San Francisco, CA – Chief Attorney Teresa Caffese, the lead defense attorney in the much publicized 2005 LaShuan Harris case, will discuss her trial strategy at the 38th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law this weekend in Miami, Florida. She will join John Gould, M.D., Maguire Correctional Facility, Chief Psychiatrist, in a panel discussion entitled “Debating Religious Belief v. Psychotic Delusion in the Trial of LaShuan Harris.”
Chief Attorney Caffese was extended an invitation to speak at the event after the Academy accepted Dr. Gould’s proposal for presentation. Dr. Gould, a forensic and clinical psychiatrist, was one of the many experts who testified during the Harris trial.
On October 19, 2005, two years ago today, LaShuan Harris made headlines after auditory hallucinations instructed her to throw her three children into the San Francisco Bay. It was her belief that her children would be united with God in heaven. Harris, who had a history of schizophrenia, auditory hallucinations and numerous hospitalizations, was found not guilty of first-degree murder and not guilty by reason of insanity of three second degree murders and three counts of assault causing death to a child.
Chief Attorney Caffese is a graduate of Hastings College of the Law and has worked in the Public Defender’s Office since 1987. During Ms. Caffese’s initial 15-year tenure as Deputy Public Defender, she represented thousands of indigent clients in misdemeanor and felony cases and tried over 75 cases. Prior to being appointed as Chief Attorney, Ms Caffese served as chief of the office’s Investigations Unit and also spent two years in private practice.
The mission of the Public Defender’s office is to provide vigorous, effective, competent and ethical legal representation to persons who are accused of crime and cannot afford to hire an attorney. Established in 1921, the San Francisco Public Defender has a long, proud history of providing top-notch representation to its clients, and championing programs that help people turn their lives around.