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Chesa Boudin

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.

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


Early life and family historyEdit

Boudin was born in New York City.[citation needed] His parents, Kathy Boudin and David Gilbert, were Weather Underground members.[1]

When Boudin was 14 months old, his parents were arrested for their role as getaway car drivers[2] in the Brink's robbery of 1981 in Rockland County, New York. His mother was sentenced to 20 years to life[3] and his father to 75 years to life for the felony murders of two police officers and a security guard.[4][5] After his parents were incarcerated, Boudin was raised by "adoptive parents" Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, who, like his parents, were one-time members of the Weather Underground.[5][6][7] Kathy Boudin was released under parole supervision in 2003.[8]

Boudin descends from a long left-wing lineage. His great-great-uncle, Louis B. Boudin,[9] 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.[10] Boudin is also related to Michael Boudin,[9] a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, and I.F. Stone, an independent journalist.[9][11]


Boudin graduated from the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools in 1999. In 2003, he graduated from Yale University with a B.A. in History.[12] He spent his junior year abroad at the University of Chile in Santiago, Chile funded by a Rotary International Ambassadorial Scholarship.[13]

Boudin went to Oxford University on a 2003 Rhodes Scholarship.[1][5] 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]



After law school, Boudin clerked on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit for M. Margaret McKeown. He was a 2012–2013 Liman Fellow[15] at the San Francisco Public Defender.[16] In January 2015, he began working full-time at the San Francisco Public Defender's Office.

As a public defender, Boudin has been a leader of bail reform efforts, including in 2015 initiating a federal class action lawsuit alleging San Francisco's use of money bail to determine pretrial custody status violates equal protection and due process.[17] The lawsuit led the City of San Francisco to concede that the practice of jailing indigent defendants based on inability to pay money bail is unconstitutional.[18] Boudin also served on an ACLU advisory committee to help draft state-wide bail reform legislation.[19] Boudin speaks[20][21] and publishes[22] frequently on criminal justice issues,[23] particularly bail reform.[24][25] Boudin is on the board of Civil Rights Corps.[26]


He lectures in English and Spanish internationally on topics including the criminal justice system, impact of parental incarceration, and Latin American politics. He has contributed to The Nation magazine[27] and other periodicals.


Boudin translated Understanding the Bolivarian Revolution: Hugo Chavez Speaks with Marta Harnecker into English (Monthly Review Press, 2005),[28] co-edited Letters From Young Activists: Today's Young Rebels Speak Out, (Nation Books, 2005),[29] and co-wrote The Venezuelan Revolution: 100 Questions – 100 Answers (Thunder's Mouth Press, 2006).[30] His latest book, Gringo: A Coming of Age in Latin America, was released in April 2009 from Scribner, an imprint of Simon & Schuster.[31] The book received reviews in several national papers including The New York Times,[32] The Washington Post,[33] and the San Francisco Chronicle.[34] 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."[32] The Post called the book a "mind-numbing rant" with "nothing passionate, incandescent or even remotely revelatory."[33] 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."[33]

More recently, he authored a range of scholarly articles published in law journals such as the Yale Law Journal, on disclosure in elections under the First Amendment,[35] Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology on the rights of children with incarcerated parents,[36] Harvard Latino Law Review[37] on immigrant labor organizing,[38] and others.[39][40][41]


  1. ^ a b Wilgoren, Jodi (December 9, 2002). "From a Radical Background, A Rhodes Scholar Emerges". The New York Times. Retrieved April 14, 2013.
  2. ^ "Kathy Boudin: Convicted Felon". London: Daily Mail. Retrieved 2014-01-10.
  3. ^ "Judge Says Kathy Boudin Will Get 20-Years-to-Life". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. April 27, 1984. Retrieved April 14, 2013.
  4. ^ Evans, Colin (2002). "Weatherman Brinks Trials: 1983". Great American Trials. Retrieved June 19, 2013.
  5. ^ a b c Malkin, Michelle (December 11, 2002). "No tears for dead cops". Jewish World Review. Retrieved June 20, 2013.
  6. ^
  7. ^ "The Company You Keep: The Weather Underground". Sony Classics. Retrieved June 20, 2013.
  8. ^ Foderaro, Lisa (September 18, 2003). "With Bouquet and A Wave, Boudin is Free 22 Years Later". The New York Times. Retrieved April 14, 2013.
  9. ^ a b c Margolick, David (April 24, 1992). "An Unusual Court Nominee, N.Y. Times (April 24, 1992)". The New York Times.
  10. ^ Powers, Thomas (November 2, 2003). "Underground Woman". The New York Times. Retrieved April 14, 2013.
  11. ^ "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...
  12. ^ Feinstein, Jessica (2003-09-18). "Boudin '03 greets mother after 2 years". Yale Daily News. Retrieved 2014-01-10.
  13. ^ Grotto, Jason (May 2010). "Road Scholar". The Rotarian. Archived from the original on April 19, 2011. Retrieved April 14, 2013.
  14. ^ "Delegates". University of British Columbia. Archived from the original on January 11, 2014. Retrieved January 10, 2014.
  15. ^ "Liman Fellows 2012–13". Yale Law School. 2012–2013. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  16. ^ San Francisco Public Defender
  17. ^ "Class-Action Suit Against San Francisco Seeks to End Use of Cash Bail System". KQED News. 2015-10-30. Retrieved 2017-04-13.
  18. ^ FOX. "San Francisco city attorney: State's bail system 'unconstitutional'". KTVU. Retrieved 2017-04-13.
  19. ^ Lee, Vic (2017-04-06). "California bail reform bill clears first hurdle". ABC7 San Francisco. Retrieved 2017-04-13.
  20. ^ Bartfai, Lisa. "San Francisco's bail system on the stand". Retrieved 2017-04-13.
  21. ^ "Lawsuit Against San Francisco Bail System Hits Major Roadblock". Forum. Retrieved 2017-04-13.
  22. ^ "Setting Bail in San Francisco". The New York Times. 2016-09-27. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-04-13.
  23. ^ "Pierce the Veil of Racism". Retrieved 2017-04-13.
  24. ^ AJ+ (2016-01-19), Bail: High Price Of Freedom If You're Arrested In America, retrieved 2017-04-13
  25. ^ ""Not in it for Justice"". Human Rights Watch. 2017-04-11. Retrieved 2017-04-13.
  26. ^ "Chesa Boudin". Civil Rights Corps. Retrieved 2017-05-03.
  27. ^ The Nation author bios
  28. ^ Monthly Review Press
  29. ^ The Nation Books Archived May 11, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  30. ^ listing
  31. ^ Simon and Schuster listing
  32. ^ a b New York Times' review
  33. ^ a b c Washington Post review
  34. ^ San Francisco Chronicle Review
  35. ^ Publius and the Petition
  36. ^ Children of Incarcerated Parents
  37. ^ Harvard Latino Law Review
  38. ^ Strategic Options for Development of a Worker Center
  39. ^ Adult Consensual Sex Work in South Africa
  40. ^ Institutional Design and International Electoral Observers
  41. ^ Prison Visitation Policies: A Fifty State Survey

External linksEdit