Thursday, February 6, 2014 · by Tamara Aparton
San Francisco, CA — Kwixuan Maloof, a managing attorney in the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office, will be honored for his role in protecting the constitutional rights of the Bay Area’s poorest residents, San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi announced today.
The Santa Clara County Black Lawyers Association will present Maloof with its Gideon Award, an honor reserved for outstanding public defenders, on Friday, Feb. 7. The 6:30 p.m. event will be held in San Jose at the law offices of Ropers, Majeski Kohn & Bentley. It is free to the public, but registration is required at gideon.brownpapertickets.com.
The award is named for Gideon v. Wainwright, the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision that guaranteed an attorney to each individual accused of a crime, regardless of income. Maloof is among three African American public defenders in the Bay Area who will receive the Gideon Award. Alameda County Public Defender Brendon Woods and Santa Clara County Alternate Public Defender Dave Epps will also be honored. David Coleman, retired Contra Costa County public defender, will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award.
This is the first year the Santa Clara County Black Lawyers Association is hosting the Gideon Celebration. Association President Aileen Casanave said she was inspired to honor public defenders by last year’s 50th anniversary of the Gideon decision and by the lack of acknowledgment of their critical role in the justice system.
“Kwixuan Maloof is a true unsung hero in his role as the guardian of due process and the protector of our constitutional rights,” Casanave said. “Day after day, year after year, our public defenders work diligently to defend a segment of our community that is often poor, less educated, and less capable of funding and actively participating in their own defense. Without the resources of the public defender, these individuals would not have the tools necessary to ensure due process.”
Maloof, who received his Juris Doctor from New College of California in 1998, has been with the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office since 2001, and has been a managing attorney since 2008. He is a past president of the Charles Houston Bar Association.
Maloof’s leadership has played a critical role in the success of the San Francisco Public Defender’s felony unit, Adachi said. In 2013, San Francisco public defenders won nearly 62 percent of felony trials.
“Kwixuan Maloof’s tenacity in the courtroom has freed numerous people from being unjustly convicted and his mentorship has turned scores of young public defenders into experienced fighters of everyday injustice,” Adachi said.
Maloof expressed his appreciation to the Santa Clara Black Lawyers Association for the award.
“It is a great honor to receive the Gideon Award alongside two attorneys I deeply respect, Alameda County Public Defender Brendon Woods and Santa Clara County Alternate Public Defender Dave Epps,” Maloof said.
The Santa Clara Black Lawyers Association is presenting Friday’s award ceremony with the Miller Law Group, Ropers Majeski Kohn & Bentley, and Greenberg Traurig. The event is co-sponsored by the Black Technology Attorneys Group, Black Women Lawyers of Northern California, California Black Lawyers Association, Charles Houston Bar Association and the Santa Clara County Bar Association.