NORML expresses its sincere condolences to the friends and family of Terence Hallinan.
Terence Hallinan was a brilliant and talented criminal defense attorney who later became a progressive prosecutor for San Francisco who was a prominent supporter of Prop. 215, the nation's first medical marijuana law adopted via voter initiative in CA in 1996.
Terence's father was a left-wing political activist and a former Progressive Party candidate for US President in 1952. Terence attended the London School of Economics, the University of California Berkeley and the Hastings College of Law before becoming a criminal defense attorney who defended hundreds of defendants out of Haight-Asbury on drug charges.
In 1988 Hallinan left private practice for a political career, first serving seven years on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and then for 10 years as District Attorney, before returning to private practice. He served on the NORML Advisory Board from 1995 until his death in January of 2020.
Terence Hallinan was elected District Attorney of the City and County of San Francisco on December 12, 1995, after serving for seven years as a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Mr. Hallinan was elected on a platform of change, stressing the need to focus on combating violent crime, streamline the operations of the District Attorney's office, and implement a vigorous neighborhood liaison program, as well as other innovations.
Mr. Hallinan's term in office as District Attorney was praised for his hands-on involvement in the courtroom, tough administrative decisions, and significant improvements in the way the District Attorney's office fights violent crime in San Francisco.
While a member of the Board of Supervisors, Mr. Hallinan served as Chair of the Government Efficiency and Labor Committee, as well as Vice Chair of the Health,, Public Safety, and Environment Committee. He also served as member of the Finance Committee and on various outside commissions and boards, including the Bay Area Air Quality Management District and the Golden Gate Bridge District board.
Mr. Hallinan brought a long family history of public service to his work. His late father, Vincent Hallinan, was a renowned attorney who defended labor leader Harry Bridges in court and once ran for President of the United States. His mother Vivian was a long-time leader of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom.
District Attorney Hallinan, a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley and the Hastings College of the Law, narrowly missed being a member of the United States boxing team for the 1960 Olympic Games. His broad range of experience included decades of civil rights activism, including arrests while fighting for civil rights in the Deep South, and a quarter of a century of work as a successful attorney in San Francisco.