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Inside the SF DA’s Office

Memo to Kayo upon his return from a one-week vacation, August 13, 2000. The first item concerns an event in Los Angeles organized by Arianna Huffington to contrast with the Democratic National Convention. She had visited the office a few weeks earlier to invite the boss. Ethan Nadelmann was head of the Drug Policy Alliance.)

You’re canceled at the Shadow Convention (unless you change your mind and want to join the medical mj contingent). Ethan Nadelmann says “Tell Terence he’s magnificent but the competition for speaking slots was intense.” 

I asked Ethan if he’d tried to get migraine sufferer Kareem Abdul Jabbar to join the medical marijuana group. He said, “Jabbar would have been great but since he was caught driving-under-the-influence, he’s tainted.” Tainted —the very word Bill Zimmerman used about Jocelyn Elders! I reminded Ethan 1) not everybody is guilty as charged 2) what is a migraine sufferer supposed to do when he feels an attack coming on and he’s got effective medicine on hand? 3) The data on marijuana and driving are ambiguous. The most thorough studies suggest that impairment is rare —certainly nothing like alcohol or prescription downers. Ethan said, “Oh, you don’t have to tell me.” He added that the California medical marijuana activists caused him mucho grief: “Some of these people need more medication than marijuana,” he said contemptuously. Also, “Tuesday will be the greatest day our movement has known!” This in the midst of raids and prosecutions of medical marijuana users from Ventura to Humboldt…

While you were gone, KRON did not run their hit piece on SFDA’s narcotics prosecutions record. Your interview with Vic Lee is set for 1 p.m. on Wednesday. Vernon [Grigg, whom Kayo had put in charge of narcotics prosecutions] to conduct a detailed review of your record, your approach to charging narcotics cases, reforms achieved and proposed, etc. You should also discuss the arguments for Prop 36, because like it or not, you’ll be a leading spokesman. Zimmerman’s aide Dave Fratello has sent out a flowchart explaining how 36 works (attached). If only there were a serious movement to end the war on drugs, Prop 36 would be seen for what it is, a tepid reform that cuts the therapists in on the War-on-Drugs money.

Re: Money recovered from Old Republic

The check from the state of California arrived at the City Attorney’s office Friday and we’re issuing a joint press release Monday —the City and County of SF gets $3 million of the $22 million recovered from Old Republic, thanks to our and their efforts. Ross Mirkarimi did yeoman work on the investigation. Draft of the release is attached. 

Monday morning Kamala told me she was resigning and showed me the letter she was about to present to you. When I said you were at Hetch-Hetchy for the week she seemed surprised. She didn’t tell me she was going to vent to the press and it didn’t cross my mind that she was about to.

Darrell spent the entire morning giving an interview to Rob Selna of the Daily Journal (“a two-and-a-half hour spiel about his career before I could get in a question,” according to Selna). DS shooed me away when I tried to inform him about Kamala’s resignation. Paul got shooed away, too.

I went to Department 21 to pay your respects to the Segals —parents of Anton, the 28-year-old Harvard grad who was working as a greeter at the Roaring 20s when he got killed by a raging drunk named Alas. Anton was killed in Nov. ’98. Mr. Segal expressed dismay at how long it has taken to try Alas for murder… Michael Gaines is defending Alas, whose parents are also attending the trial. Towards the end of the morning Ken Garcia showed up… The Examiner had a good piece about Anton Segal’s life by Mike Dougan, who was in court covering the opening arguments.

Braden Woods: “This case is about anger, violence and murder…” Anton was working the door as a greeter at the Roaring 20s. he denied entry to Alas, who had an open beer. Alas went to his car to get his steel “club.” Crossing Broadway he was almost hit by a VW van. Alas fought three men, got beaten, his leather jacket taken. Chased them in his van. Came back to Broadway and Columbus, parked across Broadway from Roaring 20s, lights on, motor running. Came up to Anton, who turned to enter club. Alas coldcocked him from behind, crushing his skull. "It cracked like an egg-shell," said a witness.

