FROM: Amy S. Ackerman
Deputy City Attorney
DATE: December 31, 2001
RE: Domestic Violence Investigation
On October 22, 2000, Claire Joyce Tempongko was murdered. Her boyfriend, Tari Ramirez ("Ramirez"), who had extensive contacts with the criminal justice system for violence against Ms. Tempongko, is the prime suspect in her death.
On January 15, 1990, Veena Charan was murdered by her husband. He, too, had an extensive history of domestic violence and contacts with the criminal justice system. In 1991, the Commission on the Status of Women ("Commission") investigated the events leading to Ms. Charan's death. The Commission recommended numerous policy and operational changes to the criminal justice agencies and superior court, many of which they adopted. Ms. Tempongko's death has prompted great concern over the effectiveness of the City systems, procedures and policies regarding domestic violence.
In response to Ms. Tempongko's death, Mayor Willie Brown and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors asked the Commission to investigate the City's "response and procedures followed leading to the death of Claire Joyce Tempongko." (Resolution 984-00, Attachment A.) The Commission subsequently asked the City Attorney's Office to assist the Commission with its investigation.
Over the course of the investigation, staff from the City Attorney's Office, including Senior Investigator Blanche Blachman and deputy city attorneys Amy Ackerman and Adine Varah, met regularly with Acting Director of the Commission, Rosario Navarette, for guidance in the investigation. In addition, Ms. Blachman met with the Domestic Violence Review Panel, a group of community experts on domestic violence convened by the Commission to assist in the investigation. Ms. Blachman heard the Panel's suggestions regarding the investigation. The scope of the City Attorney's investigation was shaped by the Commission and community's suggestions.
Initially, most of the City departments involved pledged their support for the investigation. After the inception of this investigation, however, Ms. Tempongko's family filed a claim and a civil suit against the City. In addition, since Ramirez is at large, the homicide prosecution is not complete. Finally, under the Public Safety Officers Procedural Bill of Rights Act, there are significant restrictions on when peace officers can be compelled to answer questions. (See Govt. Code sec. 3300 et seq.) As a result, the Police Department and District Attorney's Office declined to permit us to interview their members regarding this case.
The scope of our investigation was constrained by the outstanding criminal and civil litigation. As a result, our investigation focused upon creating a comprehensive and detailed report on the history of Ms. Tempongko and Ramirez's contacts with the criminal justice system and the system and its agencies' response to his and Ms. Tempongko's actions. This timeline demonstrates where the system failed. Further information will undoubtedly be gained during the litigation and after its conclusion. Nonetheless, you asked us to report based on the information we have gathered to date. The investigation has uncovered sufficient information to reveal substantial gaps in the functioning of the criminal justice system's response to domestic violence.
While we offer some recommendations for change, we view this report as a starting point for dialogue and action by the criminal justice system. We urge the Commission, perhaps with the support of the Mayor's Criminal Justice Council, to convene the agencies involved to discuss the shortcomings identified in this report and to determine solutions.
Scope of the Investigation
Investigator Blachman conducted interviews with the following individuals knowledgeable about the domestic violence system and/or this case: Judge Mary Morgan, Judge Julie Tang and JoAnn McAllister, Analyst (Superior Court); Carmen Bushe, Division Director of the Services Specialized Units for Adult Probation; Jorge Perez, former Probation Officer for Ramirez (Adult Probation); Darian Mitchell, Aaron Moskowitz, Urban Poole and Bianka Ramirez (Sheriff Department's Resolve to Stop the Violence Program ("RSVP")); Luis Ortega and Antonia Ramirez (Program of Men Against Interfamily Violence ("POCOVI")); Beverly Upton and Marcella Espino Hernandez-Oborn (Woman, Inc.); and Candace Heisler, former Assistant District Attorney. In addition, Ms. Blachman met briefly with Lt. Barbara Davis (San Francisco Police Department) and Susan Breall, Chief of Criminal Division for Crimes Against Women, Children, the Elderly and Intimate Partners (District Attorney's office).1
In addition to the interviews, we reviewed thousands of pages of documents, included in three volumes as attachments to this report. We reviewed records from the San Francisco Police Department (Attachments C-N) and the Adult Probation Department (Attachments V, X-EE ). These documents included copies of Ramirez's probation file and Police Department's Domestic Violence Referral Unit files. In addition, we reviewed all public record court documents relating to Ramirez's cases. (Attachment FF.) We also reviewed copies of records relating to Ramirez and Ms. Tempongko from the Sheriff's Department RSVP and Manalive programs (Attachment LL), and the Mission Council on Alcohol Abuse - Domestic Violence Program (Attachment NN). We reviewed Police and Adult Probation Department training manuals, protocol memoranda and general orders relating to family violence. We also reviewed media and web site coverage of this matter.
The District Attorney's Office declined us access to their files and other documents related to the investigation and prosecution of any criminal case involving Ramirez. The District Attorney did, however, provide some public record information, including protocol relating to domestic violence cases (Attachment S), but not all of the investigative items we requested. (Attachment R.) We reviewed the materials that the office provided. We requested additional documents and/or evidence from the Police Department, but as of this date, they have chosen not to release anything further. (Attachment Q.)
Scope of this Report
This report is divided into two parts. The first part sets forth a factual chronology of the events leading to Ms. Tempongko's death. We have created as comprehensive and detailed report on the history of Ms. Tempongko and Ramirez's contacts with the criminal justice system and the system and its agencies' response to his and Ms. Tempongko's actions as we were able given the constraints imposed by the litigation.
Interspersed throughout the chronology, are comments in italic lettering. These comments state additional areas of inquiry we would have liked to pursue. In addition, the comments note when events depart from department protocol or regulations.
The second part of the Report contains our analysis and recommendations for change. Again, as noted above, we view these recommendations as a starting point for dialogue and action by the criminal justice system.
History of Events
Claire Tempongko and Tari Ramirez were involved in a tumultuous relationship. We do not know how they met or the exact length of their relationship. Ms. Tempongko's family declined to meet with us to provide us with that information. In an interview with Inspector Lindo of the San Francisco Police Department on April 29, 1999, Ms. Tempongko stated that she and Ramirez had had a relationship for five and one-half months prior to then and had lived together for four months. (Lindo Chronology, Attachment C-2.)
On April 28, 1999, Ms. Tempongko Reports First Incident of Violence to Police.
On April 28, 1999, Ms. Tempongko first reported to the San Francisco Police Department violence against her by Ramirez. Ms. Tempongko told the police that that night when Ramirez and her brother, Leander Tempongko, arrived at her residence, she refused to let them in because Ramirez had beaten her the prior week. According to the police report, Ramirez broke a back yard window because he could not gain entry. Ms. Tempongko ultimately decided to let them in because she did not want to disturb the neighbors. She reported that she noticed that Ramirez was under the influence of drugs. She told him that she did not want him to live with her any longer. Ms. Tempongko reported that without warning, Ramirez grabbed her by the hair, dragged her outside to the hallway, and pushed her to the ground. He then picked her up, kissed her and left the scene. Tempongko told the police that Ramirez had beaten her several times in the past and that she feared for her safety and the safety of her two children. The police noted the incident as a violation of Penal Code (PC) section 273.5, willful infliction of corporal injury on a spouse/cohabitant. (Incident Report 990516852, Attachment C-7.)2
The report states that Leander Tempongko was uncooperative and refused to give a statement to the police. The report lists Tempongko's children, Justin Nguyen (9 years old) and Janine Bersabe (5 years old) as witnesses, but does not state whether the responding officers interviewed them. (Incident Report 990516852, Attachment C-7.)
The officers who responded obtained an Emergency Protective Order, which expired on May 5, 1999. (Attachment C-8).
Comment: Police General Order 6.09, subsection H.2 requires officers to indicate in the narrative that they gave the victim a domestic violence referral card and advised the victim of follow-up procedures. The narrative of this report indicates that Officer Dharmani explained the details of the Emergency Protective Order, but not whether the officers gave Ms. Tempongko the referral card.
On April 28, 1999, Ramirez Arrested for Driving Under the Influence.
After leaving Ms. Tempongko's residence, Ramirez was involved in an accident. The Police apprehended Ramirez at the scene and arrested him for Driving Under the Influence ("DUI"). (Traffic Collision Report 990516664, Attachment C-9.)
Ramirez called Tempongko shortly after the accident (before being apprehended by the Police) and left her a message informing her about the accident and stating that he would return home later. (Incident Report 990516852, Attachment C-7.)
While in custody, Ramirez was belligerent towards his arresting officers. At one point, an officer told Ramirez that his wife had called the police, and he volunteered, "Why, because I punched her?" Officer Brown served Ramirez with the Emergency Protective Order. (Incident Report 990516852, Attachment C-7.)
Disposition of First Incident of Violence. On April 29, 1999, District Attorney Dismisses Battery Count, Pursues only DUI.
On April 29, 1999, the Police Department assigned Ramirez's case to Inspector Lindo in the Domestic Violence Response Unit. Ms. Tempongko told Lindo during an interview that she did not sustain injuries on this date, but there had been other unreported acts of violence against her by Ramirez. (Lindo's Chronology, Attachment C-2.)
Inspector Lindo brought the case to the District Attorney ("DA") Domestic Violence Unit. Assistant District Attorney ("ADA") Liz Aguilar-Tarchi reviewed it. Lindo's notes state that on April 29, ADA Aguilar-Tarchi dropped the battery charge and rebooked Ramirez only on the drunk driving and obstruction charges, California Vehicle Code (CVC) Sections 23152(a), driving under the influence (misdemeanor); 23152(b), driving a vehicle with 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his blood (misdemeanor); 20002(a), failing to stop vehicle at scene of accident and notify owner (misdemeanor); and PC 148.9(b), false representation of identity to a police officer ( misdemeanor). (Lindo's Chronology, Attachment C-2.)
Comment: Further areas of inquiry include why the DA dropped the domestic violence charge.
On May 18, 1999, Ms. Tempongko Reports Second Incident of Violence to Police.
On May 18, 1999, approximately three weeks after the first reported incident of domestic violence, Ramirez once again attacked Ms. Tempongko. Police officers were dispatched to her home just after midnight. They noticed glass on the sidewalk, on the stairs leading to the apartment, and in the hallway. Tempongko was "crying hysterically, shaking and very scared." She told the police that she and Ramirez, as well as a friend, witness Miranda, had gone to a club and had been drinking. Ramirez became jealous when someone asked her to dance, and he started a fight in the bar. Ramirez, Tempongko and Miranda left the bar and went to Miranda's apartment. She told Miranda that she did not want to be left alone with Ramirez. Ramirez grabbed Tempongko and took her into another room. He began hitting her head, and then he grabbed a beer bottle, broke it in half and threatened her with it. Ramirez then grabbed Tempongko by the hair and pulled her outside onto the sidewalk. She said she thought that he was going to kill her. Ramirez said, "I'm going to burn the house down and hurt your kids." Miranda called the police and tried to get Ramirez to stop. (Incident Report 990603108, Attachment F-9.)
Officers Jimenez, Guillory, Barretta and Cole responded and took statements from Ms. Tempongko and Miranda. Ms. Tempongko told the officers that Ramirez hit her a lot and that she was afraid of him. She informed the officers that Ramirez was arrested on April 28, 1999, and that an Emergency Protective Order was issued at that time. Ms. Tempongko told the police that Ramirez had hit her 18 times during the six months that they had been together and that alcohol was always a contributing factor. (Incident Report 990603108, Attachment F-9.)
The police charged Ramirez with PC 273.5(a), willful infliction of corporal injury on a spouse/cohabitant (felony); PC 245(a)(1), assault with a deadly weapon (felony); PC 236, false imprisonment (felony); and PC 243(e)(1), battery (misdemeanor). Officer Jimenez obtained an Emergency Protective Order, which expired on May 25, 1999, gave Ms. Tempongko a follow-up form, Domestic Violence Referral Card, Victim of Violent Crime Notification form and a copy of the Emergency Protective Order. (Attachments F-9 and 10.)
On May 18, 1999, the Police Department assigned the case to Inspector McDonough of the Domestic Violence Response Unit. According to her chronology, McDonough knew that Ramirez had a court date on May 20, 1999, on the DUI case. On May 18, McDonough interviewed Ms. Tempongko by phone. Ms. Tempongko explained that Ramirez beat her and described visible injuries to her arms, left leg and a lump to her head. Later that afternoon, the police photographed Ms. Tempongko's injuries. (McDonough Chronology, Attachment F-2.)
According to the chronology, McDonough interviewed witness Miranda on May 19, 1999. Miranda corroborated the majority of Ms. Tempongko's statements, but denied seeing Ramirez wave a broken bottle in a threatening manner. He told McDonough that he tried to protect Ms. Tempongko from Ramirez. (McDonough Chronology, Attachment F-2.)
