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

Peter Keane’s 1st consumer was himself.

He arrived in San Francisco from Dallas in a Volkswagen Squareback weighed down by his legislation books and attempted to register to vote. He was denied on account of a a single-12 months residency necessity in California in area at the time, and he’d only been a resident for 11 months.

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

“State Voting Residency Legislation Voided,” study the headline in The Chronicle on Oct. 8, 1970, with the names of plaintiffs Peter and Nancy Keane on the entrance web page. It was the nucleus of a track record that would appear to symbolize the suitable to a superior govt and a good demo in San Francisco.

With a dashing Irish demeanor and a aptitude for courtroom dramatics, Keane would serve as a community defender, law enforcement commissioner, ethics commissioner, metropolis and state Bar officer, voter initiative creator, Tv murder demo analyst, regulation professor and regulation faculty dean.

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

“Peter carried a copy of the Constitution in his pocket everywhere,” explained his wife. “It wasn’t just customers, or students. He’d prevent and speak about the Constitution with individuals in the grocery keep or although going for walks on Clement Street. But he under no circumstances did it in a way that would put anybody down. If any person posed a dilemma, he’d say, ‘let’s look it up jointly.’ He just loved individuals.”

This incorporated people who were being experiencing heinous crimes with demise penalty implications. Keane gave his purchasers a vigorous protection and was generally a previous and only good friend to many of them. He invested fantastic 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 usually arrived in a accommodate and tie.

“Peter Keane was the design general public servant,” mentioned previous mayor Art Agnos. “He experienced integrity, he experienced commitment and he experienced compassion for men and women who were being helpless in the face of the enormity that includes law enforcement in our place. He evened the odds.”

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