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Regular Meeting Minutes

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

5:30 p.m.

City Hall, Room 408

#1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place

San Francisco, CA 94102




1. Roll call – President Lingad Ricci called the meeting to order at 5:50 PM

            Commissioners Beijen, Lingad Ricci, Rojas, and Woodson were present at that time.

            Commissioners Albright and Patton were excused.


2. Public Comment

            Ms. Angela F. Chan indicated that representatives of various organizations wished to address the Commission regarding the Juvenile Probation Department’s policy regarding Undocumented Persons.

            Rev. Israel Alvaran – Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice (CLUE-SF) -- spoke in opposition to the new policy change that permits reporting juveniles being booked for felony charges to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.  He indicated that this policy violates principles of justice and freedom.

            Ms. Pilar Schiavo – Legislative aid to Supervisor T. Aminano -- was representing Supervisor Aminano and spoke in opposition to the new policy regarding undocumented youth.  She stated that the same federal agency that had been involved in the collaborative effort that created the City of Sanctuary law was now bullying The City to change that law’s effect.. She said that the media has incorrectly reported that the issue involves federal law when the issue actually is one involving state confidentiality laws.  She stated that youth must be treated differently than adult offenders in order to permit rehabilitation efforts.

            Mr. Philip Hwang – Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights – spoke in opposition to the policy.  He stated that his organization had helped draft the Sanctuary law.  His primary point was that The City is not required to report undocumented youth.  He believes that the new policy will cause police officers to make “pretextual” arrests without probable cause.  He expressed concern that one of the reasons, in the new policy, that would cause inquiry into a persons immigration status is association with undocumented persons.  He further said that his agency has a “long record of suing” people who make immigration law decisions, and that if this Commission adopts the policy “there will be many law suits ahead”.

            Mr. Ron Stuckle – Sunset Youth Services – spoke in opposition to the policy.  He spoke about the issue of “humanity” and the policy that he considers morally wrong.  He said that the “blanket political policy” is wrong because it does not look at individual’s issues. 

            Ms. Angela Chan – Asian Law Caucus – spoke on behalf of a coalition of 31 agencies.  She spoke in opposition to the policy.  She referred to the 1996 Juvenile Probation Department Policy regarding this issue.  She said that the new policy has, since July, been implemented without review or approval by this Commission and that since then more than fifty youth have been referred to ICE.  She said that she believes the new policy violates established juvenile justice law and due process.  She said that errors regarding the immigration status of youth will result in law suits.  She also provided the commissioners with a copy of a letter (dated: August 27, 2008) to Mr. Ed Lee, City Administrator, from Shannan L. Wilber of Legal Services for Children.

            Ms. Jen Gasang – Asian Youth Advocacy Network – represented more than seventeen agencies.  She spoke in opposition to the policy, emphasizing that the policy does not allow for individual case determination. 

            Ms. Eli Aramburo – Former Juvenile Probation Commissioner – Said that per the City Attorney the JPD is under no legal obligation to report undocumented youth to ICE, however, in her opinion, the City Attorney is concerned about threats from the federal government to charge probation officers with harboring felons.  She wants the courts to be able to make the decisions.  She said that the new policy ignores §738 W&I.  She asked the commissioners to review the policy of 1996.

            Ms. Bobbi Lopez – Tenderloin Housing Clinic – Pointed out the San Francisco Police Department’s low rate of solving murders.  She said that she believes that the new policy will deter even more witnesses and victims, in a heavily impacted Latino community, from cooperating with authorities.  She further said that important decisions regarding undocumented youth should not be made prior to adjudication.  She said the policy demonizes a vulnerable population. 

            Ms. Melissa (age 12) spoke in opposition to the policy.  She said that the brother of a friend of hers is “in this situation”.  She said “don’t give up on the little kids”.

            Ms. Juana Flores – Mujeres Unidas y Activas – (spoke in Spanish, translated by Ms. Bobbi Lopez).  She spoke, as a voice for families, in opposition to the policy.  She said that it is a bad policy against children who have not been determined to have done anything.  Taking kids out of a country where they may have spent most of their lives leaves them alone.  Many of the kids work to send money back home to their families.  She said that many of the kids have been trafficked.  She asked that we bring back opportunity and a chance for education. 

