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David Coleman
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David Coleman earned a B.A. with honors in Political Science & Economics from Yale College in 1967, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1971.

In 1974, Mr. Coleman began work as a deputy public defender in Contra Costa County in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 1999, he was appointed as The Public Defender for the county, thereby becoming the first African American Public Defender in California. He retired from that position in 2009. During a 35 year career as a public defender, Mr. Coleman tried scores of felony and misdemeanor cases, argued cases before the 9th Circuit, the California Supreme Court and the First District Court of Appeal. Since 1980, Mr. Coleman has been lead counsel in eight capital trials.

Mr. Coleman has been an adjunct professor at U.C. Berkeley School of Law for over 25 years. He has taught Criminal Procedure, Evidence, and Advanced Criminal Procedure. He is currently a Senior Fellow in the Center for Social Justice. Mr. Coleman is also an Adjunct Professor at Golden Gate University Law School where he has taught criminal law.

Mr. Coleman has authored many articles about criminal justice for publications in California and he occasionally publishes blogs pieces on related topics.

Entries by David Coleman

Ferguson and Football Player Protest: What Would Muhammad Ali and Jim Brown Say?

(0) Comments | Posted August 25, 2014 | 12:55 PM

With respect to the recent preseason protest by a handful of NFL players, William Rhoden's August 24, 2014 New York Times article emotionally and intellectually supported the protests of the NFL players who emerged on the field before a recent preseason game adopting the "Hands Up, Don't Shoot"...

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'Torturing Some Folks'

(0) Comments | Posted August 4, 2014 | 7:30 PM

President Obama is being praised by some for use of the term "torture" during a recent press conference when he referred to post-9/11 interrogation techniques employed on behalf of our government. While use of the term "torture" may constitute admirable candor, the candor was partially contradicted by his use of...

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Clothes Do "Make the Client": What the Hell Was Jesse Jackson and His Legal Team Thinking?

(0) Comments | Posted February 22, 2013 | 2:27 AM

The Feb. 21, 2013, New York Times coverage of the Jesse Jackson Jr. court appearance, "Jesse Jackson Jr. Pleads Guilty: 'I Lived Off My Campaign'" appeared below a large photo of the Jacksons entering the Washington, D.C., federal courthouse. In the photo Sandra Jackson is wearing a fur...

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The Value of Labor in High Def Slow Mo

(5) Comments | Posted September 26, 2012 | 2:12 PM

Americans may best grasp ideas that emerge from something they really care about. Public policy, economic power and social compact morality? Meh, not so much.

But pro football? Now there's something about which Americans care passionately.

The advantages of a trained, experienced work force are not widely appreciated. Most...

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Jerry Sandusky Is No Judge of Talent on Defense

(9) Comments | Posted June 24, 2012 | 4:42 PM

As a football coach, defense was Jerry Sandusky's forte. Joe Paterno and Penn State believed Sandusky had insight about the ability and character required to play defense. But, apparently Sandusky's judgment in that realm was as flawed as his judgment about showering with children.

When the New York Times...

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Did Justice Thomas Take Personal Leave During the Healthcare Arguments?

(2) Comments | Posted April 4, 2012 | 1:56 PM

The Supreme Court just heard six hours of argument on the Affordable Care Act. The cases are widely heralded as raising some of the most important issues brought to the court -- at least since Bush v. Gore, and now we know in its electoral aftermath, since Citizens United v....

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Might Kennedy's Plea Bargain Decisions Reveal How He Will Swing on Health Care?

(2) Comments | Posted March 26, 2012 | 11:01 AM

The Supreme Court will hear arguments next week on the constitutionality of a health insurance mandate -- the most important constitutional issue it has considered since Citizens United vs. FEC and Bush v. Gore.

Two decisions filed this week by the High Court -- Missouri v....

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Don't Go Away Mad, Just Go Away: The Supreme Court Closes Up Shop

(8) Comments | Posted July 6, 2011 | 10:52 AM

The U.S. Supreme Court ended its term this week and now starts a three-month vacation. If the Court's members follow past practices, Justice Thomas will head out in his motor home in search of NASCAR race venues. Justice Scalia will spend the summer racking up speaking fees at Federalist Society...

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License, Registration and iPhone Please

(123) Comments | Posted May 29, 2011 | 7:59 PM

Many iPhone users are concerned over the recent revelation about the storage of location tracking data in a digital file on their phones.

