Police Arrest Public Defender For Publicly Defending Client [Video]

Justin Streight - Author

Feb. 1 2015, Updated 11:03 a.m. ET

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Jami Tillotson rushed out of a courtroom, hearing that one of her clients was being questioned by police without his constitutional right to counsel. Once she arrived on the scene, Tillotson told police they had no right to question or photograph her client without an attorney present. So they arrested her. The entire incident was caught on video and is going viral on YouTube.

Jami Tillotson has been a public defender for 18 years in San Francisco, but being arrested in her duties is unprecedented.

Tillotson spent an hour in a holding cell handcuffed to a wall. The charges against her, which morphed into obstruction of justice after initially being resisting arrest, were dropped under penal code 849b. According to the Blaze, 849b is usually indicative that there was not enough evidence to formally charge the arrestee.

On Wednesday, Jami Tillotson gave a press conference, saying, “Public defenders have a duty to protect the constitutional rights of their clients. It was surreal to be led away in handcuffs for doing my job, something I do every day.”

Her colleague, San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi, seemed far more outraged, telling local KCBS-TV, “[T]his isn’t Guantanamo Bay.”

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“People have an absolute right to have their attorneys present during questioning.”

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The public defender’s office is asking for an apology for the incident.

After Jami Tillotson was taken away, the video shows that the investigating officer continued to take pictures of the unrepresented man.

[Image Credit: YouTube]


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