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Civil Grand Jury reports (Volume 1976-77) online

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ciently the District Attorney's Office is divided into seven major di-
visions: Criminal Prosecution, Administration, Consumer Fraud, Victim/
Witness Assistance, Family Support, Investigations, and the court system
which includes: Superior Court, Municipal Court and Juvenile Court.




The District Attorney's Office operates under the City Charter,
receiving a major portion of its funds from the City. Some of its major
programs, however, are federally funded by grants from the Law Enforce-
ment Assistance Administration. A budget of $10.4 million was allocated
for fiscal year 1978-79, with the major portion going to salaries. Mr.
Freitas hopes to receive an increase in budget for fiscal year 1979-80,
so that his office may make better use of Electronic Information Systems
now available to other branches of law enforcement.


The District Attorney's Office has a staff in excess of 220
employees, including 85 principal attorneys, 30 investigators, and 105
persons in miscellaneous administrative positions. The District Attorney
states that his staff is adequate for the present. However, with the
development of the Electronic Court Management System during fiscal year
1979-80, some need for increased staff can be anticipated.

Family Support Division

The Family Support Unit was established in 1976 by state and
federal mandates to recover support obligations owed to both welfare and
non-welfare families by absent parents. This unit was expanded into a
separate functioning entity with a staff of 122 employees. Supporting
funds come from monies supplied by a combination of federal and state
grants through Support Enforcement Incident Funding (SEIF), which pays
San Francisco a bonus for every dollar collected. The federal govern-
ment also reimburses San Francisco for 75* of the direct and indirect
operating costs of both the Family Support Division and those Social
Sevices employees involved in child support activities. The Family
Support Division will collect approximately $300,000 during the fiscal
year 1979-80. The 1977-78 Grand Jury reported that this division had
problems in hiring adequate staff because of Proposition 13 induced
cutbacks. However, This problem has been alleviated by the Board of
Supervisor's vote to restore a portion of the District Attorney's budget
for 1978-79.


The Administrative Division plans, organizes and directs the
administrative activities of the District Attorney's Office in all phases
of its operations. It coordinates and provides all support services not
directly related to case Investigation, preparation, and prosecution. It
is also responsible for consultation and correspondence with various
outside agencies, the general public, and the news media. This division
consists of approximately 28 to 30 people assigned to general administra-
tion, 16 people assigned directly to other organizational units, and a
number of others (CETA employees) involved in various duties that fall
under this division.



The Administrative Division processes all filings, subpoenas,
case files, and motions for more than 50,000 criminal and noncriminal
filings; keeps personnel and pay records for the office's 220 plus employ-
ees, and administers a sizable budget. Since the last Grand Jury report
( 1977-7o ) a Word Processing System has Deen installed and the Computerized
Court Management System (CCMS) is under development. This division is
under the direction of Ms. Virginia McCubbin.

Criminal Division

The largest division of the District Attorney's Office is the
Criminal Division, which includes all attorneys not assigned to one of
the other seven divisions. This division has five organic units:
Superior Court, Municipal Court, Juvenile Court, Special Prosecutions,
and Career Criminal Prosecutions. This division with its organic struc-
ture is responsible for a case, from its charging to its disposition.
This system of case assignment is designed for overall improvement in
accountability, accuracy, continuity, and technical competence.

The success of this division is spelled out in performance
statistics for fiscal year 1978-79, such as a 60? increase in State
Prison commitments, an increase in felony arrest charges filed in
Superior Court, and restraints on plea bargaining. However, this di-
vision is under-staffed, because of the lack of funds and the inability
of the District Attorney's Office to hire or keep experienced attorneys
in City government. The income disparity between the public and private
sector is great. A good attorney in private practice receives an annual
salary of $22,000 and up, while the City's top pay scale is $16,000-
$18,000 per year.

