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Tuesday June 5, 2018 — California Primary Election
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San Francisco County Superior CourtCandidate for Judge, Office 11

Photo of Niki Judith Solis

Niki Judith Solis

City and County of San Francisco Public Defender's Office, Attorney
81,194 votes (40.32%)
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Bail Reform and Criminal Justice Reform
  • Addressing recidivism and the spike in crimes such as auto burglaries by addressing root causes.
  • Address implicit bias & the disproportionate outcomes in our juvenile system & adult courts .



Deputy Public Defender, City & County of San Francisco (1996–current)


U.C. Hastings Juris Doctorate, Law (1995)

Community Activities

President, board member, and member, SF La Raza Lawyers Association (1998–current)
Vice president, member, Fairmount Elementary PTA (2012–2016)

Who supports this candidate?

Featured Endorsements

  • Jeff Adachi, Public Defender

Organizations (12)

  • San Francisco Bay Guardian
  • Equality California (EQCA)
  • Bernal Heights Democratic Club
  • New Avenues Democratic Club
  • Black Young Democrats
  • Latino/a Young Democrats of San Francisco
  • SEIU 1021
  • San Francisco Tenants Union
  • D.11 Democratic Club
  • D.8 Democratic Club
  • Latino Democratic Club

Elected Officials (2)

  • Mark Leno - Former California State Senator, SF Mayoral candidate
  • Former Mayor, Art Agnos

Individuals (7)

  • Myrna Melgar - SF Planning Commissioner
  • Dean Preston - Founder, Tenants Together; Candidate for D5 Supervisor
  • Honey Mahogany - Member, DCCC & TGI Justice Project
  • Bevan Dufty - BART Board of Directors, District 9
  • Hillary Ronen - SF Board of Supervisors, District 9
  • Lateefah Simon, BART Board of Directors
  • Rafael Mandelman - SF City College Board, Candidate for D8 Supervisor

Questions & Answers

Questions from League of Women Voters of San Francisco (2)

What do you view as the biggest challenge in the justice system?
Answer from Niki Judith Solis:

In this era, it is the judiciary that will be relied upon to uphold the law when the White House and other branches of government fail us. In San Francisco, we are badly in need of reform in our criminal justice system.  We have a problem with disproportionate incarceration of people of color.  We have a money for bail system that preys upon the poor.


Even worse is that the disproportionate confinement of people of color is coupled with little or no representation of African Americans in the jury pools. African Americans make up less than 4% of the San Francisco population, but comprise more than 50% of those incarcerated.  One study showed that over the course of a year, of the 285,000+ beds occupied in the county jail here in San Francisco, more than 55% were filled by African Americans.  This is a problem that the judiciary is not adequately addressing. My black sons are 7 times more likely to be arrested and 10 times more likely to be convicted of a crime simply based on the color of their skin.  


I walk into holding tanks and on a regular basis, 12 out of 14 men are African American or Latino. The racial disparity is stark. In one of my recent trial cases, out of 150 prospective jurors, 1 was African American and 1 was a Latino man. Not enough is being done by the courts to reach out to communities to encourage participation in the jury process. Not enough is done to address the racial disparity in incarceration rates. This makes for a terrible combination that will result in even more incarceration of men of color. Studies show that conviction rates go up exponentially when there is no African American on the jury. There is an intransigence in the court and they appear to be in denial of compelling empirical evidence. The courts have to protect our rights. We need judges who will address these issues and will apply the law equally. If elected judge, I would devote my time to remedying the inequities that continue to pervade our criminal justice system.


One of the major hurdles to addressing these problems is that no one seems to be talking about it.  I do not see judges having public forums or grand juries being empaneled on these issues.  There have been African Americans appointed to the bench, but in the past 40 years, only ONE public defender has been appointed from our office to the San Francisco bench.  Simply put, the bench is not representative of the community that comes before it each and every day.  I would likely be the first formerly undocumented person to serve on the bench here in San Francisco.


What experience or qualifications do you have that make you well suited for this role?
Answer from Niki Judith Solis:

I have been a public defender for 22 years, having stood side by side with people from all walks of life , including children, defending their civil and constitutional rights. I have tried over 50 cases, and have been found "well qualified" by the independent review of the Bar Association’s judicial committee’s review (meaning that I have all the attributes of a qualified person AND that I also “possess 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 the office I am seeking (see I also bring a unique perspective to the bench as a mother, a woman of color, a formerly undocumented teen who earned scholarships to college and law school in order to succeed in becoming an attorney.  I took these successes and catapulted them into a career of helping others as a public defender. In the past, I have volunteered for: project open hand, the annual dinner to raise money for The Asian Women’s Shelter, and I served as vice president of my children’s school PTA for several years. I have made helping others the cornerstone of my career and life. As a judge, i would ensure that each and every person who comes before the court will be treated equally under the law and respectfully.

Videos (1)

A short introduction to niki solis' canddiacy for Superior Court Judge

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