There will be Hell to pay as Republicans race to replace RBG

The Yom Kippur War 2020.

The wrath of the Notorious RBG is about to descend.

Daily Beast 9.19.2020

There’s a Jewish tradition that someone who dies on Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, must have been a tzaddik, a righteous person.

After all, God waited all year to carry out the decree. Perhaps that offers some comfort to those mourning the loss of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Hebrew name, Yita Ruchel bat Tzirel Leah), who finally succumbed to cancer at the age of 87, after convincing many of us that she was immortal.

But the themes of Rosh Hashanah offer another lesson as well: a warning to those Republican senators pondering whether or not to support Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s unbelievable, shameful, cynical, immoral hypocrisy in pushing to replace Justice Ginsburg just hours after her passing and weeks before a presidential election.

It is a great irony that McConnell’s moral travesty is unfolding just as the Jewish season of reflection, introspection, and atonement gets underway. And from the party of the “moral majority” at that. 

RBG VII 9.18.2020

This will be a final power grab by a minority party that knows its grip on power is slackening.

Let’s reflect for a moment on the breathtaking hypocrisy that’s about to unfold on the national stage. Mitch McConnell, who singlehandedly invented the fake rule that Supreme Court nominees should not be considered in an election year, is now going to break that same rule, forcing a vote on whatever right-wing extremist Donald Trump nominates to replace RBG.

Back then, McConnell told ABC News on March 20, 2016, that, “The American people are in the middle of choosing who the next president is going to be. That next president ought to have this appointment.” Now? The opposite.

It gets worse. Justice Scalia died 268 days before the 2016 election. Justice Ginsburg died 46 days before the 2020 election.

Indeed, we’re so close to the election already, this whole sham of a process may have to happen in a lame-duck session, potentially one with both a president and a Senate majority that have been voted out of office.

And between now and then, Republican senators will be twisting themselves in more knots than a troupe of circus contortionists. Senators Lindsey Graham (the judiciary committee chair who has the power to end this circus, if he has the integrity to do so), Lisa Murkowski, and Susan Collins have all said they wouldn’t confirm an election-year Supreme Court justice. Will they keep their word? Or find a way to weasel out of it? And what about Susan “I’m sure Justice Kavanaugh Will Vote To Protect Abortion Rights” Collins?

RBG VI 9.18.2020.jpg

The whole spectacle is truly, deeply pathetic, even if “pro-life” voters (who, by the way, seem curiously silent about forced hysterectomies at ICE facilities and mass deaths from COVID-19 at prisons) love it.

But it’s not just pathetic—it’s also unwise.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/therell-be-hell-to-pay-as-republican-hypocrites-race-to-replace-ruth-bader-ginsburg?via=newsletter&source=Weekend

“My fervent wish is I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.” RBG

Breaking News 4.15.2019

Heartbreaking news on the eve of Rosh ha-Shanah to bring in Jewish year Tishri 5781.

Daily Beast 9.18.2020

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court justice, trailblazing feminist, and the closest thing to a folk hero the high court has ever seen, has died at the age of 87. The Supreme Court announced that she died Friday due to complications from metastatic pancreas cancer.

In a statement dictated to her granddaughter just days before her death, Ginsburg said, “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.”

Tributes began pouring in instantly. The chief justice, John Roberts, said in a statement that the country had lost “a jurist of historic stature.”

“We at the Supreme Court have lost a cherished colleague. Today we mourn, but with confidence that future generations will remember Ruth Bader Ginsburg as we knew her—a tireless and resolute champion of justice.”

RBG II 9.18.2020.jpg

https://www.thedailybeast.com/justice-ruth-bader-ginsburg-the-outsiders-champion-has-died-at-87?ref=home

Vanity Fair 9.18.2020

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the trailblazing Supreme Court justice who advocated passionately for women’s rights, died on Friday, according to NPR. She was 87, and had survived cancer multiple times; the cause of death, according to her family, was complications from metastatic cancer of the pancreas.

