SoMa Street Could Be Renamed ‘Jeff Adachi Way’

The late public defender could become a permanent fixture on the very street he traversed to get to court.

A group from the Public Defender’s Office leads the march in honor of late Public Defender Jeff Adachi on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

As city leaders pledge to carry on the legacy of the late Jeff Adachi, a street by his old Public Defender’s Office could be renamed in his honor.

Supervisor Matt Haney introduced a resolution on Tuesday to rename a small SoMa street on the back side of the Public Defender’s Office after Adachi. Gilbert Street, which runs parallel to Seventh Street between Bryant and Brannan streets, would become “Jeff Adachi Way.”

Adachi frequently used Gilbert Street to get to the Hall of Justice at 850 Bryant St., often mentoring and supporting fellow attorneys on the way. On Feb. 22, at age 59, the city’s public defender died suddenly, having served in office since 2002.

“It is fitting tribute to Jeff’s legacy as a champion of justice and fairness to rename Gilbert St. in his honor,” Haney said in a statement. “In the future, countless attorneys will walk down Jeff Adachi Way and be reminded of his unrelenting commitment to justice, as they step into the Hall of Justice to further his legacy themselves.”

During his time as public defender, Adachi more than doubled his office’s budget and took on issues, such as cash bail, before they were politically popular. He was known for being unafraid to publicize abuses of law enforcement, such as the jail fight allegations at the Sheriff’s Department.

“Jeff Adachi dedicated his life to setting vulnerable people on the right path and championing criminal justice reform,” says Manohar Raju, a public defender who was appointed to replace Adachi. “He left an imprint on the neighborhood and communities of San Francisco, so it’s fitting that this city that he loved so much would name a street after him.”

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