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Last week I highlighted an NBC Bay Area video investigation titled Saving San Francisco. The first four episodes introduce viewers to a homeless man named James Durgin. If you missed those here’s a brief summary. After some struggles with alcohol in high school, Durgin went on to graduate college on the east coast and had dreams of becoming a writer. He moved to California and for several years was a teacher at a boarding school near Palo Alto.

And then one night at a party someone offered Durgin crack. In short order he had quit his job and wound up on the street in San Francisco. He eventually started living in a sparsely populated area north of the city where he became known as “The Man in the Woods.” But Durgin reportedly had two sides to him. He could be relatively normal, conversational, non-threatening when he wasn’t on drugs. But when Durgin was on meth he was different.

One resident, named Ann Rea, who lives in a house that backs up to the woods where Durgin has made his home, says she sleeps with a taser and a knife next to her bed. Durgin has come to her house many times at night, sometimes naked. He’s tried to enter her house before. The latest episode of the series is titled “Why Should I Live in Fear?” and returns to Ann’s struggle to remain safe in her own home.

This episode notes there are at least 16 restraining orders against Durgin, including Ann’s. He’s been arrested many times and because of her own fears about him, Ann has attended about a dozen of Durgin’s court hearings and has made statements to the various judges in those hearings asking them not to release Durgin. She read one of her statements for NBC Bay Area. “If you release him yet again, the park police and I know that he will immediately return to stalking me. Please, break the cycle once and for all,” she said.

But no matter how many times she tries, Durgin keeps getting released, often so he can attend drug treatment. But Durgin doesn’t attend drug treatment. He usually just cuts of the ankle monitor he’s given and goes back to life on the street. Looking at this repeating pattern, Ann concludes “The DA and the judge make no sense.”

And that brings us to DA Chesa Boudin who ran on a platform of reducing incarceration and who has been sending more people, like James Durgin, to diversion programs over and over. As you’ll see in this clip, Mayor London Breed is not a fan of Boudin’s approach. Boudin himself, when asked, gave a meandering answer about the justice system sometimes being “inadequate.” That’s one way to put it. Another way is that it’s been a complete failure in dealing with James Durgin and people like him.

Here’s part five of the series. The next part promises to include a jailhouse interview with Durgin himself.

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Source: This post first appeared on HotAir

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