved drug treatment and mental health services.”
Recall Chesa Boudin, the group behind the removal of the prosecutor from his role, criticized the decision to hire Boudin based on his track record.
“Students should in fact be outraged that a person with such abject hatred towards the justice system is in this position at Berkeley,” Richie Greenberg, a spokesman for the group, told The Fix via email. “Students should do just a few minutes of research on Google and see the horrid stories of the failures of Chesa Boudin.”
Greenberg called Boudin a “monster,” “failure,” “disgrace” and “a blemish on Berkeley.”
He said Boudin should not even be referred to as a “prosecutor” because “he was thrown out of office…due to his complete failure to be a prosecutor.” Boudin, while in office, “systematically dismantled prosecution.”
“He acted with malice in seeking to diminish or remove accountability for the vast majority of crimes, and [with] heinous crimes like rape, sexual assault, even murder, he did his best to avoid prosecuting that individual,” Greenberg said.
“If Boudin was hired to relate his experience, the only take could be how to destroy a city’s criminal justice system piece by piece.”
IMAGE: University of California Berkeley