Jeff Adachi Public Defender San Francisco
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Jeff's Values


"The quality of justice depends on those who are charged with administering it."

Jeff has always stood up for justice. Jeff's parents and grandparents were interned with 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II without a trial, so the issue is personal to Jeff. Jeff understands the importance of ensuring that all Americans receive due process and are treated fairly. As Public Defender, Jeff has spoken up and taken up issues whenever a person's constitutional rights are jeopardized.

Jeff called for the reform of the San Francisco Police Department drug lab, when it was reported that a lab technician was stealing drugs from the lab, calling thousands of cases into question. When the District Attorney failed to provide police misconduct records to the defense as the U.S. Constitution requires, Jeff publicly demanded that prosecutors comply with the law.

Jeff also believes that social inequities, such as lack of education and poverty, if addressed, can help prevent crime by giving people the opportunity to succeed. For this reason, Jeff has championed reentry programs and co-founded the San Francisco Reentry Council to help coordinate the delivery of employment, education and substance abuse treatment to persons recently released from prison or jail.


"Government needs to be accountable to the public it serves."

Jeff believes that government and city departments must be accountable to the public they serve. Part of the Public Defender's function is to ensure that criminal justice agencies act in accordance with the law and the U.S. Constitution. When police or prosecutors or other state agents act improperly in connection with a criminal case, the Public Defender investigates and if necessary, raises legal challenges in court.

Accountability also demands that government must be transparent, so people fully understand when their government is working and when it's not. For each year he has been in office, Jeff has published an annual report (at no cost to the taxpayer), which is available on-line at setting forth the outcomes achieved by the office.

Jeff also believes that in order to do their jobs, employees must receive regular feedback and coaching. Every employee in the public defender's office is evaluated regularly, and receives a written performance review.

Accountability also means that government is responsive to the public it serves. Any complaints the office receives from clients or their families are responded to within 48 hours, a policy Jeff created when he came into office.


"Community enjoys the greatest quality of life when we work together to lift us all up."

Everyone in San Francisco wants a part of the San Francisco dream: a city that celebrates and embraces its diversity, prosperity, creativity, innovation and progressive values.

Because the Public Defender has an attorney-client relationship with individuals who are charged with crimes, the office is uniquely situated to help prevent crime by providing social service interventions for those who want it. Jeff has devoted a staff of trained social workers to provide linkages to critical employment, education and substance abuse services to hundreds of clients each year.

The office has also helped build two of San Francisco's most successful collaborative courts: the Drug Court and Behavioral Health Court. These courts provide substance abuse and mental health treatment to thousands of people each year and have a proven track record of decreasing criminality by attacking and treating underlying symptoms. The Public Defender also staffs the Community Justice Center, which provides persons charged with low level misdemeanors and felonies treatment and services instead of incarceration.

As Public Defender, Jeff has championed programs that add to the quality of life through providing opportunities to youth, through the work of community-collaborations such as BMAGIC and Mo' MAGIC. Since 2002, these programs help strengthen capacities of community-based organizations and assist communities in working together to solve problems. The MAGIC Programs provide backpacks and school supplies to over 5,000 San Francisco children each year.


"Consistency means that we provide the very best representation and service in each and every case."

To be effective, the delivery of services must be consistent and constantly evaluated for necessary improvements. Jeff and his staff have developed performance standards and goals required of all department units and program, and all programs are regularly evaluated to measure the outcomes achieved based on the program's initial goals and objectives. In the past year, the office has received high marks from independent evaluators who have studied the office's programs.