Tag Archives: san francisco

San Francisco D.A. to Eliminate Marijuana Convictions en Masse

Under authorities granted by the November 2016 California ballot initiative Proposition 64 that legalized recreational marijuana for individuals 21 and older in the state, San Franscisco District Attorney George Gascón has announced in a statement that his office “will be reviewing, recalling and resentencing up to 4,940 felony marijuana convictions and dismissing and sealing 3,038 misdemeanors which were sentenced prior to the initiative’s passage.”

“While drug policy on the federal level is going backwards, San Francisco is once again taking the lead to undo the damage that this country’s disastrous, failed drug war has had on our nation and on communities of color in particular,” announced District Attorney George Gascón. “Long ago we lost our ability to distinguish the dangerous from the nuisance, and it has broken our pocket books, the fabric of our communities, and we are no safer for it. While this relief is already available pursuant to Proposition 64 for anyone with a conviction, it requires that they know it is available and to retain an attorney to file the expungement paperwork. A criminal conviction can be a barrier to employment, housing and other benefits, so instead of waiting for the community to take action, we’re taking action for the community.”

While Proposition 64 does allow those convicted under past marijuana-related statutes to petition for their cases to be dismissed at their own expense, Los Angeles defense attorney Eric Shevin told The Los Angeles Times, “District attorneys certainly have the right to research their own records and dismiss these cases on their own, en masse.”

Convicts who do not pose an “unreasonable risk of danger to public safety” are eligible to have their misdemeanor charges wiped out or felony charges reclassified as misdemeanors. Those who have violent or sex crimes on their records or who have sold drugs to children or across state lines will not be among those whose charges will be dropped.

According to The San Francisco Chronicle, Gascón will begin wiping out the misdemeanor charges right away, but clearing out the felony convictions “will take a little more time… It will be a lot of clerical work, and we will evaluate as we start reviewing felonies.”

District Attorney George Gascón’s biography on the official website of the City and County of San Francisco emphasizes his record on criminal justice reform and reducing over-incarceration through “alternative approaches to traditional prosecution.”

The Drug Policy Alliance told The San Francisco Chronicle that almost 5,000 people have petitioned to have their pot charges expunged since the passage of Proposition 64.

SF Cops Arrest Public Defender for Refusing to Let Them Interrogate Her Client Without Counsel

“This is not Guantanamo Bay. You have an absolute right to have a lawyer with you when you’re questioned. Ms. Tillotson was simply doing her job,” said San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi at a Wednesday press conference cited by SFGate. Adachi launched the presser to express his office’s outrage over Tuesday’s arrest of public defender Jami Tillotson, which was caught on tape in the above-embedded video.

Tillotson was exiting a courtroom in San Francisco’s Hall of Justice Tuesday afternoon with a client accused of shoplifting and a co-defendant when plainclothes San Francisco Police Department Sergeant Brian Stansbury and four uniformed officers approached and asked Tillotson to step aside so that officers could take photos of her client without her present. Though police on the scene did not explain themselves at the time, they intended to question her client and obtain photos for a lineup in connection with a separate case in which they say her client is a person of interest, which they interpreted as “consensual questioning,” rather than a formal interrogation. The officers felt that, due to the fact that Tillotson’s client had not been arrested on that specific charge, they were entitled to question the suspect without Tillotson present and ordered her to step aside to allow them to take photographs.

When she refused to step aside, Sergeant Brian Stansbury said that she would be arrested for “resisting arrest” if she did not comply. Tillotson stood firm in her refusal and was arrested. A fellow lawyer captured the above-embedded footage of the incident on video. Following Tillotson’s arrest, she was left handcuffed to a wall in a cell for an hour while, according to SFist, police questioned and photographed her client without her present. San Francisco Police Department spokesperson Officer Albie Esparza told SFGate that Tillotson was released an hour later because Sergeant Brian Stansbury was called away to testify in another case.

According to SFist, a spokesman for the Public Defender’s office noted the fact that the officers did not specifically explain that their intention was to question her client in connection with a separate crime, “[Tillotson] told the interrogating officer that she was the attorney, and he said, ‘I just need two minutes with him.’ When she asked why, he just said it was a police investigation. Then he started basically bullying her, telling her she’s interfering.”

