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New San Francisco DA revokes 30+ drug plea deals involving fentanyl from previous office

One plea offer she took back involved a defendant with six open cases for dealing fentanyl.

August 5, 2022 12:10pm

Updated: August 5, 2022 5:31pm

San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins announced on Wednesday she has revoked over 30 open plea deals made by her predecessor, who was recalled in June over concerns his progressive reforms were too soft on crime.

Brooke’s office is implementing a new policy that prohibits drug dealers arrested with more than five grams of drugs from being referred to San Francisco’s lenient community justice court (CJC).

A review of open narcotics sales cases found 37 involving over 50 grams of fentanyl, including 20 with over 100 grams, the office said in a press release. All the cases were currently with the CJC, and of the defendants with more than two open cases for drug dealing, all of them were offered misdemeanors.

“Since 2020, nearly 1,500 people have died of drug overdose in part because dealers have been allowed to operate with impunity,” Jenkins said in the release.

“The lethality of fentanyl presents a different challenge, and we must immediately change course, so we can save lives and hold people accountable for the havoc they are wreaking in our communities like the Tenderloin and South of Market.”

Jenkins highlighted one plea offer she took back for an egregious case involving a defendant with six open cases for dealing fentanyl. He had been arrested with more than 100 grams of the drug and had been referred to the CJC every time, where he was most recently offered a single misdemeanor charge to settle all six cases.

The office of the previous district attorney, progressive Chesa Boudin, did not obtain a single conviction for fentanyl in 2021 despite a surging fentanyl crisis that killed 500 people the previous year, reported The San Francisco Standard in May.

Brooke, a more moderate public prosecutor, was appointed by Mayor London Breed (D) after Boudin was ousted over frustrations with his lax approach to quality-of-life crime prosecutions amid a rise in such offenses throughout the city.

The office’s new policy will also consider adding charging enhancements for drug dealing within 1,000 feet of a school and the office will potentially seek pre-trial detention of fentanyl dealers in extreme cases, according to the press release.