In the News

David Onek in the news:

David Onek named executive director of Santa Clara University’s Northern California Innocence Project

David Onek quoted in Fort Mill Times, May 6, 2013

“I am extremely excited to lead NCIP as we work to exonerate the innocent and partner with law enforcement to change policies and practices that lead to wrongful convictions,” said Onek.

UC affiliates top donor to the Obama campaign

David Onek quoted in The Daily Californian, November 6, 2012

“My support for President Obama is completely separate from my employment with the UC,” said David Onek, a lecturer at the UC Berkeley School of Law and the top individual donor to the re-election campaign from the UC…. “I can’t speculate why the UC has so many Obama supporters,” said Onek. “But it’s clear that this election is crucial for all of us.”

Life after murder; An interview with journalist and author Nancy Mullane.

David Onek host of California Progress Report, July 31, 2012

“There have been around 1,000 lifers since 1990 who have been paroled for murder. Zero of them have been convicted of a new murder. And only 13 of them out of 1,000 have been re-incarcerated for any kind of new offense. Only six of those, six out of a 1,000, have been re-incarcerated for a violent or serious crime.”

Criminal justice conversations with David Onek: law professor Joan Petersilia

David Onek host on KALW-FM, April 29, 2012

“A lot of the focus on realignment has been on reducing the state prison population, but realignment is also going to lead to enormous changes in county jails…. Now they may hold inmates for much longer periods of time and will need to develop this type of programming with relatively limited resources.”

David Onek Criticizes War on Drugs

Public Press, October 25, 2011 by Rina Palta

The War on Drugs has been a complete failure…. Locking people up because of an underlying mental health problem or underlying substance problem does not solve the problem whatsoever and is an extremely inefficient way to handle those problems.

David Onek Criticizes California’s Criminal Justice System

The Nation, October 11, 2011 by Sasha Abramsky

In California, we’ve embarked on the biggest prison-building binge in history, and we’re paying the price for it. We have what can only be described as an absolute fiscal crisis. The number-one driver of that crisis is the cost of prisons.

David Onek Promotes ‘Restorative Justice’ as Prison Alternative

The New York Times, September 17, 2011 by Trey Bundy

“Do you know what happens when you’re locked up?” he said. “You sleep all day and watch daytime TV. You’re watching Jerry Springer, and someone feeds you three hot meals a day. Admitting what you did, confronting your actions, hearing from a victim about the impact that things have had on them, that’s tough.”

David Onek Discusses Prison Alternatives

The Bay Area Reporter, August 4, 2011 by Seth Hemmelgarn

Onek spoke extensively about his background, which includes examining alternatives to incarceration, and counseling “delinquent kids” at Walden House, a substance abuse treatment center. He said it’s also important to “keep the kids of today from becoming the adult criminals of tomorrow.”

David Onek Opposes Death Penalty

-San Francisco Examiner, May 19, 2011 by Ari Burack

“The death penalty does not work — I will not seek the death penalty in any circumstances,” Onek said.

-San Francisco Bay Guardian, May 24, 2011 by Sarah Phelan

Onek says his stance is informed by his belief that the death penalty solves nothing. “It doesn’t make us safer; it’s not fair and equitable; and it wastes enormous resources,” he said. “We are much better off spending our precious resources on things that actually make us safer, like more cops on the streets, more programs in our communities, and better services for victims.”

David Onek Gives a Nod to Journalist Sy Hersh

SF Weekly, April 6, 2011 by Peter Jamison

Does Hersh’s support signal that Onek might just follow through on his vows to let some more sunshine in at 850 Bryant? “I’ll let you be the judge of that,” he says. “All I can say is that I have tremendous respect for Sy Hersh, as a person and as a journalist.”

David Onek Emerges as District Attorney Contender

Daily Journal, March 30, 2011 by Brandon Ortiz (registration required; go to H:\Law School in the News\In the News 2011\News Clips for article)

He said it’s the district attorney’s job to set a vision for the office, and he said his time in academia, on the city’s police commission from 2008 to 2010 and as a criminal justice adviser to Newsom from 2004 to 2006 qualifies him for that. “The job isn’t to be the chief trial attorney of San Francisco,” Onek said. “If that were the case, I wouldn’t be running.”

David Onek Calls for Police Reform

-Beyond Chron, March 14, 2011 by Paul Hogarth

Onek spoke about his background at Walden House and Legal Services for Children, his work on the SF Police Commission and as Executive Director of the UC Berkeley Center for Criminal Justice. “For tough issues, let’s bring everyone around the table to get programmatic, common-sense reforms,” said Onek, as he described his work to help people out of prison get jobs.

-SF Weekly, The Snitch, March 14, 2011 by Matt Smith

Onek added he would reverse a long-standing District Attorney’s office policy of disregarding the San Francisco Sunshine Ordinance, which requires local officials to respond forthrightly to public records requests. “The default is always to be as transparent as you possibly can be, because that’s how you build trust with the community, and trust with the community is what makes us safer,” said Onek.

David Onek Wants to Bring Police and Community Groups Together

Miller-McCune, March 3, 2011 by Paul Tullis

“There’s a lot more agreement than disagreement on criminal justice issues. You would never know it because the rhetoric on both sides is very extreme and very ideological.”

David Onek Says Being Smart on Crime Makes Fiscal Sense

The Washington Post, October 26, 2010 by David Onek

As we debate how to restore fiscal sanity, we need to understand how the skyrocketing cost of our state’s criminal justice system is contributing to the downward spiral—and what we can do to reverse the fiscally unsustainable trend.

David Onek Eyes Run for District Attorney

SF Weekly blog, The Snitch, June 16, 2010 by Peter Jamison

“DA Harris is a friend and I would never run against her, but her victory in November will open up the office as early as the end of this year,” Onek said in a statement sent out via e-mail today. “This means the time to get organized is right now.”

David Onek Urges Police to Balance Video Surveillance with Civil Liberties

The New York Times, April 2, 2010 by Richard C. Paddock

“A number of these technologies can be additional useful tools for law enforcement, but none of them is a panacea,” said David Onek, a senior fellow at the Berkeley Center for Criminal Justice and a member of the San Francisco Police Commission. “We need to look at how effective each is and balance that against legitimate civil liberties concerns.”

David Onek Launches Criminal Justice Conversations Podcast

San Francisco Examiner, March 18, 2010 by Seth Chavez

“Criminal justice issues are complex, but all we usually hear are brief sound bites and simplistic slogans,” Onek says. “The podcast gets behind the sound bites to have detailed, nuanced conversations about criminal justice policy.”

David Onek Voices Concern over Delays in San Francisco Police Discipline

San Francisco Chronicle, March 21, 2009 by John Coté

“There is a problem,” Commissioner David Onek said. “And so the question is what we should do about it.”

David Onek Praises Police Chief Heather Fong’s Achievements

San Francisco Bay Guardian, February 11, 2009 by Sarah Phelan

“Fellow commissioner David Onek described her as “a model public servant” and residents praised her outreach to the local Asian community.”

David Onek Believes Next San Francisco Police Chief Must Embrace Change

San Francisco Chronicle, January 29, 2009 by C.W.Nevius

“This is not a case where we say, OK, is the new chief going to buy into this or not?” said David Onek, a new appointee to the Police Commission. “We want someone who has experience in implementing these kinds of changes…. I think we need to look at a five-year term for the chief. If he serves at the will of the mayor, he will figure he will be removed as soon as the major leaves.”