“It was very clear to me that I hadn’t been doing anything illegal. I was challenging him, telling him that you know that I know that I did not violate the law. He moved it forward,” said Jami Tillotson at Wednesday’s press conference.

Officer Esparza said that police are investigating the arrest and that “the department will forward this to the district attorney’s office when appropriate.”

Public Defender Jeff Adachi is calling for police to be held accountable for Tillotson’s arrest and said, “A uniform does not give anyone license to bully people out of their constitutional rights. If police are able to do this to a deputy public defender in front of her client, I can only imagine what is happening out on the streets.”

The City and County of San Francisco is currently facing a federal civil rights lawsuit over a prior incident in which Sergeant Brian Stansbury and two of his colleagues allegedly engaged in racial profiling during a traffic stop with an off-duty African-American police officer in 2013.

Collectivists Posing As “Anarchists” Demand $3 Billion From Google

San Francisco, CA- A group of anti-capitalist protesters referring to themselves as “anarchists” demonstrated outside the home of Digg founder and Google Ventures partner Kevin Rose on Sunday, and demanded that Google hand over $3 billion to fund the creation of “autonomous, anti-capitalist, and anti-racist communities throughout the Bay Area and Northern California.”

The protest was allegedly organized by a group called The Counterforce, and they call Rose a “meta-leech” who is to blame for the rising cost of living in the Bay Area. Rose has invested heavily in several tech startups, and these startups have moved to the Bay Area to run their businesses. The protesters claim that the tech companies that Rose invested in are overtaking the area and driving out people who are less wealthy:

“Venture capitalists enable these tech-workers by funding their startups. With the success of each startup, more and more ambitious tech-workers flock to the city and displace underemployed service workers to the cities at the far reaches of the BART line. These workers must then commute back to San Francisco or Oakland every morning, in most cases to perform menial tasks for the entitled scum who drove them out in the first place.”

The Counterforce group abhors capitalism, technological companies and innovations, and entrepreneurs. In their public statement, they believe this $3 billion will create a society where “no one will ever have to pay rent and housing will be free. With this three billion from Google, we will solve the housing crisis in the Bay Area and prove to the world that an anarchist world is not only possible but in fact irrepressible.” The Counterforce takes themselves seriously, too- if Google doesn’t acquiesce to their demand, they say to “get ready for a revolution neither you nor we can control.”

Rose has agreed with the group in their frustration over the Bay Area’s cost of living. “That said, I did agree w/ them that we need to solve rising rents, keep the SF culture, and crack down on landlords booting folks out,” said Rose on Twitter. “SF is such a great place, definitely need to figure out a way to keep the diversity.”

This isn’t the first time The Counterforce has targeted Google. In January, a Google engineer faced protests from them concerning his work on the company’s self-driving car.

Interestingly, this protest group was able to make their demonstration possible because of Google. In their statement, it’s noted that Microsoft Word, MacBook, Samsung Nexus (powered by Google), Gmail, and Youtube are among different tech products and services used by The Counterforce in their protests.



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Government Regulation Gone Wild: San Francisco Bans Fireplace Use On Christmas


Looks like New York City has some competition for Nanny State capital of America.

San Francisco’s Bay Area Air Quality Management District issued a “Winter Spare the Air Alert,” which banned the use of indoor and outdoor fires. It went into effect on Christmas Eve and extended through Christmas day.

During this time period, residents and businesses in the Bay Area were not allowed to burn natural wood or manufactured logs in any fireplace, wood stove, or fire pit. These rules applied regardless of whether or not the burning devices were approved by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District claimed the ban was put into effect to reduce pollution in the area. In an official statement, the agency said, “We want everyone to enjoy their holiday this week, but unfortunately, weather conditions are causing unhealthy, muddy air again. Air is forecast to be extremely unhealthy this week so it is imperative that residents protect air quality and not burn in their indoor or outdoor fireplaces.”

Jack Broadbent, executive officer of the Bay Area Air District, said, “Please respect everyone’s health this holiday by observing the Winter Spare the Air Alert and not burning wood in your fireplace. We don’t want anyone to spend their holiday in the emergency room because they are unable to breathe. In the spirit of giving, please give the gift of clean air.”

So, what happens to those who violate the rule? First-time offenders will be forced to either take a wood smoke awareness class or pay a $100 ticket. Second-time offenders will be fined $500.

This is San Francisco’s 18th Winter Spare the Air Alert of 2013.

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