On this same date, McDonough presented the case to ADA Paul Kelly. Kelly reviewed the case and rebooked Ramirez on all of the above-mentioned charges. (McDonough Chronology, Attachment F-2.) The District Attorney filed a Stay Away Order at this time. (Attachment F-8.)
Ms. Tempongko Reports Prior Incident of Violence that Occurred on May 11, 1999. Police Do Not Document Incident or Charge Ramirez.
On May 18, Ms. Tempongko also told McDonough about another incident of violence that occurred on May 11, 1999. She reported that her son witnessed the incident. On May 18, 1999, Inspector Mroz interviewed Ms. Tempongko's son about this additional incident. (McDonough Chronology, Attachment F-2.) Neither officer appears to have written an incident report documenting Ms. Tempongko's allegation.
Comment: General Orders 1.03, Section 5(d) and 2.01, Section 25, require officers to write reports on all crimes brought to their attention. (Attachment N-1.) Ms. Tempongko told McDonough that she wanted to pursue this case. Further areas of inquiry include why the officers failed to generate a report.
On May 24, 1999, Ramirez Violates the Stay Away Order.
On May 24, 1999, the police charged Ramirez with violating the Stay Away Order after he wrote Ms. Tempongko a letter asking her to meet him at a restaurant.3 (Incident Report 990632549, Attachment F-6.) The police found Ramirez waiting at the restaurant for Ms. Tempongko. The police arrested him and ultimately booked him for violating the court order. (Incident Report 990632549, Attachment F-6.) This report was forwarded to ADA Kelly for his review. (McDonough Chronology, Attachment F-2.)
Disposition of Second Reported Incident Occurs on June 18, 1999 (Plea) and July 12, 1999 (Sentence). Court Orders Probation for Single Count of Battery; Guilty Plea to DUI. Court Dismisses All Remaining Violence Counts and Violation of Stay Away Order.
After one continuance at the request of his Assistant Public Defender, Lidia Stiglich, Ramirez appeared in court on June 7, 1999, and was arraigned. (Court Record, Attachment FF-3.)
On June 18, 1999, Ramirez entered a guilty plea before Judge Wallace P. Douglass to willful infliction of corporal injury on a spouse/cohabitant, a felony. (PC 273.5.) ADA Tiffany Odom was in court. The DA's Office agreed to Ramirez receiving three years probation and dismissing the remaining counts. One of the conditions of his probation was the requirement that he participate in batterers' classes. In exchange for his plea, the ADA dismissed the remaining charges relating to the battery, PC 245(a)(1), assault with a deadly weapon (felony); PC 236, false imprisonment (felony); and PC 243(e)(1), battery (misdemeanor). Judge Douglass ordered Ramirez held in custody until sentencing. (Court Transcript, Attachment FF-19.)
At the June 18 hearing, the parties also agreed to dispose of Ramirez's other remaining charges. The DA's Office agreed to credit for time served in exchange for Ramirez entering a guilty plea to the misdemeanor DUI charge.4 The plea agreement provided that the DUI matter be transferred to the same courtroom and heard at the time of sentencing on Ramirez's conviction. In light of this negotiated plea, ADA Odom also agreed to dismiss the charge for violating the Stay Away Order. (Court Transcript, Attachment FF-19.)
Comment: Further areas of inquiry include why the DA dropped the charges and why the office agreed to accept a plea to one count of violence even though there were multiple violent incidents within a short period of time.
According to the court transcript, Ms. Tempongko was in court when Ramirez entered his plea. ADA Odom told the Judge that she might be nervous about lifting the Stay Away Order. Tempongko was weeping and Judge Douglass asked ADA Odom to "spend a moment with her and see if you can calm her down." When they returned, Ms. Tempongko informed the court that she was not afraid of Ramirez and that she wanted the Stay Away Order lifted. She stated that she was making this request willingly and without threats. The court ultimately vacated the Stay Away Order. (Court Transcript, Attachment FF-19.)
Comment: Further areas of inquiry include why Ms. Tempongko was crying and what she and ADA Odom discussed prior to the Court's decision to lift the Stay Away Order.
On July 12, 1999, Judge Douglass held the sentencing hearing. He found Ramirez guilty of one count of 273.5 PC/F and sentenced him to three years probation. Among other conditions of probation, Judge Douglass ordered Ramirez to complete a batterers' program of at least one year's duration and to participate in alcohol treatment. (Court Transcript, Attachment FF-21.) On July 12, Judge Douglass also dismissed the counts relating to violating the stay away order. (Court Records, Attachment FF-3.) Finally, Judge Douglass accepted Ramirez's guilty plea to driving under the influence (misdemeanor) and dismissed the remaining charges relating to the DUI (VC 23152(b), VC 20002(a), and PC 148.9(b)). For that count, Judge Douglass sentenced him to 39 days in jail, for which Ramirez received credit for time already served. (Court Record, Attachment FF-4.)
On July 20, 2999 Adult Probation Receives Case.
Ramirez's case was referred to Adult Probation. On July 20, 1999, the Probation Department assigned the case to Jorge Perez. Perez had been employed with the Adult Probation Department as a probation officer for approximately 11 years. (Perez interview summary, Attachment PP-3). He served as Ramirez's probation officer until Perez terminated his employment with the Department on July 14, 2000.5 (Interview summary, Attachment PP-3.)
On July 22, 1999, Perez referred Ramirez to the Mission Counsel on Alcohol Abuse for the Spanish Speaking Domestic Violence Program. (Treatment Program Assignment Sheet, Attachment V-41.) Ramirez was officially admitted to this program on August 2, 1999. (Program Admission Notification, Attachment V-37.) This program discharged him on October 15, 1999, because he had three absences within a two-month period of time. (Notice of Discharge, Attachment NN-20.) The Program sent Perez a copy of Ramirez's Notice of Discharge. (Attachment NN-20.)
On October 16, 1999, Ramirez Cited for Loitering With Intent to Engage in Lewd Conduct. Probation Does Not Learn of Loitering Charge.
On October 16, 1999, Police Officer Gomez cited Ramirez for loitering at a public toilet with intent to engage in lewd conduct, PC 647(d). The female victim (not Ms. Tempongko) complained that Ramirez was in the woman's bathroom at a shopping center, watching her. The Incident Report noted that Ramirez was on probation for domestic violence. (Incident Report 991272164, Attachment V-8.)
Officer Gomez took Ramirez into custody, cited and released him. He was scheduled to appear in court on November 23, 1999. (Motion to Dismiss People's Motion to Revoke or Modify Probation as Violative of Due Process, Attachment FF-38.)
Comment: According to Carmen Bushe, Division Director of the Services Specialized Units for Adult Probation, the Police Department did not bring this incident to the attention of the Probation Department, nor was it entered into the computer database until the arraignment. (Interview statement, Attachments PP-1 and 2)6. Bushe said that an officer can only obtain citation information if she runs an "all contacts" query on the computer. A probation officer would have no way of knowing that a probationer under his supervision was arrested unless the probation officer happened to be copied with the incident report, runs a criminal contacts check, or the probationer told the officer about the new arrest. (Interview statement, Attachments PP-1 and 2.) There are no current systems in place to guarantee that a probation officer is informed when someone on his caseload is charged with a new offense.
Ramirez did not inform Probation Officer Perez about this arrest. Three days after the arrest, on October 19, 1999, Perez requested that the Latino Family Counseling Center (also known as the Mission Counsel on Alcohol Abuse for the Spanish Speaking Domestic Violence Program) readmit Ramirez into their program. (Probation chronology, Attachment V-42.) The program readmitted Ramirez on November 5, 1999. (Program Notice of Action, Attachment V-37.) The last entry in the progress notes from the Mission Counsel Program, dated November 15, 1999, indicates that Ramirez was able to describe his violent behavior and loss of control to the group. (Program progress notes, Attachment NN-6.)
On November 18, 1999, Ms. Tempongko Reports Fourth Incident of Violence. Ramirez Taken Into Custody.
On November 18, 1999, Ramirez was once again arrested for battery on Ms. Tempongko. Ms. Tempongko told the responding officers, Officers Tack, Lee, Kiang, Mendribal and Obot, that she and Ramirez had argued, when Ramirez grabbed her hair, pulling her head back and holding it for several seconds. Fearing for her safety, Tempongko left to go to her mother's house. She returned with her mother, Clara Tempongko and stepfather, Ignacio Puig, at which time Ramirez began yelling. Ms. Tempongko left and called the police from a pay phone. (Incident Report 991411964, Attachment H-4.)
Upon her return, Ms. Tempongko reported that Ramirez grabbed her by the shoulders tightly and forced her backwards into the bedroom. He refused to let her leave until the police arrived, approximately five minutes later. Ms. Tempongko informed the officers that Ramirez was currently on probation for violence against her. The officers observed numerous empty beer bottles in the apartment and that Ramirez had alcohol on his breath. (Incident Report 991411964, Attachment H-4.)
The Officers had Ms. Tempongko sign a citizen's arrest form to have Ramirez arrested. The Police charged him with battery against a cohabitant/spouse, PC 243 (e)(1) and false imprisonment, PC 236. The Officers gave Ms. Tempongko a Reportee Follow-up Form with the case number, a Victim of Violent Crime Form and a Domestic Violence Referral Form. The Officers also ran a computer check to confirm Ramirez's probation status. The Officers took Ramirez into custody where the Police served him with an Emergency Protective Order. (Incident Report 991411964, Attachment H-4; Attachment H-6). Ramirez was booked into the county jail where he was held until his release on March 15, 2000. (Jail records, Attachment LL-17.)
On November 19, 1999, the Police Department assigned the case to Sergeant Mroz of the Domestic Violence Response Unit. He interviewed Carla Tempongko and Ignacio Puig who confirmed that Ms. Tempongko told them that Ramirez hit her. In addition, they confirmed that Ramirez had locked her in the bedroom against her will. (Mroz Chronology, Attachment H-2.)
Mroz contacted the Probation Department, but was told that their computers had been down since November 18 and that no one could help him. He then referred the case to ADA Kelly who referred it to Adult Probation to revoke Ramirez's probation. The District Attorney requested a Stay Away Order. (Mroz Chronology, Attachment H-2.)
On November 22, 1999, DA Files Motion to Revoke Probation Based on Fourth Incident. DA fails to include Loitering Charge in Motion to Revoke.
On November 22, 1999, ADA Victoria Baldocohi filed a Motion to Revoke Ramirez's probation based on the latest battery incident. (Motion to Revoke, Attachment FF-23.) The DA's Office did not include the loitering charge in its Motion to Revoke. (Motion to Dismiss People's Motion to Revoke or Modify Probation as Violative of Due Process, Attachment FF-38.)7 The court continued the matter for a supplemental probation report. (Attachment FF-38.)
On November 23, 1999, the court held a hearing on the loitering charge. Ramirez was still in custody after his arrest for the November 18th battery, and therefore, did not appear in court. No one informed the court that Ramirez was in custody. Judge Donaldson issued a bench warrant for his arrest. (Attachment FF-38.)
Comment: Further areas of inquiry include why the DA: (1) failed to include the loitering charge in his Motion or otherwise bring it to the attention of the court; (2) failed to charge Ramirez with the new violent offense and proceeded only on the Motion to Revoke; and (3) whether anyone in the DA's office ran Ramirez's current criminal history prior to this scheduled court appearance. Ramirez was in the Sheriff's custody, but the court deputy would have no way of knowing that the defendant was in the county jail. Sheriff's deputies do not run the names of defendants whose names appear on calendar.
On February 2, 2000, Court Disposes of Fourth Incident. Court Modifies Probation to Impose Six Months Jail Time.
After several continuances, on February 2, 2000, Judge Robert Dondero held the hearing on the Motion to Revoke. (Court Transcript, Attachment FF-35.) The Probation Department recommended that the court revoke probation and sentence Ramirez to state prison. The Probation Report contained no information relating to the loitering charge. (Supplemental Probation Report, Attachment V-4.) Similarly, the District Attorney's Office made no mention of the charge. (Court transcript, Attachment FF-35.)
ADA Odom and DPD Stiglich agreed to a lesser disposition than revoking probation, which the court ordered. Judge Dondero modified probation to impose a sentence of six months jail time and a counseling requirement. The court credited Ramirez with 77 days for time served. Ramirez admitted that he violated probation. The Judge noted that Claire Tempongko was in court and agreed to the lesser disposition. (Court Transcript, Attachment FF-35.)
Comment: The DA's office had information regarding the October 16 citation for loitering and should have known that there was an outstanding bench warrant from the Ramirez's failure to appear on the charge on November 23 when Ramirez was in custody. The Probation Department alleged that it did not know about this charge until much later. Areas for further inquiry include obtaining computer data information from the Police Department to assist in identifying exactly when the police, DA, and Adult Probation ran Ramirez's criminal history. This information would help determine how much information these departments had at each specific court hearing.
