tv [untitled] December 21, 2011 8:31am-9:01am PST
by working within the prison system, giving restitution to family members and working on behalf of the state of california on a variety of projects that go on inside prisons. i also want to echo what the process said -- please join, please help -- i also want to echo what natasha said. talk to 10 of your friends, send e-mails, send letters. thank you. [applause] >> 1985, when i was sentenced to death for a crime i did not commit, i thought right away that this would be rectified. i was convicted of two different crimes. it took 18 years. it took me seven execution dates. i watched 12 then be executed while i was there -- i watched 12 and then be executed while i was there. i'm not in a position to say
whether either of them -- whether any of them were guilty or innocent. mr. d.a., i am asking you, truly consider leaving the death penalty along. let that be in god's hands, what that person goes through or deals with. there are too many flaws in our system that we cannot control and we cannot trust a man. i am asking you to consider that, to take the consideration of that. the question we did not answer was it one of these guys were in this and that was executed by a prosecutor that had evidence that was clearly convincing that that person was innocent, what would you do? that was a simple question to me. that was not a tricky question. it was a straight up question dealing with innocence and the prosecutor doing something that
was considered murder or attempted murder. you could answer that. you faded around that question, and to me, that is enough to make me think you should consider not dealing with the death penalty and joining in the fight to abolish the death penalty. we went to illinois, and i was with another group. we would go from state to state that have the death penalty and go to legislators and everyone asking them to abolish the death penalty. in the last two years, we have been successful. it appears like we are going to have to put california on our list. but that is all i wanted to say. that is something that once you take a life, you cannot bring it back. accountability needs to be on your part, too, on the district attorney's part, so if he knew a man was innocent and still
prosecuted him, that a straight up murder -- that is straight up murder. that is not malfeasance. [applause] >> i want to thank the public defender's office for putting this panel together. i understand there was a good panel this morning. these are issues that are conflicts, and they require continuing dialogue. the law is not perfect. the law is always evolving. it was an honor also to be with the other panelists here. i think that the issue of the death penalty is one that obviously is right -- ripe for us to bring this back to the voters. i think there is a great deal of evidence today that speaks to the problems of wrongful convictions. i think we all understand what
the factors are. we know there is a problem with wrongful convictions -- convictions. there is certainly a problem with prisoner treatment, and there is a problem with closure to the victims as well as the financial costs. it is up to all of us collectively to talk about how we deal with this and create a more profitable policy around dealing with very serious crimes, and i welcome the opportunity for having been here today. thank you very much. [applause] >> jeff adacci has a few closing remarks. >> i am a public defender. >> good afternoon. i am with the d a's office. >> in closing today's program, we want to first of all thank all of you for being here and being part of this discussion.
no doubt, we achieved a great deal. this was not just another talking head conference where people were just here to give a speech. you really heard engaged discussion from this morning all the way up until now. we thank our panelists because they came here with an open heart and an open mind. we are going to talk in a minute about how we are going to move things forward. i want to thank the staff of the public defender's office and the many volunteers who made this possible. we thank the library staff as well as sfgovtv for their good work here. john came here because we
invited him and because he knew that he is making a difference and will continue to make a difference. after serving 14 years on death row and spending 18 years of his life fighting the case, he continued to fight for justice, and he brought his case to the united states supreme court. he received a $40 million jury verdict, and in april, the united states supreme court overturned that, even though in this case, there were three prosecutors who have -- who were found to have intentionally withheld evidence that would have exonerated him. plus, and this is a great lesson for all of us, it was a prosecutor who was the hero. he stood up and came forward and told everybody what the other two prosecutors did. when he did that, his efforts were rebuked by the district
attorney. as a result, he left his job. it tells you that there are heroes everywhere. people are standing up for justice everywhere. we have to reach everyone everywhere every place in order to solve this problem. we do have a plaque to presented -- present to j.t > as a result of everything he has been through, but more importantly, to help him in the future -- present to j.t. as a result of everything he has been through, but more importantly, for everything he will do in the future. you can support the work he does with a reentry program for persons coming back from prison. so if we could present this to you.