“She was an unlikely pioneer,“ NPR Supreme Court correspondent Nina Totenberg wrote, “a diminutive and shy woman, whose soft voice and large glasses hid an intellect and attitude that, as one colleague put it, was ‘tough as nails.’”

RBG III 9.18.2020.jpg

Ginsburg was appointed to the court by Bill Clinton in 1993; her death leaves an opening on the bench with less than 50 days before voters head to the polls as President Donald Trump seeks reelection, and will almost certainly cause a political battle.

According to NPR, days before her death the Justice dictated a statement to her granddaughter: “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.”

The leader of the court’s liberal wing, Ginsburg had become an icon for left-leaning Americans, subject of a splashy 2018 biopic, an Oscar-nominated documentary, and much fervent discussion. Her antipathy for Trump was evident, and her potential replacement would offer Trump the opportunity to place a third conservative justice on the Court.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, born Joan Ruth Bader in Brooklyn in 1933, was one of just nine women in her class at Harvard Law School, where she enrolled in 1956. As an attorney for the ACLU she argued six gender discrimination cases before the Supreme Court in the 1970s, including a case that extended the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution to include women. She was nominated to the United States Court of Appeals in 1980, and was nominated to the Supreme Court in 1993, becoming the second woman to serve on the Court. 

As a Justice she wrote majority opinions in cases including United States v. Virginia, which struck down the Virginia Military Institute’s male-only admissions policy, and Stenberg v. Carhart, which ended a restrictive Nebraska abortion law. 

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2020/09/ruth-bader-ginsburg-obituary

Politico 9.18.2020   One hour after the announcement of RBG’s death

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vowed President Donald Trump’s nominee to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court will be put to the Senate floor for a vote — setting off a titanic political clash over the high court.

“President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate,” the Kentucky Republican said in a statement.

McConnell’s decision is certain to outrage Democrats, who have already called for McConnell to wait until after the Nov. 3 election — when the control of the White House and the Senate could shift — to put a nominee on the floor.

 

KC Chiefs fan tests Covid-19 positive. Everyone who sat nearby is in quarantine

This is great!!

No sooner does the news College football announce its return than karma backlash scores a Touchdown.

College football is on the way back after being harassed and browbeaten by the soon to be ex-President, bored Alumni and athletes who understandably want to be in the game. I can understand the players frustration.

We are in the midst of a Pandemic. Unfortunately there are few Adults minding the store.

What are the universities who listen to this ignorant clown going to do next?

CNN 9.17.2020

A fan who attended the Kansas City Chiefsopening night game at Arrowhead Stadium on September 10 has tested positive for Covid-19.

The Kansas City Health Department said the individual that tested positive watched the game from the group’s box in the lower level of the stadium and tested positive the following day. The positive test has prompted the Kansas City Health Department to direct 10 people there to quarantine after potential exposure to the coronavirus.
The Kansas City Chiefs were one of the few teams in the NFL that allowed fans into its stadium in Week 1.
All fans and personnel are required to wear a mask or face covering while in the stadium, and the team said that the stadium’s “COVID protocol plan limited potential exposure to a single seating zone within the stadium.”
Chiefs in Quarantine II 9.17.2020.jpg
The team said that its contact tracing mechanisms allowed staff to identify the individual, the individual’s party, any service staff that came into contact with the individual and any other ticket holders that may have been near this person while entering the stadium.
“I want to remind everyone that COVID-19 is anywhere and everywhere. While we’re all tired of it, frustrated and even angry at how it has altered and stricken our lives and livelihoods, we must continue to think of those who have not and will not survive it,” said Dr. Rex Archer, Kansas City health director.
“We still don’t understand why it strikes some so viciously while others have only mild symptoms. If you have an existing or prior health condition such as cancer, diabetes, heart or lung disease, or if you’re older than 65, you should not be taking unnecessary risks like being in large crowds. We hope those around you aren’t taking those risks either and possibly bringing the virus home to you,” Dr. Archer said.
The Chiefs made no mention of whether or not spectators would be barred from attending any games in the future.

