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
- Chiang, Harriet. “Cops’ Stellar Array of Lawyers / Accused Officers Are Represented by Top Attorneys.” SF Chronicle. San Francisco Chronicle, March 11, 2003. https://www.sfchronicle.com/news/article/Cops-stellar-array-of-lawyers-Accused-officers-2663758.php?cmpid=gsa-sfgate-result.
- 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. https://www.sfchronicle.com/politics/article/Groups-wanting-Chesa-Boudin-recalled-raise-more-17221264.php#photo-22494579.
- Fimrite, Peter. “MARIN COUNTY/Mentally Ill Slayer Wants Out.” SF Gate. SF Gate, November 11, 2004. https://www.sfgate.com/health/article/MARIN-COUNTY-Mentally-ill-slayer-wants-out-2675707.php.
- 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. https://www.sfgate.com/crime/article/SAN-FRANCISCO-Shaming-OKd-as-part-of-sentence-2702311.php.
- “S.F. Priest Faces 1972 Molest Charge.” SF Gate. SF Gate, May 22, 2003. https://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/S-F-priest-faces-1972-molest-charge-2646577.php.
- 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. https://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/SAN-FRANCISCO-Police-panel-to-rule-on-2700556.php.
- Egelko, Bob. “Big Reduction Ordered In Sentence for Robbery / No Proof Credit Union Had Federal Insurance.” SF Gate. SF Gate, January 6, 2001. https://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Big-Reduction-Ordered-In-Sentence-for-Robbery-2967645.php.
- Horowitz, Donna. “Prom Sex Incident a ‘Morality Play.’” SF Chronicle. San Francisco Chronicle, November 12, 1997. https://www.sfchronicle.com/news/article/Prom-sex-incident-a-morality-play-3090752.php?cmpid=gsa-sfgate-result.
- “Recipient Committee Campaign Statement Cover Page.” California Form 460 Statement Covers Period From 01/01/2019 Through 06/30/2019. Accessed August 14, 2022. https://netfile.com/Connect2/api/public/image/181967281.
- “Individual Contributions.” Federal Election Commission, June 30, 2022. https://www.fec.gov/data/receipts/individual-contributions/?contributor_name=wachtel+arthur&contributor_city=mill+valley.