Adjunct Professor David Onek is a Senior Fellow and Lecturer at Berkeley Law School. Onek was a candidate for San Francisco District Attorney in 2011, running on a strong criminal justice reform platform and finishing second to the incumbent. He previously served as a Commissioner on the San Francisco Police Commission, where he set policy for the Police Department and oversaw the police discipline process. Prior to that, Onek worked for San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom as Deputy Director of the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice, where he led numerous policy initiatives for the Mayor.
Onek came to Berkeley Law School as the Founding Executive Director of the Berkeley Center for Criminal Justice (now part of the Earl Warren Institute on Law and Social Policy), where he brought law enforcement and community together to build partnerships in support of innovative, research-based policy reforms. He currently hosts the Criminal Justice Conversations Podcast, a co-production of the Berkeley Law School and the Berkeley School of Journalism, which features in-depth, thirty-minute interviews with a wide range of criminal justice leaders.
Earlier in his career, Onek served as a Senior Program Associate at the W. Haywood Burns Institute, where he worked to reduce racial disparities in the juvenile justice system in ten sites throughout the country. Following graduation from law school, Onek received a Skadden Fellowship to work as a Staff Attorney at Legal Services for Children in San Francisco. Before attending law school, Onek was a Research Associate at the National Council on Crime and Delinquency (NCCD), where he researched and developed model juvenile justice programs and systems nationwide, and a Counselor at Walden House, where he counseled delinquent youth with mental health and substance abuse issues.
Onek is the author of numerous juvenile and criminal justice book chapters, articles and reports. He is a graduate of Stanford Law School and Brown University. Onek lives in San Francisco’s Bernal Heights neighborhood with his wife Kara Dukakis and daughters Olivia and Nora.