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San Francisco�John Tennison, whose murder conviction was vacated last year after he’d spent 13 years in prison, has gone to work for his former lawyer, Jeff Adachi, the city public defender. Tennison said he’s been well received since starting last month at the front desk in the public defender’s main office, where he answers phones, helps clients and looks up cases. “Everyone here has welcomed me with open arms, from the attorneys to the volunteers,” Tennison said. Tennison, one of two men convicted for the 1989 killing of Roderick “Cooley” Shannon, received a 25-years-to-life sentence. Concluding that the prosecution had suppressed exculpatory and impeachment evidence, U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken vacated Tennison’s conviction last year. Soon after, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Kay Tsenin overturned the conviction of co-defendant Anton “Sodapop” Goff, with no opposition from then-District Attorney Terence Hallinan, who said he was convinced Tennison and Goff were innocent. Adachi, who was a deputy public defender when he represented Tennison at his 1990 trial, subsequently resigned from the case due to a conflict. Lawyers at San Francisco’s Keker & Van Nest, including partner Elliot Peters, handled Tennison’s successful habeas corpus petition pro bono after Tennison’s brother, Bruce Tennison, an attendant at a parking garage, brought the case to the lawyer’s attention. After his Aug. 29 release, Tennison asked Adachi if he knew of anyone who was hiring, and the public defender suggested he go to a workshop for job training and life skills, Tennison said. “I did, and on the day of my graduation . . . he asked me did I mind working at the public defender’s office as a legal processing clerk,” he added. Tennison says he’s having a good time at his first full-time job-he was 18 years old and still in high school when he was sent to prison. “It’s enjoyable,” Tennison said. “It’s temporary for the most part, but who knows.” After Tennison asked Adachi for help, the public defender made some calls and came up with five or six job offers. Then a temporary clerk’s position opened up at his own office. “I thought he would be perfect for the position,” Adachi said. “It’s great to have somebody working on our staff who can relate to our clients.”

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