Law Enforcement Race Race & Class Race & Justice

SF Public Defender Creates Investigation Unit After Report Shows Racial Disparities in Police Booking

Taylor Walker
Written by Taylor Walker

San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi announced on Tuesday the creation of a unit to closely examine police booking charges for signs of racial bias.

Adachi created the team in response to a study (also released Tuesday) that the San Francisco Police Department and other booking agencies chose more serious charges for people of color than their white counterparts at the initial booking stage.

Adachi’s Pretrial Release Unit will be comprised of two deputy public defenders and one investigator, and will launch on October 1.

The public defender modeled the new team after a Miami-Dade Public Defender’s Office program that provides early representation to inmates. The unit reviews arrest data, investigates cases, and argues, when appropriate, for reduced bail and releases on recognizance, “to better serve clients between arrest and arraignment, reduce costs associated with pre-trial incarceration and begin critical case preparation.”

The SF team’s focus will be between arrest and arraignment, and will consist of examining police reports and performing other analyses to determine when cases have been overcharged. When the group finds instances of overcharging, it will argue in favor of reduced bail or pretrial release without bail for affected defendants.

“The Pretrial Release Unit is preventive care for a system infected with bias,” Adachi said. “Instead of trying to stamp out the problem once it has taken hold, we will step in right after booking, start our investigation, and file a bail motion within eight hours.”

In San Francisco, racial disparities abound at the booking stage of a criminal case, according to the report from the Quattrone Center for the Fair Administration of Justice.

When police arrest an individual, officers submit a charging request to the district attorney, who then looks at the information available, including criminal history, and recommends charges. For defendants who cannot afford their own attorney, a public defender is provided, but not until arraignment, after the prosecutor has already recommended charges.

“This criminal history has a ‘ripple effect’ that impacts plea negotiations for subsequent charges, as police, prosecutors, and defense attorneys make plea bargain decisions based in part of the individual’s prior criminal history,” the report reads.

Researchers looked at 10,753 records for cases between 2011 and 2014 handled by the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office. The study is significant, in that researchers that look at racial disparities in the court system often focus on case outcomes, rather than earlier opportunities for racism, like the booking process.

The report showed that black defendants are held in pretrial detention for 30 days, on average—62% longer than white defendants. Overall, it takes an average of 90 days for black defendants’ cases to be resolved—14% longer than white defendants’ cases (77.5 days).

And black defendants are convicted of more serious crimes than their white counterparts. Black people are convicted of 60% more felony charges than white defendants, and 10% fewer misdemeanors, according to the report. Additionally, black defendants receive sentences that are an average of 28% longer than white defendants.

“Overcharging cases has real, human consequences,” Adachi said. “Today’s booking charges turn into tomorrow’s criminal histories, preventing people from achieving their potential in life.”


  • Why don’t these stories ever include data on reported crimes with suspect information? For instance, of reported robberies what is the racial break down of the suspects? It’s almost as if the people who write this stuff don’t want to know.

  • The pharmaceutical companies did it, so why should we expect the called “social watchdog groups” to be any better with regards to the unbiased presentation of collected data. Anything is possible in the world of experimental design and data processing when you manipulate your data to fit your desired outcome and support your hypothesis. Not that anyway would ever do this of course.

  • Major Kong, I refuse to believe you really are that stupid. Read the article; its whole premise is that someone did look at the racial breakdown and they found disparities. At least you have you have a kindred spirit in Conspiracy. Sometimes I wonder if Ms. Fremon is rolling her eyes when she reads your posts, or she even bothers. Or, probably wondering how, someone as progressive as she appears to be, got such racist reactionaries on her site. Thank you Moe and Curly for your incisive social commentary and analysis.

  • “I’ll sign up to secede. We can create a country with two, maybe three states. -CA, NY and maybe Mass.”

    A couple weeks later, regarding someone else’s comment, he says: “I refuse to believe you really are that stupid.”

