Finally, a prosecutor leaps into D.A.’s race

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From the moment I walked into Sharman Bock’s District Attorney campaign launch and saw the roomful of “signs proclaiming, "A prosecutor for District Attorney", I realized that Bock isn’t the type of candidate to hold her punches. And that makes perfect sense, because unlike the other candidates in the D.A.'s race, Bock, 48,  is a seasoned prosecutor.

Bock, as I soon found out, is also a longtime San Francisco resident, who moved here from Iran when she was four and has lived in the city for more than four decades. She went to high school here, returned after graduating cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center, and earned a clerkship with the Hon. D. Lowell Jensen of the Northern District of California, before starting her prosecutorial career in Alameda County, where she has served as an Assistant D.A. since 1989.  And she continues to live in San Francisco, where she is currently raising two kids with her husband in the Richmond District.

Joined by Congressmember Jackie Speier, Lulu Flores, President of the National Women’s Political Caucus, and Shronda Wallace, whose mother was brutally murdered in 1989, Bock made no bones about why she has decided to spring into the race.

“I’m running for San Francisco District Attorney because this is a job that requires a seasoned prosecutor who knows what it takes to put the most violent and dangerous criminals behind bars and keep them there," Bock said. "I am a professional prosecutor. I want to give voters a real choice. No other candidate in this race has prosecuted even a single criminal case. This is no job for rookies. The stakes are too high and rookies make mistakes.”

When Bock noted that her conviction rate is over 90 percent, and that she has never lost a serious or violent jury trial, I wondered how successful the other main contenders--former SFPD Chief George Gascón, who Mayor Gavin Newsom appointed as D.A. in January, and former San Francisco Police Commissioner David Onek, are going to be when it comes to downplaying the fact that neither, as Bock wasn’t afraid to remind reporters, “has ever prosecuted a criminal case.”

“This is not a managerial, police or career job,” Bock continued, confronting head-on the arguments Gascón and Onek have already tossed out in response to questions about how they can be D.A. given their complete lack of prosecutorial experience.

“It’s certainly not a job for a rookie, and with 22 years of experience, I’m ready," Bock commented.

“To lead an office of trial lawyers, you’d have to walk a mile in their shoes,” Bock added, noting that currently she is doing just that. “I’m responsible for supervising extremely experienced trial lawyers each day,” she said, referring to her job as Assistant D.A. in Alameda County.

Praising the record of former D.A. Kamala Harris, who was elected Attorney General in November, Bock observed that San Francisco “sets the national standard. Kamala did a good job, and I’d like to keep the momentum going. We can’t lose it.”

Next, Bock outlined some of the highlights of her prosecutorial career.

A national expert on efforts to combat human trafficking, Bock leads the Human Exploitation and Trafficking (HEAT) Unit, which prosecutes complex trafficking cases. In fact, Bock actually prosecuted the first human trafficking case in California.

Based on her expertise with DNA and other forensic evidence, Bock was tapped to lead the Cold Case Unit, which focuses on solving old murder and sexual assault cases.

Bock also oversees other specialized felony units, including Public Integrity, Child Sexual Assault, Sexually Violent Predator and Restitution, which recovered more than $15 million for victims of violent crime last year.

In 2009, Bock received the Fay Stender Award from the California Women’s Lawyers Association for her “ability to affect change and her commitment to representing the underprivileged. And in 2010, the California Legislature recognized Bock as “Woman of the Year” for her groundbreaking work to stop human trafficking.

“American children are being sold for sex in our own backyard,” Bock warned, as she talked about what she has learned from her decades as a prosecutor. She said solving cold cases "provides closure that is priceless for families of victims” and is part of keeping the community safe. She talked about the fact that she is an independent prosecutor, who won’t be conflicted by police misconduct and crime lab scandals, unlike our current D.A. And she wrapped up by voicing her desire to serve—and remain in—San Francisco. “I am committed to giving back and serving the city I love,” Bock said.

Meanwhile, across the city, D.A. Gascón had just a neighborhood prosecution program in the Bayview and Mission districts. According to a Gascón press release, the program, “brings immediacy to the resolution of crimes that diminish the livability of local communities by employing a restorative justice model” and “brings the D.A.’s Office into the community, positioning the office to be more directly and immediately responsive to the needs of community members."

