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San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi is welcoming 12 new employees to his office this month, including five lawyers. The additions bring the office’s roster to 90 attorneys and 46 support staff. With the new hires, there are enough attorneys to create a new two-lawyer unit exclusively for probation violations, Adachi said. “There was a tendency before in the office to focus on what we call new violations,” Adachi said. But “probation violations are equally important because the clients sometimes face a high exposure without a jury trial.” Previously, probation violations accounted for about 10 percent to 15 percent of felony attorneys’ caseloads, the PD estimated. Terence Howzell returned to the public defender’s office Oct. 6 to work in the new unit, Adachi said. Howzell was a deputy public defender in San Francisco from 1991 to 1998, then left to work in civil law as a deputy city attorney, Adachi said. Three lawyers joined the misdemeanor unit Oct. 6: Monica Cummins last clerked for Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Melvin Brunetti in Reno. Seth Meisels and Kisha Cordero had both worked as volunteer lawyers in the public defender’s office since earlier this year. K. Kleigh Hathaway, formerly an associate with Palo Alto criminal defense firm Nolan, Armstrong & Barton, will join the felony unit Oct. 20, Adachi said. Adachi plans to start five new paralegals Oct. 20 and two new investigators a week later. The paralegals include Jennifer Guinan, Joan Kruckewitt, Kenneth Olivencia and Tiffany McClean. A fifth offer is pending, Adachi said. The new investigators are Christina Pena and Jill Shaw, Adachi said. Adachi lobbied city officials earlier this year to increase his annual budget from $13.4 million to $16 million so he could hire 18 new employees. His is one of the few offices making additions; many city offices, including the city attorney’s office, are making cuts in the wake of a budget crisis. Adachi plans to hire another lawyer within two weeks, an information technology employee in November and four paralegals in January.

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