Neo Nazis in Germany. QAnon in America. Abhorrent nihilist groups.

The continuing presence of Neo Nazis in Germany is a threat to that nation’s democracy as the Deutsche Welle report shows.

The abhorrent Nazi philosophy did not disappear with the smashing of Hitler’s regime in 1945. It just went underground. Now, 75 years later its presence is felt throughout Germany.

QAnon is a parallel movement in America. The Trump Administration looks the other way and encourages QAnon by its indifference.

Neo Nazis in Germany and QAnon in America are a danger to democratic institutions.  The difference right now is that the German government is cracking down on  Neo Nazis.

Germany suspends cops IV 9.16.2020.jpg

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QAnon

Excerpted from Deutsche Welle 9.16.2020

Twenty-nine German police officers have been suspended and face investigation on suspicion they exchanged far-right propaganda in online chat groups. Police union representatives called the revelation “unbearable.”

Police squads raided 34 private homes and bureaus of colleagues across the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) on Wednesday, over what the state’s interior minister, Herbert Reul, described as “the worst and obnoxious” content.

At least 5 private WhatsApp chat groups — the oldest dating back to 2013, the latest to 2015 — contained 126 electronic images, including photos of Adolf Hitler and a fictional depiction of a refugee in a gas chamber, Reul said.

Frank Richter, Essen’s regional police chief, said he was shocked that none of the accused had reported the image distributions — all on private phones — to their superiors. None had exhibited suspicious behavior, Richter added.

All 29 suspects had been suspended pending investigation, said Michael Frücht, NRW’s head of police training.

Fourteen of them were likely to be sacked, said Reul, with 11 who actively distributed material facing criminal proceedings for alleged incitement.

Read more: How the German media failed the victims of far-right NSU terror

Germany suspends cops III 9.16.2020.jpg

The rest could also face disciplinary proceedings. Among the 29 suspected officers, 25 were based in Essen, a central 583,000 population hub in NRW’s Ruhr District.

At a Wednesday press conference, Reul described the alleged far-right behaviors by suspected officers as a “disgrace” that sullied the state’s 50,000-member police force.

“Right-wing extremists and neo-Nazis have no place in the North Rhine-Westphalian police force, in our police force,” Reul said. “At first I did not want to believe that there really was such a thing.”

A special investigatory commissioner would be appointed, said Reul, who in recent weeks, prior to last Sunday’s NRW communal elections, had highlighted crackdowns on mafia-like gang structures in Germany’s most populous state and  child abusers.

Wednesday’s searches were carried out by some 200 officers in Essen as well as in the cities of Mülheim an der Ruhr, Oberhausen, Moers and Selm, according to prosecutors in Duisburg.

Private phones and “extensive” evidence on storage devices were seized.

Reul said he expected further disclosures as those phones were examined.

The initial chat-group phone belonged to a 32-year-old police officer in Essen, suspected of forwarding information to a journalist.

Regional representatives for Germany’s two major police officer trade unions distanced themselves from far-right inclinations within police ranks.

“The police must be neutral and always keep their feet on the ground of liberal democratic precepts,” said regional DPolG union Chairman Erich Rettinghaus.

“The battle against right-wing extremism belongs to the DNA of the police,” said regional GdP Deputy Chairman Michael Maatz in Düsseldorf.

“The fact that there are, nevertheless, officers, who share right-wing extremist xenophobic contents in chat groups is unbearable,” added Maatz.

Germany suspends cops II 9.16.2020.jpg

https://www.dw.com/en/german-state-suspends-29-police-officers-in-far-right-online-chat-group/a-54947253

 

Wall Street Journal “Unrest if Trump wins.” There’s a message here.

