Woman Acquitted Twice by Two Separate Juries in Same Month – PD Questions DA’s Motive in Filing Loitering Charges

San Francisco, CA – A 26-year-old San Francisco woman was acquitted twice by two separate juries. Tried twice over a one-month period, the woman had been charged by prosecutors with loitering with the intent to commit prostitution on June 8, 2007 and October 23, 2007 in San Francisco.

Prosecutors argued that the woman had been seen by a vice officer in the early morning hours, waving to male drivers and wearing suggestive clothing. The vice officer, Steven Revella, testified that he believed that the woman was engaged in prostitution.

According to Deputy Public Defender Qiana Washington, “This case demonstrates the danger presented in cases where loitering is charged, because often innocent conduct is mischaracterized as a crime.” Washington, who tried both cases, said “my client faced jail time because of the District Attorney’s decision to prosecute my client twice on weak cases that should have never been tried. Fortunately, both juries did the right thing by acquitting her of these charges.”

Public Defender Jeff Adachi said that it is rare for a person to be tried for two separate cases in a single month. “This case gives the term ‘double jeopardy’ a new meaning. The tragedy is that the D.A.’s decision to try this case cost the taxpayers thousands of dollars, not to mention the time of two dozen citizens.”

The first not guilty verdict was delivered on April 16, 2008; the second acquittal was announced on April 28, 2008.

The mission of the Public Defender’s office is to provide vigorous, effective, competent and ethical legal representation to persons who are accused of crime and cannot afford to hire an attorney. Established in 1921, the San Francisco Public Defender has a long, proud history of providing top-notch representation to its clients, and championing programs that help people turn their lives around.

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