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Infamous Inmates:

Public Defender Frank Egan

Frank Egan
Frank Egan at the time of his incarceration

Frank Egan leaving prison
Frank Egan when he was released from prison
25 years later.

Frank Egan was San Francisco's first elected public defender, elected in 1921. Still the public defender in l932, Egan was charged with first degree murder. In addition to his work as the public defender, Egan was the drafter and executor of the wills of several private clients. One such client, Mrs. Jessie Hughes, was found dead in the street, an apparent victim of a hit-and-run accident. Subsequent investigation revealed that Egan had conspired with two ex-con former clients who held Mrs. Hughes down in a garage, ran over her several times with a car and then dumped her body in the street. Egan was the sole beneficiary of Mrs. Hughes' will.

Egan was jailed, removed from office and tried for capital murder. His attorney, Vincent Hallinan, managed to raise enough doubt about premeditation to avoid the gallows, but Egan was convicted of first degree murder and served 25 years in state prison.

Photos courtesy of San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library.
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