Buried in the Opinion section of the Wall Street Journal  is an op-ed piece which,  in a few words, says what many in the Moveon.org and Progressive movement have been saying for months.
There’s a message here from this bastion of capitalism.

Wall Street Journal 9.14.2020 – Shadi Hamid writing in The Atlantic

‘A loss for Biden . . . would provoke mass disillusion with electoral politics as a means of change.’

Unrest I 9.16.2020.jpg

As someone who has argued against catastrophism—I don’t believe Donald Trump is a fascist or a dictator in the making, and I don’t believe America is a failed state—I find myself truly worried about only one scenario: that Trump will win reelection and Democrats and others on the left will be unwilling, even unable, to accept the result.

A loss by Joe Biden under these circumstances is the worst case not because Trump will destroy America (he can’t), but because it is the outcome most likely to undermine faith in democracy, resulting in more of the social unrest and street battles that cities . . . have seen in recent months.

For this reason, strictly law-and-order Republicans who have responded in dismay to scenes of rioting and looting have an interest in Biden winning. . . .

In presidential elections, once is a fluke; twice is a pattern. I struggle to imagine how, beyond utter shock, millions of Democrats will process a Trump victory. A loss for Biden, after having been the clear favorite all summer, would provoke mass disillusion with electoral politics as a means of change—at a time when disillusion is already dangerously high.

If Democrats can’t beat a candidate as unpopular as Trump during a devastating pandemic and a massive economic contraction, then are they even capable of winning presidential elections anymore?

Unrest II 9.16.2020.jpg

 

San Francisco moves to provide tenants with increased eviction protection

Prior to his election to the Board of Supervisors in 2019 Dean Preston was a lead attorney at the Tenderloin Housing Clinic. He was also the leader of the statewide advocacy group Tenants Together

Preston is arguably the most aggressive tenants rights attorney in San Francisco.

His ascension to the legislature provides now Supervisor Preston with the opportunity to put his knowledge of housing and his zealous support of tenants  to work in the legislative arena.

Tenants rights groups are thrilled. Landlords are furious.

Excerpted from San Francisco Chronicle 9.15.2020

While San Francisco renters are currently protected from eviction if they can’t pay rent due to a coronavirus-related issue, they are still vulnerable to so-called no-fault evictions — a less common tactic that occurs when a landlord decides to move into the property, do construction or demolish it altogether.

New legislation by Supervisor Dean Preston, which he introduced at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, would change that by barring landlords from executing a no-fault eviction until March 2021, regardless of how the tenant has been affected by the pandemic.

“We will do everything in our power to stop evictions during this pandemic,” Preston said in a statement.

Eviction halt IV 9.15.2020.jpg

Andrew Zacks, a landlord attorney in San Francisco, said Preston is behaving as if “property owners are not even his constituents.” He added that tenants are “fully protected under state law, and property owners are being completely ignored and their rights are being trampled.”

“Taking ‘no fault’ evictions like these off the table is crucial to making sure tenants have secure and stable homes throughout and after the pandemic,” Brad Hirn, a tenant organizer with the Housing Rights Committee, said in a statement.

No-fault evictions were responsible for about 20% of the 1,442 eviction notices filed between March 2019 and Feb. 2020, according to an August report from the Residential Rent Stabilization and Arbitration Board. That includes 196 evictions for owner move-ins, 87 for capital improvements, 12 for condo conversions, eight for demolitions and one for “substantial rehabilitation.”

Janan New, executive director of the San Francisco Apartment Association, said this legislation would put a particular hardship on landlords who want to either move into their properties themselves or allow relatives to live there. She said many renters who are no longer tethered to the city because of their jobs are leaving, and San Francisco currently has a 20% vacancy rate.

“A 20% vacancy rate doesn’t warrant this type of legislation,” she said. “If you want to help the rental market, you should try to get more jobs into the city.”

