Maria Evangelista
Mar 27, 2018 · 3 min read

As a mother of two little girls, my number one priority is keeping San Francisco families safe.

For 14 years I’ve worked as a Public Defender representing mothers, youths and families. Every day I see how our courts have failed to meaningfully address homelessness, car break-ins, and violence. Everyday I see how the courts are disproportionately arresting and imprisoning people of color. We are stuck in a cycle of catch, imprison and release and the political insider judges who run our courts are failing to take action.

The status quo is simply untenable. When we acknowledge that our system is biased and broken but then fail to take action we are part of the problem. I cannot sit by any longer. As a judge, I would use evidence-based practices to get to the root causes of crime and ensure people are not just recycled through our system. I would be part of the solution.

I would bring a strong work ethic coupled with a sense of compassion that comes from my upbringing to the courtroom. My parents emigrated to this country from Mexico to work as farm workers. To avoid being deported they sought refuge in the SOMA neighborhood in San Francisco.

My father was a construction worker and a member of LIUNA Local 261 and my mother collected recycling to help make ends meet. I attended St. Joseph’s Elementary School in SOMA and St. Paul’s High School for Girls in Noe Valley with financial assistance.

While studying Political Science and Criminal Justice at San Francisco State University I clerked at the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office because I wanted to help victims of crime who didn’t have a voice.

With the help and support of my neighbors, mentors, teachers, and scholarship benefactors in the LGBQT, Filipino, Irish, Latino and Chinese communities, I became one of the first Mexican American women to graduate from Vanderbilt Law School.

We are a city of innovation and firsts and we deserve a modern, cutting edge criminal justice system that stops crime in its tracks.

I’ve dedicated my life to stopping repeat crimes and handled thousands of cases in our Behavioral Health Court, Veteran’s Court, and Drug Court that resulted in people getting off our streets and in to treatment, housing and employment.

Judicial elections are mandated by the California Constitution every six years to ensure there are checks and balances on judges who were given political appointments. True judicial independence will come from electing judges from diverse backgrounds to eliminate implicit bias.

I worry about the basic freedoms of Americans under the current administration. President Trump has appointed some of the most conservative judges to the Federal Bench to lifetime appointments. For this reason, I believe that it is important that we have strong judges at the local level who understand basic democratic values.

If you believe that our current system is working fine for all San Franciscans, then vote for the status quo and the Republican appointed judges. But if you are ready to make a change and take action, then please join my historic run for Superior Court Judge and help me make real change.

Maria Evangelista

Written by

Mother. San Francisco Native. Public Defender. Candidate for SF Superior Court, Seat 7.

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