Attorney General Eric Holder went deep into East Oakland Tuesday morning to promote the administration’s anti-gang efforts. Flanked by lots of uniformed cops -- and guys with earpieces -- Holder toured Youth UpRising, a facility that offers Oakland youth outlets like a dance and recording studio, career building classes, a skate park, and other positive services.Holder held a short presser after his tour. Given that San Francisco’s drug lab woes are now causing problems in a federal death penalty case Holder personally authorized, will that give him pause before green-lighting another capital case based on state police work?
“That’s the toughest decision I have to make as attorney general,” said Holder, who personally opposes capital punishment but enforces it in his job. He didn’t deliver that talking point though. Instead, he pointed out that the Justice Department has a thorough review process in which defense lawyers are allowed to participate.
“To the extent there are problems with the investigation, those are obviously things we would take into consideration,” he said.
Prosecutors sought death for San Francisco gang member Dennis Cyrus due to three murders he committed. But a jury opted to give him life behind bars instead. Cyrus’ lawyers are asking for a new trial because some of the evidence came from San Francisco’s drug lab.
The government must also soon decide whether to seek the death penalty against six alleged MS-13 gang members. That case too was compiled with help from the city.