Gaines: Alas had a common law wife, two kids. After almost a year in a residential program called Solidarity House, he seemed to be pulling his life together. Apprentice union plumber in San Mateo. Active in mom’s church (Jehovah’s Witness). Weekly bible study. On pills —30 mg Prozac daily, plus Trazadone (or prednisone, couldn’t hear). Blind drunk on 20 Miller Genuine Drafts… Proper verdict is manslaughter.

You should get an update from Braden and look in. The defense has one more witness to call, closing arguments Tuesday (Judge Ryan hopes) or Wednesday (Gaines prefers). Jim Segal has been sharing his thoughts with Braden. His wife is Japanese —a Jewish-Japanese couple, just like Jeffrey Berger’s parents, Gary and Reiko. Only the Segals have to stare at the autopsy pictures of their beautiful son.

Back at the office around 12:30. Rob Selna leaned in to say that Darrell had given him carte blanche to call anybody in the office for his article on “Salomon at Six Months.” Peter Hartlaub of the Examiner called —he’d heard about Kamala’s departure. I finally got in to see Darrell shortly before 1 and learned that Kamala had publicized her complaints. I went to see her, said she should have leveled with me. She said she’d spoken without restraint to Jaxon and Opatrny and now wished she hadn’t. I told her to call them back and change her tune. I sat there while she talked to Jaxon and tried to retract this and tone down that. What a sad and sorry situation. Maybe if you’d been in and she could have vented to you directly she would not have talked to the press; we’ll never know. You probably think “She had it all planned.” But maybe your being gone and her not even knowing it reminded her how far she’d fallen from grace.

Meanwhile justice was grinding on and the assignment editors (KRON, WB-20, Marin I-J, Examiner) were calling with the usual array of questions and I was running around trying to provide answers . Napolean Brown, aka Sonny Boy, who was arrested over the week-end, will be arraigned Tuesday. He’s the second suspect in the robbery at Johnny Rocket’s in the Marina that ended with a girl being pushed into oncoming traffic. Before she died she told the inspector “SB pushed me.” It’s Hammer’s case. Also on this case the DNA test of the other suspect’s bandana has come back… negative. Hammer wants to discuss.

Hechler and Mario Jovel attended a hearing (with Commissioner Slaybach) on the Seth Derish/Anna Fereira custody dispute. Derish’s attorney moved to curtail SFDA involvement to the question of jurisdiction. Derish is arguing there’s an emergency —bad mom, prostitute, could harm kid. He testifies Monday 9 a.m.

A patient at Laguna Honda called —James Robinson, 50, recovering from a stroke. His medical marijuana —a couple of joints— was confiscated. No patients at Laguna Honda can use mj because they have to sign a contract promising they’ll only use drugs prescribed by the Laguna Honda M.D..

I spoke with Lorraine Kilpack, the psychologist who runs their Substance Abuse program. 759-4562. Pager 831-5070. She said they’re going to review their policy in light of Breyer’s decision, and asked my opinion. I told her as a journalist trying to keep abreast of developments —not as a lawyer— I thought their patients were entitled to use medical marijuana, and that Laguna Honda ought to think about setting aside a room or an area where they could do so. I urged her to contact Hermenia Palacio at SFDPH for guidance.

I called James Robinson 664-1580 Ward C-3 Bed 21 to ask if he wanted to publicize the situation by talking to a reporter from the Independent. He said he was too scared, getting driven out of Laguna Honda would be a terrible fate.

Peter Byrne of the SF Weekly writing, as you know, about Stephen Van Dyke, civilian employee of SF Fire Dept. I discussed our approach with Pfeifer. Told Byrne to read the arrest warrant. Provided number 39933F.

