District Attorney Brooke Jenkins has asked the California Attorney General to take over two high-profile cases to avoid conflicts of interest, The Standard has learned.
The first case involves a relative of Mayor London Breed; the second involves two men who allegedly killed a relative of the city’s new top prosecutor.
Earlier this year, Mayor Breed’s brother, Napoleon Brown, was given the chance to have his 44-year murder sentence reviewed. This was before the June election in which voters ousted Chesa Boudin as district attorney—so at the time, his office was handling the resentencing.
Breed’s brother was charged with murder, carjacking and robbery for a 2000 crime spree that resulted in the death of his girlfriend after she was pushed out of a car on Golden Gate Bridge. She died after being struck by oncoming traffic. Brown was convicted on the three charges in 2005 and sentenced to 44 years behind bars.
A San Francisco Judge in January granted Brown’s request for a sentencing review, which his attorney said was due to a change in state law. In the latest motion from Napoleon’s lawyer, filed June 10, the prosecutor of record was Arcelia Hurtado, whom Jenkins fired at the end of her first week as district attorney.
Hurtado told The Standard that it makes sense for the state to take over Brown’s resentencing because of Jenkins being the mayor’s political appointee.
“I think it’s a conflict of interest,” Hurtado said, “and I was not comfortable with [Jenkins] being involved with it.”
Hurtado said she asked the Attorney General’s Office for advice soon after the recall. At the time, she said officials from the state office told her that San Francisco’s DA could keep the case as long as proper firewalls were in place.
But Hurtado said she remained concerned, so she sent emails expressing worry about Jenkins being more involved than she should have been. She also suspected she was being cut out of communications with the state office even though it was her case.
Brown’s resentencing review is set for a hearing on Aug. 15. Marc J. Zilversmit, who represents Brown, did not return calls for comment. Neither did the Attorney General’s Office.
The second case potentially kicked over to the state involves two men accused of killing 18-year-old Jerome Mallory, a cousin of Jenkins’ husband.
Jenkins’ said publicly that she opened a review in that case after one of the two defense attorneys said the DA’s Office should be barred from prosecuting the two defendants.
Pam Herzig—who represents one of the accused and said she hadn’t heard about the Attorney General taking over—said Jenkins undermined her objectivity by publicly criticizing Boudin for not pursuing gang charges that could add stricter penalties and years of imprisonment for the defendants, who have yet to go to trial.
Jonah Owen Lamb can be reached at email@example.com