[applause] moving forward, our work cannot stop here. i would like to have christine talk about what we are going to be doing moving forward. we have had meetings with district attorney george gascono about doing things differently. within the police chief, a new district attorney, we have that opportunity -- with a new police chief, a new district attorney, we have that opportunity. i would also like to acknowledge supervisor ross mirkarimi to come up here just for a moment and say hello, and let me have
christine close the program. >> good afternoon, everybody. it was a pleasure to listen to the last panel this afternoon. i am the chief of staff for mr. gascon, and i joined him when he moved over to the d.a.'s office. joining the office on his request, because i think we really have a unique perspective, having worked on the defense side and on policy issues, and i can attest that he is undertaking a wholehearted effort to really bring some reform to the criminal justice system on many fronts, this being one of them that we are evaluating. i hope that you as city and county residents will see in our work that we really take some efforts that will reform. anybody that has participated in the criminal justice system for any length of time knows that it does not work from whatever and will you are looking at it, so the question is how do we make it better?
we hope to engage all of you in that. we are starting neighborhood courts, and a lot of efforts that we hope to engage the city and county in supporting us and looking at ways to move away from the over incarceration of people and look at ways to reform their behavior. the efforts we have undertaken when george was appointed to the position -- jeff asked him to come to the public defender's office to have a question and answer session, which he did, and i attended with him. we are told that was the first time that had ever happened, and we reciprocated by asking jeff to meet with the district attorneys in our office. we have begun a dialogue that both sides think is very healthy. we have identified a number of issues that we think require further exploration, so we are creating working group's staff by the people from the d.a.'s office and the public defender's office to look at improving things like discovery, which is an important issue, making sure that we have reciprocal
discovery and that it is transparent and complete. looking at workers from collaborative courts, looking at solutions besides incarceration, dealing with mental health and behavioral health issues, rather than using the jails as a solution to that, and we are also working around juvenile issues to make sure we are doing all we can for those under the age of 18 in our community. those are the efforts we are undertaking. jeff and matt have been a fantastic partners in this. as far as we know, it is a new day in these efforts and really trying to work collaboratively and we hope to have all your support in doing that. [applause] >> of course, that is not to say that we are not going to fight it out in court because, of course, that is what we do. i would like to briefly introduce ross mirkarimi, who is
a supervisor here in the city, and he has been a champion of many criminal justice issues, including prisoner reentry. i also want to thank and acknowledge debra atherton. thank you. supervisor mirkarimi: it is nice to see everybody. jeff is generous. i was not expecting to be up here. i know you have had a productive day. i think that the public defender's summit is something not to be missed and a template for the rest of california and probably the nation to follow. i am proud of our public defender. i am proud of our criminal justice partners because over the last four years, we have seen a great amount of innovation. jeff and i started the city's first reentry council, and it might be bewildering to you, but
before we started it, believe it or not, those stakeholders in the criminal-justice system really very irregularly rarely would come together and talk about ways that we might mitigate, reduce our recidivism rate. great progress has been made, but san francisco still needs to step up its game. i was delighted to hear the conversation that took place here, but no the statistic that for every four people that sanford's is the police department arrests and the da prosecutes, nearly three are repeat offenders -- for every four people that san francisco police department arrests and the da prosecutes -- the d.a. prosecutes. there is evidence to show that doing everything we can to try to divert some of his life from repeating their offense, but we will have to really vigorously enhance our approach. one way to do that obviously is
the collaboration being fostered and demonstrated here today, but it is more than just today. it will have to be every single day, or else california will continue to be building more prisons, and san francisco may not be far behind. thanks. [applause] >> once again, thanks for the flag. [laughter] have a good time. have a good evening. thank you very much. [applause]
thank you very much. [applause] thank you for being here this afternoon to do something that is a great, great celebration for our city. last october 19, while driving her daughter to school very early in the morning, she saw a crash, a very horrible crash. she decided she would stop. she decided to take a look at what occurred. as she saw the flames and the truck overturned and noticed there was somebody in the street, she stopped her car and got out. she did not hesitate. she went out and pulled somebody out. in danger to herself and she had no hesitation. as a result, she saved somebody's life. in fact, she saved a life of
mike, who is here today. thank you. [applause] we have invited her here today, not only to praise her, but we ask that she bring her whole family. one of the things i have been thinking about, personally, we not only wanted to recognize her with our fire commissioners better here today, fire managers caught fire chiefs, police chief, and his command staff. they all know what heroes look like and feel like. they wanted to join me in this celebration. i also wanted to tell you -- not only did she act selflessly, but there is something there where you are trying to figure out whether or not you would have done the same thing. to know that she did this by
instinct almost, as reported, without concern for her own safety and saving somebody's life, i have to say that i wanted her here. i wanted her family here. a lot of times it's not that you learn this in school or friends. instinct, sometimes, is a reflection of your family. thank you very much. [applause] i know you're very proud of your family. when instinct comes -- you look at who brought them up.
