Today, the University of San Francisco’s Law School hosted a talk with San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon and Public Defender Jeff Adachi. The complete audio is above, but here are some of the highlights:
- On the daily grind: The two adversaries discussed the adversarial nature of our criminal justice system, which Gascon said is a “winner takes all,” boxing match between lawyers. Gascon said he hopes that court rooms will become more collaborative places with the best interests of society–instead of simply winning a case–at the root of decisions made by prosecutors and defenders.
- On police misconduct: Adachi and Gascon went into depth on the handling of the crime lab scandal, which resulted in 701 cases being dismissed after a lab tech supervisor was found to be skimming drugs from the evidence room for personal use.
- On immigration: Gascon opened up about his time in Mesa, Arizona, where his public fights with Sheriff Joe Arpaio brought him to the attention of San Francisco. Gascon said Arizona’s controversial immigration law SB-1070 made it essentially “open war on anyone who looks Brown in Arizona.” He neglected to take a strong stance against Secure Communities, a program that San Francisco has resisted.
The two also discussed local sunshine rules, and how they interact with state laws regarding police officers’ privacy rights, as well as San Francisco’s role as a reform leader. Overall, an interesting hour and well worth a listen.