SAN FRANCISCO—On Monday, March 11, Mayor London Breed selected Deputy Public Defender Manohar Raju to serve as the next San Francisco Public Defender. Raju will fill the vacancy after the sudden death of SF Public Defender Jeff Adachi. Raju currently manages the Felony Division in the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office.
He will serve as San Francisco Public Defender until the next scheduled election in November 2019, when there will be an election to fill out the remaining three years of Adachi’s term.
“Mano has demonstrated a commitment to justice and equity on behalf of not only his clients, but also the entire community that Public Defender’s Office serves,” said Mayor Breed. “His advocacy for addressing systemic challenges to help those who need it most demonstrates that he will continue Jeff Adachi’s legacy of not only fighting in the courtroom, but also fighting to change policies and support innovative programs that make a difference in the community. I am confident that in Mano our City will have someone who will continue on the mission that Jeff set for the office. I look forward to working with Mano to make San Francisco a more just and equitable city.”
Raju started his career as a public defender 18 years ago in the Contra Costa County Public Defender’s Office. He has been with the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office for 11 years. He served as the Director of Training in the Public Defender’s Office where he worked with the office’s staff to develop and enhance public defender practices. After serving as Director of Training, he was promoted to manage the Felony Unit, where he manages the office’s felony attorneys while handling his own complex felony cases.
“Jeff Adachi was a tremendous leader, trailblazer, and friend. We are deeply mourning his loss in San Francisco and nationally,” said Manohar Raju. “I am honored to accept Mayor Breed’s appointment to carry forward the visionary advocacy of the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office. Being a public defender is a spiritual calling for me – a calling inspired by the resilience of our clients and communities. I look forward to further building a vigorous, community-centered public defense office through the collective leadership of our entire staff.”
Raju who previously lived in San Francisco, but moved to Oakland, will move back to San Francisco to serve as Public Defender. Matt Gonzalez, Chief Attorney in the Public Defender’s Office, will remain in that position and help to manage the office.
“I have known Mano Raju for two decades and am confident he will be an outstanding Public Defender,” said Gonzalez, Chief Attorney in the Public Defender’s Office. “I couldn’t be more pleased with Mayor Breed’s decision. Mano has a keen intellect, exceptional trial skills, and an awareness of the importance of being anchored in the communities we serve, all of which are essential to leading and inspiring the office. He has my full support.”