Lib Prosecutors Tested by Crime, Angry Voters

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SAN FRANCISCO—District Attorney Chesa Boudin declared his 2019 election victory a call by voters for radical change. He promised to do more than lock up criminals and embarked on a progressive agenda to reduce incarceration rates and scrutinize police misconduct.

On Tuesday, Mr. Boudin faces voters again, in a recall election backed by business owners unhappy with his performance. Polls indicate his ouster is supported by the majority of residents in a famously liberal city that has seen, along with the rest of the nation, a spike in murder and other crimes.

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“Crime makes everyone more moderate,” said Albert Chow. He owns a hardware store in a once-placid San Francisco neighborhood hard-hit by home and business burglaries.

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A successful recall of Mr. Boudin would mark a significant setback in what has been called the progressive prosecutor movement. Progressive prosecutors include the district attorneys of Los Angeles County; New York County, which encompasses Manhattan; Chicago’s Cook County; and Philadelphia—all places where homicides went up during the pandemic and lockdowns. Homicides in the U.S. jumped nearly 30% in 2020 from 2019, the largest single-year increase ever recorded by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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