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.

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 […]

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