Jeff Adachi, Public Defender
Jeff Adachi is the Public Defender of the City and County of San Francisco. Before being elected as Public Defender in March 2002, Mr. Adachi worked as a deputy public defender in San Francisco for 15 years and in private practice for 2 years. From 1998-2001, he served as the Chief Attorney of the office. He has tried over 150 jury trials, including numerous serious felony and homicide cases, and has handled over 3,000 criminal matters throughout his career, including some of the Bay Area’s highest profile cases.
As the only elected Public Defender in the state of California, and one of few elected public defenders in the United States, Mr. Adachi oversees an office of 93 lawyers and 60 support staff. The office represents over 23,000 people each year who are charged with misdemeanor and felony offenses. The office has a $25 million dollar budget, and provides a panoply of innovative programs to its clients, including Drug Court, Clean Slate expungement services, and a full-service juvenile division. The office also has one of the country’s top intern programs for law students and graduates.
Mr. Adachi served on the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigents and is a member of the National Board of Trial Advocacy. He is the co-author of Chapter 25: Immunity for Testimony, in the California Criminal Law Procedure and Practice book, and a past board member of the California Attorneys for Criminal Justice and the San Francisco Bar Association. He is a past president of the Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area and the San Francisco Japanese American Citizen’s League. He has been a certified criminal law specialist since 1991. Mr. Adachi has also taught with BAR/BRI bar review for 15 years and has published five books on passing the bar exam.
In 1992, Mr. Adachi received the California State Bar Association’s Hufstedler Award for public service. In 1997, Mr. Adachi received the Asian American Bar Association’s Joe Morozumi Award for exceptional legal advocacy, and in 2003, was honored by the Asian American Bar Association of the Silicon Valley. In 2000, Mr. Adachi received the Mayor’s Fiscal Advisory Committee’s Managerial Excellence Award. In 2006, Adachi received the California Public Defender Association’s Program of the Year Award, and IN 2007, the American Bar Association’s national Dorsey award for excellence in public defense. In 2007, Adachi was the recipient of the prestigious California Lawyer Attorney of the Year award (CLAY) for his work in the field of prisoner reentry.
Mr. Adachi graduated from Hastings College of the Law in 1985 and attended undergraduate studies at U.C. Berkeley. He lives in San Francisco with his wife Mutsuko and daughter Lauren.
Matt Gonzalez, Chief Attorney
Matt Gonzalez is the Chief Attorney of the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office.
Mr. Gonzalez served as a deputy public defender from 1991 to 2001. He successfully tried many cases while in the office, including serious felonies, three-strike cases and life-in-prison matters.
As the Chief Attorney, Mr. Gonzalez is responsible for overseeing and managing all internal operations of the Public Defender’s office including the felony, misdemeanor, juvenile, mental health, and research units.
In 2000, Gonzalez was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. He took office in 2001 and was elected by his colleagues two years later as president of the 11-member body. Gonzalez was the main sponsor of a ballot measure that created the highest minimum wage in the country. He authored groundbreaking legislation on elections and ethics reform, instant run-off voting, and commission appointments. He also proposed a measure to give immigrants the right to vote in municipal elections.
Prior to his 2011 appointment to Chief Attorney, Gonzalez was partner in the law firm of Gonzalez and Leigh, where he handled both civil and criminal matters. During his five years in private practice, Gonzalez successfully litigated a number of federal civil rights cases, including the first punitive damages verdict against a sitting district attorney (Solano County) in California’s history. His firm also brought suit against Yolo County’s Superior Court challenging the lack of Latino representation on its Grand Jury, which brought important reforms. Gonzalez also successfully defended the head of Yolo County’s Housing Authority against corruption and other charges.
The McAllen, Texas native received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Columbia University in 1987 and his Juris Doctor degree from Stanford Law School in 1990. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2000 Lawyer of the Year award from the San Francisco La Raza Lawyers Association, the 2003 In Defense of Animals Guardian Award, and the 2004 Bert Corona Award from California’s Mexican American Political Association.