Debra J. Saunders

Do you think Hallinan will prosecute the people the SFPD arrests? I asked one officer on Fifth Street. No, he answered, without hesitating.

Last week, antiwar groups began writing Hallinan, asking for amnesty for the 1,300 protesters arrested at the time. "We demand: Free all protesters now.

Drop all the charges," wrote the Partisan Defense Committee's Kathy Ikegami.

The D.A.'s office has pledged to prosecute violent protesters to the full extent possible. "The ones we're trying to figure out how we can best handle," Hallinan told me Monday, "are the ones that are straight nonviolent civil disobedience. How do you have those people repay the city without costing the city more money than we get?"

It's true. Prosecuting lawbreakers costs money. So does not prosecuting, as it only encourages more lawlessness. It sends a message that in the Special City, civil disobedience means never having to say, "Guilty, your honor."

Debra J. Saunders

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