The Blog Formerly Known As Practical Paralegalism
San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi’s request that the City fund two additional entry-level legal assistant positions may have backfired. He threatened to refer murder cases to private counsel if his request was not granted. His request was denied by both Mayor Gavin Newsom and the Board of Supervisors.
Instead, his statement that he would hire private counsel angered many at last week’s City Hall meeting, with Supervisor Sean Elsbernd stating that “Adachi hasn’t made the midyear cuts that the mayor ordered for all city departments…his private-attorney threat [is] ‘a real mistake.'”
Mr. Elsbernd also threatened to cut the Public Defender’s budget even further by introducing “a measure next week to explore how the city can take cash away from the office for any expenditures – such as training, travel expenses and the office’s six social workers – that aren’t constitutionally mandated.” Mr. Adachi shot back that “It’s like Nero fiddling while Rome is burning. I’d be happy to educate the supervisor as to what our social workers do in serving the 1,500 youth that we represent.”
If you live in the San Francisco area and were excitedly holding your breath, hoping that two new legal assistant positions in the Public Defender’s office were about to become available, exhale now. Representatives of the Mayor’s office are adamant that the Public Defender’s office could have budgeted funds set aside for nonlegal expenses to pay for extra staff, and Mr. Adachi is just as adamant that the additional funds are vital to processing his caseload.