Preston’s proposal is the latest in a string of legislation that attempts to protect tenants as the pandemic causes record unemployment and pushes more people toward poverty. Mayor London Breed, who supports protecting renters against no-fault evictions, first issued an eviction moratorium based on nonpayment of rent in April. That order, which eliminated late fees and interest and gave tenants more time to pay back their rent, is in effect until Sept. 30.

Eviction halt III 9.15.2020

 Preston also passed a law this summer that permanently bars San Francisco landlords from evicting tenants if they could not pay rent due to coronavirus-related issues between April and September.

That legislation was challenged in San Francisco Supreme Court by Zacks, the landlord lawyer, on behalf of a group of real estate trade organizations. The measure was upheld in August. An appeal is pending.

Zacks is also questioning the legality of Preston’s newest proposal based on language in the state law around whether new local ordinances can be enacted before Feb. 2021.

But Preston’s office is confident that they are in the clear. The ordinance is co-sponsored by Supervisors Aaron Peskin, Matt Haney, Shamann Walton, Hillary Ronen and Rafael Mandelman.

On the state level, Gov. Gavin Newsom recently signed a law written by Assemblyman David Chiu, D-San Francisco, that gives tenants a temporary reprieve on missed rent if they lost income due to the pandemic. If Preston’s legislation passes, it would close a loophole in the state law, which does not cover those facing no-fault evictions.

https://www.sfchronicle.com/politics/article/Proposed-SF-legislation-would-ban-no-fault-15570075.php

The Whole World’s Watching. An All-Star Cast in “The Trial of the Chicago 7”

Long before Trump there was the 1960’s and, specifically, 1968.

War, assassinations, riots, a Presidential election and the chaotic, violent Democratic convention in Chicago.

In its aftermath the Nixon Justice Department in 1969 charged a number of people with Federal criminal charges. It came to be known as the “The Trial of the Chicago 7.” Netflix is bringing the events of 50 years ago to life with a Hollywood “A” list of characters to provide the “Black Lives Matter” generation with a trip down memory lane.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicago_Seven

Vanity Fair 9.13.2020

There are few marriages of artist and repertoire that make more sense than Aaron Sorkin and the Chicago 7. With mouthpieces like the impishly radical Abbie Hoffman and the stately elder liberal Dave Dellinger primed to bite into Sorkin’s dialogue, The Trial of the Chicago 7 and its high water mark of late 1960s counter-culture political theater feels like something the writer-director has been working towards his entire career.

Trial-of-the-Chicago-7-II 9.13.2020.jpg

The trial, which initially included eight defendants until Black Panther Party co-founder Bobby Seale (who was actually bound and gagged in the courtroom during the proceedings) had his trial separated from the rest of the group, set out to determine if a collection of anti-war activists conspired to incite a riot during the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. It quickly became a symbolic conflict between the longhairs (some metaphorical) and the straights.

On Sunday Netflix released the first teaser trailer of this Oscar-primed drama, with a focus on rhythmic editing and Sacha Baron Cohen looking scruffy.

Cohen seems perfect as Hoffman, and elsewhere in the cast is John Carroll Lynch as Dellinger, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Bobby SealeEddie Redmayne as Tom HaydenJeremy Strong as Jerry Rubin, Joseph Gordon-Levitt as prosecutor Richard Schultz, Frank Langella as Judge Julius (no relation to Abbie) Hoffman, Mark Rylance as William Kunstler, Michael Keaton as Ramsey Clark, and on and on. Maybe someone will play Phil Ochs. Maybe we’ll catch a glimpse of Pigasus.

Trial-of-the-Chicago-7-III 9.13.2020

It’s obvious why Sorkin and producer Steven Spielberg would want to release this now, during this election year and especially during this time of social upheaval,

Trial-of-the-Chicago-7-IV 9.13.2020

 

https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2020/09/sacha-baron-cohen-leads-an-all-star-cast-in-first-the-trial-of-the-chicago-7-teaser#intcid=recommendations_vf-trending-legacy_ad85c658-4761-4a8c-9678-19a316598d2e_popular4-1

https://youtu.be/OAaZIfeQzT0

Pardoned felon Roger Stone wants lame duck Trump to declare Martial Law

Is Roger Stone serious?  Of course he is.