Victim/Witness Assistance

This program was established in 1977 under the direction of
Ms. Sue Gershensen, who since has been replaced by Ms. Nancy Walker. It
has offices at 560-7th Street. The program is administered by the
District Attorney's Office as a matter of policy. The project is funded,
however, by a Law Enforcement Assistance Administration (LEAA) grant,
through the Mayor's Criminal Justice Council (MCJC).

The program U3es volunteers extensively in discharging its
responsibilities, which include: Assistance to elderly victims (over 55),
assistance to rape victims and victims of domestic violence. Services
to witnesses include: orientation as to courtroom procedures, and some
transportation to and from court apperances. Other required services to
the Victim/Witness Assistance Program are handled through other social
and private agencies, whose chairperson serves on the Mayor's Committee
on Victim/ Witness Assistance. This Grand Jury would like to commend
the Mayor and the District Attorney for their foresight in establishing
and managing a program of this magnitude. Too often in the Criminal
Justice System, the victim or witness is the forgotten person in the ad-
ministration of Justice.



Consumer Fraud Dlviaion

The Consumer Fraud Division was reorganized in March of 1976
under the direction of Ms. Judith Ford, and has offices in the Hall of
Justice at 850 Bryant Street. Its primary purpose is to protect the con-
sumer and other legitimate businesses from fraudulent business praotlce
through the enforcement of the California state consumer laws. Its pres-
ent staff consists of eight attorneys, six prosedutor investigators, and
30 plus interns, most of whom are on a volunteer basis and contribute a
vast amount of free labor.

The division collected fines of more than $300,000 in fiscal
year 1978-79* handled some 3*000 complaints, and received awards of over
$150,000 (awards represent actions settled out of court). The division
also has at its disposal a "Complaint Mobile" staffed with bilingual law
students and volunteers. It travels to neighborhood sites handling
complaints of those persons unable to come to the Hall of Justice. Slnoe its
Inception, the division has provided a much needed service to the people
of San Francisco. It exposed, for instance a store in the Hunters Point
Area that was selling spoiled meat products and had it closed.


Some of the District Attorney's responsibilities, such as
election and campain law enforcement, training, arbitration as an alter-
native, bail bond collection, and psychiatric court, do not require the
usage of additional staff members to warrant discussion in separate
paragraphs. They are, however, being handled as additional duty assign-
ments by various staff members. Some of these functions, such as bail
bond collections, do include the handling of and accountability for a
considerable amount of funds. The disposition of these funds are shown
yearly in the District Attorney's Annual Report to the Mayor.


1. We strongly recommend that a study be made to determine the
steps needed to bring the income of attorneys in City government in line
with that of the private Beotor.

2. We also recommend that this office be allocated more space
to alleviate overcrowding and cluttering of hallways.


The Public Defender's Office, under the direction of Mr. Jeff
Brown, operates according to the City Charter, and 1b governed by section
27706 of the Government Code of the State of California.



This office at present is located on the second floor of the
Hall of Justice at 850 Bryant Street.

Mr. Brown appears to be a very highly motivated public servant.
The function of the Public Defender is to provide legal aid to those
defendants who are financially unable to provide their own attorney in
criminal matters. He mentioned a number of innovations and/or changes
in organizational structure since the beginning of his administration in
January of 1979. These include:

1. An increase in services provided in misdemeanor cases;

2. the establishment of a trained Investigator Section and;

3. installation of a Word Processing Section where all
admins trative paperwork will be coordinated. The old problems of lack
of space, equipment, personnel and travel funds still exist. Some of
these problems, however, have multiplied since the passage of Proposition

The Public Defender's Office has two other major areas of
responsibility. First, the Mental Health Section, located on the fifth
floor of the Hall of Justice, is under the direction of Ms. Estrella
Dooley. This section must handle all conservatorships involving civilly
detained, mentally disordered or mentally disabled individuals. On court
appointment, pursuant to mandates, this section represents actual or
proposed probate wards/conservatees. In the criminal courts ii represents
mentally disordered or mentally disabled criminal defendants. So far
these cases have shown a 7 3% increase over 1978. Most of these cases
involved some travel to and from places of confinement outside the City
and County, and the problem of insufficient funds somewhat hampered this
effort. Second, the Juvenile Com . Lotion, located at the Youth
Guidance Center, 345 Woodside Avenue, is under the direction of Mr.
Bonfilio and has a staff of five to ten law students, and five CETA
Attorneys. Mr. Bonfilio must staff four courts to handle juvenile defen-
dants. Since the City's new program to clean-up the streets, the work-
load of this section has increased twofold, without the benefit of addi-
tional staff.


