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San Francisco’s newly appointed district attorney said underage suspects would only be tried as adults when charged with committing “heinous” crimes “that shake the conscience of the community.”

The new policy is a different approach from former San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin, who in June placed a complete ban on charging teens as adults under any circumstances before being recalled by voters.


Under Brooke Jenkins, the district attorney’s office would only transfer the cases of defendants ages 16 and 17 to adult court for serious charges including murder, attempted murder, sexual assault, kidnapping and torture.

Jenkins said Tuesday that before a juvenile is charged as an adult, the case will be reviewed by the newly created Juvenile Review Team.

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He tweeted, “Adolescents of color are disproportionately charged as adults in the US criminal justice system. We must always recognize that our justice-affiliated youth should live in the juvenile justice system where their Have access to ancillary services.” “I must also acknowledge that as the office of the DA we must retain the discretion of the prosecution to ensure that we protect the public and deliver justice in our most serious and gravest cases in a manner that is fair and proportionate. “

The Juvenile Review Team will review the cases before making a recommendation to Jenkins, who has a final decision.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California said such policies for young defendants have historically been used against minority suspects.

“The adult prosecution of children has always been implemented in a very racist way in San Francisco and elsewhere,” said Joel Hale, director of the criminal justice program for the ACLU of Northern California. “Black and Latino youth are more likely to be prosecuted as adults than their white peers.”

Other California prosecutors have chosen to shield underage suspects from adult court. Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon has received backlash and is on the receiving end of two failed recall attempts over several of his policies, including the handling of juvenile cases by his office.