I am sure he is encouraging Trump.

Media Matters 9.12.2020

Roger Stone urged Trump to consider declaring “martial law” or invoking the Insurrection Act and then using his powers to arrest Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Apple CEO Tim Cook, “the Clintons” and “anybody else who can be proven to be involved in illegal activity.”

During his September 10 appearance on The Alex Jones Show, Stone declared that the only legitimate outcome to the 2020 election would be a Trump victory. He made this assertion on the basis of his entirely unfounded claim that early voting has been marred by widespread voter fraud.

Stone also said federal authorities should seize all Nevada ballots, federal agents and GOP state officials should “physically” block voting, that Trump should nationalize police forces, and that Trump should order widespread arrests.

 Stone is making baseless accusations of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election and is urging Donald Trump to consider several draconian measures to stay in power, including having federal authorities seize ballots in Nevada, having FBI agents and Republican state officials “physically” block voting under the pretext of preventing voter fraud, using martial law or the Insurrection Act to carry out widespread arrests, and nationalizing state police forces.

Martial Law II 3.17.2019

Stone, a longtime confidant of the president, made the comments during a September 10 appearance on far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ Infowars network. On July 10, Trump commuted a 40-month prison sentence that was handed down to Stone after he was convicted of lying to Congress and tampering with witnesses as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into 2016 election interference.

Namely, Stone lied to Congress about his contacts with WikiLeaks, which released hacked emails with the aim of boosting Trump’s prospects. In the weeks leading up to the commutation, Stone made a number of media appearances where he asked Trump to grant him clemency and said that in exchange, he could be a more effective campaigner for the president’s 2020 reelection efforts.

Stone’s efforts are now underway, and his aim appears to be to spread conspiracy theories about voter fraud and call for actions that would likely intimidate potential Joe Biden voters.

Stone argued that “the ballots in Nevada on election night should be seized by federal marshalls and taken from the state” because “they are completely corrupted” and falsely said that “we can prove voter fraud in the absentees right now.” He specifically called for Trump to have absentee ballots seized in Clark County, Nevada, an area that leans Democratic. Stone went on to claim that “the votes from Nevada should not be counted; they are already flooded with illegals” and baselessly suggested that former Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) should be arrested and that Trump should consider nationalizing Nevada’s state police force.

Martial law II 9.12.2020.jpg

Beyond Nevada, Stone recommended that Trump consider several actions to retain his power. Stone recommended that Trump appoint former Rep. Bob Barr (R-GA) as a special counsel “with the specific task of forming an Election Day operation using the FBI, federal marshals, and Republican state officials across the country to be prepared to file legal objections and if necessary to physically stand in the way of criminal activity.”

Stone is no stranger to interfering in elections. He was reportedly an organizer of the so-called “Brooks Brothers riot” during the 2000 presidential election that led to vote counting being suspended in Miami-Dade County, Florida.

https://www.mediamatters.org/roger-stone/roger-stone-calls-trump-seize-total-power-if-he-loses-election

Tainted San Francisco. Another scandal rocks Medical Examiner’s office

San Francisco is already living through the Pandemic this year and ongoing California wildfires which have blanketed The City in a toxic gray ash and soot.

Today comes the news that another employee in the Medical Examiner’s office has been arrested. In Utah of all places. Justin Volk, 40, has been charged with possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. 

Volk’s arrest threatens hundreds of prosecutions. This is a self-inflicted headache that San Francisco can do without.  

Excerpted from San Francisco Chronicle 9.11.2020

A lab analyst for the San Francisco medical examiner’s office has been arrested and charged in Utah after he was allegedly found with an evidence bag of methamphetamine, a case that’s touched off a sweeping review by the district attorney.