In addition, the DA's office had a policy to ask for state prison for all repeat domestic violence offenders currently on probation for a domestic violence-related incident. (DA Interoffice Memoranda dated November 7, 2000 and DV Unit Meeting Agenda dated January 6, 1999, Attachment S-4.) Areas for further inquiry include why the DA policy was not followed in this case.
While in custody in the SF County Jail, Ramirez participated in the Sheriff Department's Resolve to Stop the Violence Program (RSVP). This program provides therapy for violent offenders, including those convicted of domestic violence charges. On February 22, 2000, Ramirez received a Certificate of Achievement from RSVP for his participation in counseling while in custody. (Certificate, Attachment V-10.)
RSVP has a victim support component in addition to its offender program. Marcela Espino Hernandez-Oborn was working for Women, Inc. in collaboration with RSVP as their Victim Restoration Case Manager. (Oborn interview statement, Attachment PP-10.) On February 7, 2000, Oborn left a message for Ms. Tempongko to call RSVP. Oborn followed up with a letter the next day. (RSVP Victim Contact Log, Attachment LL-8.) Bianka Ramirez, RSVP Director, spoke with Ms. Tempongko and referred her to Woman, Inc. and to the State Victim Compensation program. Bianka Ramirez reported that Ms. Tempongko told her that she already filed a victim compensation claim after the May 18, 1999 incident, but she never heard back from the DA's office regarding the status of her claim. (Interview statement, Attachment PP-14.) Bianka called Felix Marin, who works for the District Attorney Victim Witness Program, who told her that Ms. Tempongko's claim was approved. (Interview statement, Attachment PP-14.) We could not question Marin to determine the actual approval date or to determine what efforts were made by the Victim Witness Program to inform Tempongko of this approval. On May 2, 2000, Oborn left a message for Tempongko at her home. (RSVP Victim Contact Log, Attachment LL-8.)
On March 13, 2000, Ramirez Released from Jail.
On March 9, 2000, Probation Officer Perez ran a computer check on Ramirez and discovered that Ramirez was still in custody. (Perez chronology, Attachment V-42.) On March 13, 2000, Ramirez appeared in court in Department 13, before Judge Desmond. Since Ramirez was never served with the bench warrant from the loitering matter, the court recalled the warrant. He was released from custody on March 13, 2000. (Court records, Attachments FF-9, FF-38.)
Ramirez contacted Perez to let him know that he was out of custody. The following day, he told Perez that he had participated in RSVP while he was incarcerated, and he was now enrolled in the Manalive program.8 Ramirez had moved back in with Ms. Tempongko after his release from jail. (Probation chronology, Attachment V-42.) On March 21, 2000, he attended his first counseling session at Manalive PREP with facilitator Aaron Moskowitz. (Manalive Client Status Report, Attachment LL-6.)
On March 28, 2000, DA files Motion to Revoke Probation Based on Loitering Incident.
On March 28, 2000, ADA Susan Jerich filed a Motion to Revoke Probation based on the October 16, 1999, bathroom loitering incident. (Motion to Revoke, Attachment FF-36.) DPD Stiglich opposed the Motion, arguing it was untimely, as the District Attorney's office was aware of the loitering arrest when it filed its previous Motion to Revoke. Stiglich argued that five months had elapsed since the incident and the filing of the revocation. She stated, "[i]ndeed, there was substantial negligence on the state's part. If the government had checked the Court computer system Mr. Ramirez would not have bench warranted at the misdemeanor arraignment of the October 16, 1999 incident. He was only a few hundred feet away in County jail. There is no excuse for the State not to have produced the defendant for arraignment while in their custody." (Opposition to Motion, Attachment FF-38.)
The court did not dismiss the Motion to Revoke. Judge Donaldson, however, dismissed the loitering charge for lack of a speedy trial on April 14, 2000. (Court minutes, Attachment FF-9.) The DA continued to pursue the Motion to Revoke.
On May 3, 2000, The Court Remands Ramirez into custody.
Judge Dondero first heard the probation revocation motion on March 29, 2000. He continued the hearing to May 3, 2000. (Superior court minutes, Attachment FF-16.) On May 3, he ordered the Probation Department to file a supplemental report. He remanded Ramirez into custody and continued the case to June 1. (Attachment FF-16.) The Probation Department recommended that Probation be revoked and sentence (state prison) be imposed. (Supplemental Probation Report, Attachment V-11.) On June 1, the matter was continued to June 28. On June 28, Judge Dondero ordered the matter continued to July 12 for hearing before Judge Sing. (Attachment FF-16.) Judge Sing continued the matter to July 12, July 26 and September 22, 2000. (Attachment FF-16.)
Comment: The DA created a vertical prosecution unit to handle all felony and misdemeanor domestic violence cases. (Domestic Violence Felony and Misdemeanor Prosecution Protocol, dated September 1999, Attachment S-3.) At each hearing, however, the DA's office was represented by a different ADA, although Stiglich, the assistant public defender, was present at every hearing. Areas for further inquiry include why the DA's Office did not assign one ADA to appear consistently in the prosecution of this case.
On May 23, 2000, Ramirez voluntarily withdrew from the Mission Council on Alcohol Abuse Domestic Violence Program. The Program terminated him and referred him to Program of Men Against Interfamily Violence ("POCOVI"). (Case notes, Attachment NN-29.) The Program notified Perez of this action. (Program Termination Notice, Attachment NN-29.) Interviews with Antonio Ramirez and Luis Ortega from POCOVI confirm that Ramirez never enrolled in their program. (Attachment PP-15.)9
On June 28, 2000, Ms. Tempongko attends RSVP Women's Gathering.
On June 28, 2000, the victim component of RSVP held a "Women's Gathering" at Women, Inc. for victims to learn more about their program, the batterers classes, and what counseling resources were available to them. Ms. Tempongko attended this event. According to witnesses Bianka Ramirez, Beverly Upton, Women Inc, Director, and Urban Poole, RSVP Case Manager, Ms. Tempongko stated that she did not want to be there, and she did not think that the offender programs worked. Ramirez, Upton and Oborn reported that Ms. Tempongko's body language demonstrated her frustration and anger at having to be there. At one point, she said, "This program doesn't work. My offender made me come here . . .." (Interview statements, Attachments PP-10, 14 and 16.) The sign in sheet has an asterisk by Tempongko's name indicating that the staff was concerned about Ms. Tempongko, and they spoke with her at the conclusion of the event. (Sign-in sheet, Attachment LL-15.)
Ms. Tempongko told Bianka Ramirez that the system works against victims. She said she had tried everything, including calling the police, but Ramirez refused to stay away from her. Tempongko said, "Either he will kill me, or I will kill him." She was very afraid of Ramirez. They were living together at the time, and she remained in the relationship for safety reasons. According to Bianka Ramirez, Ms. Tempongko was hoping to make Ramirez want to leave the relationship. (Interview statement, Attachment PP-14.)
Beverly Upton did not participate in the entire discussion with Tempongko, but it was her recollection that Tempongko never said that Ramirez was going to kill her. She said that he still threatened her, but she did not say that he was violent. Upton was worried about Tempongko's safety. (Attachment PP-16.) Oborn left telephone messages for Ms. Tempongko after the Women's Gathering, but Bianka Ramirez did not hear from her until September 27, 2000. (RSVP Victim Contact Log, Attachment LL-8.)
On June 30, 2000, Perez Leaves Probation Department. Ramirez Case Remains Uncovered Until November 15, 2000, More Than Three Weeks After Ms. Tempongko's Death on October 22, 2000.
Jorge Perez stated that he officially resigned from the Adult Probation Department on July 14, 2000. He took two weeks vacation prior to his termination date. (Interview statement, Attachment PP-3.) His high-risk caseload remained unsupervised from June 30, 2000. Probation records document that Ramirez's case was unsupervised until the November 15, 2000 Motion to Revoke, more than three weeks after Tempongko's death. (Attachment V-14.) According to Carmen Bushe, the Probation Department did not reassign the remainder of Perez's caseload until February 2001. (Interview statement, Attachments PP-1 and 2.)
On July 11, 2000, ADA Judy Lee called the Probation Department and spoke with the On Duty Probation Officer, Officer Reardon. Lee told Reardon that she was concerned about probation recommending revocation because Ramirez had been complying with other probation requirements. Reardon told Lee that the Department stood by its recommendation regarding the loitering arrest. Reardon stated that it did not know why the charge was apparently missed by probation and not noted in the file. (Probation Chronology, Attachment V-42.)
On this same day, Ramirez had an unexcused absence from the Manalive PREP counseling program. (Manalive Client Status Report, Attachment LL-6.) On August 22, 2000, Ramirez successfully completed Phase I at Manalive PREP, missing only one session. (Attachment LL-6.) According to Facilitator Aaron Moskowitz, Ramirez was an ideal participant who was passionate about the work they were doing in the program. He assisted others in understanding the program concepts. Ramirez was determined to maintain employment and to remain clean and sober from alcohol. (Interview statement, Attachment PP-12.)
Darien Mitchell facilitated Phase II. According to Mitchell, there is a two-week break between the phases. Ramirez only participated in three Phase II sessions: September 19, 26 and October 10, 2000. (Interview statement, Attachment PP-11.) He missed the October 3 and 17, 2000 sessions. (Manalive Client Status Report, Attachment LL-6.)10 Of interest is the fact that Ramirez was a vocal participant in Phase I, but was described by Mitchell as being extremely quiet. Ramirez casually mentioned to Mitchell that he had several court appearances, but Mitchell did not think they were related to domestic violence. Mitchell did not check with the Probation Department to determine the status of these new cases, and the Manalive PREP staff does not have access to CLETS. (Interview statement, Attachment PP-11.)
On September 1, 2000, Ms. Tempongko Reports Fifth Incident of Violence. Police Fail to Charge Ramirez Properly.
On September 2, 2000, Officer Nate Holmes went to Ms. Tempongko's home in response to a violent incident that occurred late on September 1, 2000. He described Tempongko's injuries as consistent with a strangulation attempt. He noted, "Tempongko was crying uncontrollably with blood spilling from her mouth as she held a towel to her mouth to control the bleeding." Ms. Tempongko told the officers that, "Ramirez [ ] forced his fingers down her throat. [Ms. Tempongko] stated she felt he was trying to chock [sic] her to death. Suspect then grabbed her around her neck with both hands and forced her into their bedroom. Suspect Ramirez then applied pressure around her neck to the point where she had difficulty breathing." (Incident Report 001041186, Attachment J-1.) The officer obtained an Emergency Protective Order, but could not serve Ramirez since he fled the scene prior to police arriving. (Incident Report 001041186, Attachment J-1.) The report narrative states that Tempongko told Officer Holmes that Ramirez had a prior history of violence, but "she never followed up with criminal proceedings because Ramirez would apologize every time." (Incident Report 001041186, Attachment J-1.) The officer described the type of incident as "Domestic Violence (secondary only)/False Imprisonment." (Incident Report, Attachment J-1.)
Comment: It seems odd that Ms. Tempongko would have said she never followed up with criminal proceeding, since by this date, she had filed several police reports, appeared in court several times and typically told officers that Ramirez was on probation for violence against her. General Order 6.12, subsection B.(2) requires an officer to note the probation status of a perpetrator. The report fails to do so. In addition, the report does not indicate that copies were sent to Adult Probation or the DA. These factors suggest that the responding officer did not run a computer check on Ramirez. Further areas of inquiry include questioning the officer about this statement and whether the officer ran a ran a criminal history for Ramirez. If he had, he would have learned about the prior criminal cases, as well as Ramirez's probation status.
The Officer-In-Charge of the originating unit is responsible for making sure that each report is written in compliance with the Incident Report Writing Manual. (Incident Report Writing Manual, Attachment N-2.) Further areas of inquiry include why the officer titled the report, "Domestic Violence (secondary only)/False Imprisonment." Penal Code charges are not listed anywhere on the report, yet the narrative appears to describe a felony assault. In an article in the San Francisco Chronicle dated October 25, 2000, ADA Susan Breall, who supervised the DA's domestic violence unit referred to the incident as a "serious felon[y]." (San Francisco Chronicle dated October 25, 2000, Attachment OO-13.)
Later that day, Officer Ruggeiro went to Ms. Tempongko's home to attempt to arrest Ramirez. In his supplemental incident report, Officer Ruggeiro states that Lt. Hedges-Hiller gave him the Emergency Protective Order to serve and a memo, which directed officers to arrest the suspect if he was located. The report states that a copy was sent to the Probation Department. (Supplemental Incident Report 002453129, Attachment J-2.)
