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.

San Francisco Public Defender’s Office to Receive Statewide Program of the Year Award

San Francisco – The California Public Defender’s Association announced that San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi will receive the organization’s annual Program of the Year award on Friday, April 17, 2009.  Adachi is receiving the award for his office’s innovative work though the “The Children of Incarcerated Parents” program, which provides assistance and services to […]

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 […]

Seeking Formerly Incarcerated People for Reentry Council

Efforts currently coordinated by the Safe Communities Reentry Council and the San Francisco Reentry Council will be reorganized under the single umbrella of the new formalized Reentry Council and its Subcommittees. The first meeting of the New Reentry Council has been slated for Tuesday June 16.

Clean Slate Program 2007-2008 Evaluation Findings

The Clean Slate Program 2007-2008 evaluation examines how efficiently Clean Slate delivers services and the impacts that Clean Slate services have on clients’ lives. The Clean Slate Program extends legal advocacy beyond an arrest or disposition by the court so that clients may avail themselves of opportunities to “clean up” their criminal records, even decades after their criminal case is closed.

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 […]

Innocent Man, Strip-Searched and Misidentified by Police, Acquitted of Drug Sales

San Francisco, CA – A San Francisco man, who was strip-searched and misidentified by police, was acquitted of drug sales in 70 minutes after his deputy public defender exposed the prosecution’s case as devoid of evidence of illegal activity. “The scary thing about this case is that what happened to my client could have happened […]

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