News

Here is some of the media coverage featuring Leif so far in the SF District Attorney race. If you are a member of the media interested in covering Leif’s perspective, email leif@leif2019.com.

KTVU: Leif Dautch, deputy state attorney general, campaigns to be SF’s next D.A.

October 18, 2019


Leif Dautch went door-to-door in San Francisco’s Lower Haight Thursday to campaign to be the next San Francisco district attorney. Part of his platform includes focus on homelessness and car break ins.

KALW Crosscurrents: DA Candidate Leif Dautch Wants To Take On San Francisco’s Mental Health Crisis

October 7, 2019


San Francisco District Attorney candidate, Leif Dautch, met up with KALW’s Holly J. McDede to discuss the race and his plans to create an Environmental Justice Unit within the District Attorney’s office and to transform San Francisco’s Juvenile Hall into a Mental Health Justice Center. Listen to the interview here.

The real crisis we have is not of juvenile crime. It’s the mental health crisis on our streets. I see that every single day working in the Tenderloin at the attorney general’s office. We don’t have nearly enough beds. We don’t have nearly enough staffing.

World Journal: A profile on Leif Dautch’s candidacy for San Francisco District Attorney

October 2, 2019


Leif met with the World Journal to discuss the state of San Francisco’s public safety and criminal justice system.

[Leif advocates] creating a liaison officer for Elder Justice at the DA’s office, paying particular attention to crime against elders in San Francisco, and turning juvenile hall into a mental health justice center to provide more beds and resources for those in need.

KQED Forum: Leif joins Forum host Michael Krasny to talk about this historic DA race

September 30, 2019


KQED spoke with Leif and his fellow candidates about his vision for the top prosecutor role in San Francisco and his approach to issues like police use of force, illegal drug use, homelessness and more.

So I’ve been the only candidate who, since the start of my campaign for District Attorney, has been laser-focused on homelessness, and in particular, the mental health component…actually using the conservatorship laws that we have on the books to make sure people get the help we need…we don’t have a robust mental health system in San Francisco that can be an alternative to our criminal justice system. We don’t have enough beds, we don’t have enough staff, which is why I’ve been pushing for that idea of turning Juvenile Hall into an 150-bed mental health justice center exactly for people like Mr. Vincent, who don’t belong in county jail, but they don’t belong back on the streets either.

KRON4 District Attorney Debate: Leif addresses homelessness, car break-ins, and quality-of-life issues in first televised debate

September 27, 2019


The four candidates for San Francisco District Attorney faced off Friday afternoon in a debate at the KRON4 studio, discussing a range of topics, including the city’s homeless crisis, drug use on city streets and fatal drunk driving collisions.

Candidate Leif Dautch said he’s seen the city’s homeless crisis firsthand everyday while working in San Francisco’s Tenderloin District at the California Attorney General’s Office. To address the problem, Dautch plans to turn San Francisco’s Juvenile Hall, which the city has voted to shut down, and use it to house and treat those suffering from mental illness.

Bay Area Reporter: Dautch: “DA’s office needs to be part of solution”

September 4, 2019


The Bay Area Reporter asked each of the four candidates for district attorney to write about why LGBTQ voters should choose them in the November election.

When it comes to homelessness, car break-ins, and police accountability, the San Francisco District Attorney’s office has been part of the problem — I’m running to make it part of the solution. From speaking with LGBTQ friends and supporters, and concerned citizens and small business owners all across San Francisco, it’s clear that people want the next DA to:

  • Open a mental health justice center for those battling mental illness on our streets.
  • Hold police officers accountable for misconduct.
  • Prioritize the investigation and prosecution of sexual assault.
  • Address the recent spike in hate crimes.
  • Launch an auto burglary task force to prosecute the organized rings breaking into cars.
San Francisco Richmond Review / Sunset Beacon: Dautch: DA Critical To Solving Homelessness, Property Crime, Police Accountability

August 31, 2019


Read the DA Candidate Column from the Richmond Review featuring Leif Dautch as he delineates his plan to reform the San Francisco criminal justice system while improving safety for all San Franciscans.

With the first open-seat race for district attorney in 110 years, it’s no time to settle for the status quo. Let’s chart a fundamentally new course and demand the accountability we deserve: accountability for our city leaders failing to address the homeless and mental health crisis, accountability for those driving the spike in property crime and accountability for those who violate the public trust.

