November 4, 2017
In response to a pair of major statewide developments in the fight to abolish money bail, San Francisco public defenders will file challenges in every criminal case in which bail is set. San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi announced today that his office has filed 282 challenges in current felonies and misdemeanors since Oct. 10, representing 14 times the amount typically filed in the same period. Each challenge results in a hearing in which a judge must consider the defendant’s financial circumstances and alternatives to incarceration rather than simply relying on a pre-set dollar amount.
July 21, 2017
No topic is more important to President Donald Trump’s political agenda than immigration. And since July 1, 2015, he has used one case – the tragic death of Kathryn Steinle – as his sounding board to demonize immigrants, call for mass deportation, and demand an end to “sanctuary” policies which limit the role of local and state governments in enforcing immigration laws. And now, Trump is urging passage of legislation that would turn local police departments into a federal deportation force.
June 28, 2017
Police booking charges play an outsized role in creating the San Francisco justice system’s dramatic racial disparities, a new study reveals, prompting San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi to announce today the formation of a team to scrutinize the early charges for bias. The Pretrial Release Unit, comprised of two deputy public defenders and one investigator, will launch Oct. 1. The team will intervene between arrest and arraignment to ensure cases have not been overcharged.
June 27, 2017
You may think you know this story. A man lives the high life of a drug dealer, becomes a fugitive, goes to prison for a long time and eventually redeems himself. But you would be wrong. Malik Wade’s story is much, much more. While “Pressure” is a story about a man existing in Dante’s Inferno who transformed himself into an educated and enlightened person, it will also take you on Malik’s sometimes painful but never boring journey that has led him to who he is today.
December 16, 2016
A young man shown on video in a physical confrontation with BART police has been acquitted of four counts of battery on a police officer, San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi announced Thursday, Dec. 16. Jurors deliberated two days before finding Michael Smith, 22, not guilty Wednesday afternoon of the four counts. Jurors deadlocked 9-3 in favor of acquittal on two additional counts of battery on a police officer and one count of resisting arrest. Prosecutors on Friday are expected to announce whether they will dismiss the remaining charges or retry Smith.
November 12, 2016
City Attorney Dennis Herrera declared that the state’s current bail system is unconstitutional, and, in a court filing, Herrera said he will not defend the bail system in a federal class-action lawsuit brought by a national civil rights group against San Francisco’s sheriff. “This two-tiered system of pretrial justice does not serve the interests of the government or the public and unfairly discriminates against the poor,” Herrera told the court.
April 10, 2016
San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi issued a statement on April 1 on the news that a second group of SFPD officers exchanged racist and homophobic text messages and sent a letter to District Attorney George Gascón on the topic. Mayor Edwin M. Lee issued a statement April 4 after meeting with the San Francisco Police Department’s Police Employee Groups. At the full Board of Supervisors meeting April 5, Supervisor Malia Cohen and Board President London Breed issued a joint statement regarding the racist and homophobic text messages.
February 27, 2016
In an effort to improve transparency, accountability and trust between law enforcement and the public, Sen. Mark Leno has introduced SB 1286, a bill allowing greater public access to peace officer records related to serious uses of force and sustained charges of misconduct. “California is behind the times when it comes to providing transparency in law enforcement records,” said Sen. Leno, D-San Francisco.
September 28, 2015
More than 2,000 people eager to get a jump on the school year flocked to BMAGIC’s (Bayview Mobilization for Adolescent Growth in our Communities) Bayview Hunters Point Back to School Celebration at Youngblood Coleman Park Aug. 15, where kindergartners through high school seniors received new backpacks, uniforms and school supplies. The event is among the largest and most comprehensive of its kind in the Bay Area.
July 9, 2015
A woman charged with child endangerment after a hit-and-run driver fatally struck her 2-year-old niece as the family crossed against a traffic light was acquitted of all charges yesterday, San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi announced. Jurors deliberated a day and a half before clearing Loyresha Gage, 26, of felony child endangerment resulting in death and misdemeanor child endangerment.
