Asher Waite-Jones

  • Hosted by Legal Services for Children
  • Sponsored by ALM
  • Service location San Francisco, California
  • Law school University of California, Berkeley School of Law
  • Issue area Children/Youth
  • Fellowship class year 2016
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Asher Waite-Jones provided holistic legal representation to homeless and low-income youth in San Francisco and Alameda Counties, primarily in traffic court cases.

In the Bay Area, youth homelessness and the number of youth living in poverty is incredibly high. Low income and homeless youth face disproportionate rates of police contact and arrest. This contact includes both criminal arrests and citations for low-level offenses, called infractions, adjudicated in traffic court. These infractions include moving violations, like driving without a license or speeding, and quality of life citations, such as San Francisco’s sit-lie ordinance, which makes it a citable offense to sit or lie down on the sidewalk.

Fellowship Highlights

In the past two years, Asher has:

  • Successfully represented low-income and homeless youth in the San Francisco juvenile and adult traffic courts, resulting in 24 infraction dismissals and a grand total of $17,917 saved
  • Represented low-income and homeless youth in a variety of related proceedings, including in immigration, school discipline, guardianship, and emancipation proceedings
  • Participated in regular legal clinics at local homeless youth serving organizations, providing brief services, referrals, and direct representation to homeless youth
  • Written a pro-se traffic court manual on how to represent oneself in San Francisco infraction proceedings, in order to ensure continued sustainability of the project and further youth empowerment

What’s Next

Now that the Fellowship is complete, Asher plans to:

  • Continue in his position as a Staff Attorney at Legal Services for Children
  • Lead Legal Services for Children’s new Homeless Youth Project – focused on providing LSC’s holistic legal and social services to Bay Area homeless young people, a project pioneered by Asher’s Equal Justice Works Fellowship
  • Zealously advocate for low-income and homeless youth, particularly those who experience multiple marginalization, such as low-income youth of color, low-income LGBTQ youth, and low-income immigrant youth

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