Friday, January 15, 2010

SF Supervisors call for $2M reimbursement from state

[Seeking reimbursement from the State of California for funds expended by county]

Resolution urging state and local officials to obtain reimbursement for funds expended by the City and County of San Francisco to provide legal representation in homicide case instituted by the Attorney General.

WHEREAS, in 2007, the California Attorney General filed charges against eight men --- Herman Bell, Ray Boudreaux, Richard Brown, Henry Jones, Jalil Muntaqim (Anthony Bottom), Richard O’Neal, Harold Taylor and Francisco Torres --- involving a homicide case which occurred in 1971. Charges had been previously dismissed in 1975 against several of the accused individuals. Although the San Francisco District Attorney’s office, after reviewing the evidence in the case, declined to prosecute the case, the California Attorney General decided on its own to prosecute the case in the San Francisco courts, 26 years after the incident that gave rise to the charges; and,
WHEREAS, due to the extraordinary complex nature of the case, the length of delay in the prosecution of the matter, and the need for extensive investigation and trial preparation, the San Francisco Superior Court appointed attorneys and approved funding to pay necessary support staff and other ancillary expenses to represent seven of the eight individuals charged; the Public Defender represented one individual, but was unable to provide representation for the seven other defendants due to the state’s conflict of interest rules; the Public Defender was also assisted by an appointed attorney to assist the Deputy Public Defender assigned to the case.
WHEREAS, at the time that said funding was approved, it was anticipated by the parties, as well as the Deputy Attorney General, that the county would seek reimbursement of county funds from the State of California; and,
WHEREAS, both the Public Defender’s office and the Superior Court agreed to keep track of all expenses related to the representation provided in this case so that all necessary documentation could be provided in order to seek state reimbursement of such costs; and,
WHEREAS, in 2007, Public Defender Jeff Adachi met with former State Senator Carole Migden to ensure that state reimbursement would be sought in this case; Senator Migden agreed to seek such funding when the case was concluded; and,
WHEREAS, in 2009, the Attorney General offered plea bargains to two of the individuals charged in the case; charges against five individuals were dismissed; and,
WHEREAS, the case has now concluded against seven of the eight individuals charged; the two cases which resulted in pleas were resolved for reduced charges and no additional jail or prison time; and,
WHEREAS, the City and County of San Francisco has expended an estimated $2 million dollars in legal costs to provide legal representation in this matter to the individuals charged in this matter; and,
WHEREAS, the costs of providing the legal defense in this case has exhausted county funding for indigent defense; that in 2008, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved supplemental funding in the amount of $ 1,938,846 to cover costs related to the defense of this case;
WHEREAS, due to the city’s budget deficits, funding for the Public Defender and indigent defense has suffered as a result of the amount of the expenditures required for this case;
WHEREAS, the City and County of San Francisco is entitled to reimbursement from the State of California for the funds expended to represent the individuals charged in this case because the State Attorney General unilaterally decided to pursue charges against them, making this case a “state-mandated” expenditure; and, now, therefore be it
RESOLVED, The Board of Supervisors urges Senator Mark Leno, Senator Leland Yee and Assemblymembers Fiona Ma and Tom Ammiano to assist the Mayor’s office in seeking reimbursement for funds expended in this case by the City and County of San Francisco;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT, The Board of Supervisors calls on Attorney General Jerry Brown to join the reimbursement request for the legal expenses incurred in this case.

Supervisors Mar, Campos and Mirkarimi

Thursday, January 7, 2010

More discovery, more prejudicial delay for Francisco Torres' case

In the last remaining San Francisco 8 case, that of Francisco (Cisco) Torres, the defense team revealed that the prosecution produced an additional 400 pages of discovery on New Year's Eve 2009. That discovery includes internal police memoranda which point to the existence of documents that have not yet been produced, identified, or noted to be lost or destroyed.

The additional delay provides an opportunity to discover more facts, documents, and evidence of the mishandling of evidence by the San Francisco police and the FBI, according to Cisco's attorney, Chuck Bourdon. This additional evidence will strengthen the defense argument that the case must be dismissed for unjustified prosecutorial delay which has prejudiced Cisco's right to a fair trial.