San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin, newly elected, has faced many controversies in his brief tenure: among them a spate of homicides, use of bail for those who are not a flight risk, and other challenges to his new administration. The son of incarcerated parents, Chesa Boudin knows first hand the plight of families who are long term subjects of the penal system.
Recently Chesa Boudin has put forth efforts to revive the Grand Jury as a way to expedite criminal proceedings because he has determined that there are long standing criminal cases under his jurisdiction that have never been brought to trial. (San Francisco Chronicle article February 3, 2021). A Grand Jury isn't subject to traditional trial practices where Preliminary Hearings are utilized to ensure that defendants receive due process. Instead, a Grand Jury panel of civilians hears evidence and makes a determination about the future of the case. Boudin told the Chronicle that he is moving towards the use of Grand Juries in an effort to bring closure to victims. Previously Grand Juries have mainly been used in high profile cases.
The defendant is entitled to a lawyer during any Grand Jury proceeding, and I believe it is imperative for defendants to have counsel no matter what legal body they appear before. If long standing cases have never been resolved it's time for the District Attorney to consider alternatives to trials, such as plea bargains or dismissals.