Peter Keane, rabble-rousing S.F. legal professional and champ of excellent federal government, dies at 79

Peter Keane’s initial client was himself.

He arrived in San Francisco from Dallas in a Volkswagen Squareback weighed down by his law textbooks and attempted to register to vote. He was denied on account of a 1-year residency prerequisite in California in location at the time, and he’d only been a resident for 11 months.

So he sued the state, and attempted the scenario even ahead of he was a registered California attorney.

“State Voting Residency Regulation Voided” browse the headline in The Chronicle on Oct. 8, 1970, with the names of plaintiffs Peter and Nancy Keane on the entrance page. It was the nucleus of a track record that would arrive to stand for the proper to a fantastic governing administration and a good trial in San Francisco.

With a dashing Irish demeanor and a flair for courtroom dramatics, Keane would provide as a community defender, law enforcement commissioner, ethics commissioner, town and condition Bar officer, voter initiative writer, Television set murder trial analyst, regulation professor and regulation university dean.

Keane experienced retired when he was identified with metastatic colon most cancers in February. He died at initial gentle Easter Sunday at his longtime dwelling in the Richmond District, with his wife of 53 years and two daughters at his bedside. He was 79.

“Peter carried a duplicate of the Constitution in his pocket just about everywhere,” claimed his spouse. “It wasn’t just purchasers, or pupils. He’d halt and talk about the Structure with people in the grocery shop or whilst going for walks on Clement Road. But he under no circumstances did it in a way that would set anybody down. If any person posed a dilemma, he’d say, ‘let’s glance it up with each other.’ He just liked folks.”

This integrated men and women who were being going through heinous crimes with loss of life penalty implications. Keane gave his shoppers a vigorous protection and was typically a final and only mate to lots of of them. He spent wonderful quantities of time in holding cells at San Francisco County Jail and in visitation areas at San Quentin, Santa Rita, Folsom and Atascadero prisons, and constantly arrived in a go well with and tie.

“Peter Keane was the product general public servant,” reported previous mayor Artwork Agnos. “He had integrity, he experienced commitment and he experienced compassion for individuals who ended up helpless in the experience of the enormity that includes regulation enforcement in our place. He evened the odds.”

Peter Gerald Keane was born February 8, 1943 in an Irish tenement in the Bay Ridge neighborhood of Brooklyn, N.Y. as the youngest of seven youngsters. His father, John Martin Keane, was a longshoreman who worked the New York Town docks, and his mother, Mae Veronica Neville Keane, labored in the cafeteria at the Brooklyn Naval Shipyard.

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