Our Mission Statement
The mission of the San Francisco Public Defender’s office is to protect and defend the rights of our indigent clients accused of crimes, through effective, vigorous, compassionate, and creative legal advocacy.
We aspire to provide the highest level of legal advocacy for each of our clients, and to be a nationwide model for the delivery of indigent defense services.
In addition to advocating for clients in the courtroom in criminal cases, the office also:
● Steers clients to treatment in Behavioral Health Court, Drug Court, Veterans Court, and other collaborative courts;
● Works to clear people’s records so they can seek employment;
● Keeps youth out of the system through our MAGIC programs;
● Represents immigrants facing deportation in immigration court;
● Advocates for changes in laws and policies to make the criminal legal system more fair and equitable, and address racial injustice
Racial Action Plan
Racial Equity Action Plan – Phase I: December 30, 2020
In response to the City’s growing racial disparities, and as a means to address the history of structural and institutional racism in San Francisco’s delivery of services to the public and its own internal practices and systems, San Francisco legislated the creation of the Office of Racial Equity (Ordinance No. 188-19) in July 2019. For more information, please visit the Office of Racial Equity’s website: https://www.racialequitysf.org/
The Office of Racial Equity has called for all City’s Departments to prepare and submit a 3-year plan for Phase 1. Like all City Departments, we have work to do to ensure that we examine racial disparities and develop effective changes, programs, initiatives, and policies to address them. Our Plan describes many of the steps to be taken in this first phase, to apply racial equity principles to inspect and dismantle unfair and harmful structural and institutional policies and practices, while creating an actively anti-racist workplace.
In 2020 The Public Defender’s Office (PDR) prepared and submitted its initial Racial Equity Action Plan (REAP) to the Office of Racial Equity. Our REAP continues to be working document and we have since revised and submitted a Progress Report. We welcome this opportunity for continued growth while maintaining our ardent commitment to racial justice work.
What Is A Public Defender?
The United States Constitution guarantees that everyone charged with a crime has the right to an attorney, regardless of one’s ability to pay.
A public defender is an attorney who is appointed by the court to represent an accused person. This typically happens at arraignment (the first court appearance after an arrest), but see the section below about what to do if someone was arrested and has not yet been arraigned. In some cases, persons who have reason to believe they are going to be charged with a crime may also seek the assistance of a public defender.
The San Francisco Public Defender’s Office has over 100 attorneys who represent people facing misdemeanor and felony charges in the City & County San Francisco. If you are represented by a public defender, you can be assured that the attorney will protect anything you tell them in confidence and vigorously defend you in court.
What should I do if a family member or someone I know was arrested?
If you believe someone you know was arrested, you can check to see if they are in jail by searching for them on the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department website.
If someone was arrested but has not been arraigned yet, you can contact the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office so we can try to meet with that person before their first court appearance. Call our front desk at 415.553.1671 or send us a message through our website.
Do Public Defenders Represent People in Eviction Cases?
Public Defenders do not handle eviction cases, but if you are facing eviction, there are resources available through the Eviction Defense Collaborative and San Francisco Tenants Union.
If a public defender is representing you in a pending criminal case and you are facing eviction, please notify your attorney.
More Mobilization for Adolescent Growth in our Communities (Mo'MAGIC)
Mo'MAGIC aims is to enrich community resources through social and educational development; to create leadership and career opportunities utilizing programs and services for youth, that also serve as early intervention activities that help to reduce juvenile crime in the Fillmore/Western Addition.
Gifts and Donor Information
|Donor Name||Date||Gift||Value||Financial Interest|
|Bar Association of San Francisco||May 2012||Cash||$1,451.98||None|
|Bar Association of San Francisco||June 2012||Cash||$1,883.46||None|
|Bar Association of San Francisco||Jan 2013||Cash||$2,624.48||None|
|Bar Association of San Francisco||Mar 2013||Cash||$2,698.27||None|
|Bar Association of San Francisco||May 2013||Cash||$2,538.18||None|