Saturday, May 16, 2009

May Meeting: SF Public Defender Jeff Adachi

City Democratic Club Welcomes SF Public Defender Jeff Adachi on May 21, 2009, 7:30 pm, 240 Front Street (the back room at Schroeder’s Restaurant) 

Note: New Meeting Location.  Due to SPUR's impending move, until further notice, City Democratic Club will be meeting at Schroeder’s Restaurant, conveniently having food and beverages on site for purchase by the hungry and thirsty club members.   

As the only elected Public Defender in the state of California, and one of few elected public defenders in the United States, Jeff Adachi oversees more than 24,000 cases each year with 93 attorneys, 70 support staff, and a budget of $17 million.  Budget cuts threatened for fiscal 09/10 would reduce this workforce by 1/3, forcing Adachi’s office to step away from an estimated 6,000 to 8,000 cases and jeopardizing the 6th Amendment’s guarantee of right to counsel.

Already, Adachi has, himself, taken on extra work created by San Francisco’s launch of Community Justice Courts, beginning in March 2009.  Mr. Adachi says that the Mayor’s office promised to add two more public defenders to handle these extra cases – but those attorneys never materialized. Community Courts typically target low-level nuisance or quality-of-life crimes and promise to impose meaningful sanctions on offenders, engage the community, and help offenders to address the problems at the root of their criminal behavior.

Mr. Adachi has been involved in community activism in the Bay Area since the late 70's.  He was also featured in the 2002 PBS documentary film, Presumed Guilty, a nationally broadcast special about the San Francisco Public Defender’s office, its difficult cases and complex defense strategies. He has been featured as a legal commentator on Court TV, CBS, NBC and ABC, and frequently appears as a special guest to discuss legal cases and issues.  In 2006, Mr. Adachi received the American Bar Association’s national award for outstanding public defender. 

Mr. Adachi is also a documentary filmmaker whose film “The Slanted Screen” was released in 2006.  The film garnered top awards at the New York International Independent Film & Video Festival and the Berkeley Film Festival.

Mr. Adachi graduated from Hastings College of the Law in 1985 and attended undergraduate studies at U.C. Berkeley.


Your Vote Counts!!

Don’t forget to vote.

Special Election: May 19.

Californians will take the debate to the ballot on whether the “compromise budget” should pass.  

This past Democratic Convention (Sacramento, April 24, 25, 26, held some fun debate on the issues, resulting in the California Democratic Party taking NO POSITION on 1A, 1D and 1E; while taking a YES position on the (less controversial) 1B, 1C, and 1F.  As one elected official commented, “It’s probably good that the party took no position on those measures since they’re written in such a confusing way.”  Members will have to do our own reading this time since the City Democratic Club did not endorse for this election. . .


In yet another important election, City Democratic Club members will decide who will assume club leadership positions this year.  Up for election, the following candidates have been nominated:

PRESIDENT: Heidi Machen



TREASURER: Steve LaPlante