Peter Keane, rabble-rousing S.F. attorney and winner of great governing administration, dies at 79

Peter Keane’s 1st shopper was himself.

He arrived in San Francisco from Dallas in a Volkswagen Squareback weighed down by his legislation textbooks and attempted to sign up to vote. He was denied on account of a just one-yr residency necessity in California in location at the time, and he’d been a resident for only 11 months.

So he sued the point out and attempted the circumstance, even before he was a registered California lawyer.

“State Voting Residency Legislation Voided,” browse the headline in The Chronicle on Oct. 8, 1970, with the names of plaintiffs Peter and Nancy Keane, his spouse, on the front page. It was the nucleus of a reputation that would come to depict the suitable to a fantastic federal government and a reasonable trial in San Francisco.

With a dashing Irish demeanor and a aptitude for courtroom dramatics, Keane would serve as a public defender, law enforcement commissioner, ethics commissioner, city and condition bar officer, voter initiative author, Television set murder trial analyst, legislation professor and law college dean.

Keane experienced retired when he was diagnosed with metastatic colon most cancers in February. He died at initially mild on Easter Sunday at his longtime home in the Richmond District, with his spouse of 53 decades and two daughters at his bedside. He was 79.

“Peter carried a duplicate of the Constitution in his pocket almost everywhere,” his spouse claimed. “It was not just consumers, or college students. He’d cease and discuss about the Constitution with individuals in the grocery retail outlet or whilst strolling on Clement Avenue. But he never did it in a way that would put anybody down. If someone posed a concern, he’d say, ‘Let’s search it up together.’ He just liked individuals.”

This provided individuals who ended up dealing with heinous crimes with demise penalty implications. Keane gave his consumers a vigorous defense and was typically a final and only close friend to quite a few of them. He spent terrific quantities of time in keeping cells at San Francisco County Jail and in visitation regions at San Quentin, Santa Rita, Folsom and Atascadero prisons, and normally arrived in a go well with and tie.

“Peter Keane was the model community servant,” claimed former Mayor Artwork Agnos. “He had integrity, he had commitment, and he had compassion for men and women who have been helpless in the facial area of the enormity that contains legislation enforcement in our region. He evened the odds.”

Peter Gerald Keane was born Feb. 8, 1943, in an Irish tenement in the Bay Ridge neighborhood of Brooklyn, N.Y., the youngest of 7 little ones. His father, John Martin Keane, was a longshoreman who worked the New York Metropolis docks, and his mother, Mae Veronica Neville Keane, labored in the cafeteria at the Brooklyn Naval Shipyard.