PJDC mourns the loss of Jeff Adachi, Public Defender of San Francisco, who died suddenly on February 23rd. PJDC President Patti Lee, who serves as head of the Juvenile Division for the office said of Jeff that “He truly believed in redemption,” and that he was especially committed to providing the best juvenile defense and resources to keep youth in the community: “He never said no if it improved the outcomes for our youth.” Patti expressed the view of many when she said, “I am so proud and so privileged to have worked work with him. His legacy lives on and we are more resolute in battling injustice.”
The tributes to Jeff speak of his remarkable breadth of work. Even when he was running the Public Defender’s Office, he never stopped trying cases. He fought police brutality and malfeasance; found a way to get legal representation for undocumented people; made films about racial injustice; pressed for bail reform; and never forgot that he worked for the community of San Franciscans impacted by the criminal justice system. He often said that as the son and grandson of Japanese Americans held in internment camps during world War II, he grew up with a deep appreciation of importance of fighting for justice and providing a voice for those who have been silenced by their circumstances in life.