            Mr. Francisco Duarte – San Francisco Legal Education Network – spoke in opposition to the policy.  He talked about the way he feels ICE operates using fear. 

            Ms. Laura Sanchez – Attorney – She works with youth at the Juvenile Hall.  She reminded the Commissioners that these are children, many of whom are seeking opportunities.  She believes that juveniles should not be reported until after adjudication.  She said that many Latino families are composed of members with differing immigration status.  She does not see how the goals of juvenile justice are being met by the new policy.

            Mr Carl Crew – attorney, “exclusively represents criminal aliens” – He spoke in opposition to the policy.  He referred to the issue of interviewing “pre-disposition” vs. “post-disposition”.  He said that Interviews by ICE officials or by “deputized probation officers” do not include an advisement of Miranda rights and may result in problems regarding self-incrimination issues.  He further said that many first time cases are dispo’d as misdemeanor §32 PC violations, and, as such, are not deportable offenses.  Furthermore, he was concerned about untrained probation officers making decisions when they do not know the right questions to ask.

            Ms. Patricia Lee – Deputy Public Defender (managing attorney for PD’s Juvenile Division) – Concerned that the Public Defender’s Office was not involved in developing a good policy.  She said that there are a number of legal loopholes and gray areas in the new policy – leaving The City liable.  She asked if a technical Probation Violation would be cause to report a youth to ICE.  She recommended tabling this issue and gaining more information to make an informed decision.  


3. Review and Approval of Minutes from August 13, 2008 Meeting (ACTION ITEM)

            President Lingad-Ricci tabled this item (without objection).  The minutes were not ready for review, and two commissioners were not present.

(No public comment on this item)


4. Reports to the Commission (DISCUSSION ONLY)

                        a. Chief’s Report

Chief Siffermann indicated that he would like to delay his report until Deputy City Attorney Katharine Hobin Porter could be present. (She had been called out of the room by Police Lieutenant Riley at approximately 6:45 PM.) 

            President Lingad Ricci spoke to those present regarding the policy on Undocumented Persons.  She said that her husband is an immigration attorney.  She said we all need to listen and communicate with each other – there will be a solution.  She said that she will make a proposal to the Commission after the Chief’s presentation. 

            Ms. Allison McGee reported that Ms. Hobin Porter was busy in a closed session of the Police Commission.

            Chief Siffermann gave a prepared report to the Juvenile Probation Commission on the JPD Policy for the Treatment of Undocumented Persons.  (A copy of this presentation will be available for review at the Juvenile Probation Commission Office, 375 Woodside Avenue, San Francisco, California 94127, during normal business hours.  415 753-7800.)

            President Lingad Ricci stated that this topic needs further discussion, and she appointed (without objection) an ad hoc committee composed of Commissioner Rojas (Chair), Albright, and Beijen.  She also suggested that the organizations, represented by speakers at this meeting, select a spokeperson to work with this ad hoc committee.

            Commissioner Rojas then thanked the members of the public who had spoken at this meeting and assured them that she would contact them and ask them to participate with the committee. 

            Chief Siffermann then continued his report addressing the issue of the Gender Specific Program.  He said that the Department had done a great job of recruiting and training probation officers.  Full implementation of the program requires proper staffing and supervision, and these resources are currently unavailable. 

(Public Comment)

            Ms. Pilar Schiavo wanted clarification as to whether the new policy is now in effect.

            Chief Siffermann replied “yes”. 

            Deputy City Attorney Hobin Porter indicated that the Chief had authority to make policy and to put it in effect.  The Commission can then review and modify it  -- suggesting that such modification be done in consultation with the City Attorney. 


5. Adjournment (ACTION ITEM)

            President Lingad Ricci advised that the Commission was going to lose its quorum, as Commissioner Rojas needed to leave, and she called for adjournment (without objection). 

The meeting was adjourned at 7:25 PM.



Submitted by Commissioner Dirk J. Beijen