HANC’s June general meeting featured discussions with Jeff Adachi, San Francisco’s Public Defender, and Bevan Dufty, from the Mayor’s Office of HOPE (Housing Opportunity, Partnerships & Engagement). The discussion was moderated by HANC Board member Colleen Rivecca, who works with both the Homeless Youth Alliance and with St. Anthony’s, and has been actively advocating for more services in both the City and the State budgets. Mary Howe, Executive Director of the Homeless Youth Alliance, also participated in the discussions.
Jeff Adachi spoke about the services the Public Defender’s office provides to homeless individuals. The Public Defender’s office provides legal services to those charged with a crime who cannot afford a lawyer. This of course includes both people who have housing and those who don’t.
In January, the chronic inebriate program, also known as the chronic offender court, was determined to be unconstitutional. Under this system, anyone failing to appear on multiple citations issued by police could be charged with civil contempt of court and jailed for up to 150 days without a trial. The intent was to force homeless drinkers into jail-based treatment. Someone charged with a crime, such as disorderly conduct or drunk in public, has a right to jury trial. But under the chronic inebriate program, there was no right to a jury trial.