Comment: A copy of this memo was requested from the Police Department, but was not provided to us. Further inquiry should include determining what steps, if any, were taken to locate and arrest Ramirez.
The Police Department Death Case Summary states that this matter was assigned to the Domestic Violence Response Unit. (Police Department Death Case Summary, Attachment K-1.)
When Officer Ruggeiro provided Ms. Tempongko with a copy of the Emergency Protective Order, she told him that Ramirez stole her purse and several items within her purse. Ruggeiro documented the theft in the supplemental incident report. Ms. Tempongko also told the officer that Ramirez was currently on probation for violence against her. She provided him with the location of places that he frequented. According to the incident report, Ruggeiro notified Insp. Luftus at the Operations Center of this information. (Supplemental Incident Report 002453129, Attachment J-2.) Ramirez remained at large. The Police Department Death Case Summary states that this matter was assigned to the Domestic Violence Response Unit. (Police Department Death Case Summary, Attachment K-1.)
Report of Incident Fails to Reach Either Adult Probation or District Attorney.
The (original) incident report indicates that the matter was assigned to the Domestic Violence Response Unit. (Incident Report, Attachment J-1.) The file from Domestic Violence Response Unit that was provided did not contain a chronology; therefore, we do not know whether the case was reviewed or assigned to an inspector. Furthermore, there is no information on whether the matter was forwarded to the District Attorney or Probation Office.
In an article dated October 25, 2000, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that:
Inspector Sgt. Al Lum, an investigator with the domestic-violence response unit, said he had sent the case to probation rather than Hallinan's office because Tempongko had been drinking the night of the incident, had not been hospitalized and had not called police to check on the progress of the case.
"It's up to her to call or to come in for a follow up," Lum said. "She didn't call, so we couldn't do a work-up."
However, a supplemental report indicates that Tempongko did summon officers a second time about the Sept. 1 domestic-violence case to say that Ramirez had stolen her credit cards and cash.
Lum said she never called his specific unit, however, and therefore he acted properly in sending the case to probation officials. "I personally sent it myself," he said.
(San Francisco Chronicle article dated October 25, 2000, Attachment OO-12.)
The same article reported:
Carmen Bushe, a division director in the probation department who oversees domestic-violence cases, said that the report was properly stamped to send to her agency but that it never arrived.
"Such a report would instantly necessitate an action on our part to take the defendant back to court on a motion to revoke," Bushe said.
(San Francisco Chronicle article dated October 25, 2000, Attachment OO-12.)
Comment: Further areas of inquiry include asking police officers specifically who was responsible for forwarding the report to the Probation Department and how it was done. In addition, further inquiry also includes more specific information on how the decision was made to send the matter to Probation and not the DA's office, if that was, in fact, the case. The DA could have pursued an arrest warrant. In the same article in the San Francisco Chronicle, ADA Susan Breall, stated, "This is a terrible tragedy . . .. But tragedies of this magnitude will continue unless serious felonies such as the strangulation case are not merely referred to the Probation Department, but brought to the district attorney for reviewing and charging." (San Francisco Chronicle article dated October 25, 2000, Attachment OO-12.)
On September 7, 2000, Ms. Tempongko Reports Sixth Incident of Violence.
On September 7, 2000, Officers Moriyama and Schwab responded to Ms. Tempongko's home once again. Their report is titled a "Supplemental" Incident Report and notes that they were dispatched on a "threats" call. The Officers noted the Type of Incident as "Terrorist Threats - 19057." (Supplemental Incident Report 001041227, Attachment J-3.) According to hand written notes from the Domestic Violence Response Unit, the author indicated that he/she could not locate the original incident report. We were not provided with the name of the author of the notes. (Attachment K-2.)
Comment: If this report was a supplemental as titled, then there should be an original report as well. We do not know if the report was incorrectly titled, or if the original incident report cannot be found.
The Supplemental report stated that dispatch advised the officers that Ramirez had a history of violence against Ms. Tempongko and she was afraid he was going to hurt her. Ms. Tempongko showed the officers the emergency protective order, which was valid through September 11, 2000. Ramirez was at the scene and smelled strongly of alcohol. He refused to provide the police with proper identifying information, but they successfully identified him. (Supplemental Incident Report 001041227, Attachment J-3.)
The Officers transported him to the Richmond Station and detained him for PC 647(f), drunk and disorderly (misdemeanor) and to ascertain his identity. At the station, Officer Schwab served Ramirez with the Emergency Protective Order issued in response to the strangulation incident. The Officers transported him to County Jail-9 where he was booked on PC 647(f) and PC 148.9(a), false representation of identity to peace officer. (Supplemental Incident Report 001041227, Attachment J-3.)
Comment: The arresting officers appeared to be aware of the strangulation incident as they served Ramirez with the Emergency Protective Order issued in response to that incident. Domestic Violence Response Unit notes state that the incident "should have been 422 felony arrest [threat of serious bodily injury against immediate family member], not just 647 & 148.9(a)." (Attachment J-3.) The Domestic Violence Response Unit Death Case Summary similarly notes this error. (Attachment K-1.) Further areas of inquiry include whether the officers questioned Ramirez about that matter and whether they considered that prior matter when booking him.
The report notes that the case was assigned to Domestic Violence Response Unit and copies of the incident report were sent to the DA and to the Own Recognizance (OR) Program. (Incident Report, Attachment J-3.) According to notes on a copy of this report provided by Domestic Violence Response Unit, the case was "thrown out - [by the District Attorney for] lack of corpus dismissal." A San Francisco Chronicle article dated October 26, 2000, quoted District Attorney Terence Hallinan as stating, "'It was treated as a minor misdemeanor' and was dropped." (San Francisco Chronicle article dated October 26, 2000, Attachment OO-11.) Ramirez was released from custody on September 8, 2000.
Comment: Further areas of inquiry include why the DA's office (1) failed to investigate the matter further; (2) dropped the matter; (3) chose not to pursue a Motion to Revoke Probation; and (4) whether it reviewed Ramirez's history prior to dropping the charge.
On September 13, 2000, Ramirez called the Probation Department and spoke with On Duty Probation Officer, P. Douchette.11 According to the chronology, Ramirez lied to Douchette when he told her that he had no further contacts with the police, and he was no longer involved with Ms. Tempongko. Douchette instructed him to come see the On Duty Probation Officer on October 13, which he failed to do. She did nothing to verify that what he told her was true. (Probation Chronology, Attachment V-42.)
Comment: According to Carmen Bushe, there are no policies or protocols requiring a probation officer to run a criminal history check on a probationer when they report monthly as required. (Interview statement, Attachments PP-1 and 2.) In this instance, Ramirez had actually been named as a suspect in two new cases. If this information had been entered into the database, and if Douchette had run Ramirez, then the Probation Department could have taken steps to revoke his probation at this time.
On September 19, 2000, Ramirez began Phase II of Manalive PREP.
On September 22, 2000, Court Disposes of Motion to Revoke Based on October 16, 1999 Loitering Incident. District Attorney, Public Defender and Court Appear Unaware of Two September Incidents. Court Modifies Probation to 30 Days Jail Time to be Served in Sheriff's Alternative Work Program.
On September 22, 2000, Ramirez appeared in court on the Motion to Revoke that had been continued from its original date of March 29, 2000. (Court record, Attachment FF-41.) (The modification was requested based on the loitering in the public toilet charge.) ADA Judy Lee appeared especially for ADA Odom. (Attachment FF-41.) It does not appear as if the DA , the deputy public defender, or the court were aware of the two incidents of violence in September.
According to an October 24, 2000 article in the San Francisco Chronicle "no one told the judge of the incidents that had taken place earlier in September at Tempongko's apartment." The article states that Deputy Public Defender Stiglich said, "Everyone missed it. We had no other information about any other reports." (Attachment OO-13.) The court transcript makes no reference to the September incidents, although it indicates that there was an off-the-record discussion at the bench, prior to the disposition being reached. (Attachment FF-40.)
Comment: Further inquiries include why the DA failed to bring the prior arrests to the court's attention. The DA was aware of the second incident of violence, having dismissed the charge.
At the conclusion of the September 22 hearing, Judge Sing ordered Ramirez's probation modified to 30 days jail time to be served in the Sheriff's Work Alternative Program ("SWAP"). (Court transcript, Attachment FF-40.)
On September 26, Ramirez attended his second session of Phase II, Manalive PREP. (Manalive Status Report, Attachment LL-6.) The next day, Ms. Tempongko called Woman, Inc. and left a message for Oborn to call her. Oborn returned the call on September 27, 28 and October 2, but she did not speak with her. (RSVP Victim Contact Log, Attachment LL-8.) On October 3, Oborn called Darien Mitchell at Manalive and was told that Ramirez was attending the second stage of their program. That night, Ramirez failed to show up for his group session. (Manalive Client Status Report, Attachment LL-6.)
Ms. Tempongko spoke with Bianka Ramirez on October 3 and they arranged to meet the next morning at 7:00 A.M. Unfortunately, Ms. Tempongko did not show for their appointment. Bianka called her at home and Ms. Tempongko stated that she did not feel well. She said she would call Bianka back and reschedule. Ms. Tempongko never called back. (Interview Statement, Attachment PP-14.)
On October 10, 2000, Ramirez attended his third session at Manalive PREP. (Manalive Client Status Report, Attachment LL-6.) The next day, he failed to go to Adult Probation as instructed to check in with the Officer of the Day. (Probation chronology, Attachment V-42.) On October 17, Ramirez had another unexcused absence at Manalive PREP. (Manalive Client Status Report, Attachment LL-6.)
On October 22, 2000, Ms. Tempongko is Murdered.
Five days after that, on October 22, 2000, Claire Tempongko was murdered.
On November 15, 2000, the Court Orders Ramirez's Probation Revoked.
On November 7, 2000, the Adult Probation Department sent Ramirez a Notice to Appear on November 15 for a Motion to Revoke Probation. (Notice, Attachment V-15.) On November 15, 2000, Judge Moscone ordered probation revoked per a report issued by Supervising Probation Officer Brenda White. Stiglich and Odom were present in court. (Court record, Attachment FF-16.) Ramirez remains at large.
Review After Ms. Tempongko's Death.
According to Lt. Barbara Davis, on October 23, 2000, ADA Liz Aguilar-Tarchi called for a meeting between Marie Lavin, Davis and herself to discuss the history of events leading up to the murder. They reviewed their respective files and Aguilar-Tarchi took meeting notes. When Lt. Davis later asked for a copy of these notes, Aguilar-Tarchi told her that her boss, Susan Breall, told her not to share these notes with anyone. (Interview with Lt. Barbara Davis, Attachment PP-5.) Lt. Davis and Insp. Al Lum drafted their own chronology. (Attachment K-1.) Lt. Davis said that their work may be incomplete. (Interview with Lt. Barbara Davis, Attachment PP-5.)
According to Lt. Davis, there were disagreements regarding who received the September 2000 incident reports. The Probation Department and the DA's Office claimed that they never received them. She described the process as follows: To her knowledge, the reporting officer was responsible for titling the report, "DV" and for indicating who would receive a copy. The patrol officer should fax a copy to the detail for felony booking, but she said that this does not always happen. Once the report is received in the Report Entry Unit, it is time stamped and copies are made and then placed in the appropriate divisions mailboxes for pick up. The Domestic Violence Response Unit assignment officer is supposed to send copies to Probation and the DA. Incident Report 001041186 (9/2/00) and 001041227 (9/7/00) were date stamped by the Report Entry Unit on September 2, 2000 - 1125 hours and September 8, 2000 - 1856 hours, respectively. (Attachments J-1-3.)
The Domestic Violence Response Unit Death Case Summary indicated that the September 1st case was forwarded to Probation. (Attachment K-1.) Probation and the DA claim that they did not receive a copy of the report. The report was only coded to Domestic Violence Response Unit, which was going to assign this case as a work-up case.
Comment: Further areas of inquiry include: what procedures were followed for forwarding this case to Adult Probation? What types of cases are forwarded prior to work up? If the case was never assigned, on what grounds was that decision made? What attempts were made to contact Tempongko in between the September 1st and 7th incidents?
Analysis and Recommendations
As noted above, we cannot provide a complete analysis of the City's response to domestic violence cases, and, specifically, to this case, because of the pending litigation. Below we suggest areas for further investigation and discussion, highlight apparent problems, and offer initial recommendations for changes. We begin with global recommendations for the Police, DA and Probation Departments and then address each agency individually. Again, we view these recommendations as initial suggestions for the Commission and the criminal justice agencies to discuss. Finally, we note changes departments have already instituted in response to this case.
