The CJC: Stand and Deliver

by Jeff Adachi There hasn’t been a lot happening at the Community Justice Center, so I haven’t blogged for a couple of weeks.  There is no surge of cases to report.  The caseload flow is still very low, and although the court is now handling “in-custody” cases at the Hall of Justice in the mornings, […]

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.

Injustice Watch: If It’s Broke, Who’s Responsible for Fixing it?

The fact that the criminal justice system is, at times, unjust in its outcomes is rarely questioned. Only in the extreme cases, where a person is wrongfully imprisoned for a serious crime, will there be some coverage in the media. But day-to-day injustices are rarely exposed. Because of this, often the public is unaware of the criminal justice system’s own lack of accountability.

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.

CJC as a Microcosm of SF’s Criminal Justice and Social Service Systems

It is hard to believe that a month has gone by since I started working at the CJC. My decision to staff the court myself was a product of necessity, since I just don’t have the staffing for this court. The Mayor’s office had originally promised to fund the court with two public defenders, and when the court opened, they said they could not fund the court due to the budget deficit. Our staff now is down by eight and our felony and serious case load is still steadily rising.

New Sheriff at the CJC

“There’s a new Sheriff at the CJC.”  Well, actually, not really.  Our regular judge is out of town on vacation, and we have a substitute judge at the CJC for a few weeks.  At our first morning meeting with the substitute judge, the first thing he wanted to know is what problems we were having […]

Crime of the Week – Shoplifting at Sephora

The second week of the new court has been more of the same.  Each day, about five or six cases are scheduled to be heard in court, and most of the cases end up being discharged simply because they aren’t bona fide cases.  What I mean by this that they are cases that otherwise would […]

Article 1: Community Justice Center update

You may have heard or read that the new Community “Justice” Center (CJC) opened last week.  Based on Brooklyn’s Red Hook Community Justice Center, the CJC is supposed to  solve neighborhood problems like drugs, crime, prostitution and theft.  The court is a full-fledged court, except that it is situated in the Tenderloin and deals with misdemeanor and […]

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