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Homeless Ex-Bank Robber Has A Shot At Redemption In S.F.

Publication Date: 
February 20, 2014
San Francisco Chronicle
C.W. Nevius

Professor Ron Tyler, director of Stanford Law's Criminal Defense Clinic, spoke with The San Francisco Chronicle's C.W. Nevius on the case of a San Francisco homeless man seeking to build a new life. 

Steve Goff is a bank robber. Ex-bank robber, he'll say, but still ...

Prison? Oh sure. His estimate is 13 federal facilities. He rattles them off so fast you can't write them all down: "Lompoc, Atwater, Victorville," and on and on.


Ron Tyler was an assistant federal public defender for 22 years. He handled Goff's cases more than once, most recently in 2008. I called him at Stanford University, where he is director of the Criminal Defense Clinic, and asked if he thought Goff could change his life.


"What you're asking is if this is a con," Tyler says. "And it is not. He's a great guy, really warm and engaging. It doesn't surprise me that he would have a group of people who would rally around him. He definitely wants involvement in society."


"It is very common for folks in a condition similar to Steve to rob banks to have the money for their fix," Tyler says. "What I would say is in no instance was I aware of any violence. Steve is a gentleman."