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Criminal Justice

DA Jenkins Taps Don du Bain, a Recall Leader, for Top Management Role

Written by David SjostedtPublished Aug. 08, 2022 • 1:32pm
DA Brooke Jenkins speaks to the press at her office in San Francisco, Calif., on Wednesday, August 3, 2022. Jenkins announced a new office policy that would create harsher penalties for drug dealers. | Juliana Yamada/The Standard

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Longtime prosecutor Don du Bain has rejoined the District Attorney’s office as an assistant chief attorney after quitting his post at the office to join the recall effort last fall. 

Du Bain, a former District Attorney of Solano County, was hired in 2014 as an assistant district attorney by former District Attorney George Gascon after narrowly losing his re-election bid. Along with District Attorney Brooke Jenkins, du Bain quit his job in fall of 2021 to become a lead critic of his former boss Chesa Boudin, accusing the ousted DA of mismanagement and other issues. 

In his new role, du Bain will oversee the office’s investigators unit and spearhead the rollout of new management software as head of organizational management and training, said a spokesperson for the District Attorney. 

“[Don] brings decades of administrative experience that will be invaluable for our attorneys and for restoring safety in San Francisco,” said communications director Randy Quezada in a statement. 

Du Bain’s hire is part of an ongoing staff shakeup at the DA’s office that saw several former staffers terminated shortly after Jenkins took office. Among other staff changes, Jenkins tapped Nancy Tung, who had been in the running for the appointment for Boudin’s former seat, to lead special prosecutions at the office.

Back in 2014, du Bain’s hire raised eyebrows due to his former office’s handling of a Solano County murder trial that triggered an ethics inquiry. At the time, Solano County judge Daniel Healy alleged that Andrew Ganz, a member of du Bain’s office, had attempted to alter the testimony of a coroner while prosecuting a murder trial, and that the office failed to disclose exculpatory evidence in the case. 

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The accusation prompted a lengthy investigation by the California Bar Association, which eventually declared in 2018 that the matter did “not warrant further action.” In response to The Standard’s inquiry about du Bain, the DA’s office also sent a 2018 letter from Healy about Jeff Kauffman, an attorney who worked in du Bain’s office during the murder case and was up for a judicial appointment. In that letter, Healy wrote that he was “not provided accurate or complete information” regarding the disclosure of certain investigative reports about the coroner in the case. 

After quitting the DA’s office last year, du Bain said that he was initially optimistic about Boudin but grew disturbed by what he saw as a disregard for the rule of law.  

“I thought he would be a reasonable, progressive and thoughtful leader of the office. But unfortunately, and again I take no pleasure in saying this, I was wrong,” du Bain said in a NBC video interview.  

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David Sjostedt can be reached at [email protected]




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