David Coleman earned a B.A. with honors in Political Science & Economics from Yale College in 1967, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1971.
In 1974, Mr. Coleman began work as a deputy public defender in Contra Costa County in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 1999, he was appointed as The Public Defender for the county, thereby becoming the first African American Public Defender in California. He retired from that position in 2009. During a 35 year career as a public defender, Mr. Coleman tried scores of felony and misdemeanor cases, argued cases before the 9th Circuit, the California Supreme Court and the First District Court of Appeal. Since 1980, Mr. Coleman has been lead counsel in eight capital trials.
Mr. Coleman has been an adjunct professor at U.C. Berkeley School of Law for over 25 years. He has taught Criminal Procedure, Evidence, and Advanced Criminal Procedure. He is currently a Senior Fellow in the Center for Social Justice. Mr. Coleman is also an Adjunct Professor at Golden Gate University Law School where he has taught criminal law.
Mr. Coleman has authored many articles about criminal justice for publications in California and he occasionally publishes blogs pieces on related topics.