The Public Defender received a budget of $2.2 million for
fiscal year 1978-79 with 92.535 going for salaries and 7.5* for other
operational expenses. The budget request for fiscal year 1979-80 must
be presented in three stages of 83* ($1,844,430), 88* ($1,949,439) and
92* ($2,033,446) of last year's budget. With the approval of the 83*
budget this office would lose 14 attorneys. With the approval of the
88 J budget the loss would be approximately 4 attorneys. Approval of
the 92* budget would result in a loss of only 2 attorneys. Any of the
above mentioned budget cuts would cause great difficulty in providing
proper legal assistance to clients, as required by law.



As of May 30, 1979, a Budget of 95 % was approved falling far short of
the required 107*.

To underfund this department is a false economy! To do so
would result in large future costs, spread throughout the entire Judicial
system. Defendants who are insufficiently and improperly represented by
this office will have valid legal grounds for appeal and reversal of
verdicts, resulting possibly in expensive and needless retrials and a
duplication of previous efforts, all at additional public expense.


The Public Defender has a staff of 132 persons. Sixty- three
are budgeted positions; 6k are CETA positions, which are funded by feder-
al funds, and 5 are temporary employees. Mr. Brown states that he has
ample staff with which to discharge his duties. This staff will be
drastically reduced with the anticipated loss of the CETA personnel
during the month of August. Another problem is the income disparity
between CETA attorneys and principal attorneys. ($6,000 per annum)


With only 7.5* of the total budget allocated for equipment
and supplies, this office has been unable to by new and/or better
equipment. Most effort in this area is based on preventive maintenance
of outdated machines and other office equipment. The last new equipment
purchased was the Word Processing Machine which cost approximately
$67,000. Additional funding is badly needed in this area.


This remains one of the major problems facing the office. On
touring the facility we notice that all cubicles used by attorneys for
interviewing clients were overcrowded. In all instances, two attorneys
were sharing space designed for one; the hallways were cluttered with
filing cabinets and other boxes which constantly caused traffic Jams.
The front entrance was filled with persons seeking information and
employees trying to use the Electronic Data Processing terminals.

Recommendations We recommend the following:

1. The budget for this office should be funded minimally at
a full 100* of last year's budget for fiscal year 1979-80.

2. This office should be moved from it's present location in
the Hall of Justice, in order to conform with Federal Guidelines recommend-
ing that the Public Defender's Office be separated from the District
Attorney's Office and Police Department.

3. Additional office space should be provided. The present
office area was constructed to house 17 persons, and is overcrowded with



4 . An effort should be made to retain those CETA persons
scheduled to depart in September 1979. It is unfortunate and wasteful
that so much time has gone into their training, only to be lost to
private industry.

5. Some type of advertising program should be undertaken to
inform the public at large of the location of this office and the bene-
fits provided.

6. A background investigation should be conducted on all
clients using this office for the purpose of being able to ascertain
if clients are trully unable to afford their own attorneys.

Marvin Jones

William D. Kremen

William Noaks, Chairman



The Sheriff's Department Is responsible for the management
and operation of the City and County Jails, courtroom security and
its own Civil Division.

The present Sheriff, Eugene Brown, was appointed by Mayor
Moscone after the duly elected sheriff, Richard Hongisto, left the
department on December 14, 1977. Sheriff Brown's appointment was
confirmed on February 4, 1978. This jury feels that Sheriff Brown
is a highly self-confident person with knowledge of his profession,
having served with the San Francisco Police Department.


