SF District Attorney Gascon gives first interview since announcing he won't run again

- San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón is looking at the next year as his last serving as the city's top prosecutor.

Appointed by then Mayor Gavin Newsom from the city's police chief to district attorney in 2011, Gascón released a statement last week saying he would not be running for office so he could focus on his family and care for his elderly mother. 

"Getting to the point where I finally made the decision was very difficult, I think that once I made the decision it was very easy. But, you know, I' m emotionally attached to the work," said Gascón.

Gascón says he has been proud serving the city. Recent data show his office has the highest charging rate for crimes brought to him and a conviction rate that has consistently been above 75 percent.

While he's proud of his success rate in the courtroom, he says it's the programs he's pushed to break the cycle of re-offending that he is most proud of.

He says he has sought to use scientific practices and data to implement programs such as "make it right,"  a juvenile restorative justice program he says is helping to prevent crimes by reaching youth before they re-offend.

"When you remove the emotional piece of it, and you look at it from a very clinical the stuff we have done works, and it's made a difference," said Gascón.

But, Gascón's time in office has seen it's share of controversy coming from both sides of the political spectrum.

Conservatives blasted his office for failing to convict Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, the undocumented immigrant charged with killing Kate Steinle.

On the other side, police watchdogs blasted Gascon for his decision to not prosecute San Francisco police officers following the officer involved deaths of Luis Pat Gongora pat and Mario Woods.

The District Attorney saying his job is to follow the law and seek justice not popularity.  

"This is not the kind of work that you can be popular. You have to do the right things and that means sometimes your friends are not going to like you, right? Or your enemy might not like you, you know. It is that kind of work," said Gascón.

Already four candidates have started the process of running for DA. 

Gascón isn't saying who he'd like to see in office. But, did say what he'd like to see in a successor.

"What I would hope is that whoever comes is somebody would think about this authority, think about how awesome it is, how powerful it is, and then be thoughtful about the way that they use that." said Gascón.

San Franciscans will have just over a year to decide who will be the next District Attorney. Voters will decide in November next year.
 

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