So, I mentioned on Wednesday that the District Attorney’s office is unwilling to provide information about the outcomes of charged cases to Oakland’s City Council, and by extension, the public.
The first time this came up, at the end of November, the Committee members seemed appropriately shocked. They settled on requesting that staff send a formal request through the City Administrator’s office to the District Attorney Tom Orloff’s office for the information.
So staff did exactly that, and on December 3rd, sent the letter reproduced on pages 9 and 10 of this document (PDF!). Specifically, they asked:
The Public Safety Committee is formally requesting your presence for the next Public Safety Committee meeting regarding this information; it is scheduled for February 26, 2008. In addition, the committee would like to receive the following information:
- Dispositions on robbery and burglary cases for the calendar years 2005,2006 and 2007
- Dispositions on robbery and burglary cases involving juveniles for the calendar years 2005, 2006 and 2007
- Current charging guidelines for robberies and burglaries (residential, commercial, and auto)
- Current charging guidelines for juveniles convicted of robbery and burglary (residential, commercial, and auto)
- Current diversion programs available for juveniles and/or alternative programs (i.e. Home Supervision, Electronic Monitoring, Youth Court, Boot Camp, etc.)
- What are the factors that will mitigate a case?
- Do you track recidivism rates for either adults or juveniles? If so, can you provide that information?
The item was heard this past Tuesday, March 11, instead of February 26th as noted in the letter. As of February 28th, 2008, the date the staff report on the item was submitted, the City had received no response from the District Attorney’s office.
I expected the Councilmembers to be as outraged as I was about this, so you can imagine my surprise when I watched the meeting, and during discussion of this item, the only reference to the District Attorney’s failure to provide data was:
There was zero follow-up on this point from any of the Councilmembers during the rest of the discussion on the item! Not a single question. No expressions of frustration. No offhand remark. Nothing! I sure hope they’re trying to address the issue privately, because the Council and the public deserve this information.
I can’t help but wonder if the reason for the refusal on the part of Orloff’s office to share the information is that they fear the public would be upset by it. After all, as Novometro reported nearly a year ago, ADA Tom Rogers runs around telling Neighborhood Crime Prevention Councils “We try not to put people in jail.”
A transcript of both videos is available here (PDF!).