About Us

John Burgess has been licensed attorney more than 40 years (Hawaii #670). During the past 20 years, he has specialized in immigration and nationality law (emphasizing asylum applications) in San Francisco, California. After relocating to San Francisco in 1993, John was asked to be the lead attorney in the Golden Venture case in which he successfully provided more than 2,000 hours Pro-Bono services for the 18 women and 7 men from the vessel which run aground off the Queens, NY. In part, based on his testimony before the Human Rights Subcommittee of Congress -… in Washington, D.C. (1996), Congress passed new legislation resulting in a new ground of asylum based on forced abortion as a violation of Convention against Torture unlimited in numbers. The story of the East Coast legal representation of the Golden Venture detainees incarcerated __, New York told in the best-selling book “The Snake Head – An Epic Tale of the Chinatown Underworld and the American Dream” by Patrick Radden Keefe (2009).

More recently, Mr. Burgess obtained a landmark legal ruling by Immigration Judge Dana Leigh Marks, November 2014? holding that the Pattern or Practice INS Regulation Section 208.13 Establishing Asylum Eligibility is applicable to Tibetans on account of their genocide by the People’s Republic of China, and/or are a “disfavored group” because of their persecution.

He was the first Counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union [A.C.L.U] of Hawaii and served as the first attorney for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored Persons [N.A.A.C.P.] Honolulu Chapter (1967).

He was awarded Scholarship as the first Hawaii attorney to attend the National Institute for Trial Advocacy [N.I.T.A.] in Denver, Colorado (1978).

He facilitated the legislative enactment of the Deferred Acceptance of Guilty Plea statute providing for probation and expunging of conviction records for qualified first-time criminal offenders (1976).

John obtained Hawaii Supreme Court holding that a search warrant for an apartment does not legally allow the search of woman visitor’s purse or handbag (1975).

He obtained a landmark ruling abrogating a 100-year-old Hawaii statute prohibiting a wife from suing her husband for battery or personal injury due to his negligence (1993).

Mr. Burgess received the benediction of the Indiansage Krishnamurti as a young boy when he visited his family home in 1950 to honor his mother who founded the Theosophical society of Idaho.

He received spiritual guidance and instruction in Vipassana Meditation by Munindra-Ji [Maui] (1985, 1987) who advised him to “seek justice” and follow the Buddhist Dharma Law inspiring his lifelong career as a human rights lawyer.

He was taught by the celebrated Zen Master Paul Reps, author of “The Five Bulls” among other writings while residing on the Big Island of Hawaii (1990 – 1993).

John received empowerment instructions by H.H. Penor Rinpoche, who honored him for his service on behalf of the Tibetian people and invited him to be his guest at his monastery in Bylakuppe, India and to accompany him to celebrate Losar at Bodh Gaya, India (2000).

For last 20 years, he has been practicing immigration law in San Francisco, California.


You can contact me by clicking here.