Harry Dorfman, Lead Homicide Prosecutor in S.F., Named Superior Court Judge

Categories: Law & Order

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Dorfman's new tools.
Harry Dorfman, a prosecutor who has worked at the San Francisco District Attorney's Office for 28 years, is set to be a judge. Governor Jerry Brown appointed him on Tuesday to one of the open seats on the San Francisco Superior Court.

Dorfman, who successfully prosecuted the Edwin Ramos case, has been the managing attorney for the office's homicide unit since 2010.

He won't be the only freshman at the Hall of Justice. Rochelle East, chief deputy attorney general at the California Department of Justice, and Tracie Brown, an assistant U.S. attorney, were also appointed San Francisco Superior Court judges. The trio will replace retiring judges Judges Jerome Benson, Donna Little and Kevin McCarthy.

Dorfman ran for a SF Superior Court seat in 2010, but finished second in the race to Linda Colfax, who had worked in the Public Defender's Office. The retirements, however, have re-opened his path to the bench.

Over the past few years, Dorfman made his name putting away accused murderers. He has handled homicide cases for 13 years, including some of the city's most high-profile trials.

In 2001, he prosecuted the murder of Hunter McPherson (son of former Secretary of State Bruce McPherson), who was killed in an apparent robbery attempt. In 2004, he prosecuted the murder of SFPD Officer Isaac Espinoza. And in 2008, he prosecuted the murder of Timothy Griffith, who was fatally stabbed in a parking lot outside of AT&T Park minutes after watching Barry Bonds hit his 700th career home run in September 2004.

Last year, he tried the case against Edwin Ramos, who was charged with killing Anthony Bologna and two of his sons in a drive-by shooting in the Excelsior. Ramos was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

"Harry Dorfman has been on the frontlines of justice, prosecuting and convicting some of San Francisco's most violent and dangerous criminals," his old boss, District Attorney George Gascon, said in a statement. "As one of the most respected prosecutors in the office, Harry is an inspiring mentor to new prosecutors, has an impressive command of the law, and a wealth of experience in and out of the courtroom.

Dorfman will be sworn in by Friday and will begin his new job as early as next week.

In all, Brown made 11 judicial appointments across the state this week.

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