On Monday, June 26, prosecutors began dismissing felony drug cases, but public defenders did not see it coming. Prosecutors were not disclosing the reason, but it seemed to have something to do with veteran SFPD officer Christina Hayes, who has been the arresting officer, executor of warrants, and testifying witness in countless drug cases. Prosecutors did not share any Brady material on Hayes with the defense counsel, but by the end of the week, at least five cases had been dismissed.

On Tuesday, June 27, two news stories broke almost at the same time. Jonah Lamb and Michael Barba of the San Francisco Standard and Megan Cassidy of the San Francisco Chronicle revealed that, on June 20, Officer Hayes had been taken out of the narcotics unit and placed on desk duty where she could not have contact with the public. The press revealed allegations that Hayes had engaged in an inappropriate relationship with a confidential informant. Such a relationship would compromise the integrity of Hayes’s work, making her an unreliable witness.

It is unclear how long the SFPD and the District Attorney’s office were aware of any alleged misconduct, but neither agency notified the Public Defender’s Office.

The Public Defender’s Office has an ethical obligation to our clients to assess whether and how many cases may have been tainted by misconduct. This will take countless hours of work and require additional resources. We are already working on addressing this issue and will continue to do so. If you have any questions, please contact our office.


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