Gascón promised that the program will engage “residents in the process of determining an appropriate sanction focused on repairing the harm done to the community and setting the offender on the path to long-term productivity. This approach will bring a swifter and more certain resolution to offenses that have repeatedly gone unchecked for too long.”

The idea is that designated Assistant D.A’s will be assigned to  local police station to pre-screen eligible individuals and determine if the offenses they have been cited for by police are suitable to be heard in neighborhood courts. “Under the supervision of the District Attorney’s Office local residents are trained in restorative justice to adjudicate matters, instead of having cases charged and heard in criminal courts,” Gascón stated. "The adjudicators represent a wide swath of the community and include merchants, home owners retirees and students.”

Gascón says a range of non-violent offenses, including drinking in public, vandalism and petty theft, fit the criteria for matters that can be reviewed in the neighborhood court.“Eligible individuals cannot be under the supervision of the criminal justice system,” he stated. “Individuals who volunteer to have their matters heard in the neighborhood courts agree to abide by the prescribed outcomes that focus on restoring both the community and the offender. Individuals who are successful in meeting the terms avoid the blight of a mark on their criminal record. By taking this restorative justice approach, the program seeks to break the cycle of crime. It increases the accountability of the offenders to the community and the community’s stake in the offenders’ rehabilitation.”

Gascón claimed the program saves money by significantly shortening the length of time it takes to resolve offenses. “Typically the offenses being heard in a neighborhood court in one to two weeks from the time a citation is written would take nine months to a year to be heard in a criminal court," he stated. "The average cost of having these cases charged and heard in a traditional criminal court would be $1500 per misdemeanor compared to $300 in a neighborhood court.”

Gascón concluded by noting that this new neighborhood prosecution program will operate under the direction of the newly-formed Collaborative Courts Division of the D.A.’s Office and is scheduled to spread citywide. “The Bayview and Mission district launches are part of D.A. Gascón’s initiative to increase accountability and integration of the former Community Court programs,” Gascón’s press release stated. "The neighborhood prosecution program model will eventually be adopted and employed city-wide, district by district as a replacement for the former model.”

Bock for her part seemed less than impressed by the fairness of Gascón’s program. “People dealing with quality of life crimes deserve a District Attorney,  a defense attorney and a judge,” she said. “You can’t shortchange justice “

And she wasn’t shy about sharing her thoughts on the conflict of interest Gascón faces when dealing with the ongoing police misconduct and crime lab scandals.“George Gascón is between a rock and a hard place,” Bock said. “He was in charge of the police district during that time period," she observed. "And it’s important that the police don’t get thrown under the bus in the process.”

And unlike Gascón, Bock is personally opposed to the death penalty.“I will oppose any effort to further that law, and I would support ballot measures to change it,” Bock said. “It hasn’t had a deterrent effect, it doesn’t make the community safer, but it is the law of the state.”

As D.A., Bock would implement the same procedures that former D.A. Kamala Harris had in place—a committee where each case is reviewed in fact and law, and not reflective of a personal opinion. “I would look at each case,” Bock said.

“I want to make this city as safe to live in as I have fought in Oakland to achieve,” Bock continued, noting that when she graduated, she faced a choice of a corporate job or public service. “I chose public service,” she said.

Unlike Gascón, Bock does not think the city's recently enacted sit-lie legislation has resolved anything. “Sit-lie is a perfect example of why political hot-button measures don’t work,” Bock said. “People should be able to use the sidewalks. But at the same time, there are people with serious mental health issues. Sit-lie hasn’t solved any problem. And the good news about me is that I am not a politician.”

Congressmember Jackie Speier enthusiastically endorsed Bock. “This is a very important race for San Francisco, and it’s not a political race,” Speier said. “It’s a race about safety and prosecution and making sure we have a District Attorney who is going to be here for thecommunity.”

Speier noted that Bock has worked for some of the finest law firms, has dedicated more than 20 years of her life to prosecuting heinous criminals, has deep roots in San Francisco, and is on the board of numerous non-profits.