I. Global Recommendations For The Police, Da And Probation Departments
A review of the chronology demonstrates that the most striking factor is how ineffectively the three main criminal justice departments appeared to work together in this case. Each department dealt with the same defendant and victim, played a role in monitoring the conduct of the defendant, assessed the risk the defendant posed, and shared responsibility for ensuring public safety. Yet each department appeared to operate almost independently without effectively communicating vital information to each other. Interestingly, as described directly below, each department seemed to suffer from some of the same problems.
First, the departments appeared to fail to communicate adequately vital information needed to monitor Ramirez and assess the risk he posed. As noted above, the Probation Department did not learn of the loitering arrest in a timely fashion. (P. 9, above.) Police were unable to speak with Probation about the November 18th incident, because Probation's computers were down. (P. 10, above.) In addition, the agencies were unable to ensure that the DA and/or Probation learned of the September 1st incident. (Pp. 17-18, above.)
Second, the departments seemed to have differing standards for assessing the seriousness of the incidents and the risk Ramirez posed. As noted above, for example, the police investigator assessed the strangulation incident and found the risk low enough not to forward the matter to the DA for charging, In contrast, the DA's office considered the incident a serious felony. (See pp. 17-18, above.) Similarly, the Probation Department found the loitering and November 18th incidents serious enough to recommend state prison, while the DA assessed the incidents less seriously.
Third, each department seemed to make decisions without adequately reviewing Ramirez's entire history of violence. Due to the pending litigation we do not know what information police officers reviewed prior to making decisions. However, it seems conceivable that officers involved in the September incidents were not fully aware of Ramirez's history. Probation Officer Bushe has noted that the Probation Department does not consistently receive information regarding new arrests of probationers. The Department did not learn of the loitering incident in a timely fashion. Similarly, the DA's Office failed to include the loitering incident in the original Motion to Revoke. In addition, it did not review Ramirez's history when deciding to dismiss the September 7th incident.
Finally, each department relied on other departments to act, without following up to ensure that the others' acted. There appeared to be no system in place to ensure action is taken. For example, the Police had no system to ensure that the reports were actually received by the other departments. In addition, based on what we have learned to date, there appears to be no system for the DA to ensure that Probation files on cases it refers to them.
(1) Develop a Regular and Effective System of Communication.
We suggest that the three departments develop a system of communication to discuss and solve systemic problems involving domestic violence cases. Each department has a specialized unit responsible for handling domestic violence matters. We suggest that the unit heads from each department meet regularly. Those leaders could discuss systemic problems, as well as individual cases. In addition, those meetings could be used to develop a consensus regarding risk assessment. Regular meetings should increase communication and trust between agencies.
(2) Work Toward Coordinating Computer Data Systems.
We suggest the criminal justice departments continue to evaluate the adequacy of their computer systems and work toward coordinating them to ensure that each agency receives the information it needs. Ideally, the computer data system should include an instant notification mechanism to flag defendants on probation and parole and then instantaneously notify these departments of the violation. The Probation Department is responsible for notifying the courts when a person re-offends, regardless of the charge. Even if a probation officer has to wait for a copy of a police report, immediate notification will allow a probation officer to take action in a timely manner. Such a system would ensure that the probation officer was made aware of the offense.
We are aware that the City has established a Governance Council to establish policy related to the implementation and operation of the Justice Tracking Information System ("JUSTIS"). (See S.F. Admin. Code sec. 2A.85.) The goal of JUSTIS is to develop and operate an integrated criminal justice information system serving criminal justice agencies in San Francisco. Ideally, when the JUSTIS system is fully operational, these agencies should be able to share access to vital data. We encourage these agencies to implement the system as quickly as possible.
(3) Develop Written Standards to Address When Police Should Send Matters to Probation and/or DA. Alternatively, the Police Should Send All Incidents Involving Probationers to Both Probation and the DA.
There appear to be systemic problems in how the officers evaluate whether they will notify the DA and/or Probation of new incidents.
Currently, it appears it is up to the discretion of individual police officers whether to forward a report to Adult Probation and or the DA.12 According to Carmen Bushe, during the time of this case, the Probation Department had to wait for the police or DA to forward it a copy of any new police report. Police officers often failed to forward reports of minor infractions or misdemeanor citations, leaving Probation to find out about them by "pure chance or coincidence." (Interview statement, Attachment PP 1-2.) In addition, in the past, the Domestic Violence Response Unit used to "file" all misdemeanor cases when the victim did not follow-up with the unit (i.e. did not pursue them). (Interview statement, Attachment PP-5.)
We strongly suggest that the agencies reach consensus on when the Police should forward reports to both agencies. We suggest that the departments include community experts in these discussions to hear their views on what incidents require prosecution. The Police Department should codify the protocol and train officers to ensure compliance.
Alternatively, if the agencies decline to work together to develop a protocol regarding the sending of incident reports, we suggest the Police Department forward all reports involving a probationer to both the Probation Department and the DA.
(4) Develop Systems to Ensure Reports are Sent and Received.
Until the computer systems can be coordinated, we suggest that the three Departments develop a system to ensure that all necessary information and reports are sent and received.
At the time of the incident, Lt. Davis stated that it was the responsibility of the Domestic Violence Response Unit's assignment officer to place a copy of the incident report in the Probation Department and DA's mailboxes in the Records Room at the Hall of Justice. She said that they never had a problem with this issue prior to this incident. (Interview statement, Attachment PP-5.)
As a result of this incident, the Police Department has implemented changes regarding documentation of receipt of incident reports by other departments. It now requires that the recipient sign a form documenting what reports were delivered. The Police Domestic Violence Response Unit maintains this form. This measure is certainly a step in the right direction, but Carmen Bushe has reported that even after this procedure was put in place, police officers have placed reports under the Probation Department's doorway. (Interview statements, Attachments PP-1 and 2.) The Probation Department has also created its own log, which lists the reports received from the Police and DA. (Attachment PP-1 and 2.)
We suggest that the three departments work together to develop a delivery and tracking system to ensure reports are delivered to and received by each department.
(5) Consider Sharing Resources to Ensure Each department has Full Criminal History at Each Stage of a Case.
As noted above, each department appeared to make decisions without reviewing and considering Ramirez's complete history. As noted below, we recommend each department develop and implement standards requiring staff to run criminal checks at set points of a case. We suggest the departments consider whether they could share resources to ensure checks are done without duplicating resources.
(6) Assess Department Training on Domestic Violence and Cross-train on Each Departments' Role.
As noted more specifically below, each department should review and assess its training on domestic violence. In addition, we suggest that each department train its staff on the role and duties of the other departments so that all staff are aware of each departments' roles and duties. Cross-training could help ensure that the Departments evaluate the seriousness of offenses similarly.
(7) Consider Establishing a Central Victim Assistance Office or Program to Assist Victims Throughout the Arrest, Criminal and Probation Process.
Each department interacts with the victims of domestic violence. Due to the pending litigation we were unable to assess victim follow-up by the Police Department and the quality of victim services provided by the District Attorney. We note, however, that Ms. Tempongko was required to deal with three agencies, as well as additional community service agencies, and multiple personnel from those agencies throughout this case.
We suggest better assistance might be offered by establishing a central victim assistance office or program that could assist victims from the time of the first police contact, through the court process until the end of the offenders' participation in the criminal justice system. Obviously, this suggestion needs further study and discussion. We recommend that the departments discuss the matter with each other and community domestic violence experts.
II. San Francisco Police Department
(1) Review Domestic Violence Training With the Assistance of the Commission and Women's Community.
As noted more specifically above in the fact chronology, the Police Department's response in this case suggest several deficits in its response. These include shortcomings in documenting one incident of violence (pp. 6-7. above); advising the victim of her options (p. 4); and documenting incidents adequately (pp. 15-16, 18). These deficiencies suggest the Police Department would benefit from reevaluating its training on Domestic Violence.
Further useful information would be gained by interviewing officers to determine (1) whether officers looked at the patterns of violence against Tempongko, rather than evaluate each incident individually; (2) what efforts they took to develop each and every case; (3) how they evaluated each incident to determine whether to forward the case to the DA and/or Adult Probation; (4) what role substance abuse by Ramirez and/or Ms. Tempongko has on their decisions and (5) what specific information they provided to the DA's Office, and how this may have influenced the DA's decisions whether to prosecute a case.
We also suggest interviewing officers to determine whether the POST Training for First Responders adequately prepares them for responding to domestic violence incidents. The training covers threat assessment, criminal charges that apply to DV situations, such as stalking, harassment, strangulation, etc. In her interview, trainer Candace Heisler stated that the area of strangulation in domestic violence cases is relatively new, and the Police Department may not devote enough time to this issue. (Interview statement, Attachment PP-9.)
In addition, we suggest interviewing Insp. Al Lum to determine (1) what happened to the two September police reports that the DA and the Probation department claim they did not receive and (2) why he decided not to present the strangulation case to the DA. As noted above at p. 17, according to the Chronicle Inspector Al Lum said "he had sent the case to probation rather than Hallinan's office because Tempongko had been drinking the night of the incident, had not been hospitalized and had not called the police to check on the progress of the case." (San Francisco Chronicle article dated October 15, 2000, Attachment OO-12.) We suggest Lum be interviewed regarding these statements.
We suggest the Police Department evaluate completely its training on domestic violence to determine its effectiveness for officers in the field. We strongly urge the Police Department to have the Commission and domestic violence advocates review the adequacy of its training and participate in revising it. Inclusion of these groups is particularly important, not only because of their expertise, but because this case has caused many women and domestic violence victim advocates to lose faith in the ability of the Police to respond to family violence. In addition, we suggest that the Police Department review personnel training records to determine if any officers need refresher-training classes.
Training should be reviewed to determine whether it adequately addresses (1) both the legal and social aspects of domestic violence; (2) strangulation and stalking crimes; (3) effective responses; (4) the impact of substance abuse on domestic violence; and (5) victim sensitivity.
We suggest the Department also review dispatcher training to make sure it adequately addresses domestic violence victims' issues. The information obtained by a dispatcher in the initial call for assistance is critical in building a criminal case against the offender.
(2) Ensure officers Follow General Orders Regarding Incident Report Writing.
As noted above, some of the police incident reports appear flawed in some aspects. More specifically, officers (1) appeared to fail to document the incident of violence that occurred on May 11, 1999 (pp. 6-7, above); (2) appeared to fail to appropriately identify the type of incident in the reports of September 2 and 7, 2000 (pp. 15-16); (3) seemed to title the September 7th report as a "Supplemental" incident report when there appears to be no original incident report (p. 18); and (4) seemed to lack detail regarding the threats Ramirez made in the September 7th report (p. 18). In addition, ADA Breall reported that since Ms. Tempongko's death, the ADA who does misdemeanor bookings told Breall that she reviewed two incidents reports recently in which the suspect was only charged with being drunk in public, yet the narrative of the report contained the elements for a domestic violence charge. (Meeting summary, Attachment PP-4.)
The Police Department must ensure that officers write accurate and comprehensive incident reports. These reports are the foundation on which a criminal prosecution is based, and they must be as detailed as possible. Supervisors must take the time to review these reports with a critical eye towards identifying all relevant charges and making sure that the elements of the crime are described in detail.
Since this case, the Police Department has trained officers on and implemented use of a new Domestic Violence Supplemental Checklist. (Attachment M-1.) This form will greatly assist in the collection of evidence at the scene of the crime. The checklist will be attached to all incident reports and should provide the DA with critical information on the suspect's history of violence.
(3) Reexamine Procedures, Policies and Training regarding Victim Follow Up.
The events of this case indicate that at least some responding officers and domestic violence investigators may have lacked sufficient understanding of how to effectively assist victims of domestic violence. As noted above at pp. 17, Insp. Al Lum was quoted in the San Francisco Chronicle as stating, "It's up to her to call or to come in for a follow-up. She didn't call, so we couldn't do a work-up." It is unknown at this time what was specifically done by officers to try and reach Tempongko after the September 1st incident.
The responsibility for establishing contact cannot fall solely on the shoulders of the victim. Officers must make all efforts to contact victims and witnesses of domestic violence assaults. Currently, cases are filed (i.e. not pursued) when inspectors are unable to establish contact. There are many legitimate reasons why a victim of domestic violence may not want to participate in legal action. All efforts should be made to talk with victims to ensure that they understand how the system can work on their behalf. Again, we suggest the Police Department work with the Commission and community advocates for battered women to discuss ways to more effectively reach and assist victims.
(4) Work with the Department of Human Services to Review Existing Policies Relating to Child Witnesses of Family Violence.
As noted above, we conducted no interviews with family members or responding officers regarding the homicide investigation. The family has alleged at public hearings that Ms. Tempongko's children were treated inappropriately the evening of Tempongko's murder when they were left in the care of a neighbor. Family members have also voiced concern that the children, key witnesses to the homicide, were not protected after the event, and a security meeting at their school did not take place in a timely fashion. Finally, Ms. Tempongko's children appear to have been present during each violent incident, yet, no City agency appeared to have offered services to them.