The department was hit fairly heavily by Proposition 13
cutbacks. A budget request for $11 million was submitted, but
was reduced to $10.2 million, of which 85# was targeted for salary
expense. At this writing, the department has 406 permanently
budgeted positions; 334 of the 40o were eligible for deputization
as peace officers under Penal Code Section 830.1. Of the balance,
26 positions are being held vacant, and 46 positions are supportive
civilian positions. In addition to its budgeted positions, the
department employs some 90 CETA personnel in various projects
which are federally funded.

Space and Location

This department, according to Sheriff Brown, is ideally
located for the functions it performs. He is, however, somewhat
crowded for office space, namely in the Civil Division. It is the
opinion of this jury that more space should be allocated to the
department. This would allow for supervisory personnel to have
offices in which to transact business of a confidential nature.

Programs (Old and New )

a. Food Service Program

Prior to the arrival of Sheriff Brown there were many
complaints about the quantity and quality of the food served in
the City and County's jails. This type of problem has been the
cause of many riots at other prisons in the past. To eliminate
this problem the department has contracted its food acquisition
and preparation to ARA, a commercial food preparer, with a savings
to taxpayers of $25,000 yearly.

b. Prisoner Assistance Program

The Rehabilitation Division has been re-named the Prisoner



Assistance and Service Division. According to Sheriff Brown this
title aptly describes the functions of this division of the Sheriff's
Department. Prisoner Assistance offers programs and counseling
for the incarcerated who wish to increase their likelihood of
successful assimilation upon release from the Jail System. It is
the opinion of Sheriff Brown that this program will do much to
reduce the prison population in the near future.

c. Prisoner Education Program

The department has a Prisoner Education Program for those
prisoners in County Jail who wish to better their general education
level in the "three R's". This program is coordinated through City
College .

d. Recreation Program

Sheriff Brown stated that this is a neglected area in
City Jails , due to limited funds and lack of available space. To
institute a good recreation program that would be productive for
the prisoners would cost the City somewhere in the neighborhood of
$4 million.

e. Drugs and Other Medical Facilities

The previous Grand Jury mentioned in its report the im-
proper distribution of drugs to prisoners, namely Darvocet. Sheriff
Brown stated that his department has never been responsible for the
dispensing of drugs or any other medication to prisoners and that
the Jury had erred in its assumption. The blame for this situation
should have been attributed to the Department of Public Health.
After investigation into this situation a new program for safe-
guarding the distribution of drugs and other medication has been
undertaken in conjunction with the Department of Public Health.
Whenever a prisoner is found to be in ill health he is immediately
moved from his place of confinement to the hospital ward at San
Francisco General Hospital.

f . Prisoner Work -Furlough Program

The department maintains a Prisoner Work-Furlough Program
which includes both male and female prisoners. The male program,
however, is better organized than that of the female. The male
prisoner returns to a community house after his daily schedule of
work while his female counterpart must return to her cell block.
This situation creates ill-will among female inmates. The depart-
ment is trying to eliminate this situation by procuring another
community type house for female inmates. This has been hampered,
however, by the lack of available funds and available secure housing
and staff shortage.



Prisoner Population

As of October 30, 1978, there were a total of 1157 persons
confined in the City and County Jails. Of the total, 1034 were men
and 123 were women. The racial breakdown of males was 34.8$ White,
42.9$ Black, Id. 7^ Spanish, 0.7$ Oriental, 2.3$ American Indian and
0.75b Others. The female breakdown is approximately the same with
43.0$ White and 46.0$ Black.

The estimated cost to taxpayers to maintain a person in
confinement is approximately $23.08 per day, and rising.

Personnel and Equipment

The department's personnel were discussed in the paragraph
entitled "Budget 11 .

The equipment most vital to this department are vehicles
for transportation of prisoners. Sheriff Brown stated that his
department maintains a fleet of 44 vehicles, of which 3 were under-
going repairs. Forty-one were in running condition, however, these
vehicles had very high mileage and did require some maintenance,
but due to the overload of work orders at the City's Garage the
work would have to wait. This department also maintains a radio
control station, which was in good repair, but in one outer office
we found a rug that was badly worn with two or three large holes
that should be replaced as soon as possible. We suggest that a
second hand rug be purchased from available funds. Not replacing
this rug may cause the City a very large law suit.