San Francisco Chronicle: Convert Juvenile Hall Into Mental Health Treatment Site

August 27, 2019


In the first installment of the SF Chronicle’s “DA Tuesday,” columnist Heather Knight spoke with Leif Dautch regarding his vision should be become San Francisco’s next District Attorney.

He [Dautch] said the city’s mental health system is broken, which is why people with untreated mental illness too often get their first treatment in jail. Dautch wants to turn the city’s juvenile hall — which the Board of Supervisors has voted to shutter — into a 150-bed mental health treatment center with short-term crisis care available alongside a long-term locked facility for those who’ve been conserved by the city. Gascón has backed a similar idea, but it hasn’t moved forward.

Dautch said a new mental health treatment center would help address the dearth of treatment options left by the closure of the state’s mental health hospitals by then-Gov. Ronald Reagan in the 1960s.

“There’s a statute of limitations on how long we can blame Ronald Reagan for our problems,” Dautch said, noting the city has to take decisive action to solve its problem rather than just keep complaining about it. “Leadership is about stepping up and providing affirmative ideas and proposals.”

World Journal: Dautch Meets With Business Leaders In Chinatown

Photo Credit: Li Xiulan | August 25, 2019


Business leaders in San Francisco’s Chinatown have a strong interest in ensuring their historic and vibrant community is safe so that businesses can thrive and everyone can feel safe in the community. Leif met with a number of local business owners, employees, and patrons on a recent visit to Chinatown to discuss public safety and the San Francisco criminal justice system.

Leif Dautch is the only one of the four [District Attorney] candidates to visit Huaying…[he] is very young, full of enthusiasm for reforming the criminal justice system in San Francisco, and is not affected by political pressure. Leif pointed out that small businesses face many difficulties in the city. In addition to high rents, 5-10% of each store is stolen.

San Francisco Chronicle: Dautch Calls For Greater Investment In Mental Health And Substance Abuse Programs

August 25, 2019


The San Francisco Chronicle asked the leading San Francisco DA candidates to weigh in on the release of Austin James Vincent, the man alleged to have attacked a woman outside her Embarcadero apartment while talking about saving her from robots.

Deputy state Attorney General Leif Dautch said the Vincent case “captures the frustration I hear from people every single day.”

“If city officials have decided that the criminal justice system is not the right place for those with mental illness or drug addiction, then those same city officials need to step up and create a robust system that ensures people actually get the treatment they need,” Dautch said.

“Let’s put aside the novelty ‘first in the nation’ stuff for a minute and address the fact that many people don’t feel safe walking around their neighborhood at night,” he said. “That’s why I have proposed transforming the nearly empty juvenile hall into a mental health justice center to treat people battling mental illness.”

SF Examiner: Dautch Calls for On-Scene Prosecutors for Traffic Deaths

August 15, 2019


San Francisco’s lackadaisical approach to traffic incidents contributes to the culture driving the spike in deaths on our streets. Instead, the District Attorney’s Office should be treating traffic-related deaths and injuries seriously and ensuring there are prosecutors with sufficient training, experience, and bandwidth to handle these cases.

I am proposing a rotating team of prosecutors who will be on-call to respond to the scene of criminal traffic deaths. Having an experienced prosecutor on the scene of incidents such as DUIs, hit-and-runs, and red light violations will ensure that police investigate the incident properly and will help the prosecutor convey details of the incident to the jury at trial.

It is also important to lead by example, so I vow as District Attorney to handle at least one shift each year as this “on-call” prosecutor for traffic-related deaths. This will send a message from the top-down that these cases must be treated more seriously.

By adopting best practices like on-call prosecutors for traffic deaths, combined with parallel efforts around education and environmental design, I am confident that the District Attorney’s Office can help the city finally achieve its Vision Zero’s goal of safe streets for all.

KTVU: Dautch Outlines Plans for Homelessness and Sexual Violence in District Attorney Debate

August 6, 2019


Before a packed house at Hastings Law, Leif presented his ideas to address homelessness, mental health justice, sexual violence, and public officials’ accountability at a recent debate between the candidates in the San Francisco DA race.

Leif Dautch, Deputy Attorney General for California, says he will focus on accountability and equal justice: “[We need accountability]…whether that’s holding our city leaders accountable for the humanitarian and public health crisis we all walked through today on the way to this debate to holding the organized rings that are breaking into our cars by the dozens accountable.”

