Local Budget Measure Falls Short of True Reform

While Proposition A, titled “Budget Reform,” takes a few steps toward changing the current process by which our city’s annual budget is decided, it falls far short of the reforms necessary to address our city’s long-term fiscal health.

A Question of Parity?

“Parity” is not the same as equality when it comes to funding this country’s promise of justice for all.

Being penny-wise and justice-foolish

San Francisco Chronicle op-ed: In the famous 1963 case of Gideon vs. Wainwright, the Supreme Court unanimously held that the state must provide lawyers for those charged with serious crimes who cannot afford them. The court recognized that “lawyers in criminal courts are necessities, not luxuries” and that a fair trial was impossible without counsel for the defense.

S.F. Public Defender Is Taking a Principled Stand by Fighting Cuts

San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi recently announced that his office will be compelled to refuse appointments in some major felony cases under a 25 percent budget cut proposed by Mayor Gavin Newsom and the Board of Supervisors. Critics suggest that Adachi is being unreasonable and that he is not a “team player.” Adachi’s stand is principled, correct and cost effective for San Francisco County.

Budget Cuts Threaten Promise of Equal Justice

Budget cuts and soaring caseloads are pushing teetering public defender’s offices closer to the brink of collapse. However, after years of being under-resourced and overwhelmed, public defenders are finally pushing back.

Budget Cuts Will Break Gideon’s Promise

In the landmark 1963 case Gideon v. Wainwright, the U.S. Supreme Court held that a poor person accused of a crime is entitled to competent and effective legal representation. However, the current economic crisis, rising recession-related crime, and soaring unemployment rates threaten to erode this basic right, which is guaranteed by the U.S. and California constitutions.

The City Needs a Comprehensive Reentry Program

Today, more than 500 community leaders, community and faith-based service providers and formerly incarcerated men and women will gather for San Francisco’s third annual re-entry summit, “Reentry Works.” Re-entry is a term that describes the reintegration of former prisoners back into their community. This year’s summit focuses on the greatest challenge faced by many of […]

Juvenile cases are closed for a reason

In the several articles published last week concerning undocumented youths in the juvenile justice system, Chronicle reporter Jaxon Van Derbeken referenced statements taken from a confidential written motion filed by one of my attorneys. In the articles, several statements taken from these filings were framed in quotations. This gave readers the false impression that Deputy Public Defender Lisa Katz, who is representing the minor, spoke with your reporter regarding her client’s case.

San Francisco’s Undocumented Children

The recent news stories criticizing the city’s juvenile probation department for sending undocumented children home instead of handing them over to the federal immigration authorities has ignited a firestorm of negative attacks. However, the stories missed a key fact: the city’s practice of transporting youth home was enacted with the full knowledge and cooperation of the Immigration and Naturalization Service 12 years ago.

Public Defender Adachi Opposes AB 2377

AB 2377 would have made it more difficult for criminal defendants to access records of police misconduct that are material to their defense. Public Defender Jeff Adachi submitted a letter opposing AB 2377 to the bill’s sponsor, Assemblymember Mary Hayashi, and to members of the Assembly Public Safety Committee. Read Public Defender Adachi’s letter to Assemblymember Jose […]

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