Editorial: We have a rare opportunity to fix City Hall. This is how the story goes.
This is the story of the five board members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors who, after a year of intense negotiations, finally reached an agreement with the mayor and the Board of Supervisors of the City and County of San Francisco on September 24, 2018, on a resolution providing funding for the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office.
The result is the most significant reform to our public defender system in the city’s history.
We are not claiming to be the first or only municipalities to enact such reforms.
In Chicago, the creation and establishment of the Cook County Public Defender’s Office in 1965 led to a system in which all of the people who were facing a criminal charge should be notified that they have the right to have an attorney, and a right to be represented by counsel. This model has since spread to a larger number of communities.
In Los Angeles, the creation and establishment of the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office in 1985 has led to a system in which all of the people who are facing a criminal charge should be notified that they have the right to have an attorney, and a right to be represented by counsel. As well, the right of indigents to have representation was expanded. The Los Angeles County system also created the ability to have appointed counsel in cases involving minor criminal offenses, and a right of appeal in noncapital appeals, and a right to appointed counsel if a person was not eligible for a public defender. Today, this system has spread to a larger number of communities.
In Cincinnati, the City of Cincinnati Public Defender’s Office was created in 1983. In 1991, the Ohio Public Defender Agency was created to handle Ohio’s newly created public defender service. In 1998, the Ohio Office of the Public Defender was created as a public law agency to perform duties