“She has been successful in over 1,000 cases—tough cases, including murder, torture and sex trafficking,” Speier continued. “She is someone who has the capacity to handle this job like no one I’ve ever seen. Her passion for her work knows no bounds.”

“And she is truly committed to San Francisco,” Speier added. “It’s no secret that the present occupant of the D.A.'s office is interested in being a highly placed person in the F.B.I. I think Gaston will be good in some respects should he seek that.”

“Politics is a funny thing, the process works the way it does, but the people of San Francisco have an opportunity to compare and contrast—and this is a stark contrast,” Speier concluded, pointing to Bock’s “impeccable credentials and proven track record in the prosecution of criminals,” and describing her as “the best and brightest” as she lauded Bock's leadership skills and talent as a prosecutor.

Lula Flores, who flew in from Washington, D.C. to announce the National Women’s Political Caucus early endorsement of Bock, described Bock as a “progressive forward-thinking candidate."

“We need more women in leadership safety positions,” Flores said, noting that Bock “represents diversity and is the most qualified and most experienced candidate.”

“She will do the best job,” Flores continued. “San Francisco is home to a myriad of leaders, it is the place that has grown so many of our national leaders.”

And Shronda Wallace recalled how her mother’s 1989 murder had been “all but forgotten, but then Sharman Bock took charge.”
Wallace described how, using DNA from the crime, Bock “re-created the scene, identified the killer, proved he intended to kill my mother, convicted him, and put him in prison without parole for the rest of his life. Through her determined and relentless prosecution of this cold case, not only did Sharman Bock make me feel safer, but she brought me desperately needed closure, and that is something I will never forget.”

 

 

 

 

Comments

Gavin Newsom
Willie Brown
PG&E
any cop who's corrupt or been accused of brutality
Gary Delanges from Novato
CW Nevus
Rose Pak
Alex Tourk

and most of all it seems, Arthur Evans!

These folks already have their appointed candidate, and they don't appreciate someone muscling in on their turf, even if they have the same ideology.

Posted by Guest on May. 18, 2011 @ 11:13 pm

Gavin Newsom

looks like Larkspur

Willie Brown

Texan

PG&E

native

any cop who's corrupt or been accused of brutality

probably a native

Gary Delanges from Novato

don't know who that is

CW Nevus

? I would assume someplace else.

Rose Pak

? China?

Alex Tourk

? Jackie Speier's office?

---

I don't think the problem is coming here to live and getting involved in politics, its coming here to tell us all how to live and then complaining about Gascon just showing up.

If you voted for busy body authoritarian man child Daly, golf course obsessed sniveler and all around do nothing idea man Mirkirimi, then getting all worked up over Gascon showing up in the last year is a bit comical.

Posted by matlock on May. 19, 2011 @ 12:07 am

Oh shut up you pathetic sideliner. I am so fed up with losers like you who hide behind their keyboard with their big imaginations and do zero.

I can only imagine the sad window you look from every day.

Seriously? Why don't you drink a big fat glass of fuck off?

Posted by Richard James on May. 19, 2011 @ 12:25 am

Please clarify your point.

I don't want to; tell you how to live, what to eat, what to think, who to associate with, or tell you how to construct your belief system. I don't want to legislate my values upon you in any way that I can think of, unless you think my expectation of you leaving me alone is persecuting you. Which is likely if you are a "progressive".

I don't want to force you do anything, and yet in your strange world my inactivity in attempting to coerce you to make yourself better, my lack of interest in patterning you in my own image, like the cities so called progressives, makes me a zero.

Keep screaming.

Posted by matlock on May. 19, 2011 @ 1:09 am

I have a problem with what it is he represents. I don't think Sharmin Bock's ideology is much different. It's just that she's in a different clique.

Posted by Greg on May. 19, 2011 @ 9:33 am

and you may be for or against his DA positions.

But unlike a host of progressives he didn't move here and start trying to legislate my diet, micro manage business, or enforce his revealed value system on me...

So unlike progressives he didn't show up add to the dysfunctional and unaware eden. So I would consider voting for him before I would vote for a busy body hypocritical progressive with a city agenda on foreign policy and intrusion into people's lives for their own good. I might as well just move to a city run by equally righteous jesus freaks.