An analysis of these allegations exceeds the scope of our investigation. Generally speaking, we suggest that the police and department of human services review their existing policies to make sure that the needs of children are identified and protected in violent situations. The City's Safe Start project is currently working with City departments and community agencies to improve and coordinate their responses to child witnesses of family and community violence.
III. District Attorney's Office 13
(1) Implement and Enforce a Firm "No Drop" Policy.
The DA's Office Domestic Violence Felony and Misdemeanor Prosecution Protocol states, "The prosecutor has full control of the cases and prosecutes them to the fullest extent possible." (Attachment S-3.) The Protocol also states, "The charging decision is made by trial attorneys who are experienced at handling domestic violence cases. Where a case is provable, it will be charged." (Attachment S-3.) In addition, the protocol states that if a case is not filed, the "reasons for the decision will be noted in the file. If a case is not initially filed, it may still be charged with a subsequent domestic violence case if the reasons for the earlier dismissal no longer apply and the defendant's due process/speedy trial rights are not violated." (Attachment S-3.)
In her brief interview, ADA Breall said that the DA has a "no drop" policy, but there may be situations where it is not implemented. For example, she said that they might choose to drop a case where the victim does not want to cooperate rather than issue a body attachment to force her participation. (Meeting summary, Attachment PP-4.)
As described more fully above, the facts of Ms. Tempongko's case suggest that the ADAs handling the matter violated the "no drop" policy. First, the DA's office dropped the initial domestic violence charge from April 28, 1999. (P. 5, above). Second, it dropped the additional charges and agreed to a plea bargain on just one count of battery regarding the second reported incident. (Pp. 7-8, above.) Third, it failed to pursue the November 18, 1999 incident as a separate offense and pursued it only through a Motion to Revoke Probation. (Pp. 10, above.) Finally, the Office appeared to violate the policy when dismissing charges relating to the final reported incident before Ms. Tempongko's murder. (P. 19, above.)
We suggest interviewing the ADAs involved in the case to determine how decisions were made to drop charges. In particular, why did the DA's Office (1) drop the charge relating to the initial report of violence; (2) drop the additional counts in the plea agreement relating to the second incident of May 18, 1999 - was the ADA aware of the April 28 incident when she entered into the plea bargain regarding the May 18 incident? (3) Did the ADA who reviewed the November 18, 1999 incident review Ramirez's full history when deciding to proceed only by way of Motion to Revoke? (4) Was the ADA responsible for dismissing the matters relating to the final incident prior to Ms. Tempongko's murder aware of Ramirez's prior history? (5) Do ADAs review a suspect's entire history before determining whether to proceed? (6) Do they review past police reports and CADs?
On October 8, 1999, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that:
...Hallinan has a lower conviction rate in domestic
violence cases than any other district attorney in the state, convicting
about 1 in 4 people arrested for felony spousal abuse. ...The district attorney
declined to prosecute 55 percent of all
felony domestic violence arrests lodged with this office, more than three
times the state rate of 15.3. In addition, nearly
32 percent of all domestic violence complaints filed by the San Francisco
district attorney's office were dismissed before
trial or as part of the plea bargaining process -- the largest percentage
of dismissals in any highly populated county in
the state and almost twice the statewide average of 18.7 percent.
(San Francisco Chronicle article dated October 8, 1999, Attachment OO-15.) Hallinan and his staff responded that the numbers were misleading. The article quoted Richard Iglehart, at that time Hallinan's Chief Assistant, as stating, "A more appropriate method of determining conviction rates is to calculate convictions as a percentage of complaints filed, because those are cases that have been reviewed thoroughly by prosecutors who determined there was sufficient evidence to proceed." (San Francisco Chronicle article dated October 8, 1999, Attachment OO-15.)
When the Chronicle journalists in the above article
calculated the data using the method Iglehart urged, the City still ranked 51st
out of 58 counties in its conviction rate. (Attachment OO-15.) This same article
San Francisco has a low conviction rate in spousal
abuse cases because the district attorney's office
declines to file complaints in many serious cases and frequently ignores its
own "no-drop" policy in those cases it
does file, dismissing domestic violence charges - and other serious criminal
allegations - to get convictions on the
DA offices throughout the state handle the prosecution of domestic violence cases differently. For example, in the article, San Mateo County District Attorney Jim Fox stated "[his] formula for success is simple: His office files complaints in the vast majority of cases it receives from county law enforcement agencies, and it refuses to dismiss domestic violence charges, even if the victims are unwilling to testify against their abusers. We will go forward with those cases to a jury trial. We will not plea-bargain them down to assaults just to get convictions." (San Francisco Chronicle article, Attachment OO-15.)
We suggest that the DA enforce its "no drop" policy regarding dropping domestic violence cases and ensure that his staff is trained in and follows the policy.
(2) Enforce DA Policy to Request State Prison When A Defendant on Felony Probation Violates a Stay Away Order or Later Commits A Domestic Violence-Related Crime.
The DA has a policy to request state prison for all repeat domestic violence offenders who are currently on probation for a domestic violence related incident. On November 7, 2000, ADA Breall sent a memo reiterating this policy to all ADAs in the Domestic Violence Unit. She said:
This memo serves as a reminder of our policy to ask for state prison for all repeat domestic violence offenders who are currently on probation for a domestic violence related incident. We should also request state prison when the defendant is on DV felony probation and subsequently violates a stay away order, or later commits a domestic violence related crime. Please see the attached DV Unit Meeting Agenda from Liz Aguilar-Tarchi dated January 6, 1999.
(Memo, Attachment S-4.) The January 6, 1999 memo states:
Felony MTR Assignments - Cases where we have not filed the new case but are proceeding to the Felony Motion to Revoke are being assigned by me on a rotating basis to each Felony ADA.
(a) Let's not make Felony MTRs a revolving door. If a case warrants revocation, (E.G. REPEAT DV OFFENDER, REPEATED VIOLATIONS OF Stay Away Order, or other lethality factors are present) PUT IN THE HEARING AND ASK FOR STATE PRISON. If the Judge decides not to, at least you have made your record BY PROCEEDING ON THE HEARING.
It appears that this policy was not followed in Ms. Tempongko's case. As noted above, after the November 18th, 1999 incident, the Probation Department recommended that Probation be revoked and Ramirez be sent to state prison. The ADA agreed to a plea bargain modifying probation. (See p. 11.) After the loitering incident, on September 22, 2000, the ADA again agreed to a modification of probation. (See pp. 19-20.)
We suggest that the Office codify its policy in its Protocol, train its attorneys on it, and enforce the policy.
(3) Run Defendant's Criminal History Prior to Every Court Appearance and Ensure all Incidents Are Presented to the Court in a Timely Fashion.
During several points in this case, the DA's office was unaware of new criminal conduct by Ramirez. It appeared to be unaware of the loitering incident when proceeding of the first Motion to Revoke Probation (pp. 10-11, above) and of the September 1st, 2000 incident when disposing of the Motion to Revoke Probation on September 22, 2000 (pp. 19-20.)14 Although the DA knew of the September 7th incident, it failed to review it in the context of Ramirez's complete history. Certainly, the lack of awareness of these incidents impacted the DA's handling of this matter.
The DA's Office should provide the court with current and up to date criminal histories. Similarly, it should ensure that it presents each criminal incident, whether as a new offense or part of a Motion to Revoke Probation, in a timely fashion. Hopefully, a new computer system will assist in this process by coordinating this information with the court calendar. Regardless, the DA's Office should set aside the necessary resources to guarantee that judges have current criminal histories for every defendant at each and every court hearing. We suggest that the DA run defendants' criminal histories even when matters have been continued from a previous hearing date.
(4) Enforce Commitment to Vertical Prosecution.
The DA Protocol describes the office's commitment to Vertical Prosecution. Ideally, unit attorneys appear at all arraignments, hearing and trials. Motions to Revoke Probation are supposed to be handled by the domestic violence unit whenever possible. (Attachment S-3.) In addition, the California Department of Justice awarded the DA's Office a grant under its Spousal Abuser Prevention Program. As a condition of the grant, the DA agreed to vertical prosecution of domestic violence cases. (Program Guidelines.)
We do not know if the various ADAs who handled Ramirez's hearings were all from the Domestic Violence unit. We do know, however, that numerous ADAs appeared at various hearings, while the same deputy public defender appeared on behalf of Ramirez. (See chronology, above.) An ADA who does not have a complete history or understanding of the defendant's prior assaults on the victim may drastically influence the outcome.
We suggest that the DA reexamine its commitment to vertical prosecution and ensure his attorneys adhere to it.
(5) Enforce Policy to Avoid Unnecessary Continuances.
According to its Protocol, the DA's Office is
to avoid unnecessary continuances. (Attachment S-3.) According to Superior
Court JoAnn McAllister the most critical time for a victim is between arrest
and sentencing. She said, "If there's been a new incident, and it's sitting
on a desk, she's in danger more so than if there had been no prompt reaction.
. . . There are periods when there is more danger than others." (Interview
statement, Attachment PP-8.)
The court continued Ramirez's probation revocation hearing for six months. (See p.13.) We do not know why this hearing was continued so many times. We suggest interviewing the ADAs involved to determine the cause for the multiple continuances and the turnover of ADAs.
We suggest that the DA's office review, train ADAs on and enforce its policy regarding continuances.
(6) Review and Assess Efficacy of Victim Training and Services.
The DA's Office has a Victim Advocacy Unit. No interviews were conducted with the staff of the DA Victim Advocacy Unit because of pending litigation. A review of the Victim Advocacy Unit's Policy and Procedures Manual describes the duties of advocates and how they are to document their contacts with victims. (Attachment S-5.) We suggest that staff members be interviewed regarding their contact with Ms. Tempongko.
The DA's Felony and Misdemeanor Prosecution Protocol contains useful information regarding victims of domestic violence. (Attachment S-3.) We suggest additional investigation regarding the amount of training ADAs receive regarding the victims of domestic violence. In particular, the transcript of the June 7, 1999 plea hearing is troubling, as it describes Ms. Tempongko as weeping when the court was considering whether to lift the Stay Away Order. Judge Douglass asks ADA Odom "to spend a moment with her to see if you can calm her down." (Attachment FF-19.)
Without questioning ADA Odom as to why Ms. Tempongko was crying and so upset, we cannot assess the efficacy of the DA's victim advocacy. We note that Victim Services Unit offers support to victims during court hearings. (Attachment S-9.) In does not appear that Ms. Tempongko had such support at the hearing. We suggest investigating whether she was offered the services. We suggest inquiring about the content of the conversation, what use Odom made of the Victim Services Unit and whether she feels better assistance could have been offered to Ms. Tempongko.
(7) Spot Check Domestic Violence Cases to Ensure They Are Handled Properly.
As noted above, the DA's Office did not appear to handle aspects of the case according to established protocol. We suggest that the Office spot check cases to ensure they are handled properly. Managers should review cases to make sure that ADAs are following policies and that criminal cases are aggressively prosecuted.
IV. Adult Probation Department
As noted above, we conducted interviews with Carmen Bushe, Division Director of Community Services Specialized Units, and Jorge Perez, Ramirez's former probation officer. Marie Lavin, Perez's supervisor and the supervisor overseeing his caseload, is still on leave from the Department, and on advice of her personal attorney, she declined to be interviewed at this time. It should be noted that the Probation Department answered questions specifically related to how they handled Ramirez's case, and candidly discussed staffing and systemic problems within their department.
Carmen Bushe was asked to state her opinion as to what went wrong. She said, "I believe that the incident reports were assessed individually without having the privilege of reviewing this defendant's pattern of behavior and criminal background. And so, consequently, it was not given the proper assessment that would indicate that this victim was in danger." She wondered what specific background information was provided to the various police officers when they responded to the calls for service. Also, once the cases were assigned to the Police Domestic Violence Response Unit, she wondered whether they were assigned to an inspector who knew the history of abuse. And as far as probation was concerned, they did not have an officer in place to receive the incident reports, if in fact they were sent there. (Interview statement, Attachment PP 1-2.)
(1) Develop and Implement Written Standards of Supervision, Train Staff on them, and Review Cases for Compliance.
On October 2, 2000, the San Francisco Controller's Officer issued an audit report. (Attachment W.) The report concluded, "The Adult Probation Department weak management systems and lack of oversight have led to inadequate supervision of criminal offenders, which could jeopardize public safety and has resulted in loss of revenue to the City." (Attachment W.)
At the time of the audit, the Probation Department did not know how many offenders it supervised, even though that is its primary mandate. (Audit Report, Attachment W.) The Department lacks a systematic method of tracking probationers' compliance, and their computer information system is insufficient and outdated. (Audit Report, Attachment W.)