World Journal: Dautch Proposes Elder Justice Coordinator in Chinatown Speech

July 28, 2019


In the face of mounting crime against the elderly and the San Francisco Chinese community in particular, Leif Dautch will strengthen prosecution in cases of elder abuse and will promote more comprehensive bilingual services for victims of crime to come forward and receive justice.

Leif Dautch said that he attaches great importance to the crimes faced by the elderly. Many Chinese victims of violent robbery and assault are elderly. If elected, he will create a prosecutorial position to review cases involving the elderly, strictly prosecute such cases, and provide victims with more comprehensive assistance and related services.

The Chinese community has been bullied as a victim. Leif said that he is closely related to whether the city provides sufficient bilingual services, and he will expand the scope of bilingual services.

San Francisco Richmond Review / Sunset Beacon: Dautch and Tung the Best Choices for DA

June 30, 2019


Dautch, a four-year veteran of the San Francisco District Attorney’s office and Harvard Law School graduate, is now a deputy attorney general in San Francisco, trying cases the state attorney general must prosecute because of a conflicted county prosecutor.

Dautch neatly observes about prosecutorial failures of the incumbent district attorney and the candidacy of a deputy public defender, that San Francisco “doesn’t need two public defenders.”

San Francisco Examiner: DA candidates offer competing proposals to help sexual assault survivors

June 18, 2019


Deputy Attorney General Leif Dautch, plans to work with police to implement an online tracking system for providing survivors of sexual assault with up-to-date information on whether their rape kit has been tested or their case has been charged.


“This is really about empowering survivors of sexual assault with the information they need both for their own healing process and for them to be able to hold police officers and prosecutors accountable,” Dautch said.

Dautch said San Francisco has fallen behind when it comes to keeping survivors informed. Eighteen states beginning with Idaho have already implemented such a system, and the technology is available free of charge.

KQED News: S.F. Authors and Politicos Read the Full Mueller Report Out Loud

June 7, 2019


Pelosi was among more than 40 local luminaries who took turns reading the report in full at Manny’s over a span of 16 hours. Other readers on the roster included bestselling author Dave Eggers, New York Times writer Kate Conger, activist Cleve Jones, and California Deputy Attorney General Leif Dautch.


New York Times: Some San Francisco Leaders Back Raid on a Journalist. District Attorney Candidates Disagree

May 20, 2019


Leif Dautch, another candidate for District Attorney, who works in the office of the attorney general, said he was “extremely disturbed” by the raid, and said that “journalists play an incredibly important role in our society.”

Mission Local: Some San Francisco Leaders Back Raid on a Journalist. District Attorney Candidates Disagree

May 16, 2019


Dautch, a prosecutor with the California Attorney General’s office, told the Mission crowd about his plan to be tougher on fraudulent landlords, particularly those improperly using owner-move-in evictions — when a landlord says they or a relative will be moving into a property but in actuality rent it to another tenant at a higher price. Dautch charged that the current DA’s office has hardly prosecuted these kinds of cases. “That stops with me,” he said.

San Francisco Chronicle: Dautch: Let’s transform juvenile hall into a mental health justice center

April 29, 2019


The Chronicle’s investigation into declining juvenile hall populations exposed what many in the field have known for a while: Juvenile crime is falling in California, but the costs of incarcerating an ever-smaller number of kids is skyrocketing. At the same time, we’ve seen a rise in mental illness among those living on our streets and in our county jails. To meet the growing need for treatment, and the declining need for juvenile incarceration, we should transform San Francisco’s juvenile hall into a mental health justice center.

San Francisco Examiner: San Francisco’s actions need to match its rhetoric on sexual assault

April 17, 2019


Given the highly masculine ethos of law enforcement agencies, we need to implement reform that transforms the culture of the Police Department and District Attorney’s Office. Having trauma-sensitive and survivor-centered leaders in those positions will bring about the required culture shift we need to finally do right by survivors of sexual assault.

Telemundo: Dautch Discusses Plan to Transform Juvenile Hall Into Mental Health Justice Center

April 9, 2019


Given the declining population at Juvenile Hall and the serious mental health crisis on San Francisco’s streets, Dautch has proposed transforming Juvenile Hall into a Mental Health Justice Center for those inside and outside the criminal justice system to meet the growing need for treatment.


