Quentin L. Kopp

Quentin L. Kopp

The Bay Area is reeling from the latest brazen attack on one of its senior citizens. This time, the victim was a 94-year-old Asian American woman stabbed in an unprovoked attack in San Francisco. While the woman is fortunately recovering, she suffered significant physical and emotional injuries. On top of the attacker’s shocking disregard for human life, this tragic incident exposes massive flaws in San Francisco’s criminal justice system.

The attack was particularly horrifying because it was preventable. The alleged perpetrator, a 35-year man named Daniel Cauich, was arrested the week before the incident but was quickly released by a local judge until his trial date. The San Francisco District Attorney’s Office — known for not taking a tough-on-crime stance — surprisingly requested that the court keep Cauich locked up pending trial because of a lengthy criminal history, including an arrest for suspected murder. Now San Francisco Mayor London Breed demands answers why Cauich was even on the streets. Other local politicians sound the alarm about the need to address crime.

Anyone who has lived here for a long time can see and feel for themselves that crime in San Francisco and the broader Bay Area is on the precipice of spinning out of control. Although it’s too early to define trends in crime statistics, burglaries and auto thefts have increased dramatically in San Francisco since 2020. Failure to hold criminals accountable for “quality of life” crimes can spiral into larger ones. That’s what is happening now.

San Francisco doesn’t use a bail system, so most people are released from jail until their case goes to trial or is resolved. The city’s system only allows a defendant to be held in jail if the court deems him a threat to public safety. In the case of Cauich, a judge weighed the public safety risk and determined he should be on the streets with nothing more than an ankle monitor.

Does that sound like an approach to policing and public safety that the rest of California should follow? As misguided as it may seem, that’s precisely what the state Legislature is considering under a 2021 bill that copies San Francisco’s failed system.  

Lawmakers are debating Senate Bill 262, which would make most crimes automatically eligible for release under zero bail. Only in the most severe situations would people be held in jail under bail until their day in court due to public safety risks. As in Cauich’s case, even someone with a significant criminal history is not considered a safety risk.

For several years, San Francisco has been an earlier adopter of SB 262’s proposed pretrial system. Now the painful results are being felt in the community. On top of the stabbing, other shocking headlines show an environment in which crime flourishes. In February, an elderly Asian American man was murdered in San Francisco after being pushed to the ground in an attack. A video of a broad daylight shoplifting by an assailant on his bike at a local Walgreens store has also made national news. Such news stories highlight a broader trend of how the failure to address rising crime is at a breaking point.

California must avoid San Francisco’s mistakes — not emulate them. When law enforcement cannot require people like Daniel Cauich to appear in court to face charges, the system is broken and innocent victims are put at risk.

It would be a grave mistake for California’s Legislature and governor to adopt San Francisco’s system that removes accountability for people facing criminal charges by passing SB 262. Just look at crime in San Francisco and tell me you disagree.

SB 262 has its next vote in the California Assembly coming up in July. If you value safe communities, tell your local state legislators to oppose SB 262.

Quentin L. Kopp is a retired San Mateo County Superior Court judge, former state senator and former San Francisco Board of Supervisors member.

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(11) comments

Terence Y

Well written, Mr. Kopp. Unfortunately, we will read many more stories of homicides and aggravated assaults across the nation, mostly in Democrat-controlled cities. You have to wonder what people expect will happen when Democrats demonize law enforcement, attempt to defund the police, and allow cite and release of felons and repeat criminals. One needs only to read the Major Cities Chiefs Association (MCCA) Violent Crime Survey from 2020 and from first quarter 2021 to see that Democrat-controlled cities are bearing the brunt of increased homicides and aggravated assaults. 32% more homicides in 2020 than 2019 with nearly 15% more aggravated assaults. In first quarter 2021, 29% more homicides compared to last year’s first quarter with over 9% more aggravated assaults. Hey people, you get what you vote for. A solution? Use your Biden bucks to invest in self-defense. One day, which hopefully never comes, your family will be glad you did. BTW, a new report indicates law enforcement in major metropolitan areas are retiring or resigning in droves while fewer new positions are being filled. Even more reason to become responsible for you and your families self-defense.

Tafhdyd

Terence,

In case you missed it on rightwing fake news sites, the Republicans are the ones defunding the police. They voted against the Biden administration corona virus relief American Rescue Plan which included $350 billion with a "B" for local and state police, fire and emergency and vital services. As always they are more concerned with obstructing Democratic proposals than the well being of America.

