The end of the death penalty?


Could 2012 be the year when we finally end the death penalty in California? It's entirely possible. The polls now show a majority of people in the state support replacing the death penalty with life without parole. Read more »

Why are Harris, Newsom, and other pols silent on the federal pot crackdown?


UPDATED BELOW As I worked on this week's story about the federal crackdown on California's marijuana industry, I tried to get a statement from California Attorney General Kamala Harris. After all, it's her job to defend California's medical marijuana laws, which she was fairly supportive of as our district attorney. And she was an early Barack Obama backer who could probably get him or U.S. Read more »

The death penalty: How close, how far


The Chronicle didn't even put the news on the front page (although The New York Times did), but the execution of Troy Davis went forward more or less as scheduled Sept. 21, with news media around the world watching. Read more »

Death. In living color


The press coverage of the new execution chamber at San Quentin has been astonishing. Check out Kevn Fagan in the Chron:

The spacious $853,000 center has three brightly lit witness viewing rooms, and each gives a considerably better view than the cramped gas chamber's lone, poorly illuminated viewing room.Read more »

Chiu left out of Gascon's Community Ambassadors loop


SFPD Chief George Gascon kicked off today’s press conference about a Community Ambassadors program on the Third Street corridor by saying that it’s a grassroots pilot.

“This is not a police program, it’s a community program,” Gascon said, as he introduced Adrienne Pon from the Mayor’s Office to speak about what is being framed as a trailblazing effort to address violence on public transit at a time when money is tight all around. Read more »

Gascon rolls out program to address violence against Asians on Third Street


SFPD Chief George Gascon will roll out a pilot program today in an effort to address  violence against Asians seniors on public transit.

A press release notes that the SFPD in conjunction with AT&T and the Office of Civic Engagement & Immigrant Affairs, which is a division of the City Administrator’s Office, has developed the San Francisco Community Ambassadors program. Read more »

Is a serial killer with a knife on the loose in SF?


That’s the question Melissa Nix, ex-girlfriend of Hugues de la Plaza posed, on reading in the Examiner that Philp DiMartino, 36, had been found dead from multiple stab wounds inside an apartment in San Francisco. Read more »

Ammiano wants to clean up crime labs


Why could the San Francisco crime lab operate with so many problems for such a long time? One reason: There’s little or no effective state oversight or regulation of local crime labs in California.

That seems like a glaring problem -- crime labs can mean the difference between guilt and innocent, the difference between a long prison term and a free life, between an innocent party getting wrongly convicted and a guilty party getting away with murder.Read more »

Will Obama help Kamala Harris?


President Obama is coming to California to help raise money for Sen. Barbara Boxer, who already has more than $8 million on hand. The president has to do this; Boxer's seat is critical to the Democrats hopes for hanging on to a majority in the Senate,and Obama will pull out all the stops in this fall's campaign to help Dems in tough races.Read more »