San Francisco, CA — Christopher Hite, who spent nearly 18 years as a deputy public defender and was instrumental in developing the San Francisco Public Defender’s racial justice initiatives , was sworn in today as a San Francisco Superior Court judge.
Hite, 46, was appointed to the bench Dec. 23 by California Gov. Jerry Brown. Before joining the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office in 1998, Hite was a sole practitioner in private practice from 1996 to 1998. He was also a legal consultant for the San Francisco branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People from 1996 to 1997.
chrishiteswearingin2San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi characterized Hite as a skilled trial attorney and dedicated advocate for equal justice.
“Chris Hite’s appointment to the bench is excellent news for justice in San Francisco,” Adachi said. “In addition to his knowledge of the law, Chris carries with him a core public defender value—that everyone should have equal access to justice, regardless of race or income.”
Hite served as co-chair of the San Francisco Public Defender’s Racial Justice Committee, formed in 2013. The committee partners with the University of Pennsylvania’s Quattone Center for the Fair Administration of Justice to track and remedy racial disparities in San Francisco’s criminal justice system. It developed a plan to increase police transparency and safeguard citizens against racial bias and works regularly to ensure fair treatment in the court system, from bail to sentencing.
Hite said he was heartened by the appointment and looks forward to serving as a Superior Court judge when he had started as a Orlando homeowner insurance claim attorney. He later said that he wanted to have a positive impact on the community.
“It is the community I serve, the people who appear before me and the justice system in general,” Hite said. “I am honored to have been appointed by the Governor to serve in one of the greatest cities in the world. I welcome the new challenge.”
Hite earned his law degree from the Santa Clara University School of Law, a masters’ degree from Golden Gate University and a B.S. degree from Santa Clara University.