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Profile: jeff.adachi

Jeff Adachi is the Public Defender of the City and County of San Francisco. Before being elected as Public Defender in March 2002, Mr. Adachi worked as a deputy public defender in San Francisco for 15 years and in private practice for 2 years. From 1998-2001, he served as the Chief Attorney of the office. He has tried over 150 jury trials, including numerous serious felony and homicide cases, and has handled over 3,000 criminal matters throughout his career, including some of the Bay Areaís highest profile cases. As the only elected Public Defender in the state of California, and one of few elected public defenders in the United States, Mr. Adachi oversees an office of 93 lawyers and 60 support staff. The office represents over 23,000 people each year who are charged with misdemeanor and felony offenses. The office has a $25 million dollar budget, and provides a panoply of innovative programs to its clients, including Drug Court, Clean Slate expungement services, and a full-service juvenile division. The office also has one of the countryís top intern programs for law students and graduates. Mr. Adachi served on the American Bar Associationís Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigents and is a member of the National Board of Trial Advocacy. He is the co-author of Chapter 25: Immunity for Testimony, in the California Criminal Law Procedure and Practice book, and a past board member of the California Attorneys for Criminal Justice and the San Francisco Bar Association. He is a past president of the Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area and the San Francisco Japanese American Citizenís League. He has been a certified criminal law specialist since 1991. Mr. Adachi has also taught with BAR/BRI bar review for 15 years and has published five books on passing the bar exam. In 1992, Mr. Adachi received the California State Bar Associationís Hufstedler Award for public service. In 1997, Mr. Adachi received the Asian American Bar Associationís Joe Morozumi Award for exceptional legal advocacy, and in 2003, was honored by the Asian American Bar Association of the Silicon Valley. In 2000, Mr. Adachi received the Mayorís Fiscal Advisory Committeeís Managerial Excellence Award. In 2006, Adachi received the California Public Defender Associationís Program of the Year Award, and IN 2007, the American Bar Associationís national Dorsey award for excellence in public defense. In 2007, Adachi was the recipient of the prestigious California Lawyer Attorney of the Year award (CLAY) for his work in the field of prisoner reentry. Mr. Adachi graduated from Hastings College of the Law in 1985 and attended undergraduate studies at U.C. Berkeley. He lives in San Francisco with his wife Mutsuko and daughter Lauren.

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On March 18, 2017 - the 54th anniversary of the Gideon v. Wainright decision - NAPD published its Foundational Principleswhich are recommended to NAPD members and other persons and organizations interested in advancing the cause of equal justice for accused persons.  

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On March 2, 2017, NAPD released its Statement on Reducing Demand For Public Defense: Alternatives to Traditional Prosecution Can Reduce Defender Workload, Save Money, and Reduce RecidivismThere are more than 2 million people in jail and prison in the United States. This is a four-fold increase since 1980. This increase and the racial disproportionality among incarcerated people has led to alliances across the political spectrum to address the impact on people and on budgets.  As the new Coalition for Public Safety has put it, “Our country has an ‘overcriminalization’ problem and an ‘overincarceration’ problem — and it’s getting worse." NAPD authored this statement because there is a great opportunity to make transformative changes that can improve justice and save money.  A variety of organizations representing a wide spectrum of political views have joined together to end the systematic problem of overcriminalization and narrow the net of incarceration by reforming criminal codes.