Pubdate: Tue, 26 Oct 1999
Date: 10/26/1999
Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)
Author: Dale Gieringer

Credit Is Due (Letters to the Editor, SF Chronicle, Oct 25,

Editor - In these days of Three Strikes and record numbers of drug
prisoners, Terence Hallinan deserves credit, not blame, for having the
lowest conviction rate in the state.

A glance at the state's arrest statistics shows why this should be
so. San Francisco has by far the highest proportion of felony drug
arrests in the state (41% of all felony arrests versus 28% statewide),
as well as the lowest proportion of  violent felonies (18% versus
28%). Because drug crimes are typically non-violent, consensual
offenses, Hallinan has rightly sought alternatives to criminal
conviction and incarceration in drug cases. Given that his office
faces twice as many drug offenders, relative to violent offenders, as
other district attorneys, it follows that his conviction rate should
be lower - indeed,  any other result would be indefensible.

Dale Gieringer,