Adachi Re-elected as S.F. Public Defender

SAN FRANCISCO — Public Defender Jeff Adachi was re-elected on Nov. 6, but the outcome wasn’t exactly a surprise — he was running unopposed.

Jeff Adachi

As of Nov. 29, Adachi — the only elected public defender in California — had received 286,688 votes (98.4) percent, with write-ins totaling 4,670 (1.6 percent). He was also unopposed in the last two elections.

“Thank you from the bottom of my heart … for placing your faith in me and allowing me to serve as your public defender,” Adachi said in a Facebook post on Nov. 7.

Adachi was raised in Sacramento by parents and grandparents who had been incarcerated at the Rohwer camp in Arkansas during World War II. He received his B.A. from UC Berkeley in 1981 and his J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law in 1985.

He served as a deputy public defender in San Francisco for 15 years before being named chief attorney of the Public Defender’s Office, a position he held for three years. When Kimiko Burton was appointed public defender in 2001, she immediately fired Adachi, but he ran against her in 2002 and won, 55 percent to 45 percent, in a face-off between two Japanese American candidates.

In an Oct. 3 editorial, The San Francisco Chronicle said: “Jeff Adachi more than fills the bill as San Francisco’s public defender. He runs an office that handles 23,000 defendants a year, offers a string of re-entry and education programs, and speaks up instantly when there’s a police shooting or threat of an immigrant sweep.