Mike Scalzo called from Bay Meadows about a customer who claimed his open marijuana use was medical. How to handle? I told him to call San Mateo DA’s office. Please advise for future reference: does the proprietor of a place where cigarette smoking is allowed have the right to ban bona fide patients from smoking mj on their premises? 650-222-8153

Asked Scott Ostler if he could provide the letter Father O’Shea sent to friends trying to raise bail by denouncing the DA. The Hallinan bashers have found their spiritual leader!

Michael Foley invites you to Prop 36/Medical MJ event Tuesday evening August 14. 682-7164 (night before Vic Lee)

Alex Chiu of the Mercury News wants to write piece on TTH going to Shadow Convention. 477-3795

Darrell did not come into the office on Tuesday. He called in the early afternoon and read me a letter he’d written to the Chronicle. Paragraph one concluded that Darrell had done everything he could to give Kamala favorable assignments, but what she really wanted was his job. Paragraph two was a defense of his lifelong commitment to hiring women and minorities. I advised him to cut the whole first paragraph —no point discussing office politics and extend this sad situation in the pages of the Chronicle. He then informed me the letter had already been sent.

Vanderbeken says Darrell has been urging him to revisit the story of Harris’s departure. “If he insists on a story bashing Kamala Harris,” is how Jaxon put it, “ I’m willing to write it.” He said Darrell had threatened to sue if he wasn’t portrayed satisfactorily in a second story.

On Tuesday Anton Segal’s father told me an appalling thing. Ken Garcia started to interview him; when it turned out that Segal had nothing bad to say about the DA’s office, Garcia ended the interview, frankly admitting that his angle was anti-Hallinan. Segal said, “Don’t you even want to hear about the wonderful organ donation program?…” Garcia said nope. How callous can you get?

Invitation from Ron Segal producer of Forum (Michael Krasny) on KQED for Hallinan or resident SFDA expert to do Aug. 21 show on DNA testing and the criminal justice system. James Crowe, geneticist and Peter Newmark from the Innocence Project will attend. I confirmed that we’d send someone.

Damon Scott from Amos Brown’s office was seeking your endorsement of Dr. Brown. 554-7603 or 510/774-5738. He asked “Who has signature authority?” I figured I’d ask Darrell but he didn’t show until Thursday afternoon, and then he was very busy.

Talking Points (from Paul Kelly) on the subject of women and minorities departing SFDA: 

1. The economy creates unprecedented opportunities for lawyers in the private sector. The public sector can’t match these offers.

2. Terence has hired excellent people whom other employers woo.

3. Because Terence has hired so many women and minorities, there will be women and minorities leaving.

African prosecutors coming Wednesday, Aug. 16, 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. to meet with SFDA rep on “The Rule of Law and Independent Judiciary.” Arranged by Sherm Ackerson of the International Diplomacy Council. Sounds like a CIA front.

Opatrny wants to interview Gerry Coleman on his use of  power point presentation in his close tomorrow. Piece will  be: “High tech comes to the courtroom”

Les Gandy  St Francis Kiwanis Club invites SFDA to send speaker Sept. 14th to lunch starting at 12:10 p.m. Lakeside Café on Ocean Ave. between 19th and Juniper Serra 2529 Ocean Ave.

Tuesday night I drafted a note to Darrell that I intended to hand him but he never showed on Wednesday. Paul Cummins says he got no instructions from Darrell to keep the good ship SFDA on course. He kept looking in on Maria [his secretary] who’d say, “He called but he wouldn’t say whether he was coming in…” Unbeknownst to us, Darrell was readying a retraction demand for the Chronicle.

From Marianne Barrett: Inspector Dan Mahoney presented a pimping and pandering case to rebooking August 9. The prostitute is a Canadian citizen, as were two other women arrested in the presence of Jerry Jean (the pimp who meets them here when they fly in). “Documentary evidence seized at the scene appears to support charges of 266h and 266i against Jean. The likelihood of the woman who gave the police her Canadian address being available, cooperative and within reach at trial time remains to be seen.” FBI involved because national border crossed.  

(…to be continued)

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