i think it's a reflection of the family, the values, things they are talked. -- things they are taught. growing up, you learn things that are instinct of character. i wanted to make sure the family got the recognition here today to you are part of her heroism. it takes a family to raise somebody who has the right instincts to do what it is. thank you to mike and the royal trucking company for their support. this is the first time you have been able to meet each other. it's a great union. it is what we in san francisco have been so proud of learning and understanding. on behalf of the city and county of san francisco, i want to
present to you are signal of being a hero for us and even to our own heroes in our fire department and police department. i want to present to you, on behalf of the city, a signal for us. if i could then present to you -- [applause] this award. it is titled, "the city and county of san francisco goods american award presented to kena williams in recognition of your heroism on december 19, 2011." "your city and your mayor is grateful for your courage and bestows this good samaritan award to you today, october 17,
2011." [applause] i present this to you, as well. >> thank you. >> we just gave something here. a new backpack with a lot of goodies in it. ok. now i would like to have the fire chief come up. >> i cannot wait to go to school. [laughter] >> thank you very much, mr. mayeor. after we in formally acknowledged last week, a lot of people from the media came up. if i could echo what i said last week -- what you did was
phenomenal. it made a huge difference. mike is with us today. i know you two will always have a special bond because of what you did last week. like i said to you, you played a special role, too. you did exactly what your mom told you to do. you state in the car so she could go out and do what she needed to do. a lot of people would not have done that. especially having your daughter in the car -- like the mayor said, you did not hesitate. it was instinctive. for that, all of us that where the uniform and have the training are in complete awe of what you did last week. at 22 years old with a 5-year- old daughter, it has got to make you feel good. i can tell what a special bond you have got. you have got your daughter here agree you have your mother, your grandmother, your aunt, and other relatives. i know mike had a chance to talk to you yesterday prove he
probably wants to say a few words, as well. i know he loves you. the media will want to talk to you, as well. people were inspired by your story. it's incredible. thank you very much, on behalf of the members of the san francisco fire department. we really appreciate it. the chief appreciate it, as well. we are tr training or the equipment. you did it. it's an honor to know you. [applause] >> in addition to our commissioners on the fire commission and our command staff, i also want to thank the supervisor for being here, and the royal trucking company mike was working with and is working for, and their support for kena
, as well. would you like to say a few words? >> of course. >> all right. >> good afternoon, everybody. in here. i am really thankful you guys are giving me -- everyone is proud of me, even people who do not even know me. i'm grateful for my family and for everybody. mike, i'm glad you're all right. that was my main concern. i really appreciate you guys so much. i am so overwhelmed right now. i am very thankful and grateful. that is all i really have to say. [laughter] i love everybody and i love you. even if i did not know you, still came out to help you. i did not know who you were or
nothing like that. in a good hearted person. i prayed the whole time i was getting you. i am glad you are standing and i am really grateful. >> thank you. >> come on up, mike. >> i am not much of a speaker. for some reason, at that particular moment, this beautiful lady decided to stop. to me, she is my guardian angel. if she had not have stopped, i do not know what would have happened. i know i would have been there by myself and alone. i really do not know. god bless you. you will always be in my heart. thank you. [applause]
>> thank you. thank you. thank you, again, to the family, for having such a wonderful daughter and a wonderful san francisco citizen. thank you very much. thank you. impossible. announcer: when you open a book, you can explore new lands... [bird screeches] meet new friends, and discover new adventures. there are amazing possibilities
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