    It doesn’t get richer than that.

  • Typical cf post, never speaks to the point, simply strings together random insults, as he did under his other aliases. Hey cf ,remember the time you had two monikers going in order to agree/argue with yourself. I remember Celeste called you out on that, bet her eyes were rolling then. Can’t remember what you were calling yourself back then but no doubt it was you.

  • Major Kong,
    It was completely predictable that the provocateur and antagonist would come with some type of insult that infers he is the intellectual one and you’re a moron.
    It’s Freudian bro. He’s still reeling over SCOTUS’ 9-0 ruling.
    Back in February I told him and his fellow educated, enlightened crusader Talent Scout that INA 212(f) gave the POTUS the right to, by Executive Order, enact temporary travel bans against citizens from other countries.
    They argued with me ad nauseum and made fun of me with their snarky insults etc.. Now they’ve had it shoved up their ass by SCOTUS’ ruling. Oops.
    So of course now it’s time to remind everybody how smart he is and how those who don’t agree with him are stupid.

  • Naw ,cf is just squirming because he’s being uncovered. He can’t deny it because he knows Celest knows the truth and I don’t think he wants to tell such an obvious lie in front of her.

  • “They argued with me ad nauseum and made fun of me with their snarkey insults etc…”
    Are you kidding me right now?
    Truly you are the victim, along with being a weenie. Only one thing to do, seeing that you were “cyber bullied”……call the Blog Police. Truly a first.

  • Still Laughing,
    How much mental masturbation did it take for you to come to the conclusion that I was whining? You’re only 180 degrees off, as usual. I was gloating. I take pleasure in gloating after pseudo-intellectuals like yourself are snarky, sarcastic and insulting while telling me I’m wrong, and then it turns out I’m right.
    Please keep the snark, sarcasm, insults and whatever else you can cook up coming. You’ll never hear me whining about it or claiming to be a victim.
    I’ll leave the professional victimhood status to people like you.

  • BTW Still Laughing,
    Would you like to comment on the SCOTUS’ 9-0 ruling in favor of Trump’s travel ban? NINE TO FUCKING ZERO! You got skunked. Knocked the fuck out. You got your expert legal opinion shoved so far up your ass you look like Quasimodo.

  • Remember how I posted INA 212(f) for you to actually read? Member? Come on. You member.
    Remember how I told you it was not only legal, but that it had been done numerous times by numerous presidents? Member? You member.
    No? You don’t remember?
    That’s ok. I do. So now I’m reminding you.

  • Confusion blinds you, SCOTUS was never an issue and never has been…..period. Research your research.

  • Oh well, unfortunately pseudo elitist liberal douchebaggery is in fashion these days, which is what makes President Trump so damn great. Look at ” still laughing” SCOTUS not an issue on a legal matter? Must take a lot of education to be that stupid. Oh ya I forgot ….period

  • Whatever you do Still Laughing, please, pretty please, keep letting raw emotion dictate your analysis and comments concerning anything and everything the POTUS does. I love it when crusaders like CF and yourself comment because you’re unhinged due to Trump being elected. It gets even better when you crusaders apply your situational ethics and selective outrage to the topic at hand. If it wasn’t for guys like you and CF being so unhinged regarding Trump, I wouldn’t be able to say things like this—–
    Hey CF,
    What now genius? Got any more “really smart, super intellectual, highly educated” arguments to make regarding whether or not the travel ban is legal? By all means, speak the fuck up and educate an ignorant redneck like myself. Explain to me how all nine members of SCOTUS don’t know the law as well as you do. Be sure and come with your tired, worn out “Pick up a book” drivel when you’re explaining it to me.

  • Can’t decide which one is worse, the Trump imbroglio or his supporters who feign ignorance.

    Be it the left, right or crooked, everyone knows that a clown called by any other name (Trump) is still a clown.