“Says Dautch, ‘Leaders must respond to the times and to the shifting problems facing a city. It’s time to get serious about our mental health crisis and recognize that the tough-on-kids era is over. The time for serious investment in mental health is long overdue.'”

World Journal: DA Candidate Leif Dautch Has “Auspicious” Chinese Name for Campaign

April 7, 2019


As the voting power of Chinese voters in San Francisco has increased, political figures seeking public office have developed Chinese names to communicate with all communities.


“Some of these names are similar to the English names of the politicians. Some are seeking a good name, such as the Chinese name of Leif Dautch, who is running for District Attorney this year, 李多福 which means ‘good fortune.'”

San Francisco Chronicle: District Attorney Candidates Differ on Closing Juvenile Hall

Photo Credit: Scott Strazzante | April 4, 2019


District Attorney candidate Leif Dautch said he supports the idea of converting juvenile hall into a mental health facility for both youth and adults.


“‘It’s a total win-win proposal,’ said [Leif Dautch] the former president of the county’s Juvenile Probation Commission. ‘The kids deserve better and that property can be better utilized.'”

KRON4 Exclusive: LEIF DAUTCH’S RUN FOR SAN FRANCISCO DISTRICT ATTORNEY

March 14, 2019


KRON4 dedicates a full segment to Leif Dautch’s grassroots campaign for District Attorney, which is focused on homelessness, car break-ins, police accountability, and environmental justice.


“For the first time in 109 years, it is a wide open race for San Francisco’s District Attorney. In this KRONon Exclusive, Terisa Estacio speaks with Leif Dautch, a candidate for the position of District Attorney.”

San Francisco Chronicle: Dautch strong among early candidates in race to replace SF District Attorney George Gascon

February 18, 2019


Well before George Gascon announced he would not seek another term as San Francisco District Attorney, Leif Dautch launched a campaign dedicated to seeking just, practical solutions to criminal justice and public safety issues in San Francisco.


“After hosting 20 house parties and tabling at local farmers’ markets, Dautch has already proved to have a capable ground game that has translated into impressive fundraising. He’s also the only candidate running on issues like environmental justice and preventing fraudulent evictions, to cut off the tap of people becoming homeless in the first place.”

San Francisco Examiner: Dautch & Loftus neck and neck in initial fundraising for SF District Attorney race

February 2, 2019


As a first-time candidate and relative newcomer to the San Francisco political world, Leif Dautch is giving his opponents a run for their money in the San Francisco District Attorney race, having raised over $130,000 while establishing himself as one of the top two candidates.


“That’s a surprising amount of scrilla for a newcomer to bank, and should have Loftus just a bit worried.”

San Francisco Daily Journal: Candidates get early start in race to replace San Francisco DA

February 21, 2019


The five candidates in this year’s San Francisco district attorney election agree on a couple things: The moment is unique and the system is broken.


“‘There’s a real appetite on the moderate and progressive side in San Francisco for change,’ said Leif M. Dautch, a California deputy attorney general who entered the race last summer.”

Indybay: Environmental justice leaders name Leif Dautch top choice in San Francisco District Attorney Race

August 29, 2018


Dautch will push to rebuild the city’s Environmental Justice Unit (established by then-District Attorney Kamala Harris and phased out under George Gascon), ensuring that oil spills, hazardous waste disposal, and air and water pollution are investigated and, if necessary, prosecuted.


“Dautch said he is ‘honored to have early endorsements from these passionate, environmental advocates and will work with them to build a safe, clean, and equitable San Francisco.'”

San Francisco Examiner: Public Defender vacancy could impact District Attorney race

February 25, 2019


Should Mayor Breed appoint Boudin to head the Public Defender’s office, that would leave Dautch and Loftus as the top two contenders in the SF District Attorney race.

“That’s not to say defeating Dautch would be a cakewalk. Loftus has $127,000 in her campaign coffers as of the last public campaign filings in late January, while Dautch had $99,000 on hand. Loftus has far more name recognition in San Francisco, but Dautch is hungry.”

The Economist: San Francisco needs creative solutions to property crime epidemic

February 16, 2019


Despite being a wealthy, progressive city, San Francisco is experiencing a rash of property crime and quality of life offenses.

“‘It feels like an epidemic because it is an epidemic,’ says Leif Dautch, a young prosecutor who is running for district attorney in San Francisco.”

