San Francisco Public Defender’s Office Files Complaint with the Commission on Judicial Performance Regarding Superior Court Judge Harry Dorfman

On July 14, 2022, the Public Defender’s Office filed a complaint with the Commission on Judicial Performance against San Francisco Superior Court Judge Harry Dorfman for repeatedly and gratuitously using the N-word in full in open court. Claiming he needed a complete record, Judge Dorfman repeated this word without showing awareness of the trauma its utterance inflicts and without consideration of alternatives that could ensure a sufficient record. The court has an obligation to conduct proceedings in a dignified and respectful manner to both litigants and the public. The judge’s conduct has harmed litigants we represent, many of whom are Black, as well as staff in our office. We urge the Commission on Judicial Performance to take action to prevent this harmful conduct from taking place again.

A copy of the complaint is available upon request to


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