In addition, Probation Department staff reported a concern that "the lack of clear policies and procedures means that employees are passing along their individual practices, whether correct or not, thus perpetuating inconsistency and inaccuracy." (Audit Report, Attachment W.) The Department maintains old written policies that are no longer applicable. For example, Policy 104.20, New Arrest of Persons' on Probation, issued on March 6, 1985, and was active at the time of Ms. Tempongko's murder. (Attachment Y.) This policy discusses the duties of the Court Services Unit, a unit that was disbanded approximately ten years ago. When the unit was active, one of its duties was to identify probationers who were charged with new felony arrests and to immediately notify their probation officer of the new arrest. (Attachment Y.) No one at the Probation Department provides this critical service at this time. There is no new policy providing guidance to probation officers on how to handle new arrests. Instead, they receive individual instruction from their supervisor. Since supervisors handle matters differently, there is no uniform policy.
We recommend that the Department develop written standards of supervision. The Department should consider putting together a checklist of minimum standards that should be fulfilled on every case on a monthly basis. We suggest that the Department consult with the court, other criminal justice experts and community advocates when developing these standards of supervision. In addition, we suggest that the procedures require supervisors to review caseloads on a regular basis to make certain that these standards are being enforced.
(2) Develop and Implement Policy Regarding Frequency of Criminal History Checks.
As noted above, the Probation Department was unaware of new incidents of violence during several periods throughout Ramirez's case.
Currently, probation officers are required to run a criminal history check only prior to writing a report for a Motion to Revoke Probation. (Interview statement, Attachment PP-1 and 2.) If the matter is continued, the report remains in the file, but officers do not routinely run another check on the defendant to determine if additional charges were picked up between court matters. There is no written policy requiring probation officers to run criminal history checks as a means of monitoring a defendant's criminal activity. A probation officer currently relies on instinct and whether a defendant is participating in his program to determine if the officer should run a criminal check on the defendant.
If a reliable computer notification system is developed, probation officers will automatically be notified of new incidents and, therefore, will not need to run criminal histories. Unless and until such a system is implemented, we suggest that the Department develop and implement a written policy regarding how officers should maintain accurate criminal background checks on probationers.
(3) Create a Incident Report Receipt Log and Tracking System.
As noted above, the Probation Department could not determine whether it received the September incident reports involving Ramirez.
According to Carmen Bushe, all incident reports that are forwarded to Adult Probation from the Police Department Domestic Violence Unit and the DA's Office are delivered to the Probation Department's front reception desk. A staff person determines who the assigned probation officer is, and then forwards the report to the appropriate unit. If the case is for the Probation Department's Domestic Violence Unit, the staff member routes the report to the Unit's secretary, who identifies the probation officer and places the report in the officer's mail folder. Probation officers are supposed to pick up their mail daily. In cases where there is no current probation officer assigned, or if a probation officer is on vacation, the incident reports are supposed to be handled by a supervisor. They are supposed to review the report and assign the necessary work to another probation officer. This process could take up to two days. (Interview statements, Attachments PP-1 and 2.) Perez recalled that it was not unusual to see an incident report sitting in folders for extended periods of time. (Interview statement, Attachment P-3 .) If a probation officer does not receive an incident report, they probably would not know that their probationer was scheduled for court on a new matter.
The Police Department created and maintains a form that lists incident reports delivered to the Adult Probation Department on a daily basis. Probation Department staff members are supposed to sign upon receipt of these reports. (Attachment M-2.) According to Bushe, the Probation Department has also created its own log, which lists the reports received from the Police and DA. (Attachment PP-2.)
We suggest that the Probation Department expand this log to include a tracking system documenting what happens to these reports internally. We suggest that the log indicate the date the report was received, when it was forwarded to the unit, when it was reviewed by a supervisor, and finally, when it was delivered to the appropriate probation officer. Such a system would guarantee that the Probation Department could track reports and make certain they were delivered to probation officers in a timely fashion.
(4) Implement a Policy Requiring Officers to Note in Case Narratives When They Receive Incident Reports.
As noted above, the Probation Department cannot determine how and when it learned of Ramirez's loitering arrest. Probation officers are not required to document receipt of new reports.
We suggest that the Probation Department implement a policy requiring probation officers to note in a probationer's file when an incident report was received and the action taken. A tracking system and notations in the case file would have enabled the department to evaluate what happened in this case in order to identify any potential system problems.
(5) Advocate for Adequate Staffing and Case Assignments.
As noted above, the Probation Department had no officer assigned to Ramirez's case from the end of June 2000 until November 2000. The remainder of Perez's caseload was left unassigned until February 2001. (Interview statement, Attachment PP-1 and 2.) At the time he left the office, he was responsible for supervising 110 probationers. Six months earlier, he was responsible for supervising 180 individuals. (Interview statement, Attachment PP 3.)
According to Carmen Bushe, in March 2001, the Domestic Violence Unit had assigned to it fourteen probation officers with approximately 100 offenders on each officers' caseload. Bushe reported that at that time, the office had 25 vacancies and has difficulty retaining employees. Some of these high-risk caseloads were unassigned at the time of the interview. These unassigned caseloads are under the direction of the "Officer of the Day," a person who fields walk-in and telephone calls. Probation Department policy and the Domestic Violence Unit Protocol require probation officers to have monthly contact with offenders. (Attachments Y and EE.) The Department does not enforce this requirement with respect to caseloads that are unassigned. Defendants are told to call in and speak with the Officer of the Day, but no one tracks the offenders to determine if they comply.
The City should adequately fund the Probation Department to ensure that high-risk offenders are supervised. A ratio of one probation officer for 100 or more probationers is too high for effective monitoring. If the caseloads are reduced, then higher supervision standards should be established and reviewed on a regular basis. In the interim, the Probation Department needs to determine how to supervise unassigned caseloads.
Finally, the Probation Department must keep the court informed about its case coverage and supervision level. We do not know if the Court was aware of the lack of supervision over Ramirez's case. Such information is likely to impact court disposition of matters involving probationers.
(6) Review Policy to Consider Requiring Probation to Initiate a Motion To Revoke Probation Based on Any New Criminal Contact.
Motions to Revoke Probation can be filed by either the DA or the Probation Department. During the time of this case, the Probation Department had no written policy on when to file a Motion to Revoke. According to Carmen Bushe, as a result of Tempongko's death, the Probation Department changed its policy to require probation officers to file a Motion to Revoke whenever a domestic violence offender has a new domestic violence incident. (Interview statement, Attachments PP-1 and 2, Attachment &-6.) We suggest that the Probation Department review this policy to determine whether Probation should file on any new criminal contact.
(7) Require Domestic Violence Training for Probation Officers in the Domestic Violence Unit.
The Probation Department provides domestic violence training for probation officers when available. It is voluntary, but well attended when offered. (Interview statement, Attachment PP-2.) The Department should coordinate their training with the Police Department, the DA's Office, the court and community groups to guarantee that everyone has a consistent understanding of all the components involved in domestic violence cases. Community resource specialists should be consulted and used as resources to ensure that the victim's role is understood by all. Domestic violence training should be mandatory for all probation officers working in the Domestic Violence Unit.
(8) Consider Creating a Victim Advocate Position.
Currently, a probation officer is only required to send a victim a notification letter, which provides them with the probation officer's name and contact information. If the victim has any questions, it is her responsibility to contact the probation officer. (Interview statement, Attachment PP-2.)
We suggest that the Department consider creating a staff position to work with victims to try and establish a more personal relationship with them. This increased communication could decrease the potential for further violent incidents. The victim could inform the probation officer of participation in counseling programs, and describe behavior at home. Ideally, this communication could increase the possibility of early intervention in potentially lethal situations.
(9) Establish Better Communication with Social Service Agencies.
Luis Ortega and Antonio Ramirez from POCOVI stated during their interview that it was often difficult to get a return call from probation officers. Also, they are not consistently informed when their client has been rearrested. All they know is that the client does not appear for four weeks, but they do not know why. (Interview statement, Attachment PP-15.)
We suggest that the Probation Department work with service agencies to improve communication. Obviously, this recommendation relates to the staffing issue. Increased monitoring and communication would benefit probation and program facilitators; both can be more effective when they have more knowledge about the actions of the offender.
V. San Francisco Superior Court
Judges are the ultimate authority in the criminal justice system and have a significant impact on how domestic violence cases are handled in our City. We conducted interviews with Judges Mary Morgan and Julie Tang. (Attachments PP-6 & 7.) Both Judges have sat in the Domestic Violence Court, and they have extensive background in this area of the law. In addition, we interviewed JoAnn McAllister, Analyst with the San Francisco Superior Courts, who was hired to assess the Domestic Violence Court.
(1) Establish a Unified Domestic Violence Court to Supervise Felony and Misdemeanor Defendants.
In June 1997, the court approved a plan to create a Domestic Violence Court for misdemeanor cases. "The goal of the domestic violence court is two-fold: to ensure victims' safety; and hold offenders accountable." (Attachment GG.) If a defendant is granted probation on a misdemeanor domestic violence charge, part of his sentence requires participation in a 52-week offender-counseling program. In addition, the defendant must make regular and frequent scheduled court appearances. (Judge Morgan Interview statement, Attachment PP-6.) This intensive judicial supervision has proven to be extremely beneficial. Judges are able to monitor a defendant's participation in counseling, and if they re-offend, the Judge can take prompt action. Because defendants are monitored by the special court, generally, the same judicial officer is responsible for monitoring all aspects of the case. (Interview statement, Attachment PP-6.)
JoAnn McAllister, Analyst with the San Francisco Superior Courts, was hired in November 2000 to gather and assess data to evaluate the effectiveness of the Domestic Violence Court, the Probation Department's monitoring of the court-ordered batterer intervention programs and the effectiveness of the compliance programs.15 McAllister stated, "we know from the research on domestic violence and the criminal justice system that court supervision and probation supervision are extremely important in deterring further violence. It's just a given. . . . So definitely, judicial oversight is a critical factor." (Interview statement, Attachment PP-8.)
To assist the court in effectively supervising the probationers, the Domestic Violence Court has an assigned probation officer who is responsible for running the criminal history of people who are scheduled to appear on calendar. This enables the court to have the most up-to date criminal history for each defendant. (Interview statement, Attachment PP-6.)
Although they have been convicted of more serious offenses, the supervision of defendants on felony probation is markedly less intense. These probationers are not supervised by the Domestic Violence court. Consequently, their cases are not routinely monitored by the court. Nor must they appear before the same judicial officer. Interestingly, state law requires the batterers' programs to report to the court, as well as the prosecutor and probation department, when the probationer violates a protective order or fails to comply with the program requirements. (Penal Code sec. 1203.097(a)(1)(B).) Practically speaking it appears impossible for programs to do so under the present situation where there is no specialized court. Finally, there is no requirement that anyone run the criminal history of the individuals appearing before the court. As evident from Ramirez's cases, there is no guarantee that judges are receiving complete criminal histories for defendants that appear before them.
We suggest that the San Francisco Superior Court create a Domestic Violence court to supervise both felony and misdemeanor defendants. We recommend that this Domestic Violence Court have a full time probation officer assigned to it to pull criminal records of all defendants appearing in court and maintain close contact with the defendant's probation officer. Communication between social service agencies, the court and the probation department would improve merely from the court's requirement that the offender provide regular progress reports regarding their program participation and progress.
In addition, we suggest that the Superior Court consider having civil matters relating to domestic violence cases be heard by the Domestic Violence Court. The unification of the civil and criminal courts on this issue could streamline the process by which victims and their families may obtain restraining orders and permit more effective court monitoring of those restraining order. According to Judge Morgan, this unification has been implemented successfully in other counties. (Interview statement, Attachment PP-6.) The courts should consider conducting a study to determine the feasibility for San Francisco. Even if the court decides not to merge civil and criminal domestic violence matters, the court could explore ways in which to expedite and simplify the process for obtaining and monitoring restraining orders.
(2) Develop a Protocol For the Lifting of Restraining Orders.
As noted above, at the June 18, 1999, hearing, the court lifted the stay away order against Ramirez, despite Ms. Tempongko's obvious upset. (See p. 8, above.) According to Judges Morgan and Tang, the lifting of Stay Away Orders is a problematic area for judges. (Interview statements, Attachment-PP 6 and 7.) Both judges acknowledge that there is no judicial protocol regarding the lifting of Stay Away Orders, which leaves a great deal of room for judicial discretion. A judge's training in the area of domestic violence, on a legal, psychological and social level, greatly influences how he or she responds to these court matters. Currently, domestic violence training is not mandatory. (See Recommendation No. 3, below.)