June 24, 2015
African Americans in San Francisco are more likely to await trial behind bars than their white counterparts and face harsher punishment once convicted, according to a new study commissioned by the San Francisco Reentry Council.
Unlike previous reports, the study went beyond racial disparities in arrests and focused on unequal treatment in the courts as well, said San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi, who co-chairs the Reentry Council.
March 27, 2015
A San Francisco sheriff’s deputy has been accused of forcing inmates to fight in gladiator-style matches while he and his colleagues bet on the outcomes, San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi announced Thursday. One of the men forced to fight told Adachi, “I feel like they’re trying to stir (up) something racial … because I’m the only one of Asian descent” in an otherwise all-Black pod. Staged fights between prisoners of different races to aggravate interracial antagonism is reminiscent of the gladiator fights scandal in the California state prison system that made international headlines in the 1990s.
February 26, 2015
On Feb. 26, San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi released video showing a San Francisco police officer striking a homeless man repeatedly with a baton and pepper spraying him after the incapacitated man objected to being pushed off a Muni bus. The video is the second to surface this year in which an SFPD officer appears to dramatically escalate his use of force after overreacting to a minor conflict. In January, a private citizen released footage of an officer trying to dump a paralyzed man from his wheelchair.
January 28, 2015
San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi released video on Jan. 28 showing a deputy public defender being unlawfully arrested outside a courtroom as she attempted to protect her client’s right to counsel. San Francisco Police Inspector Brian Stansbury arrested Deputy Public Defender Jami Tillotson for refusing to let her client, a young African American man, be questioned without the presence of his attorney.
December 19, 2014
More than 200 public defenders and allies held a protest Dec. 18 on the steps of San Francisco’s criminal courthouse to show support for racial justice and stand in solidarity with protesters around the country. At least 200 public defenders walked off their jobs in Brooklyn on Dec. 17, staging a march and “die-in” to highlight the pervasiveness of racial inequality in the criminal justice system
December 3, 2014
As San Francisco Public Defender, I am profoundly dismayed by a Staten Island grand jury’s refusal to bring charges against Officer Daniel Pantaleo in the chokehold death of Eric Garner. The struggle that ended in Garner’s death was caught entirely on video. A grand jury refusing to indict in such an evidence-heavy case would defy belief – if it didn’t happen so often.
November 26, 2014
Wilson’s description of Brown as a “demon” with superhuman strength and unremitting rage and his description of the neighborhood as “hostile” illustrate implicit racial bias that taints use-of-force decisions. These biases surely contribute to the fact that African Americans are 21 times more likely to be shot by police than whites in the U.S., but the statement’s racial implications remained unexamined.
October 6, 2014
The San Francisco Public Defender’s office has partnered with a national research and policy hub to embark on a broad study to identify racial disparities in San Francisco’s criminal justice system. The Quattrone Center for the Fair Administration of Justice at the University of Pennsylvania Law School will work hand in hand with the Public Defender’s Office to gather a broad range of statistics providing insight into drug arrests, traffic stops, plea deals, sentences and bail.
September 28, 2014
HOW SWEET IT WAS! DR. WILLIE RATCLIFF, our beloved Publisher, a VIRGO MAN, celebrated his 82nd birthday surrounded by his lovely wife MARY RATCLIFF, charming in a blue dress, staff and friends at a reception held in the lobby of the African American Art and Cultural Complex, prior to the BLACK MEDIA APPRECIATION NIGHT affair, sponsored by SF BAY VIEW, to HONOR UNSUNG HEROES who do not get their PROPER due for their outstanding work.
September 19, 2014
From the moment the doors opened on the evening of Sept. 13, it was apparent that the honoring of our global African media would begin its night of empowerment with the tradition of honoring one of the community’s foremost elders. We celebrated the 82 years of life and struggle of Dr. Willie Ratcliff and Dr. Ratcliff’s 22 years of Black media ownership of the San Francisco Bay View newspaper. Black Media Appreciation Night 2014 was filled with wisdom, communication and the exchange of knowledge, as well as people receiving awards for life changing, revolutionary work.