The Blog Formerly Known As Practical Paralegalism
San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi’s requests for additional funding for his office, including monies for two legal assistant positions, are getting more pointed and dramatic, escalating the budget battle between him and Mayor Gavin Newsom, and in the midst of the fray, benefiting a homeless woman.
In addition to threatening to decline murder cases, Mr. Adachi ignored Mayor Newsom’s demand to slash department budgets by 25 percent – instead requesting an additional 1.7 million dollars to staff his office. Last week, Mr. Adachi personally appeared at the new Community Justice Center established by the city to hear low-level criminal cases in “The Tenderloin” district, to illustrate his position that his office does not have sufficient staff.
When none of the five scheduled defendants had appeared after an hour, Mr. Adachi offered to assist with the appearance of one defendant, a homeless woman his office had previously assisted. She was facing a fourth citation for camping on sidewalks. Mr. Adachi got the court’s permission to locate the woman and then appeared with her, explaining that she had bad experiences in shelters, and arranging for her to get a private room in a SRO hotel and assistance applying for SSI benefits.
When Mr. Adachi, who earns approximately $200,000.00 per year, huffed that he would not normally staff the Tenderloin court with a 23-year veteran attorney, Mayor Newsom’s press secretary, Nathan Ballard smoothly replied, “I’m sure he provided an excellent defense for his client.”
See prior Practical Paralegalism entries about the budget controversy:
Public Defender Requests Funds for Two Entry-Level Legal Assistants
Public Defender’s Requests for Two New Entry-Level Legal Assistants Denied
Public Defender Discusses Denied Request to Add Paralegal Staff