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Ross vs. Solis

The battle for SF Superior Court Seat #11

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Jeff Ross

Current Role

SF Superior Court Judge (2009-Present), Appointed by Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2009; Re-elected in 2012

Politics

Democrat

Education

Stanford Law School
University of Michigan

Personal life

A resident of SF since 1976. Father of two married sons; grandfather of six.

Niki Solis

Currently

Head Trial Attorney, SF Public Defenders Office (2001-Present)

Registered

Democrat

Education

UC Hastings College of Law ('95)
SF State University ('91) Summa Cum Laude, Dean's List

Personal Life

Grew up as an undocumented immigrant from Belize. Youngest of seven children. Came out as a lesbian when she was 19-years-old. Mother of two boys.

Why this race matters

We highly recommend you read our overview so you know what a Superior Court judge does and why this year's race is unusual.

Meet the incumbent

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Understanding Jeff

How Jeff describes his candidacy
“When you put on the robe you have to put on that idea of being independent from political decisions, other public pressures, and just make a decision based on the law and your experience as a lawyer and a judge.”

Vision for the court

Expand our treatment courts to provide more alternatives to prison.

Dealing with a Moral Quandary

"There’s that always tension between giving someone that one last chance to avoid prison but what’s the downside, what’s that risk to society?"
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Jeff's Experience

Jeff's contributions to the legal and local community

Legal experience

Judge, SF Superior Court (2009-Present)

  • Presiding over Criminal and Intensive Supervision Court
  • Practiced in every division regardless of the assignment

Attorney, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman (1999-2009)

  • Practiced civil, criminal cases, and pro-bono cases with ACLU

Overachiever points

  • Former President, Bar Association of San Francisco (1997)
  • President, Michelle Platt-Ross Foundation (1983-Present)

Meet the challenger

Understanding Niki

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How Niki describes her candidacy
“Every human being is defined by more than the one horrible thing he, she or they have done.”

Vision for the court

Our judges need to have an array of experiences and a broad perspective that enables them to serve this community in an unbiased way...For the 23 years I have practiced law, I have seen the judiciary bury its head in the sand. There must be a change to the composition of the bench before there will be a change in attitude and action.

Dealing with a Moral Quandary

I defend people not crimes. As an officer of the court, I am obligated to uphold laws and constitutions of both the United States and California, and I do so proudly each day. No matter the crime, no matter the accusation, each and every person deserves to be represented in the criminal courts and to be treated as a human being.”

Niki's Experience

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Niki's contributions to the legal and local community

Legal experience

Head Trial Attorney, SF Public Defender’s Office (2001-Present)

  • Wrote the CEB (Continuing Education of the Bar) chapter on Trial by Jury in the California Criminal Law and Procedures Book; Wrote the CEB Action Guide for Misdemeanors
  • Member of the Mayor’s steering committee for the creation of Criminal Justice Court
  • Created a Volunteer Attorney Program that created a pipeline for CA trial attorneys to become public defenders

Overachiever points

  • Member and former President, La Raza Lawyers Association
  • Member, Criminal Law Advisory Commission of the State Bar
  • Board member, ACLU of Northern California (2010)
  • Minority Bar Coalition Unity Award Recipient

What others think

Endorsements for individuals. See endorsements for the slates in our overview.

About Jeff

Rating: “Well-Qualified” – meaning that the candidate possesses all the attributes required for a rating of “Qualified” and possesses one or more of those positive attributes to such a high degree as to be indicative of superior fitness to perform the judicial function for which he or she is being considered.
Bar Association of San Francisco

About Niki

Rating: “Well-Qualified” – meaning that the candidate possesses all the attributes required for a rating of “Qualified” and possesses one or more of those positive attributes to such a high degree as to be indicative of superior fitness to perform the judicial function for which he or she is being considered.
Bar Association of San Francisco

More reading

Other articles, analyses, and opinions. Let us know if there's another perspective we should include: hi@bythebay.cool.

Ready to judge a judge?

If you haven't already, read our overview about why this year's Superior Court race is unusual.

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