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S.F. lawyer who fought to end cash bail wins confirmation to state appeals court

San Francisco Chronicle logo San Francisco Chronicle 8/11/2022 By Bob Egelko
Jeremy Goldman, a San Francisco city lawyer instrumental in the case against cash bail and the overturning of California’s ban on same-sex marriage, was confirmed to the state Court of Appeal. © S.F. City Attorney’s Office

Jeremy Goldman, a San Francisco city lawyer instrumental in the case against cash bail and the overturning of California’s ban on same-sex marriage, was confirmed to the state Court of Appeal.

Jeremy Goldman, a lawyer in the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office who fought to end cash bail in the city and earlier took part in the successful legal challenge to the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, has won confirmation to the state Court of Appeal, where he had been nominated by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

The state Commission on Judicial Appointments on Wednesday unanimously approved Goldman’s appointment to the First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco, He fills the vacancy created when Newsom named another justice on the court, Alison Tucher, as presiding justice of a different division of the First District.

Goldman, 53, has worked for the City Attorney’s Office since 2014 and most recently served as a supervisor of its appellate cases. When the city was sued in 2015 by criminal defense advocates who argued that the bail system was unfairly keeping poor people in jail before trial, City Attorney David Chiu said, it was Goldman who convinced the office that the system was not worth defending and should be overhauled, the first local government in California to make such a decision.

The Legislature voted to abolish cash bail in 2018, but bail bond companies blocked and then repealed the law with a 2020 referendum, Proposition 25. Chiu said Goldman negotiated a settlement of the suit against San Francisco that effectively eliminated the city’s previous bail system and allowed defendants to stay free before trial unless they posed a demonstrable danger to the public.

He was also instrumental in a recent settlement that moved hundreds of homeless people out of sidewalk tents and into hotel rooms and shelters, Chiu said.

Before joining the City Attorney’s office, Goldman worked at a law firm that led the challenge to Proposition 8, the 2008 initiative that prohibited same-sex marriage in California. Chiu, whose office also took part in the case, said Goldman was the top lieutenant to the firm’s chief attorney at the trial before Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker in San Francisco and played an important role in the case that led to the overturning of Prop. 8.

Aileen McGrath, another attorney in the Prop. 8 case, told the commission that Goldman’s “fierce intellect, tireless work ethic, cooperative and collaborative spirit, and devotion to an important public cause stood out on a team composed of many distinguished lawyers.”

The state Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation gave Goldman its highest rating, “well-qualified.” After his confirmation, he was sworn in by a former classmate at Yale Law School, state Supreme Court Justice Leondra Kruger.

Bob Egelko is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: begelko@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @BobEgelko

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