Privacy advocates, reports the San Jose Mercury News' Troy Wolverton, "warned that the file -- and its use -- has profound implications...

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A Modest Proposal for a French-American Prisoner Exchange Deal

(4) Comments | Posted May 20, 2011 | 2:21 PM

I authored some months ago a blog (Sex, Drugs and Roman Polanski) regarding Roman Polanski. Polanski currently lives in France. He is wanted by California law enforcement authorities. Polanski fled from the U.S. and took up residence in France after his conviction for sexually assaulting a young...

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Michele Bachmann Versus Michelle Obama: A View of the Nanny State War

(25) Comments | Posted February 23, 2011 | 10:24 AM

Corporations are pursuing more intrusive engagement with the personal lives of employees. A recent story in the New York Times ("Smokers now face another risk from their habit: it could cost them a shot at a job") reported:

More hospitals and medical businesses in many...

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How the Indignity of "Junk Touching" TSA Pat Downs Strikes a Shared Nerve

(2) Comments | Posted December 1, 2010 | 1:43 PM

The recent outrage expressed by white males and females over intrusive airport pat downs may have an upside. At least at the nation's airports, non-minority airline passengers who seek to board an airplane are being sensitized to the indignities that are a routine part of the lives of some...

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Is Meg Whitman California's Version of Leona Helmsley?

(23) Comments | Posted September 15, 2010 | 12:54 PM

Meg Whitman, the former eBay empress, is the Republican candidate running for governor of California. We can only assume that she wants that office so she can provide a public service for the citizens of California. Surely, then, it is reasonable to look back at her history of fulfilling public...

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Obama's "General" Wins One: The Legal and Historical Import of U.S. vs. Arizona

(6) Comments | Posted August 12, 2010 | 10:55 AM

Federal District Court Judge Susan Bolton's decision in U.S. v. Arizona was a big win for the U. S. Department of Justice from a legal standpoint, and a bullet dodged by President Obama from a political standpoint. Perhaps of larger significance, the decision points to some important...

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Commisioner Stern: No Selective Prosecution, Bring Obama to Justice

(3) Comments | Posted May 27, 2010 | 10:57 AM

Today's newspapers report two LeBron James stories. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was fined $100,000 for "tampering" -- NBA contract speak for making comments about LeBron James playing for the Mavericks while James is under contract to another NBA team, the Cleveland Cavaliers:

Cuban confirmed the fine through his Twitter...

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Do We Need Affirmative Action Admissions at NBA Games?

(19) Comments | Posted May 7, 2010 | 12:19 PM

I am an African American male. I played basketball on playgrounds as a youngster. I like basketball and, I believe, I would enjoy attending a world class professional basketball game.

But I have been watching NBA playoff games on TV and I am puzzled why there are almost no...

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Conservative Vigilantes: Please Exercise Your Right to Silence

(15) Comments | Posted May 5, 2010 | 2:39 PM

Once again conservatives are flying the Willie Horton flag and criticizing the Obama administration's interrogation protocols for terrorist suspects. This meme began with criticism about the handling of Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Christmas Day underpants bomber. This morning it was picked up again after the arrest of Faisal Shahzad on...

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Do We Need Affirmative Action Admissions at NBA Games?

(1) Comments | Posted March 3, 2010 | 9:49 AM

I am an African American male. I played basketball on playgrounds as a youngster. I like basketball and, I believe, I would enjoy attending a world class professional basketball game.

But I have been watching NBA playoff games on TV and I am puzzled why there...

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"Lawyer Up" First, Flip Gently: How Legal Persuasion Works With Terror Suspects

(1) Comments | Posted February 24, 2010 | 11:51 AM

Flipping witnesses to use against a gang of thugs or a criminal syndicate is something law enforcement in this country has done for a long time. News about the guilty pleas of Najibullah Zazi and his cooperation in ratting out former jihadist associates has arrived on the heels of...

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You Have the Right to Silence and New Underwear: Conservatives Play Their Miranda Canard

(16) Comments | Posted February 15, 2010 | 3:56 PM

Eager to score Willie Horton points, conservative Republicans have criticized the Obama administration's interrogation of Farouk Abdulmutallab, the underpants bomber. They contend he should not have been read Miranda warnings. The assertions they make have been wrong on the facts. More importantly, they have been remarkably wrong on the law,...

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