Arthur Wachtel




Lawyer; defense attorney


University of California, Berkeley, B.A.; Golden Gate University, J.D 1


  1. “Arthur K. Wachtel.” Accessed August 14, 2022.

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Arthur Wachtel is a Bay Area-based attorney and former public defender in Marin County 1 who donated $67,000 to oppose the 2022 recall of San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin. 2


Wachtel is a prominent criminal defense attorney in Northern California. His clients have included in 2004 a killer who had been found not guilty by reason of insanity. 3 That year, Wachtel compared a sentence that required his client, a mail thief, to stand outside a post office wearing a sign that read: “I stole mail. This is my punishment” to “our experience in Europe in the ‘30s and ‘40s.” 4

Wachtel represented a priest accused of misconduct against a minor in 2003 5 and a San Francisco police officer who was briefly accused of criminal conspiracy in 2002 before charges. were dismissed. 6 The sentence of another of Wachtel’s clients, a convicted robber of a credit union, was thrown out in 2001 because of a lack of proof that the credit union had been federally insured. 7

In 1997, Wachtel represented a Novato High School football player who pleaded guilty, along with two others, to unlawful sex with a 15-year-old girl who was drunk. Advocating for his client to avoid jail, Wachtel said: “This was prom night. They were all too intoxicated, and everybody made a mistake.” 8

Political Activity and Donations

In addition to the $67,000 donated to oppose the recall of San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin, Wachtel donated to Boudin’s 2019 campaign. 9 Wachtel contributes to Democratic candidates for federal office and left-of-center political action committees, having made more than $60,000 in such donations since 2019. 10


  1.  Chiang, Harriet. “Cops’ Stellar Array of Lawyers / Accused Officers Are Represented by Top Attorneys.” SF Chronicle. San Francisco Chronicle, March 11, 2003.
  2. Nielson, Susie. “Chesa Boudin Recall Supporters Raised $7.2 Million to Oust the San Francisco D.A. These Are the Biggest Donors.” SF Chronicle. San Francisco Chronicle, June 6, 2022.
  3. Fimrite, Peter. “MARIN COUNTY/Mentally Ill Slayer Wants Out.” SF Gate. SF Gate, November 11, 2004.
  4. Egelko, Bob. “SAN FRANCISCO / Shaming OKd as Part of Sentence / Court Upholds Thief’s Wearing ‘I Stole Mail’ Sign.” SF Gate. SF Gate, August 10, 2004.
  5. “S.F. Priest Faces 1972 Molest Charge.” SF Gate. SF Gate, May 22, 2003.
  6. Van Derbeken, Jaxon. “SAN FRANCISCO / Police Panel to Rule on Misconduct Case / 7 Officers Involved in Probe of 2002 Union St. Brawl.” SF Gate. SF Gate, February 8, 2005.
  7. Egelko, Bob. “Big Reduction Ordered In Sentence for Robbery / No Proof Credit Union Had Federal Insurance.” SF Gate. SF Gate, January 6, 2001.
  8. Horowitz, Donna. “Prom Sex Incident a ‘Morality Play.’” SF Chronicle. San Francisco Chronicle, November 12, 1997.
  9. “Recipient Committee Campaign Statement Cover Page.” California Form 460 Statement Covers Period From 01/01/2019 Through 06/30/2019. Accessed August 14, 2022.
  10. “Individual Contributions.” Federal Election Commission, June 30, 2022.
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