As of this weekend, the City by the Bay has a new, incoming District Attorney. Chesa Boudin ran on a social justice platform that’s pretty far to the left, even by San Francisco standards. And now that he’s taking charge, the police are going to have a lot less work clogging up their schedules. That’s because Boudin plans to “decriminalize” a whole raft of lower-level crimes. These include public urination, camping on the sidewalks and peeing in public. (Daily Caller)
Chesa Boudin, the urine-and-feces-plagued city’s incoming district attorney, pledged during the campaign not to prosecute public urination and other quality-of-life crimes if he was elected. Boudin declared victory Saturday night after results showed him winning a plurality of votes in the DA race.
“We will not prosecute cases involving quality-of-life crimes. Crimes such as public camping, offering or soliciting sex, public urination, blocking a sidewalk, etc., should not and will not be prosecuted,” Boudin vowed in response to an American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) questionnaire during the campaign.
“Many of these crimes are still being prosecuted, we have a long way to go to decriminalize poverty and homelessness,” he lamented.
Yes, this is all part of what’s become commonly known on the left as “decriminalizing poverty.” The obvious flaw in that concept comes with the fact that it’s not illegal to be poor anywhere in this country. There are no laws against poverty nor any fines or imprisonment associated with the condition of being poor. There are, however, laws against certain activities most commonly observed among the homeless.
So under this emerging theory of social justice, activities previously considered destructive or even posing a danger to public health are to be ignored rather than running the risk of appearing to go too hard on homeless people. Keep in mind the fact that the city is already facing a public health crisis from public urination and defecation to the point where they have had to divert resources to public “poop patrols” assigned to clean up the mess.
As far as the prostitution arrests go, I don’t personally have a problem with the idea. I’ve long felt that prostitution itself shouldn’t be considered a criminal act in a free capitalist society. The trafficking of women, and particularly children, should still carry serious penalties, but what people choose to do with their own bodies is their business.
But none of this gets the meat of the whole “decriminalization” idea. If you think that certain crimes should no longer be classified as such or perhaps carry more minor penalties, then fine. Work with your local legislators and have the laws changed. But the job of a District Attorney is to enforce the laws as they exist, not as he or she might wish they existed. When you become the District Attorney, you take an oath to uphold the law. San Francisco has just elected a person who ran on a promise to violate his oath before he even got into office.