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 completed his Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapist (M.F.T.) and established his immigration law practice through initially volunteering as the Chief Counsel for the Golden Venture representing all 18 women and 7 men successfully resulting in new Federal legislation granting 1,000 refugees (later unlimited) annually granting them asylum based on forced abortion/sterilization in violation of the Convention Against Torture. John testified hearing on Coercive Population Control in China on June 22, 1995, in front of Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights of the Committee On International Relations, U.S. House of Representative in Washington, D.C (1996).

The story of the East Coast legal representation of the Golden Venture detainees incarcerated Rockaway Peninsula, Queens, 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.

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 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).

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).

During his Hawaii years, John pioneered the initial Legal Services (Legal Aid Society of Hawaii) program in Honolulu and later was an early public defender on the big island. While in Honolulu, John was Vice President of Hawaii Chapter of ACLU and served as its first legal counsel as well as first Legal Counsel of N.A.A.C.P Chapter in Honolulu. The ACLU sponsored John for 6 weeks as a volunteer civil rights lawyer in Jackson, Mississippi in 1967 with the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

John was served as Adjunct Professor of Law at the William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu, HI where he taught Criminal Law Procedure. And later, John taught Constitution Law at the University of Hawaii in Hilo, HI. Also, he taught Introduction to the Courts & Legal System in Kona, HI.

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).

Subsequently, John was the Legislative Assistant to U.S. Representative Patsy T. Mink in Washington D.C. and later was Special Assistant to General Counsel, E.E.O.C.  (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) where he drafted E.E.O.C. Guidelines on Discrimination Because of Sex, which is still the basic law of the land. John later was chosen to be New York Regional Counsel for the E.E.O.C. in New York.

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.

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).

Furthermore, 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.

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