SIGN THE PETITION
Demand the San Francisco Court Open the Courtrooms and End the Humanitarian Crisis
The San Francisco Court’s disregard for basic human and legal rights is causing a humanitarian crisis. Hundreds of people are waiting for trials – months past the legal deadline. More than one hundred of them are in jail, locked in their cells for 23 hours a day. Some have been locked up without trial for a year or more past their trial deadlines. Each one of them is a member of our community, with families and loved ones who care about them. Each additional day of incarceration and delay exacts an irreversible toll on people awaiting trial and their families, whether that is the loss of a job, housing, or family stability. The pandemic further heightens the anxiety that being simply accused of a crime could become a death sentence for those being interminably detained without a trial.
This humanitarian crisis stems from the SF Court’s disregard for basic legal and human rights, and its now-routine practice of continuing criminal cases for months past the trial deadline – all while it holds jury trials in a variety of non-urgent civil cases for money damages. Many courtrooms regularly sit empty, both in the Civic Center Courthouse and in the Hall of Justice at 850 Bryant Street.
The courts are supposed to enforce the law, not break it. Our laws guarantee Californians a right to a speedy trial. The Public Defender will not stand by while members of our community are denied their right to a speedy trial, locked up for months, while the Court takes care of civil lawsuits. We demand that the San Francisco Superior Court do its job, and not put poor, Black, and Brown people last in line. The law applies to everyone, including the Court.
SIGN ON to demand that the San Francisco Court uphold the constitutional and human rights of incarcerated and non-incarcerated persons by marshaling and allocating all available resources to opening up all the courtrooms, prioritizing criminal cases, and honoring people’s right to a speedy trial.
- SF Examiner – The lack of courtroom access in San Francisco is a human rights issue, 5/5/21
- AP News – San Francisco public defender sues court over trial delays, 9/21/21
- Darien Times – San Francisco public defender sues court over trial delays, 9/21/21
- SF Chronicle – S.F. public defender sues court system, claiming hundreds have been denied speedy trials, 9/21/21
- Courthouse News – Criminal trial delays spur lawsuit against San Francisco Superior, 9/21/21
- Press Democrat – San Francisco public defender sues court over trial delays, 9/22/21
- Golden Express – San Francisco Public Defender sues Superior Court of California, 9/22/21
- KTVU – SF Public Defender sues over backlog of criminal court cases, 9/22/21
- Davis Van Guard – SF Public Defenders Protest against Lack of Court Hearings, Conditions for Clients, 9/22/21
- SF Examiner – S.F. public defender demands Superior Court clear backlog of criminal trials, 9/24/21
- KPFA – San Francisco Public Defender sues to stop indefinite detention of inmates without a trial due to COVID-19 restrictions – 51:48, Radio
- KALW – SF Public Defender Sues Courts, Radio