Community Justice Center (CJC) 555 Polk St. (Social Services) 575 Polk St. (Courtroom) 415-551-3834 415-346-0483 (Fax) Office hours: 8:30–5 p.m., M–F
The Community Justice Center is a collaborative court that hears cases for many kinds of misdemeanors and non-violent felonies charged in the Tenderloin and surrounding areas. People charged with crimes of the appropriate types within the CJC's catchment zone will automatically have their cases sent to the CJC, and a date will be scheduled by the charging police officer. If a defendant misses a court date, she or he may show up on any subsequent day during court hours.
The CJC includes both a courtroom and social-service center. Defendants are required to waive their rights to a trial by jury, a public defender, and to plead "not guilty." A defendant will be assigned to a case worker from the Department of Public Health, who will work with the defendant to develop a behavioral health plan. Over the ensuing weeks or months, the defendant will report back regularly to the court on progress in the behavioral health plan. If the judge deems that the client has been successful in this plan, then the district attorney will drop charges, but reserve the right to re-charge for a period of one year, if the defendant receives any other criminal charges during that time.
Participation in the CJC is not mandatory: If a defendant wishes to have a trial by jury, she or he may refuse to waive rights, and the case will be transferred to the Hall of Justice at 850 Bryant. Defendants who choose to have their cases heard in the CJC should be aware that everything said in the court room is part of the court record, and may be used as evidence for criminal charges.
The CJC has access to 20 shelter beds, and runs on-site support groups.