Terence Y

Sorry, Taffy, my dear. Your fake news and lies don’t pass muster. In fact, the coronavirus relief plan has virtually no relief for pandemic-related items. If Republicans are defunding the police, why is it that most Democrat-controlled cities are seeing skyrocketing crime rates? If you quote $350 billion, where’s the “B”? BTW, I hear a bridge from famed architects, Mr. Lego and Mr. Duplo, is up for sale – only $1 million, with an “M.”

Tafhdyd

Terence,

Funny thing about that, I was going to offer you 1,000 acres of ocean front property in your choice of Kansas, Iowa or Nebraska. I was only looking for $10 an acre. I see you truly follow Trump's lead and try to cheat people out of their money. If you want $1 million I would think if I figured in the Trump con factor I would maybe give you about $10 if the title is clear of bankruptcy liens. I am still willing to sell you some ocean front property even know you are trying to cheat me. BTW, how are you doing on the bamboo fibers and cheese dust?

Terence Y

Taffy, unsurprisingly, another of your epic fails in trying to back up your fake news and lies. Instead, all you can do is display your TDS and attempt another laughable personal attack. Meanwhile, in other news, Rep. Lauren Boebert’s speech on the House floor is not to be missed. She speaks the truth when she says every time Democrats run their mouths, millions of Americans continue to exercise their Second Amendment rights by buying their first, second, or even 100th firearm. I don’t know anyone up to 100. Yet. And gas prices are at a 7-year high, just in time for the 4th of July weekend. Thanks Joe, for taking us from America First under our great President Trump to making America Last! BTW, Taffy, we're still waiting on you to name a blundering Biden accomplishment.

Dirk van Ulden

Taffy - that was another lie by the fake White House. The real reason the Republicans voted against that bill was the enormous pork that was included with very little for Corona virus treatment and mitigation. Another ruse by the White House staff. The original $350B had no strings attached and could have been used by the cities and states for any other purpose. For example, Newsom had already said that he would use it to finance health care for illegal aliens, among other Santa Claus promises for a constituency that has not contributed a dime to our economy.

Wilfred Fernandez Jr

Tafhdyd,

When did it become the responsibility of the Federal government to pay for local and state police? I think to highly of you and your intent to insult the convoluted thinking involved in the media report you repeat.

Tafhdyd

Hello Wilfred,

I will throw a few things out there and maybe you will see where I was going and then again, maybe not. I am not advocating that the Federal Gov’t pay for local services in general, but in this case I don’t have a problem with it. Looking at the big picture I see the root of the problem as being the previous administration, and IMO, their total incompetence. The megalomaniac in charge has always been concerned about nothing but his own self inflated status and cares about nothing else regardless of how many times he tells you otherwise. Poo-pooing the virus from the start even when he new it was serious almost destroyed the country. Considering the domino effect on local governments I think it only fair that the Feds lend hand now.

Another item that you more than likely have noticed is that anytime I can antagonize a Trump supporter I do. Often I think I shouldn’t stoop to their level but it has to be done once in a while. I did check the claim before posting it and I knew that it isn’t all that the media makes it out to be, but when dealing with Trumpers, what’s the difference? They don’t believe in facts or truth anyway.

Not related but about twenty years ago I considered running for the SM City Council. I knew I wouldn’t gather much support because my campaign slogan was “If you want to play, you have to pay. Higher taxes all the way.” Too many people want the pot holes fixed and street lights on and don’t consider how it is paid for.

If I don’t get back to you before, have a nice 4th and be careful with the fireworks.

Wilfred Fernandez Jr

Tafhdyd,

I'm glad we enjoy a mutual understanding. The problem with "in this case" mentality is that it usually leads to a "we have set a precedent" justification for more of the same.

I agree with your campaign slogan. People should pay for what they use. The devil is in the details.

Terence Y

Taffy, as usual, you fall back to your TDS rants. If our great President Trump was only concerned about himself, then why did Trump make America Great Again with an America First policy, whereas your idol, bungling Biden has reduced us to America Last and a global laughingstock? I notice you still can’t list a bumbling Biden accomplishment. And sorry, but America Last is not an accomplishment. BTW, so much for you taking the high road. I didn’t think you’d last a day, but there is always hope. Of course, your definition of the high road may be 66 feet above the lowest point in the Marianas Trench.

Tafhdyd

Terence,

I didn't say anything about staying on the high road. I was only talking about yesterday's subject and those that were commenting. If my high road is only as "high" as you say I guess you will need a ladder to reach up to it. Meanwhile, I couldn't find it mentioned on your right wing fake news sites but the historians have their initial ranking of Trump's presidency and I am impressed that he did so good. He finished #41 out of 44. I haven't heard lately, how are you doing on the bamboo fibers and cheese dust?

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