SF Supes Consider Offering Free Legal Aid To Poor In Civil Cases

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – A San Francisco Board of Supervisors’ committee has endorsed legislation to give free legal representation to poor people in civil cases.

People already have a right to counsel if charged with a crime, but that same is not true for people embroiled in civil cases. The initial goal of the measure is to help low-income residents with housing and family issues.

Legislation drafted by Supervisor David Chiu would launch a one-year pilot program to provide attorneys – free of charge – to residents involved in certain types of civil disputes. The city would administer the program using private attorneys who volunteer their time.

“If you are a parent who is at risk of losing your child in a custody case, if you are a tenant in the process of being evicted, you do not have a right to civil counsel,” Chiu pointed out.

KCBS’ Barbara Taylor Reports:

After hearing public comment Thursday, the measure was unanimously approved by the Rules Committee and sent to the full board for a vote.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

More from Barbara Taylor
  • http://wisatj.org/2012/02/27/final-order-on-civil-right-to-counsel-petition/ Final order on civil right to counsel petition | Wisconsin Access to Justice Commission

    […] fund a series of pilot programs that are overssen by the Administrative Office of the Courts.  A recent news report suggests that San Francisco County’s Board of Supervisors, led by Supervisor Chiu (pdf), […]

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