  • I’ll tell you what’s worse. Feigned intelligence.
    Nothing screams arrogance and elitism quite like you idiots who spent all that time and energy to tell us why Trump’s travel ban was illegal, all the while opining how anybody who disagreed with you was ignorant, uneducated and unread.
    Yes oh yes, you arrogant elitists made sure to let everybody know you were the smartest people in the room. Loudly and proudly you proclaimed it time and again.
    While in the end, alas, what you were actually doing was showing your ignorance.

  • Here it is again. I post it again solely for the purpose of providing evidence as to how silly it was for CF, and all of his “Fans” (Or my detractors lol) to argue that it wasn’t legal for the POTUS to temporarily suspend entry of people from other countries into the U.S..

    An intelligent person with a modicum of intellectual honesty wouldn’t argue that it’s illegal. One could opine that it’s bad law and needs at the very least to be amended, if not outright repealed. But there’s no way an intellectually honest person could argue that it’s illegal.
    When Ginsberg, Sotomayor and Kagan disagree with you and concur with Thomas and Alito, you should accept that you’ve been exposed as an ideological crusader with an agenda.
    There comes a time when even the most devout activist and crusader needs to remove the axe from the wheel. There comes a time when the grinding on the wheel annoys even those in your own camp.

  • I see your feud or “blog battle” with C.F. but you appear to be obsessed with the travel ban. SCOTUS took away the “broad brush” from Trump and pinpointed key components that were already in place, to others. Trump and the other side were both to the extreme. Now relax.

  • Nice try at deflection and spinning/minimizing the ruling by the SCOTUS.
    Those “key components” that were “pinpointed”?
    Those would be the ones saying certain individuals from certain countries can be temporarily banned entry to the U.S.. Those would be the ones saying that it is legal for the POTUS to issue that E.O. Those were the ones that reinstated the temporary ban.
    Those would be the ones you and your fellow crusaders said were illegal.
    Now I’ll relax.

  • You also have a “broad brush” and you must have the last word. This is not a contest. Blow off some steam with fireworks. Till next time…….Chill.

  • Oh well, don’t forget Celeste and the “legal experts” she cited. What a spectacular faceplant that turned out to be, especially Erwin chemerinsky.I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen that knucklehead’s face on TV since the OJ trials. It would be hard to find another “legal expert” who has been more consistently wrong than that blowhard.

  • Major Kong,
    Even though I disagree with Celeste on nearly every issue, I can have a civil conversation with her about our differences of opinion. She doesn’t take an antagonistic tone, nor does she ridicule those who disagree with her.
    It’s the CF’s, Talent Scouts, Still Laughings and ALL of those other “new” commenters that can’t go two sentences without insulting those who disagree with them, while at the same time reminding us how brilliant they are, that I relish putting in check.
    It doesn’t get better than that for me.
    My tone and civility is completely dependent on those I’m having a discussion with. If they want to have an adult conversation, I can do that. I prefer that.
    If they want to talk shit and choose for it to be an “In your face” type of conversation, I can do that too. They continually choose that way, so I can only conclude they either don’t know how to have mature conversations, or they don’t want to have them. I’ll accommodate them and get down to their level. It’s their choice.
    Happy Independence Day.

  • Happy 4th to you as well, Oh Well. I was just reading through this thread and I can’t help but point out Trump has a lot bigger problems than 90 day travel bans. Most of them are of his own creation. Now that Kim Jung is flexing his flab, Trump may have to sell the idea of military intervention after spending six months demonstrating how he has zero credibility on anything he says or tweets. This will be interesting…

  • LATBG,
    I agree with you re: problems on the horizon for Trump concerning North Korea. That being said, forgive me if I’m laughing heartily that somebody who was rooting for Hillary has the chutzpah to bring up the subject of credibility.

  • Trust & believe, the platter of Trump is much to devour. One of two things will happen….
    Either he will pick and chew slowly or digest the whole plate at once and choke to death. While the world waits to see, All Americans should pray for him as he leads the nation.

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