Posted by maltlock on May. 19, 2011 @ 10:27 am

Let's hope that Sharman Bock is a cut above her supporters in this thread. Let's hope she can answer questions from the voters in an intelligent and principled way.

Let's hope she does not strike back resentfully. Such is often the case with politicians who label themselves as "the progressive alternative in this race." Their operatives are often even worse.

Otherwise, she's not ready for prime time.

If she follows the usual defensive pattern as exemplified by "Guest" above, she'll go up in flames.

Such was the fate of Terence Hallinan, Matt Gonzalez, Harry Britt, Alix Rosenthal, Gabriel Haaland, Quintin Mecke, Eileen Hansen, Rafael Mandelman, Krissy Keefer, etc.

You have to wonder whether their goal is to win elections or to act out.

Posted by Arthur Evans on May. 18, 2011 @ 9:25 pm

What are your reasons for supporting him?
Why are you scared to speak on the subject?

Posted by Guest on May. 18, 2011 @ 10:37 pm

She sounds like a law-and-order conservative. She won't hesitate to pull the switch.

Posted by Guest on May. 18, 2011 @ 11:16 pm

Wow, I do not know where to start, this is hilarious.

"You have to wonder whether their goal is to win elections or to act out."

And your "acting out" Arthur? It is so very precious, very precious indeed.

Now, tell us Arthur, you have ran for exactly how many offices in your lifetime?

Oh, good, I see... hmm. Well that is a positive. You do believe in yourself. Bully for you Arthur! Bully for you.

Posted by Frank McGee on May. 19, 2011 @ 12:16 am

She thinks Kamala did a good job?

Plenty of reason to oppose her. Face it, we don't have viable Progressive candidates yet for Mayor or D.A.. Hey, a cowboy kills and eats anything near his campsite when he's starving to death. So, I'm backing Avalos for Mayor and Gascon for D.A..

I just wish Micky Mouse was running.

h.

Posted by Guest h. brown on May. 19, 2011 @ 12:57 am

Gascon be gone, and take the Three Witches, Ruthie, Lucy and Matty with you.

Posted by Pat Monk.RN. on May. 19, 2011 @ 7:33 am

Run Jim Run!

Posted by Greg on May. 19, 2011 @ 9:34 am

"Why don't you drink a big fat glass of fuck off?"

- Richard James

Sharman Bock (or Sharmin Bock, as the name is also spelled by the media) has the same problem as John Avalos.

The belligerence of her supporters, like the belligerence of Avalos' supporters, runs the risk of turning off undecided voters.

Granted, belligerence fires up true believers. But it alienates everyone else.

Not a good idea in a city-wide race. The name of the game in city-wide races is to build winning coalitions.

You can't build a winning coalition by demonizing everyone who is not already on board or who asks your candidate questions.

Avalos, to his credit, seems to be aware of this problem. So far, for example, he has kept Chris Daly under wraps, which is a smart move on his part.

Bock, on the other hand, has apparently not given the problem any thought.

She needs to start doing that, as this thread demonstrates.

Posted by Arthur Evans on May. 19, 2011 @ 10:18 am

in this thread, most of which are more a reaction to your vomit inducing negative writing and constant criticism than to anything else.
Nice try though, attempting to confuse Sharman Bock's views or character with those of a couple of online commenters.
There is zero logic to your argument.

Now that everyone has been made painfully aware of your feelings regarding Sharman Bock, Chris Daly, other commenters, etc...
Why won't you tell everyone what you find so inspiring about the idea of a George Gascon DA's office?

Just tell us why you support him.
Or are you simply incapable of supporting your position?

Posted by Guest on May. 19, 2011 @ 1:03 pm

to sit on a public sidewalk, anywhere in San Francisco.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eSUmK_vJfAk&feature=player_detailpage#t=17s

And he tried to scare the people with the bogeyman of terrorism in an effort to re-start the SFPD Spy Unit so he could spy on San Francisco residents. The same Spy Unit that was disbanded in disgrace after being caught spying on innocent San Franciscans for the ADL.
http://articles.sfgate.com/2009-10-19/bay-area/17186413_1_san-francisco-...

