San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón has become the first DA in California to post prosecution statistics on a publicly available website. The DA Stat site hosts three dashboards containing statistical information on both felony and misdemeanor matters presented to and acted on by Gascón’s office:
The Arrests Presented & Prosecutions dashboard allows researchers to determine how many matters were referred to the DA’s office for action and, of these, how many were actually filed as cases.
The Incoming Caseload dashboard allows researchers to get detail on the types of crimes the DA’s office has prosecuted.
The Trials dashboard allows researchers to view how many jury trials the DA’s office pursued and their outcomes.
Data on the DA Stat site goes back to 2011 and is updated monthly. The DA’s office has also committed to publishing de-identified data sets on DataSF.org by the end of 2019 so that researchers can run their own analyses outside of the pre-set dashboard interfaces.
At this point it is unclear if other California DAs will follow Gascón’s lead and post data on the web. Unless and until this happens, researchers can use DA Stat as a model for open records act requests since all DA offices keep this data and will make it available upon request. Our experience is that DAs tend to make the request process cumbersome so understanding what data is kept and how it is categorized is very helpful when making a written request.
If you are looking for a non-California model to emulate when drafting data requests, check in on the open data efforts of Cook County State Attorney Kim Foxx who posted case-level data in March of last year, making her the first prosecutor to do so anywhere in the nation.