Roxie Theater screens ‘Presumed Guilty’ to benefit Jeff Adachi Legacy Fund

Join us Wednesday, April 3, 6:30 p.m., at the Roxie Theater, 3117 16th St., San Francisco, tickets $15 – plus Q&A afterwards with attorneys from the Public Defender’s Office!

by Katy St. Clair

In a scene from “Presumed Guilty,” Public Defender Jeff Adachi has a thoughtful conversation with a client.

“’Presumed Guilty’ is a powerful look at the triumphs, defeats and moral dilemmas of a group of lawyers in the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office.” – Skylight

Public Defender Jeff Adachi was known as a guardian of the poor and marginalized and a fierce champion for criminal justice reform. But he was also a proud spokesperson for the work that public defenders do day in and day out – the boots on the ground grit and dedication required to ensure everyone a fair trial. One of his main goals was to raise the profile and respect for public defense all over the country.

Adachi was also no stranger to the film world, and in 2002 in conjunction with KQED, Pamela Yates created “Presumed Guilty: Tales of the Public Defenders,” a riveting documentary about life on the front lines of public defense in our city. Featuring Jeff Adachi and his staff, it goes inside a year of the lives of clients and attorneys as they grapple with courtrooms, holding cells and an often unforgiving criminal justice system.

“Go behind the scenes and enter the inner sanctum of attorney/client privilege. Follow two high-profile murder trials and courtroom dramas as public defenders and their clients face the maze of the criminal justice system,” advises.

Adachi’s short feature “Racial Facial” will also be shown. Enjoy a Q&A afterwards with attorneys from the Public Defender’s Office, featuring Felony Manager Kleigh Hathaway, Misdemeanor Manager Brian Pearlman, and Deputy Public Defenders Phoenix Streets and Rebecca Young.

Ticket proceeds will be going to the Jeff Adachi Legacy Fund, which is a scholarship fund for law students or post-bars who show commitment to criminal defense work and racial justice. Please join us for a good cause while we celebrate Jeff’s memory.

Katy St. Clair, public information officer for the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office, can be reached at