Criminal Justice

What the Chesa Boudin Recall Means for America

Journalist Nancy Rommelmann reports from San Francisco on the ouster of a leading progressive district attorney.


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In 2020, Chesa Boudin became San Francisco's district attorney, promising radical new policies that exemplified the city's leading-edge liberalism. Cops would make fewer arrests, and more wrongdoers would be diverted to drug and mental health programs instead of prison. Prosecutors would be forbidden from seeking cash bail, and arrests for consensual sex work, "public camping," and public urination would be a thing of the past.

After two years of rising complaints about quality of life, San Francisco residents have overwhelmingly voted him out of office in a special election. Journalist Nancy Rommelmann covered the recall for Reason, and she talks about what Boudin's ouster might mean not just for the City by the Bay but for California and other progressive D.A.s around the country.

Interview by Nick Gillespie. Edited by Regan Taylor.

Photo Credits: TERRY SCHMITT/UPI/Newscom; Paloma Media; Michael Ho Wai Lee/ZUMAPRESS/Newscom.

Music Credits: "The Fire Gate," by Alex Grohl via Artlist.