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Introduction to Criminal Division

Judges have a duty to uphold and follow the law given to them by the Constitution of the United States, the Constitution of California, and the laws passed by the Legislature. 

  The San Francisco Criminal Court has jurisdiction over infractions, misdemeanor, and felony cases. The Criminal Court conducts trials, motions, arraignments, preliminary hearings, probation hearings, mental health proceedings, and other types of criminal proceedings. 

  Criminal cases are heard in the Hall of Justice Building, 850 Bryant St. (between 6th and 7th Streets). However, some criminal cases are heard in the Civic Center Courthouse, 400 McAllister St., and the Community Justice Center, 575 Polk St.  To determine which department your case is being heard in, please review the Daily Calendar for criminal and traffic hearings, which is displayed on an electronic wall monitor outside Room 101, Monday-Friday, or call the Clerk’s Office at (415) 551-0651. 


A felony case is a criminal action in which the defendant is charged with a criminal offense typically punishable by state prison or county jail. For example, murder, rape, robbery, and residential burglary are felony offenses.


A misdemeanor case is a criminal action in which the defendant is charged with a misdemeanor offense which is punishable by a fine and/or imprisonment in the county jail for up to one year. Examples of misdemeanor offenses include vandalism, trespassing, and simple assault and battery, as well as serious traffic violations, such as driving under the influence.  

Arraignment, Pre-trial Release and Bail

1. Arraignment  

The arraignment is the first time the defendant appears in court.  

At the arraignment, a judge tells the defendant:  

  • What the charges are,  

  • What their constitutional rights are, and  

  • If they do not have enough money to hire a lawyer, the court will appoint a   lawyer free of charge. 

  The defendant, through their attorney, then responds to the charges by entering a plea of not guilty, guilty, or no contest. A defendant can only plead no contest in misdemeanor cases.  

*Not Guilty means the defendant says they did not commit the crime.  

*Guilty means the defendant admits that they committed the crime. The judge finds the defendant guilty and enters a conviction in the court record.  

*No Contest means the defendant does not contest (disagrees with) the charge. This plea has the same effect as a guilty plea, except the conviction generally cannot be used against the defendant in a civil lawsuit. A defendant can only plead no contest in misdemeanor cases.  

2. Pretrial Release and Bail  

After a defendant is arraigned and enters a not guilty plea, the judge is obligated to follow California law in deciding whether to release the defendant with or without conditions, set bail, or set no bail and have the defendant remain in jail as they await trial. 

Every defendant who enters a not guilty plea is presumed innocent until convicted, either: 1) by later entering a plea of guilty or no contest or 2) by being found guilty at trial by a jury or a judge. This presumption of innocence, under California law, means that all defendants have a right to release or the setting of bail before trial, subject to limited exceptions. (Cal. Const., art. 1 secs. 12 and 28.) "Bail" is money or property that a defendant puts up as a promise to return for future court dates. When setting the amount of bail, the judge considers the seriousness of the charged crime, the defendant's previous criminal record, whether the defendant is a risk to the community, and whether they are likely to appear at their next court date or are a "flight risk."  

Recently, the California Supreme Court issued a decision, in re Humphrey (2021) 11 Cal. 5th 135, which significantly changed the law concerning a defendant's potential release from jail before the trial. The Supreme Court decided that: 

  •   A court is prohibited from keeping a defendant in jail pretrial solely because a defendant cannot afford bail, as such a detention violates the federal and California Constitutions.  
  • If the court determines that releasing a defendant prior to trial involves a risk to public or victim safety or flight risk, the court should consider whether nonfinancial conditions of release (also called "less restrictive alternatives") may reasonably protect the public and the victim or reasonably assure the defendant's presence at future court dates. Such less restrictive alternatives include electronic monitoring, regular check-ins with a pre-trial case manager, community housing or shelter and drug and/or alcohol treatment.  

