Target: George Gascón, District Attorney, County of San Francisco
Goal: Drop trumped-up charges against a public defender who simply did her job.
A public defender was recently arrested in a courthouse for advising her client of his right not to cooperate with unlawful requests by police. Jami Tillotson, a respected veteran lawyer from San Fransisco, was arrested after objecting to police attempts to question her client outside of a courtroom. She was cited for misdemeanor resisting or delaying arrest and taken to a holding cell where she was handcuffed to a wall until her release an hour later.
Tillotson was in a hallway after a hearing when police approached and asked her step aside and allow them to take photos of her client without an explanation as to why. She advised her client to assert his right to refuse the photographs, citing concerns about public harassment and police intimidation. An officer then threatened to arrest her for “resisting arrest,” a ridiculous accusation considering she was not placed under arrest at that point.
After refusing to back down, the plainclothes officer placed her under arrest and escorted her out of the courthouse. This same officer has previously been the subject of misconduct investigations, including one case of racial profiling against an off-duty police officer who was thrown to the ground and put in a chokehold during a routine traffic stop.
Under United States law, it is a basic right to have an attorney present during any police examination. Tillotson was simply doing her job by questioning police actions and advising her clients of his rights. Sign the petition below to demand that this absurd case against a public defender is dropped.
Dear Mr. George Gascón,
Public defender Jami Tillotson was recently arrested in a courthouse hallway after advising her clients not to cooperate with unlawful requests made by police. Tillotson declined police requests to question her client outside of the courtroom and take photographs of him before the officer demanding the photographs began to threaten Tilliotson with arrest. She stood her ground, and the officer cited her for “resisting arrest.”
Tillotson is a well-known lawyer who spends her time defending those who cannot afford legal counsel. By protecting her client from unlawful questioning, she was doing what any competent attorney would have done, and it is ludicrous that an overzealous police officer would attempt to punish her for such. We, the undersigned, demand the immediate dismissal of charges against Jami Tillotson.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Jonathunder via Creative Commons