The allegations against Justin Volk, 40, could potentially impact hundreds of criminal cases in San Francisco, as prosecutors work to determine the degree of Volk’s involvement in each case and whether they might be tainted.

An initial assessment shows Volk was involved with 2,500 cases in the past eight years with the M.E.’s office, including 500 death investigations, 1,200 sexual assaults and 800 DUIs.

“When individual law enforcement officers, or staff at the medical examiner’s office engage in serious misconduct or potentially criminal misconduct … it substantially undermines my office’s ability to prosecute cases,” said San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin.

“This couldn’t have come at a worse time for our office,” Boudin said, noting that the office is short-staffed and facing budget cuts. “We must now clean up a mess that implicates a vast number of old prosecutions.”

SF Medical Examiner II 9.11.2020.jpg

In a Friday interview, Boudin said prosecutors are now undergoing a massive and labor-intensive review of cases that Volk had touched over the years and that were prosecuted by the District Attorney’s Office. The highest priority of cases are those still open, he said.

The district attorney said his office has called Volk as a witness in approximately two dozen cases in the past eight years. However, Boudin added, “that number drastically understates the scope of his involvement in cases that the office has investigated and prosecuted.”

Not all of the 2,500 cases in which Volk played a hand resulted in a criminal charge, Boudin said. His office is still trying to determine the amount of those that did.

At least one, he said, involved a person convicted of murder.

Prosecutors will also need to determine how much of a role Volk played in each case that resulted in a conviction — whether other, independent evidence supports the verdict.

Prosecutors rely heavily on the credibility of the witnesses and investigators who help build each case. If that credibility is tarnished, it can have major impacts on the underlying case, including a dismissal.

Volk did not immediately return requests for comment. He’s been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation, said Bill Barnes, a spokesman for City Administrator Naomi Kelly, who oversees the medical examiner’s office.

On Aug. 31, Volk was pulled over on Old Highway 91 in Ivins, Utah, after a sheriff’s deputy recorded him driving 16 mph over the posted speed limit, according to the Sheriff’s Office’s probable cause statement.

Volk told the deputy he was headed back home to San Francisco when the deputy noticed a small backpack on the floor of the passenger seat, a lunchbox on the passenger seat, and a bottle “with what appeared to be urine inside,” the document states.

Volk was asked to step out of the vehicle while a K-9 conducted a search. The dog indicated drugs were present and Volk was placed in handcuffs.

During a search of Volk’s car, deputies retrieved an evidence bag inside a piece of luggage. The evidence bag contained a “large crystal looking item,” as well as some smaller bags of a crystallized substance and another small bag with a white powder substance. A later test confirmed the large crystal item was methamphetamine.

Deputies additionally found a paper from San Francisco medical examiner’s office, and two pipes “usually consistent with smoking methamphetamine.”

A separate bottle contained 14 pills later identified as acetaminophen and hydrocodone.

Washington County, Utah prosecutors have charged Volk with possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was booked on Aug. 31 and released that same evening on a $10,000 cash bail, according to sheriff’s officials.

Tiergarten Murder I 8.25.2019

The allegations against Volk are reminiscent of the case against Deborah Madden, a former San Francisco police lab technician whose admission that she skimmed cocaine from the office resulted in the dismissals of hundreds of drug cases. The disclosure additionally led to a temporary closure of the lab in 2010.

Madden was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and ultimately pleaded guilty to misdemeanor cocaine possession. In 2013 she was sentenced to a year of home confinement and a $5,000 fine.

The forensics labs for the medical examiner’s office and San Francisco police are separate entities and handle different types of evidence. The police lab’s work includes evidence involving firearms and DNA samples. The Medical Examiner’s Office conducts investigations involving dead bodies and blood testing for DUI cases.

https://www.sfchronicle.com/crime/article/Lab-worker-SF-Medical-Examiner-s-office-15561019.php