Raju sworn in as S.F.’s new public defender

Manohar Raju has been sworn in as San Francisco’s newest public defender — the city’s first Indian American to be appointed to the position — just two months after the sudden death of former Public Defender Jeff Adachi.

During Raju’s swearing-in ceremony April 25 at the Ella Hill Hutch Community Center in the city’s Western Addition neighborhood, several city officials were in attendance, including Mayor London Breed, who hosted the ceremony. “We know that we can never replace Jeff. But we also know that Jeff would’ve been so proud that Mano has been selected to take his place,” Breed said. “And here we are with an incredible leader, someone who has not just fought the battles in the courtroom, but someone who has fought the battles in the community.”

Raju said, “Any of my success doesn’t happen without inspiration, support and input from my clients, my community, my amazing public defender family, and of course, Jeff Adachi, whose legacy I will continue to honor.

“The role of the public defender should be to balance the scales. It is a constitutional right that was established more than 200 years ago that was designed to make sure that all people, not just some people, are given the right to strong counsel. The right to have someone stand up in their defense, to tell their story,” he said.

Breed first announced she had appointed Raju to the position last month.

Prior to his appointment, Raju worked at the public defender’s office for 11 years, managing the felony division. Before that, he worked as a public defender in Contra Costa County.

Raju is set to serve as public defender until this November’s election, when voters will decide whether to choose him to serve the remaining three years of Adachi’s term.

San Francisco’s public defender is the only one in California to be elected to office.

Adachi, 59, served as public defender since 2002 until he passed away on Feb. 22 at an apartment in the city’s Telegraph Hill neighborhood.

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