Chesa Boudin

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Chesa Boudin
Born (1980-08-21) August 21, 1980 (age 38)
New York City, New York, United States
EducationUniversity of Chicago Laboratory Schools,
Yale University (B.A. History, 2002),
Yale Law School (2011)
OccupationLawyer, writer, lecturer
Parent(s)Kathy Boudin and David Gilbert
RelativesBill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, adoptive parents

Chesa Boudin (born August 21, 1980) is an American lawyer, writer, and lecturer specializing in the U.S. criminal justice system and Latin American policy. He is a candidate in the 2019 election for San Francisco District Attorney.[1]

Early life and family history[edit]

Boudin was born in New York City.[citation needed] His parents, Kathy Boudin and David Gilbert, were Weather Underground members.[2]

When Boudin was 14 months old, his parents were arrested for their role as getaway car drivers in the Brink's robbery of 1981 in Rockland County, New York.[3][4] His mother was sentenced to 20 years to life[5] and his father to 75 years to life for the felony murders of two police officers and a security guard.[6][7] After his parents were incarcerated, Boudin was raised in Chicago by "adoptive parents" Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, who, like his parents, were one-time members of the Weather Underground.[7][8][9] Kathy Boudin was released under parole supervision in 2003.[4][10]

Boudin descends from a long left-wing lineage. His great-great-uncle, Louis B. Boudin,[11] was a Marxist theoretician and author of a two-volume history of the Supreme Court's influence on American government, and his grandfather, Leonard Boudin, was an attorney who represented controversial clients such as Fidel Castro and Paul Robeson.[12] Boudin is also related to Michael Boudin,[11] a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, and I.F. Stone, an independent journalist.[11][13]


Boudin went to Oxford University on a 2003 Rhodes Scholarship.[2][7] At Oxford, he earned two master's degrees, one in Forced Migration and the other in Public Policy in Latin America. He graduated from Yale Law School in 2011,[14] then in 2012 worked in the San Francisco Public Defender's Office as a post-doctoral fellow.[4]


After law school, from 2011-2012, Boudin served as a law clerk to the Honorable M. Margaret McKeown on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.[15] He was a 2012–2013 Liman Fellow at the San Francisco Public Defender's Office,[16] and in 2013-2014 he served as a clerk to the Honorable Charles Breyer on the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.[17] In 2015, Boudin began working full-time at the San Francisco Public Defender's Office as a deputy public defender.[18] He serves on the board of the Civil Rights Corps,[19] a national non-profit, and is on the board of Restore Justice, a non-profit based in California. In January 2019 Boudin announced his candidacy for San Francisco District Attorney.[4]

Boudin translated Understanding the Bolivarian Revolution: Hugo Chavez Speaks with Marta Harnecker into English (Monthly Review Press, 2005),[20] co-edited Letters From Young Activists: Today's Young Rebels Speak Out, (Nation Books, 2005),[21] and co-wrote The Venezuelan Revolution: 100 Questions – 100 Answers (Thunder's Mouth Press, 2006).[22] His latest book, Gringo: A Coming of Age in Latin America, was released in April 2009 from Scribner, an imprint of Simon & Schuster.[23] The book received reviews in several national papers including The New York Times,[24] The Washington Post,[25] and the San Francisco Chronicle.[26] The Times wrote that Boudin's "prose sounds more than anything like a college admissions essay" that "belongs in a yoga magazine, not between hard covers."[24] The Post called the book a "mind-numbing rant" with "nothing passionate, incandescent or even remotely revelatory."[25] According to the review, the "typically uninspired" book "reveals a remarkable lack of sophistication, both as an argument against free-market imperialism and as a work of travel journalism."[25]

Personal life[edit]

Boudin lives in the Outer Sunset neighborhood of San Francisco with a partner who is a post-doctoral researcher at UCSF.[4]


  1. ^ Sawyer, Nuala (January 15, 2009). "Public Defender Chesa Boudin Joins District Attorney Race". SF Weekly. Retrieved January 15, 2019.
  2. ^ a b Wilgoren, Jodi (December 9, 2002). "From a Radical Background, A Rhodes Scholar Emerges". The New York Times. Retrieved April 14, 2013.
  3. ^ "Kathy Boudin: Convicted Felon". London: Daily Mail. Retrieved 2014-01-10.
  4. ^ a b c d e Evan Sernoffsky (January 15, 2019). "Chesa Boudin, son of imprisoned radicals, looks to become SF district attorney". San Francisco Chronicle.
  5. ^ "Judge Says Kathy Boudin Will Get 20-Years-to-Life". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. April 27, 1984. Retrieved April 14, 2013.
  6. ^ Evans, Colin (2002). "Weatherman Brinks Trials: 1983". Great American Trials. Retrieved June 19, 2013.
  7. ^ a b c Malkin, Michelle (December 11, 2002). "No tears for dead cops". Jewish World Review. Retrieved June 20, 2013.
  8. ^
  9. ^ "The Company You Keep: The Weather Underground". Sony Classics. Retrieved June 20, 2013.
  10. ^ Foderaro, Lisa (September 18, 2003). "With Bouquet and A Wave, Boudin is Free 22 Years Later". The New York Times. Retrieved April 14, 2013.
  11. ^ a b c Margolick, David (April 24, 1992). "An Unusual Court Nominee, N.Y. Times (April 24, 1992)". The New York Times.
  12. ^ Powers, Thomas (November 2, 2003). "Underground Woman". The New York Times. Retrieved April 14, 2013.
  13. ^ "American Radical: The Life and Times of I.F. Stone". Democracy Now!. June 18, 2009. Archived from the original on April 15, 2013. Retrieved April 14, 2013. his brother-in-law Leonard Boudin, who forced the State Department...
  14. ^ "Delegates". University of British Columbia. Archived from the original on January 11, 2014. Retrieved January 10, 2014.
  15. ^ "Biographies for the Recipients of YLS Fellowships and Fellowships Sponsored by Other Institutions" (PDF). Yale Law School. Retrieved January 14, 2019.
  16. ^ "Hope, Illusion, and Imagination: The Politics of Parole and Reentry in the Era of Mass Incarceration (Panel Presentation)" (PDF). The Rose Sheinberg Scholar-in-Residence Program. Retrieved January 14, 2019.
  17. ^ Blackwell, Savannah (May 14, 2014). "Criminal Injustice"". Fog City Journal. Retrieved January 14, 2019.
  18. ^ "Chesa Boudin". Civil Rights Corps. Retrieved 2019-01-14.
  19. ^ "Our Board". Civil Rights Corps. Retrieved 2019-01-14.
  20. ^ Monthly Review Press
  21. ^ The Nation Books Archived May 11, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  22. ^ listing
  23. ^ Simon and Schuster listing
  24. ^ a b New York Times' review
  25. ^ a b c Washington Post review
  26. ^ San Francisco Chronicle Review

External links[edit]