As news spread Friday about the death of San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi, political leaders across California shared memories and reflected on his legacy.
Mayor London Breed released a statement regarding his death, saying the public defender was committed to the fight for justice.
“As one of the few elected public defenders in our country, Jeff always stood up for those who didn’t have a voice, have been ignored and overlooked, and who needed a real champion. He was committed not only to the fight for justice in the courtroom, but he was also a relentless advocate for criminal justice reform. Jeff lead the way on progressive policy reforms, including reducing recidivism, ending cash bail, and standing up for undocumented and unrepresented children.”
I am saddened to announce that San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi passed away tonight. San Francisco has lost a dedicated public servant, and our communities have lost a champion.— London Breed (@LondonBreed) February 23, 2019
San Francisco’s Police Chief also issued a statement via social media on Adachi’s death, saying he’s deeply saddened.
Former Mayor Willie Brown spoke to KRON4 Friday evening about the news.
“It’s unbelievable,” Brown said. “I would have never figured anything bad would happen to Jeff Adachi. He was healthy, he was an athlete.The fact that he had a heart attack and died is devastating for me.”
Brown said when he first heard of Adachi’s death, he didn’t believe it. Brown remembers the public defender fondly.
“Every time I had the chance to introduce Jeff Adachi, I had so much respect for him,” the former mayor said. “I always referred to him as ‘my personal lawyer.'”
Brown says shock is felt throughout much of the city’s political community.
“Everybody is just amazing and flabergasted and they can’t believe someone as healthy as Jeff Adachi appeared to be would leave us so soon,” Brown said.
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf also reacted to the San Francisco public defender’s death, calling Adachi a friend and colleague.
“Jeff Adachi fought for truth and justice — values that speak to all of us,” the Oakland mayor said. “Although based in SF, Jeff’s moral leadership helped frame a Bay Area ethos. I will miss him as a friend, and a colleague in the fight for a more just and compassionate government.”
Jeff Adachi fought for truth and justice – values that speak to all of us. Although based in SF, Jeff’s moral leadership helped frame a Bay Area ethos. I will miss him as a friend, and a colleague in the fight for a more just and compassionate government.— Libby Schaaf (@LibbySchaaf) February 23, 2019
Congresswoman Jackie Speier — also honored Adachi Friday night, remembering him as a “righteous public servant who believed passionately in the Constitution, due process and the rights of the accused to be ably represented by counsel.”
Senator Dianne Feinstein said his passion for criminal justice reform stretched beyond the courtroom.
“Jeff Adachi fought to ensure every person received equal justice under the law. He was a passionate advocate for his clients, and he carried that passion into his work outside of the courtroom. He was a tireless advocate for criminal justice reform and the rights of immigrant children.
Governor Gavin Newsom remembered him as a “dedicated servant of the public.”
Newsom said, “He was passionate about fighting for fairness and leading the charge on progressive criminal justice policy.”
Senator Kamala Harris said she was shocked and deeply saddened to learn of Adachi’s sudden passing.
“In the 30 years I knew him, I always admired his commitment to his constituents and to the ideals of our nation and our justice system,” she said. “In our last conversation a week ago, he remained as committed as ever to those promises.”
Adachi was elected to the public defender position in 2002.
According to Brown, Adachi died of a heart attack. He was 59 years old.
- WHAT PARENTS, STUDENTS CAN EXPECT DURING OAKLAND TEACHER STRIKE
- MEGA-STORM COULD DAMAGE STATE 3X AS MUCH AS MAJOR QUAKE
- ‘BABY SAVINGS DAY’: WALMART OFFERS HUGE DISCOUNTS TO PARENT
- WOMAN DECAPITATED WROTE NOTE: HUSBAND WOULDN’T PAY RANSOM
- MOM GETS LIFE FOR DEATH OF BABY FOUND IN MAGGOT-INFESTED DIAPER