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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 Area’s 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 country’s top intern programs for law students and graduates. Mr. Adachi served on the American Bar Association’s 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 Citizen’s 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 Association’s Hufstedler Award for public service. In 1997, Mr. Adachi received the Asian American Bar Association’s 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 Mayor’s Fiscal Advisory Committee’s Managerial Excellence Award. In 2006, Adachi received the California Public Defender Association’s Program of the Year Award, and IN 2007, the American Bar Association’s 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 December 28, 2016, NAPD published its Open Letter to Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro for his prosecution of Orleans Public Defender investigator Taryn Blume. A bedrock principle of our criminal justice system is that every citizen accused by the government of a crime starts with the benefit of the doubt – with a presumption that they are in fact innocent.  That right becomes meaningless if we do not uphold the equally important right of every citizen-accused defense team who fights for her cause; who digs for evidence of her innocence; who exposes the government when it hides that evidence.  The legitimacy of our criminal justice system depends upon defense lawyers and defense investigators doing their jobs, and doing them well, without fear of reprisal from a prosecutor acting more like a bully than the champion of truth and justice he is supposed to be.

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Last Chance to Register! The NAPD Executive Leadership Institute (ELI-2017) is almost full will will be held from 3:00 pm on April 2 through 11:45 am on April 5, 2017 at the Department of Public Advocacy training facility in Frankfort, KY. You can see more information and registration details HERE