  • If the court determines that setting bail as a condition of release is necessary, it must consider the defendant's ability to post the stated amount of bail, along with the seriousness of the charged offense and the defendant's criminal record, and - unless there is a valid basis for keeping the defendant in jail - the court must set bail at an amount that the defendant can reasonably afford.  

  • In unusual circumstances, if the court concludes that public or victim safety or the defendant's appearance in court, cannot be reasonable assured if the defendant is released, the court may keep the defendant in jail only if it first finds, by clear and convincing evidence, that no less restrictive alternative to jail can reasonably protect those interest.  

The California Supreme Court has also provided trial courts further guidance when considering whether to release a defendant who is awaiting trial, by suggesting that judges must consider less restrictive conditions of release, such as "electronic monitoring" in which a defendant is supervised by the Sheriff's Office by wearing a GPS bracelet that track a defendant's geolocation, regular check-ins with a pretrial case manager, community housing or shelter, and drug and alcohol treatment, if those apply. 

Case Calendars & County Jail Information 

Search for Case Calendars by Case Type and Date

Information is available up to 120 calendar days from today.

Case Calendar

Search Cumulative Criminal Index Records Updated Weekly

Case Index

Jail/Inmate Information

The San Francisco County Jail is operated by the Sheriff's Department, not the Court. For information regarding inmates and arrested persons, call (415) 553-1430.

Inmate Locator - 

For information regarding inmates housed at San Bruno, call (415) 266-7501.


Criminal Records

Instructions for Getting Copies of Criminal Records

NOTE: Submitting multiple requests for the same case number will cause undue delays in processing your record requests. Please contact the clerks office for updates on your record request.

Request for Criminal Records Viewing here

Criminal Records Department Phone Number (415) 551-0651.

Cleaning Up Your Record

This following information only deals with criminal convictions obtained in California and is intended to assist you with cleaning up your criminal record. We do not guarantee any results for a particular case, nor is the information intended as legal advice.

If you have been convicted of a crime you may be eligible for relief. Some convictions can be modified on your record so that when you apply for most jobs, you can legally indicate that you were not convicted of that crime. Other convictions may be reduced from felony to misdemeanor status in certain situations. Also, if you have completed a term in prison you may be eligible for a Certificate of Rehabilitation and Pardon.

The California Courts website has detailed information and the necessary forms needed for cleaning up your criminal record.

The San Francisco Public Defender’s Clean Slate Program may also be able to assist you in this process.

Staff Directory/Operational Units

Hall of Justice Administration

Court Executive Officer - Brandon Riley (415) 551-5727

Court Administrator - Mark Culkins (415) 551-0350

Court Manager, Criminal Division - Sherife Huseny (415) 551-0665

Court Manager, Comprehensive Collections Unit - Jennifer Chan (415) 551-8576

Court Manager, Criminal Courtroom Clerks - Gina Guidi (415) 551-4004

Criminal Operation Court Staff

Court Manager, Criminal Operations, Sherife Huseny (415) 551-0665

Court Interpreter Supervisor - Rose Gonzalez (415) 551-0656

Acting Court Interpreter Supervisor - Bradley Pon (415) 551-0656

Court Supervisor, Criminal Master Cal - Wesley Ramirez (415) 551-7572

Court Supervisor, Criminal Courtroom Clerks - Cynthia Karadi (415) 551-0352

Court Supervisor, Criminal Courtroom Clerks - Liana Lee Manuel (415) 551-3616

Court Supervisor, Criminal -Operations- Bryan Wong (415) 551-0696

Court Supervisor, Criminal -Records- Stephen Spengler (415) 551-0684

Operational Units

Appeals, Felony (415) 551-0354 or (415) 551-0693

Appeals, Misdemeanors and Traffic (415) 551-0657

Bond Desk (415) 551-0691

Comprehensive Collections Unit (415) 551-0670

DMV (415) 551-0683

Exhibits (415) 551-0671

Filings (415) 551-0651

General Information (415) 551-0679

Records (415) 551-0651

Subpoenaed Records (415) 551-0653

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