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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
In an effort to ensure every student starts school with the tools to succeed, the San Francisco Public Defender’s BMAGIC program will provide backpacks stuffed with school supplies to more than 3,000 youth in the Bayview on Saturday, Aug. 16. The BVHP Annual Back to School Celebration will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the recently renovated Youngblood Coleman Park, 1398 Hudson Ave.
The National Legal Aid and Defender Association (NLADA) has selected San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi as its 2012 Reginald Heber Smith Award winner. “The Reggie” celebrates the outstanding achievements and dedicated services of an attorney for contributions made while employed by an organization providing civil legal services or indigent defense services.
A judicial decision handed down today effectively ends the San Francisco Housing Authority’s use of city-wide nuisance injunctions and dismisses all pending criminal cases against alleged violators, San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi and ACLU of Northern California Legal Director Alan Schlosser announced.
A San Francisco police officer accused of stealing items from a man’s residential hotel room following a drug arrest has been captured on video in a second incident, appearing to leave a residence at the Julian Hotel with property never booked into evidence.
“People should be judged by character, not color,” San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi said. “In this PSA we are trying to get people to reflect about their own possible biases and racial profiling. It’s a reminder that nationality, race or sexual orientation doesn’t matter – everyone has a right to be judged individually.”
As San Francisco grapples with a looming budget crisis, Public Defender Jeff Adachi is seeking $2 million in state reimbursement to the City for its defense of eight men charged in a 1971 homicide case involving a police officer. The city’s right to reimbursement is based on the fact that the California Attorney General took on the 36-year-old case after the San Francisco District Attorney’s office declined to prosecute.