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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Jeff Adachi, San Francisco's Public Defender, Wins 71 Percent of Domestic Violence Trials

Posted By on Wed, Jan 26, 2011 at 5:59 PM

A convincing man
  • A convincing man

Jeff Adachi might not have convinced voters to pass pension reform last year, but he is certainly proving he's good at persuading juries in the courtroom.

A new report suggests that the public defender won 48 percent of his cases last year -- an increase for the third year in a row.

Of the 168 cases that went to trial last year, Adachi's clients were found guilty 30 percent of the time while juries acquitted defendants 36 percent of the time. The report shows that 12 percent of trials ended in hung juries and 22 percent were mixed verdicts.

Those figures exclude the 700 felony cases that were dismissed last year because of the crime lab scandal.


said the numbers -- which represent combined felony and misdemeanor

cases -- show that public defenders are outperforming prosecutors in the


"Clearly, we are bringing the right cases to trial," Adachi said.

Other highlights in the report show that Adachi won 71 percent of domestic violence trials, which is surprising, considering how many resources former District Attorney Kamala Harris devoted to prosecuting domestic violence cases in San Francisco.

But Adachi said that there is a tendency to overcharge in domestic violence cases -- and clearly San Francisco juries agree.

"You don't often hear about acquittals -- you read

in the newspaper about arrests and cases where people are convicted," Adachi told SF Weekly. "It's important for people

to see that innocent people are charged with crimes and that a jury trial is

sometimes the only means of exonerating oneself."

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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