Serial Beggar Returns To City Hall Today: News: SFAppeal
The short version is this: Defendants have a *right* to a defense attorney. If we don't provide them with public defenders we are then bound by law to pay for private attorneys. Guess which costs more?
As has been written before, Adachi says his office is forced to turn away clients because his lawyers' caseloads are all at full capacity. If the city declines Adachi's request to spend $620,000 and hire seven more public defenders, the city ultimately has to pay $1.6 million to hire private attorneys to represent the clients. Using the spend a little, save a little more metric, he contends that spending the $620,000 would ultimately save the city over $900,000 (and $906,000 is also Adachi's reduction target under the most recent, current, spending crunch).
Adachi's been rebuffed before by the Mayor's Office in his request for more lawyers, and was recently told by the Mayor's chief of staff that he'd be again rejected. But that won't stop Adachi from heading to the Board of Supervisors (again) today.
"We don't control the number of cases that come to our department," said Adachi, who said his only recourse to save money in a budget crunch is to cut staff (or move out of the offices he rents at the Hall of Justice, to, say, Golden Gate Park or Justin Herman Plaza). "It's a pretty simple question," he said. "Does the city want to pay $1 million more to handle these cases?"
In other words, the city has to pay one way or the other to represent these folks; why not do it cheaply?