Thursday, May 15, 2008 · by Richard
San Francisco, CA – The Daily Journal has selected Teresa Caffese, Chief Attorney of the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office, as one of California’s Top 75 Women Litigators.
The Daily Journal highlighted Caffese’s recent work representing client LaShuan Harris, a mentally ill mother who faced triple murder charges in the deaths of her three children. Harris was found not guilty of three counts of first-degree murder and not guilty by reason of insanity of three counts of second-degree murder and three counts of assault causing death to a child. She was sentenced to a psychiatric hospital until she regains her sanity.
Caffese, who started at the Public Defender’s Office in 1987, has represented thousands of indigent clients in misdemeanor and felony cases and tried over 75 serious cases, including rapes and homicides. Teresa has handled many high profile cases including: the first three strikes case in San Francisco; numerous death penalty cases; and a rare double jeopardy jury trial.
Caffese is regarded as an expert in cases that require extensive skills in forensic analysis and interpretation, as well as mental competency issues. In October 2007, Caffese spoke about her trial strategy at the 38th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law in a panel discussion entitled Debating Religious Belief v. Psychotic Delusion in the Trial of LaShuan Harris.
Local and national media, including CNN and the Today Show, have engaged Caffese for commentary and appearances because of her experience as a criminal attorney and dynamic communication style.
Caffese is an Adjunct Professor at Golden Gate School of Law where she teaches Trial Advocacy. She is also a current member BALIF and a past member of the USF School of Law American Inn of Court. Caffese has been honored by the Women’s Defenders Association and was also selected as Northern California Super Lawyer in 2004 and 2005.
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.