SAN FRANCISCO - Former deputy public defender Chesa Boudin has been inaugurated as San Francisco's 30th district attorney.
Boudin was sworn in on Wednesday by Mayor London Breed during a ceremony at the Herbst Theatre, attended by several city and state officials.
During the ceremony, Boudin discussed several goals of his during his time in office, including ending the cash bail system and addressing racial disparities within the criminal justice system that have led to jails overcrowded with African-American and Latino inmates.
Boudin also said he'd like to work with police to reduce property crime, with auto burglaries at the top of his list.
"We know that auto burglaries, for example, are a big problem," he said. "We cannot prosecute people who the police don't arrest. And right now, unfortunately, police are making arrests in less than 2 percent of reported auto burglaries. When the police do bring to the district attorney people they've arrested for auto burglaries, they get prosecuted. So, we've got to work with the police so we can figure out how to do a better job detecting, deterring and preventing."
Boudin said he expects to make changes within the office, starting as early as within the next few weeks.
"I know that there is a need for change, morale has been low. We've had a hard time retaining staff over the last year," he said.
"I think there are some changes that I'll be making in the next weeks and the next months that will help rebuild the morale, increase the retention of staff that we need and also create space to bring in some new energy and some new ideas to rejuvenate and increase morale," he said.
Boudin said he's already met with Police Chief Bill Scott, as well as the San Francisco Police Officers Association President Tony Montoya.
"I know we're going to have our differences, but I'm confident the common ground will be more important and we'll grow it every single day that we work together," he said of Montoya.
In the weeks before the election, Montoya had openly criticized Boudin for his inexperience as a prosecutor.
Also during Wednesday's ceremony, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor delivered a special message to Boudin, via prerecorded video.
"It is uncommon for a former public defender to become the district attorney of a major city like San Francisco," she said. "Your personal strength and commitment to reforming and improving the criminal justice system is a testament to the person you are and the role model you will continue to be for so many."
Boudin, a graduate of Yale Law School, spent much of his childhood visiting his incarcerated parents, who were both convicted in connection with a 1981 New York armed robbery that took the life of a security guard and two police officers. Boudin's mother, Kathy Boudin, attended the ceremony, while Boudin's father remains incarcerated.
Boudin narrowly beat Interim District Attorney Suzy Loftus back in the November elections, garnering just over 50 percent of the vote.