He also spread fears of terrorist attacks to push a bond issue for more money for police facilities.
http://articles.sfgate.com/2010-03-26/news/19477558_1_arab-americans-ter...

Does that matter to you?
Are you OK with the SFPD spying on you because you hold unpopular political views?
Are you OK with the government telling you where, on taxpayer owned public property, you can and cannot sit, even if you are not impeding anyone?

Are you OK with wasting millions of taxpayer's dollars on a boondoggle of a new crime tracking computer system (Compstat) that is to blame for egregious abuse of power in the form of arrest quotas?
http://gothamist.com/tags/adrianschoolcraft
http://www.villagevoice.com/2010-05-04/news/the-nypd-tapes-inside-bed-st...

Just wondering, because Compstat was one of the first things Gascon couldn't wait to spend your money on. He even gave his LAPD buddy Jeff Godown a job running it for a mere $270,000.00 per year. Do you like new quarter million dollar PER YEAR bureaucratic positions being created for politician's friends?
http://sfcitizen.com/blog/2010/09/13/will-compstat-encourage-the-sfpd-to...

If you like being spied on, having your civil rights stripped away, and your taxes wasted on politician's buddies, then yeah, I guess Gascon is your man.

Posted by Arnold on May. 19, 2011 @ 1:40 pm

And don't forget Gascon's bizarre idea to place metal detectors in large clubs (an unfunded mandate) and giving police automatic access to the names of party-goers for two weeks --- a direct violation of the 4th Amendment. (Maybe if he were a real lawyer, he'd know that.)

Scott Wiener and Ed Lee put the brakes on this retarded idea, but for some reason Wiener endorsed Gascon anyway. And he held his lame kickoff in the Castro of all places!!

Gascon is bad for our freedoms and our pocketbooks.

Posted by Common Sense SF on May. 21, 2011 @ 3:08 pm

Scott Wiener supports an anti-democratic candidate-- how shocking!
Anti-4th amendment and anti-initiative, yes, Wiener is a dick.

Posted by Guest on May. 22, 2011 @ 6:20 pm

Actually, Scott Wiener was the one who raised the alarm bells on Gascon's plan to criminalize nightlife in San Francisco, and Wiener basically told him that his plan was dead on arrival.

Wiener has been pretty good on party issues, which makes his endorsement of Gascon even weirder.

Posted by Common Sense SF on May. 23, 2011 @ 10:12 am

"Sharman Bock has no control over the comments ..."

- "Guest"

True. However, if a candidate's operatives manifest a pattern of belligerence during a campaign, it will work to the detriment of the candidate.

Candidates must take reasonable steps to manage their operatives and set a proper tone for the campaign.

If the candidates can't do that, then they aren't ready for prime time.

Posted by Arthur Evans on May. 19, 2011 @ 2:26 pm

Maybe you are an operative, but we are voters debating the candidates. Once again Arthur, you show you true colors. You haven't been about to say one good thing about your candidate, and have resorted to attacking other voters' opinions. What you seem to want to do is shut down the debate. How democratic is that?

Stop repeating your nonsense. You keep repeating the same thing over and over. It's real tiresome and shows how weak your arguement is. Why don't you look in your Gascon operative manual and pull out some new lines. The one thing everyone agrees to in these forums is that they disagree with your comments, regardless of what the matter is.

How about telling us why you think Gascon is the candidate you support?

Posted by Guest on May. 19, 2011 @ 3:38 pm

Hey 'mattie' , all the people 'are', guess you are either a product of the Amerikan educational system, or African American.
"nuff said - 'tis wat 'tis brah.

Posted by Pat Monk.RN. on May. 22, 2011 @ 7:50 pm

She is corrupt if it is true that she contacted DA Gascon and asked for the #2 job or she will run against him. This is unbelievable and, yet, she did not deny it and George is telling the truth. No way she is not a politician, it is politics as usual in a corrupt town. None of these 3 are qualified which is a sad state for the City. Read it here: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=%2Fc%2Fa%2F2011%2F05%2F23%2F...

Posted by Corruption on May. 25, 2011 @ 5:13 pm