While San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi and his second-in-command Matt Gonzalez each appeared in court this week to handle murder cases, District Attorney George Gascon said today that he does not plan on personally trying a case any time soon.
Speaking today to a roundtable of reporters, Gascon said his responsibilities are much different than those of Adachi or Gonzalez, the public defender’s chief attorney.
Adachi is representing Rickey Leon Scott, a man accused of a fatal stabbing at a homeless shelter last week, while Gonzalez is representing Rodney Pool, a man accused of a killing at a residential hotel in the city earlier this month.
“They handle about 50 or 60 percent of the work we handle,” Gascon said.
“We have a much wider spectrum,” including consumer and environmental protection cases, he said. “The responsibilities I have are very different.”
Gascon said prior district attorneys in the city also typically did not prosecute cases themselves.
“It’s a very fine balance,” he said. “If I spend a great deal of time preparing for a complex case, that’s time I’m not preparing for other things that I need to do.”
Gascon had been criticized though by opponents in the district attorney’s race last November for having never tried a case in court.
He had previously served as San Francisco’s police chief but was appointed district attorney in January 2011 after Kamala Harris was elected the state’s attorney general.
The criticism didn’t appear to have much of an effect in the race — Gascon easily won the election, defeating criminal justice scholar David Onek 62 percent to 38 percent after the ranked-choice voting process was completed.
Dan McMenamin, Bay City News