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DA Kamala Harris introduces new management team

June 29, 2010 1:34:02 PM PDT
San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris this morning introduced her new management team of prosecutors.

Harris announced the leadership changes earlier this month, including the retirement of her second-in-command, Chief Assistant District Attorney Russ Giuntini.

The recent scandal involving the Police Department's drug lab has hit Harris' office hard, forcing prosecutors to drop hundreds of drug cases since it was revealed in early March that a former lab employee had allegedly been stealing cocaine from evidence.

Drug cases constitute approximately 60 percent of the office's caseload.

Harris said today she does not have information on the total number of cases that have been dismissed to date, but added that drug evidence in some cases is being retested by outside labs daily in order to re-file charges.

Harris said that "a number of factors" prompted the changes in her management team. Primary among them, she said, were the retirements of several senior prosecutors who wanted receive a generous retirement package from the city that they had to accept by June 30.

Replacing Giuntini is prosecutor David Pfeifer, who previously headed the office's special operations division.

Other changes include the appointments of prosecutor Braden Woods to head the homicide unit, replacing the retired George Butterworth; prosecutor Sharon Woo to lead the criminal division; and prosecutor June Cravett as chief of the special operations division.

"I am absolutely confident about the skills, dedication and commitment of each of these attorneys," Harris said.


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