Judge Morgan stated that she does not like to lift a stay away order, but acknowledged that there might be some circumstances in which this is necessary to reunite a family. When she does lift such an order, she requires the defendant to make weekly appearances to ensure that the defendant stays on track and understands that the court is watching. (Interview statement, Attachment PP 6.) Judge Tang stated that she requires the victim to state on the record why she did not want a Stay Away Order. She also evaluates the dedication of the defendant, the program status and the Probation Department and Family Violence Project's recommendations regarding this issue. In addition, she noted that if a victim is visibly emotional in court, she puts the matter over for another day to make sure the victim is making this decision without duress. (Interview statement, Attachment PP-7.) Both Judge Morgan and Judge Tang agreed that the issue was complicated. (Interview statements, Attachments PP-6 and 7.)
The court should consider developing a protocol for how to handle Stay Away and Restraining Orders. Perhaps judges could create guidelines, or a list of questions to ask victims, which would assist them in obtaining information that would guide their decision making process. It would also be beneficial to cite the reasons for lifting a Stay Away Order on the record. The court should request that the victim be in court, and try to determine if she/he is making this request freely and without duress.
(3) Require that Judicial Officers Handling Domestic Violence Matters Be Trained in Domestic Violence.
Both Judge Morgan and Judge Tang stated that judicial training on domestic violence is available and adequate. It is, however, voluntary. (Interview statements, Attachment PP-6 and 7.) The Office for Victims of Crime Bulletin states, "Judges should play a leadership role in ensuring that police, prosecutors, defense counsel, judges and court administrators receive joint training so that all have a comprehensive picture of what happens to a victim as he or she navigates through the criminal justice system." (Attachment JJ.)
The Superior Court should review the available domestic violence training and consider making such training mandatory for all judges, or at least for those judges handling domestic violence matters. The training should include sensitivity towards crime victims. Emphasis would be on making sure that victims' rights are explained to victims completely. Training should also provide a comprehensive review of the criminal justice system's response to domestic violence and the impact of alcohol and substance abuse on domestic violence.
(4) Work with the Police Department, DA and the Probation Department to Coordinate Computer Data Systems and Implement System-Wide Statistical Data Collection.
Currently, it appears that the Police Department, DA and Probation Department collect their own data relating to domestic violence cases. It does not appear that this information is shared or analyzed as a whole to determine strengths and weaknesses, as well as an analysis of the success rate of the community offender programs.
McAllister is currently evaluating the systems of the Adult Probation Department and the Court. Next, she plans on working with the Probation Department to formulate a committee that will implement a new certification process for batterers' programs. McAllister stated, "...everything needs to be brought up to a certain standard before we can even begin to look at how effective our system is." She continued, "We have systemic gaps and systemic lack of knowledge. . . .the base of this all is to have a data collection system and also a community that communicates. So that we're communicating between all of the major players, courts, police, DA, batterer programs, probation and all. That would definitely be an improvement on the present fragmentation." (Interview statement, Attachment PP-8.)
The City should evaluate the computer data system and include a methodology for system wide data collection. We suggest that an individual or committee evaluate these data on a regular basis and make public recommendations as a result of analysis of the data.
(5) Work with the Probation Department to Increase Staffing Levels.
As noted above in the section addressing the Probation Department, the Probation Department's level of staffing is far from adequate. Furthermore, we do not know if all members of the Superior Court bench are aware of how inadequate the staffing levels are and the extent to which probationers' cases are left unsupervised.
We suggest the Court work with the Probation Department to address staffing levels. In addition, we suggest that the Court ensure that all of its judicial officers are aware of this issue.
(6) Encourage Defendant Participation in Parent Education Classes When Appropriate.
Judge Morgan recommended that the court encourage defendant participation in parent education classes. She noted that, often, women choose to remain with a battering partner. She believes we should provide them with learning tools that could have a positive impact on the family as a whole. These classes could involve both the victim and offender, as well as children, if appropriate. She noted that children are greatly impacted by violence in the home, even if they are not a direct recipient of the violent behavior. (Interview statement, Attachment PP-6.) The court could supervise these parent education classes by requiring regular progress reports.
VI. Social Service Agencies
We conducted interviews with staff from POCOVI, RSVP, Manalive, and Woman, Inc., and reviewed documents from the Mission Council on Alcohol Abuse and RSVP. The batterers program staff all said that Ramirez was an excellent participant who took the program seriously. His progress reports were typically very good. (Attachments LL-5 & PP-11, 12, 15). He was written up by staff once for a minor violation for calling a female staff member a "bitch." (Attachment LL-7.) He even went so far as to help others understand the program concepts. (Interview statement, Attachment PP-12.) As we note above, however, during several points in his treatment, Ramirez was non-compliant. (See pp. 8, 15, above.) Staff from the service agencies were shocked, and extremely upset when they learned about Ms. Tempongko's murder.
When Ramirez was attending the RSVP program at San Bruno, Luis Ortega was the facilitator of the Spanish-speaking group. He stated that at one point, Ramirez voiced suicidal thoughts to Ortega. He informed a deputy and the RSVP staff, and he thought that Ramirez was evaluated by the Jail Psychiatric Unit. (Interview statement, Attachment PP-15.) According to Bianka Ramirez, RSVP would not typically call the probation officer with that information, and the probation officer would have no way of learning about it.
It is critical that suicidal information be shared with probation officers because this is one of the factors that need to be considered when evaluating lethality issues. If a probation officer doesn't know about these issues, he/she cannot properly monitor an offender when they are released from custody. RSVP recently funded a position for probation officer to work out of the RSVP program to ensure that the Probation Department has better coordination with RSVP and Manalive. (Interview statement, Attachment PP-14.) This is an excellent step towards better communication and coordination between the in-custody and out-of-custody DV programs.
(1) Evaluate Batterers' Programs to Determine their Effectiveness.
As stated directly above, Ramirez's service providers stated that he was an excellent participant. His providers were shocked when they learned of Ms. Tempongko's murder. That he performed so well, yet continued his violence (the two incidents in September, as well as the homicide) demonstrates that the programs were not effective for him.
In addition, as noted throughout the chronology, Ramirez's violent episodes were accompanied by alcohol use. During his interview, Urban Poole stated that he believes that the Manalive and RSVP programs insufficiently address mental health and substance abuse issues. (Attachment PP-13.)
As noted above, the court is currently evaluating the effectiveness of the battery programs. Such an evaluation is necessary so that judicial officers will have better information to guide them when determining whether placing a defendant on probation and ordering him to complete a batterers' program is an effective disposition. In addition, we suggest that service organizations work closely with the courts and Probation Department to make sure that their programs adequately address substance abuse and mental health issues.
(2) Ensure Staff Understand Legal Parameters of Domestic Violence Victim-Counselor Privilege and Work with the Probation Department to Determine When Victim's Communications Should Be Shared.
As noted above, Ms. Tempongko attended a "women's gathering" hosted by RSVP and held at Women, Inc. RSVP invited all victims of batterers attending the RSVP program. The invitation letter stated that the "Women's Gathering is completely confidential . . .." (Attachment LL-14.) Prior to this gathering, on February 7, 2000, Bianka Ramirez sent Ms. Tempongko a letter that stated, "My relationship with you and the services that I provide you are completely confidential." (Attachment LL-11.) Staff from RSVP's batterers programs also attended the Women's Gathering. These staff members did not have a client relationship with Tempongko, and they rarely have contact with victims.
As noted above, Ms. Tempongko made statements at this gathering that were heard by the offender program staff, as well as the other victims, Victim Restoration Program staff, and Woman, Inc staff. She indicated that she was forced to come to the event by her offender, and she was clearly unhappy being there. Later, to a more intimate group of counseling staff, she indicated that she feared that either he was going to kill her, or she would kill him. (See pp. 13-14, above.)
California law establishes a domestic violence victim-counselor privilege. (See Evid. Code sec. 1037 et. seq.) The privilege protects "confidential communication" between the victim and the counselor in the course of their relationship. (Evid.Code sec. 1037.2.)16 The law defines that "confidential communication" as "information transmitted between the victim and the counselor in the course of their relationship and in confidence by a means which, so far as the victim is aware, discloses the information to no third persons other than those who are present to further the interests of the victim in the consultation or those to whom disclosures are reasonably necessary for the transmission of the information or accomplishment of the purposes for which the domestic violence counselor is consulted." (Ibid.)
It does not appear that Ms. Tempongko's comments when participating in the Women's Gathering were confidential communications protected by law.
The question remains, should the offender program staff have called Ramirez's probation officer and voiced their concern about Ms. Tempongko's safety? It is difficult to know if such intervention is helpful or puts victims at greater risk. We suggest that program staff be trained on the legal parameters of the domestic violence victim-counselor privilege. We also suggest that offender program staff, advocates for battered women and the Probation Department discuss the issue and develop some standards on when such information should be shared.
There are some unanswered questions regarding whether or not the City could have responded better to the calls for help from Claire Tempongko. While no one knows if any action taken by the City would have prevented her tragic death, this investigation has determined that citywide changes are necessary, and that systems can always be improved regarding the City's response to domestic violence.
The recommendations discussed above are not necessarily new ideas to those who have worked in the field of domestic violence, but they present an overview of the areas that need to be developed and reviewed. We cannot assume that our systems are effectively working without a constant review and critical analysis of their efficiency. We must learn from other counties and states with successful programs, and most importantly, we must continue to engage in dialogue with community advocates to better understand how law enforcement and the criminal justice system can protect victims of domestic violence. Even if we never have answers to the numerous questions regarding how specific departments responded to Tempongko's charges against Ramirez, certainly enough has been learned to begin creating policy and implementing necessary changes. This review must be continual and inclusive of law enforcement, the courts, social service agencies, community groups, and the victims themselves. Hopefully, this commitment will create structures that improve San Francisco's response to domestic violence.
1 Again, as noted throughout the report, there are additional areas of inquiry that you may wish to pursue with the Police Department and District Attorney's Office at the conclusion of the litigation.
2 Relevant Penal Code sections are included in Attachment P.
3 The letter is provided at Attachment F-7.
4 The DA's Office had previously dismissed the battery charge relating to the first instance of violence.
5 His last day in the office was on June 30, 2000; he took his last two weeks as vacation time.
6 Candace Heisler, a retired ADA who now teaches several classes for the Police Officers Standards and Training stated that citation charges are not entered on a suspect's RAP sheet until after the suspect is processed at arraignment. (Interview statement, Attachment PP-9.) Arraignment generally occurs four weeks after the incident.
7 According to Deputy Public Defender ("DPD") Lidia Stiglich's Statement of Facts, Ramirez's RAP sheet was attached to the Motion. (Attachment FF-38.) The RAP sheet included the citation for the loitering charge.
8 This program is actually called the Post Release Education Program ("PREP").
9 Probation Officer Perez often cites POCOVI as the counseling agency in his chronology notes. (Attachment V-42). However, it appears that Ramirez was actually attending Manalive PREP during the time that Perez thought he was attending POCOVI.
10 It appears that he picked up his two new criminal cases during the transitional two-week break period between the two phases.
11 Perez, Ramirez's former probation officer, had been gone for over two months and no other probation officer had been monitoring Ramirez's case.
12 At this time, we do not know whether the Domestic Violence Response Unit has any Unit Orders addressing this area.
13 In an article by Tanya Brannan, posted on the Purple Berets web site, she states that DA Hallinan spoke with her in some detail over the telephone after the Commission held a press conference at which she was critical of the DA's Office. (Attachment OO-16.) Brannan states that she and Hallinan discussed the Tempongko case in great detail. Brannan writes, "Hallinan admitted they had made mistakes . . .. " Brannan states that Hallinan agreed to the following recommendations: (1) that he immediately bring his domestic violence conviction rate up; (2) that he enforce a policy that, when domestic violence probation is violated with another violent incident, the prosecution will move to revoke the probation and file new felony charges on the latest incident; (3) that he set a policy that all domestic violence probation violations be sent to his office for charging; and (4) that he randomly spot-check cases in the office, starting with all domestic violence probation cases. (Attachment OO-16.)
14 Certainly the fact the Police apparently did not forward the September 1st incident report to the DA and titled the September 7th incident incorrectly as a drunk and disorderly incident impacted the DA's handling of the matter.
15 McAllister provided a draft copy of an overview of San Francisco Domestic Violence Response Process, which was prepared for the Department of Child Youth and their Families in November 2000. (Attachment GG.) This document provides an excellent overview of the criminal and civil response to domestic violence incidents.
16 The law provides that the court may compel disclosure of information received by a counselor which constitutes relevant evidence of the facts and circumstances involving a crime perpetrated against the victim or other household member, if the court determines that the probative value of the information outweighs the effect of disclosure of the information on the victim, the counseling relationship, and counseling services. (Evid. Code sec. 1037.2.)