Jeffery Gordon Adachi was an American attorney and politician who was the Public Defender of San Francisco served for seven years from 2003 to 2019. He was affiliated with the Democratic party.

Adachi preceded Kimiko Burton and was succeeded by Manohar ‘Mano’ Raju as a public defender of San Francisco.

Adachi Early Life And Education

Jeff was born on August 29, 1959, in Sacramento, California, USA. He was born into a family of World war II veterans. His father and grandfather were battle fighters in world war II.

Jeff Adachi 8558 1 min
Jeff Adachi for mayor candidacy. Source: @Hyphen Magazine.

Jeff was a poor student during his school life at C.K McClatchy High school. The reason for his notably poor performance in school can be attributed to the fact that he used to miss a lot of school as he did a lot of part-time jobs. Later he joined Sacramento city college, He then later transferred to the University of California where he completed his bachelor’s degree and in the year 1985, he received his Juris Doctor from the Hasting college of law.

Jeff Adachi Career

Jeff started his career in San Francisco as the Deputy Public Defender with San Francisco Public Defender’s office. He served there for Thirty-two years in various positions. In the year 2001 when the daughter of then-senator John Burton, Kimiko Burton-Curz was appointed as the Public Defender, Adachi was forced out of office for political reasons.

Later on, in the following year, Adachi ran for the post of public Defender against Mrs. Curz and won the race with a 55%-45% margin and was appointed as the Public Defender of San Francisco where he served for 15 years. He also ran two more campaigns as an unopposed candidate in the following years.

In the state of California Adachi was the only Public Defender who was elected and got the position. He ran an office consisting of more than 100 or more attorneys and several other staff members and was widely respected and recognized in his field.

Adachi along with his other attorneys represented more than 23,000 people each year who were charged with various felony offenses. His office was known for various reforms in the state justice system including programs such as Drug Court, clean slate expungement services, and a full-service juvenile division.

Adachi was a pro-immigrant representative and for this, he launched an immigration unit to represent undocumented immigrants who were locked in detention facilities. He was also very much against police brutality and kept an active eye on such misconduct during his tenure in the office.

Adachi wearing a white shirt and posing in his office.
Adachi in his office, source @SF Weekly

Jeff Adachi Family/Relationship

Jeffery Gordon Adachi was married to Mutsuko Adachi, the pair met at the city’s Cherry Blossom Queen pageant show in 1997. They have 1 daughter named Lauren Adachi who is a competitive ice-skater.

Jeff Adachi along with his wife Mutsuko Adachi nd their daughter posing in front of a camera
Jeff Adachi with his wife and daughter, source:@Dreshare

Adachi’s Professional Activities

In the Asian American Bar Association of the greater Bay Area and San Francisco Japanese American citizen league. He also served as the board member of California Attorney’s for criminals Justice and the San Francisco Bar Association.

Jeff also had written a series of books on the passing of the Bar association which includes books like Bar Exam Survival Kit, Bar Breaker, The MBE Survival kit, and The First Year Law School Survival kit.

He used to love arts and really adore them for which in 1995 he founded Asian American Arts Foundation which used to give ‘Golden Ring Awards’ to excellent artists. the foundation also used to grant $1000,000 in grants for various artistic purposes.

Jeff Adachi wearing a black suit and pink Tie talking to the press.
Jeff Adachi talking to press Source:@48 Hills

During his tenure as the Public Defender in 2010, he proposed a “proposition B” on the ballot which favored increasing the pension and healthcare benefits of employees. His proposal was heavily defeated.

In 2011 he again placed a charter amendment on the ballot which required the employee to pay a base contribution rate towards their pension cost which meant that employees earning more salary need to contribute more than the one earning less. The proposition also meant that it will eliminate abusive and wasteful practices like pension spiking. But his plan couldn’t further go ahead as the plan was opposed by the police and firefighters union. Also, his competitor mayor ed lee offered another competing plan which was approved by the voter rather than Adachi’s proposal.

Adachi’s Mayor Candidacy

In the year of 2011, August Adachi formally submitted his Candidacy as the mayor of San Francisco. He stated that he wanted to restore the city’s integrity and financial accountability.

During his campaign, he declined to take $900,000 that was promised to each candidate during that time by stating that he did not feel right to take money as 10,000 kids were cut from summer school for lack of money.

In his campaign, Adachi promised to ensure more Job creation Programs to ensure more jobs for the people of San Francisco by investing $40 million in micro-loans to small Bussiness which could create up to 15,000 jobs and $1billion of new economic activity.

He also promised some business tax reforms through the elimination of the current payroll tax system. He also promised to improve the city education system through additional funding from city reserves as he believed the current education system was not effective for the current generation.

During his campaign, he got a lot of media attention as he had more liberal reforms than all the nominees. The San Francisco referred to him as one of the “3 S.f. Mayor candidates to consider”.

He finished 6th among 16 candidates in the election.

Photo of jeff Adachi wearing a suit and campaigning for his mayor election
Jeff Adachi campaigning for his mayoral election, source:@KQED

Jeff Adachi Entertainment Venture

Jeff also tried his way into filmmaking, in 2006 he wrote, produced, and directed a documentary film called The slanted screen which described the stereotypical deception of Asian males in American movies. The movie was recognized and awarded by New York International Independent Film and the Berkeley Flim festival.

He also directed You Don’t Know Jack: The Jack Soo Story movie in the year 2006. The movie was about Jack Soo who was a Japanese American singer and actor. This movie also was widely recognized as it was chosen to air on Comcast and also won the award of the best documentary film at the Accolade Flim festival. Later on, he did two other short movies and documentaries which included topics like racism.

His last movie in 2017 called documentary Defender won the best documentary at the Independent Television Festival, the movie was a racially charged case tried by Adachi himself


Jeffery Gordon Adachi died in an apartment in the North Beach neighborhood of San Francisco on February 22, 2019. The cause of death was found to be cute mixed drug toxicity with cocaine and ethanol, with hypertensive atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease as a contributing factor during the initial examination. It was also reported that jeff was with another woman in the apartment who was not his wife.

Later on, when an independent autopsy was done it was found that the cause of death was determined to be natural causes related to a congenital heart defect. Upon the leakage of his death report to the press reporter Bryan Carmody was arrested for violation of police department policy and laws governing the release of confidential police reports.

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