48 Hills: Dautch & Boudin establish an ethics pledge for the SF DA race

February 23, 2019


Two candidates for district attorney, Chesa Boudin and Leif Dautch, have created an ethics pledge for the campaign, and it takes us further toward making the city’s chief law enforcement office less susceptible to the influence of pay-to-play politics.


“As candidates for one of the city’s top legal offices, we should go beyond merely enforcing the existing rules and set a higher standard for ethical campaign behavior,” said Dautch. “I look forward to an issues-oriented campaign that offers voters a compelling vision for our criminal justice system, while avoiding some of the ethical issues that have marred past DA races.”

Run for Something Endorsement: Real People, Real Changes – “Run For Something” marks Leif Dautch as their top pick for San Francisco DA

February 11, 2019


An organization dedicated to recruiting and supporting young people running for office, Run for Something says Leif Dautch is the best choice for San Francisco District Attorney:


“Having represented the People in more than 400 criminal cases, Leif has seen the failings our criminal justice system first-hand and has the experience and ideas to fix it.”

KTVU: Candidates emerge as San Francisco DA George Gascon announces he will not seek another term

October 3, 2018

Leif Dautch, currently a Deputy California Attorney General and former President of the San Francisco Juvenile Probation Commission says he hopes to thread the needle, making sure victims of violent crime receive justice while working with defendants on the root causes of crime.


“We can have accountability on the front end when it comes to criminal conduct and not think the answer is just to throw people in state prison or county jail. We can be creative about treatment programs and probation conditions and reentry services to make sure that people break that cycle of crime.”

San Francisco Chronicle: In an op-ed, Dautch breaks down his guiding principles on reforming the criminal justice system

November 26, 2018


Leif believes to ensure lasting safety and justice for victims and defendants alike, we must reduce incarceration rates by reducing crime rates. Not by reducing the “reporting” of crimes, or re-categorizing harmful conduct so that it no longer is a crime. We need to address the societal drivers of criminal conduct, and the specific issues that cause an individual to re-offend.

Bay Area Reporter: Former California State Assembly Speaker John A. Perez endorses Leif Dautch for SF District Attorney in 2019 race

October 19, 2018


Last Thursday, Dautch announced he had the support of Pérez, who said in a statement that he was “confident” Dautch could “be both tough on violent crime and smart about progressive criminal justice reforms” as D.A.


“Leif’s experience in prosecuting criminal cases at the state and local level combined with his background in environmental and human rights advocacy makes him an ideal fit for San Francisco’s future,” stated Pérez.

San Francisco Chronicle: Leif Dautch & Theo Ellington shed light on massive environmental injustice in Hunters Point in op-ed

May 15, 2018


A 2017 study by the Navy found that Tetra Tech, the company charged with addressing the dangerous levels of radioactive contamination at the Hunters Point shipyard and surrounding area, falsified data that hid the true toxicity of the soil samples in a textbook case of environmental and racial injustice.

San Francisco Examiner: More economic opportunity equals less crime

October 22, 2017


In order to combat recidivism, we need to expand the legitimate opportunities for economic advancement available to those with criminal records.

“Driven by a combination of morality and economics, a nationwide movement has taken foot, aimed at better integrating those returning from prisons into our labor market…The results have been tremendous, with the Juvenile Probation Department placing young people currently on probation with city agencies, ranging from its own IT team to Recreation & Park. Even more encouraging, private companies like UPS, Target and Safeway have begun hiring teenagers on probation for summer and full-time positions. The idea of Fortune 500 companies hiring young people still serving their sentences would have been inconceivable even 10 years ago.”

San Francisco Examiner: Allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanagh highlight the need for affirmative consent policies

October 10, 2018


Not only do we need to implement affirmative consent policies (i.e. “Yes means yes”) to combat instances of sexual abuse, but we need to incorporate the concepts of affirmative consent and bystander intervention early in sexual education to empower survivors to speak up, to encourage those who witness an instance of sexual assault to intervene, and to establish healthy sex and relationship dynamics as early as possible.

NBC News: California prosecutors will hit legal roadblock in seeking death penalty against suspect in 1973 murder:

February 21, 2019


“‘Under settled law from the California Supreme Court, District Attorney Spitzer is barred from seeking the death penalty for a crime that was committed at a time when California did not have a valid death penalty,’ said Leif Dautch, vice chairman of the Criminal Law Executive Committee of the California Lawyers Association.”