City Prison

Mr. Noaks and Mr. Jones of this committee visited the City
Prison located on the 6th Floor of the Hall of Justice on December o,
1978, at approximately 1:00 p.m. We were met by Undersheriff Denman
and Sheriff's Captain Sante, Supervising Officer of City Prison.

The tour of the facility began with the front desk admin-
istration and the booking procedure. This jail handles approximately
90,000 persons per year who have been accused of misdemeanors and/or
felonies. Here they await preliminary hearings and court dates.

The December 6th visit revealed that the conditions noted
in the 1977-78 Grand Jury Report had changed little or not at all.
Prisoners in the "Topper" (Drunk) Tank were still using the concrete
floor to rest while awaiting booking. Sheriff Brown made reference
to his budget request for 1978-79, in tfhich he asked for $107,000
for capital improvements in this area. It was disapproved and he
sees no improvements without funds. In reference to the use of
mattresses and blankets In the drunk tanks, the department is
attempting to alter its policy to comply with the Grand Jury's
recommendations . o_


The committee found the jail to be in a very untidy
condition. There were milk cartons, cigarette butts and heavy dust
on the floors. Food trays were still in some cells with leftover
foodstuffs. On a tour of cell AH8, the isolation cell where mentally
disturbed prisoners are confined (segregated), we found it to be
very untidy and in complete disarray. One prisoner awaiting trans-
portation to the Napa Facilities had undressed himself and wet his
bedding and cell. The bedding had been removed and left in a pile
at the end of the hallway. The lighting in this cell block was of
the worst type and the smell was unbearable. None of the recommend-
ations of the 1977-78 Grand Jury had been complied with, again be-
cause of the lack of funds. Undersheriff Denman stated that some
effort was being made to obtain monies for padding of doors and
renovation of the lighting system.

Recreation for these prisoners in isolation is not
recommended; however, for others there should be some type of


1. The unsanitary conditions at this jail could be some-
what relieved by the utilization of the roof of this building with
minimum cost to the City. By enclosing the roof with a mesh wire
fence, it could be used as s sort of recreation area where prisoners
could be moved daily while their cells are being cleaned and searched
for contraband.

2. A system of privileges should be instituted for
prisoners. This would enable the department to obtain personnel
from among the population for cleaning and maintenance of the cell
blocks. The present system of letting those prisoners who wish to

do small jobs on their own initiative is inadequate to say the least.

3. A daily system of inspections by a Chief Deputy should
also be instituted to check on sanitary conditions and to ascertain
If the deputies on duty are taking responsibility for eliminating
unhealthy conditions and performing other requirements of the job.
We believe that a system of this type, where a deputy knows that
his performance will be a matter of record that might affect his
promotion to a better job level, he will take more pride in doing

a better job.

County Jail No. 2


The County Jail at San Bruno, San Mateo County, was con-
structed in 193^ by WPA Workers. The jail is a seven story structure
built on 159 acres of rolling farm land designed to house at full
capacity, some 650 persons. However, with some modifications its



capacity is now approximately 700. On our visit the prison popula-
tion totaled some 291 prisoners. The Acting Captain, Lt. Courtney,
explained his organization and the functions of his administrative
programs, such as, Prisoner Assistance; Farming Program; Education;
Recreation and the housing of prisoners from other counties. We
were then given a guided tour through the complete facility with
emphasis on organic organizational functions.


This installation is authorized by budget to have 65
deputies, 1 building and grounds superintendent, 1 senior stationary
engineer and 4 stationary engineers. However, this staff is short
by 5 budgeted positions (deputies), which are being filled by 5 CETA

Online LibraryCalifornia. Grand Jury (San Francisco)Civil Grand Jury reports (Volume 1976-77) → online text (page 30 of 32)