SF Board of Supervisors Mandate Pre-Interrogation Attorney Consultations for All Youth

On February 26, 2019, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously passed the “Jeff Adachi Youth Rights” ordinance, which prohibits custodial police interrogations of youth 17 years of age or younger, unless certain conditions are first met. These conditions include: (1) providing the youth legal representation in connection with the interrogation, and (2) requiring that responsible adults be given access to the youth during police questioning. The right to a legal consultation cannot be waived by the youth.

This ordinance expands upon SB 395 (effective Jan. 1, 2018), which mandated that youths 15 years of age or younger consult with legal counsel prior to a custodial interrogation or a waiver of Miranda rights. San Francisco’s ordinance only applies to youth within the county’s jurisdiction. It is PJDC’s hope that this expansion of the right to a legal consultation of all youth also be replicated in all 58 counties in California.

PJDC President Patti Lee, who serves as the head of the Juvenile Division of the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office, said of the ordinance’s passage: “We are so excited to have this important legislation be named to honor our fearless visionary leader Jeff Adachi, who championed the rights of youth and provided the level of resources not only to our juvenile unit but to the communities in San Francisco where our youth and families reside.”

The ordinance was sponsored by Supervisor Hillary Ronen, who noted on her Facebook page: “So many incredible people worked with me on this law starting with our beloved public defender and Patti Lee from his office.”

Ms. Lee, in remembrance of Adachi, stated: “Jeff is still championing the rights of our youth and this ordinance will have a far-reaching impact on youth in SF and hopefully in California and across the nation. Rest in Power Jeff Adachi!”

February 27, 2019 vigil for and celebration of visionary SF Public Defender Jeff Adachi