Dear Community,

I hope you and your families are well, safe, and healthy.

Spring 2022 brings new hope that we are finally emerging from two years of this global pandemic, and while we have a lot to be hopeful about, we also have a lot of work to do when it comes to fighting for the freedom of so many incarcerated community members who continue to suffer, many of them in 23-hr lockdown, still unable to see their loved ones. 

In this newsletter, I invite you to learn more about the work we are doing to protect the rights and health of our clients and their families, and to ensure we create a more just and equitable criminal legal system.

In Solidarity,

          Mano Raju
          San Francisco Public Defender 

Taking the Financial Hardship Out of Jury Service -- Eligible Jurors Now Get $100 a day! 

We are proud that the Be the Jury pilot program we helped create with city partners is now available for people summoned to jury duty. For San Franciscans who need financial support to serve on a jury in criminal court, you may be eligible to receive $100/day. To see if you’re eligible, visit

To help spread the word, Coach Steve Kerr and Player Kevon Looney of the Golden State Warriors put out two PSAs encouraging the community to show up for jury duty and contribute to making justice happen. Thanks @DubsCommunity!

We’re very grateful to our partners for co-creating this pilot program which aims to seat more economically and racially diverse juries that better reflect our diverse city. Our thanks go out to the Financial Justice Project of the SF Treasurer’s Office, the SF District Attorney’s Office, the Bar Association of San Francisco, and the legislative support from Assemblymember Phil Ting and Senator Scott Wiener.
Our hope is that the Be The Jury program will enable more San Franciscans to participate in jury duty, one of our most powerful civic opportunities.
Public Defenders Fighting for More Trials & Exposing Jail Conditions
Speedy trial rights are still being violated in San Francisco Superior Court. As of January 2022, there were nearly 250 legally innocent people - representing at least 25% of the SF County Jail population - whose trial deadlines have passed. Due to pandemic protocols, people in jail are under 23-hour lockdown with no sunlight and no in-person family visits.
In February, Public Defender Raju and a group of taxpayers, which included mothers of incarcerated adults, filed a petition in the California Court of Appeal seeking relief for the growing number of people whose speedy trial rights have been violated. Meanwhile, our attorneys continue to show up in court daily, filing motions for dismissals and pushing for courtrooms to take these cases to trial.
The Wall Street Journal interviewed our client Mr. Cogman whose health has deteriorated so much while in jail that he’s considering a plea on a defensible charge simply so he can get out of jail and attend to his health.
The Guardian interviewed our client Mr. Brewer who was acquitted at trial after a lengthy jail wait under pandemic conditions and isolation. Attorneys also spoke of the troubling conversations with our jailed clients when we don’t know how long they will have to wait for a trial.
We first documented and revealed the pandemic jail conditions in our Adachi Project film "From Inside" which examines the psychological impact of being jailed with no end in sight.
Public Defenders Winning Positive Outcomes for Our Clients
While it’s been heartbreaking and frustrating that so many of our clients have spent months in jail waiting for trial, when we are finally able to reach trial, we have had some very powerful results. Our Defenders have had numerous trial wins for clients who were not guilty, overcharged, and/or victims of police brutality.
On our Media page, you can read about cases where it took a jury a scant few hours or less to acquit our clients who, in some cases, spent more than a year in jail waiting for their trial. 

- A former firefighter who spent 400+ days in jail only to be found guilty of a single misdemeanor at trial; meanwhile unable to care for his elderly high-needs mother.

- A promising Black college student accosted by hospital staff, then grossly overcharged and finally acquitted by a jury. 

- A motorist accused of assaulting an officer, but in fact, was brutally beaten by several SFPD officers after an accidental traffic collision. 

- A case dismissed against a man whom police had no probable cause to search. After the man verbally asserted his rights, one officer admitted to punching the man in the head 15-25 times, putting the man in the hospital with a fractured cheekbone

We are very proud of our public defender attorneys, social workers, investigators, paralegals and clerks who all contributed their hard work and dedication to these positive outcomes for our clients.

48 Hills covered the story of our client who was brutally beaten by several police officers after his motorcylce accidentally clipped the door of a police car in 2018. 
The SF Standard covered the story of our client who was illegally detained and beaten by police in 2021, and then charged with assaulting an officer. The article ran photos of our client with a fractured cheekbone next to a small cut on the officer 's pinky.
Public Defenders are Immigrant Rights Warriors
Public Defenders Help Win Groundbreaking Protections for Immigrants Detained by ICE 

In January, we reached a groundbreaking settlement agreement to resolve a class action lawsuit which challenged the unsafe conditions for immigrants in custody at two immigration detention facilities, Mesa Verde Detention Center and Yuba County Jail. The settlement will compel ICE and its private contractor GEO Group to preserve safety measures to protect people in immigration detention from COVID-19. It will also limit ICE’s authority to re-detain the hundreds of people released during the course of the lawsuit.

Read about the settlement of this joint class action lawsuit in this article from Courthouse News Service.
Supporting Legislation to End the Pipeline to ICE
The San Francisco Public Defender’s Office is a proud co-sponsor of the VISION Act (AB 937), authored by Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo. The VISION Act would end the inhumane practice of local jails and state prisons turning over community members, who are eligible to be released, to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for a second, double punishment and possible deportation. The bill has passed the California State Assembly and is now in the Senate awaiting a Senate floor vote. For more information about how you can support this priority legislation, please visit
Public Defenders in the Community
Our Budget Priorities – Transformative Justice, Racial Equity, Community Health
Learn about our values, mission, and priorities for the coming fiscal year 2022-2023. Public Defender Mano Raju presented our department’s budget priorities at a community event facilitated by Lyslynn Lacoste, longtime Director of our Bayview MAGIC program who is transitioning to become our new Chief of Staff. We welcomed guest speakers Joanna Hernandez of the Latino Task Force and Sayra Pinto of Moon Jaguar Strategies, LLC – both of whom spoke about how our work as Public Defenders impacts the community and intersects with broader liberation movements.
Watch our presentation on YouTube. Send us questions via our website
Clean Slate
Our Clean Slate team is available to table at public events and assist people with cleaning up their past record of arrests and convictions in San Francisco. To start an online application, visit our website or contact our team. Follow them on Instagram @sfcleanslate.
Our Clean Slate team is partnering with the Latino Task Force Mission Hub on first Thursdays from 10am-12pm. Please contact us through our website to request information about other community clinics where you can meet our team in person.   
MAGIC Programs Connect Opportunities for Youth & Families
San Francisco Public Defenders believe it is our responsibility to help strengthen our communities by connecting youth and families with opportunities to thrive. Our award-winning B’MAGIC and Mo’MAGIC programs serve as networks for San Francisco neighborhood-based organizations, whose mission is to facilitate, coordinate, and develop community resources and opportunities that support service providers and community members in Bayview Hunters Point and the Fillmore-Western Addition, respectively. Click on the links above to sign up for their weekly community calendars and resource guides.
MAGIC stands for Mobilization for Adolescent Growth in our Communities because Public Defenders want our young people to learn and thrive in our city.
Contact Our Office
If you need to reach our office for any reason, call our front desk at 415-553-1671 or contact us through our website at

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Thank you!
San Francisco Public Defender's Office
Since 1921