Experience a key point in debate betweeen San Francisco district attorney candidates 

The three district attorney candidates debating Wednesday faced a key question: experience.

Two of the three candidates -- incumbent George Gascon and David Onek -- have never prosecuted a case. But the question of experience extended beyond the courtroom.

Onek, a lecturer in residence at UC Berkeley School of Law, brought up his work as a police commissioner. Gascon, a former San Francisco police chief, repeatedly mentioned his management of the SFPD and the District Attorney's Office. Alameda County prosecutor Sharmin Bock stood behind her courtroom background.

The debate started off with the candidates attacking one another right out of the gate.

Bock went after Gascon for his possible conflict of interest in cases involving police officers. Gascon said his background trumps just courtroom experience -- referring to Bock and, in theory, to candidate David Onek.

Onek said he would never seek the death penalty in a prosecution. Gascon has not taken such a black-and-white stance on the issue, but Bock issued a news release earlier in the day calling for the state to abolish the death penalty.

The debate was held by the Noe Valley Democratic Club and moderated by San Francisco Examiner columnist Melissa Griffin.

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