Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith didn’t enter a plea throughout her first listening to for a civil grand jury accusation that claims she dedicated corrupt misconduct.
Smith appeared along with her attorneys Allen Ruby and James McManis on Friday for a distant courtroom listening to held in San Mateo County Superior Court docket. Ruby advised the courtroom he wants extra time to deal with insufficiencies within the accusation. He stated his workforce should evaluation roughly 30 volumes of grand jury transcripts to find out all of their objections.
“We’ve got loads,” Ruby stated. “However we will’t know all of them till we’ve had a chance to acquaint ourselves with the report.”
The courtroom agreed to present Smith extra time to reply and requested Ruby and the San Francisco District Legal professional’s Workplace to determine a schedule for when to submit briefs, whereas setting a standing convention for March 15. A listening to was additionally set for Feb. 22 to debate a movement from the Santa Clara County District Legal professional’s Workplace to seal parts of the grand jury transcript that contain an insurance coverage dealer named Harpreet Chadha, who’s going through legal costs for allegedly bribing a sheriff officer for a hid carry license.
Smith, who spoke just a few phrases in the course of the listening to, agreed to waive her proper to a trial inside 60 days. The majority of the listening to involved the logistics of scheduling hearings and filings in a posh case involving events in Santa Clara, San Francisco and San Mateo counties throughout a pandemic that has shuttered courtrooms all through the area.
The Civil Grand Jury issued its accusation final month in Santa Clara County Superior Court docket and listed a lot of counts towards Smith. The standout declare is that Smith allegedly abused sections of the Penal Code by granting hid carry firearm licenses to people based mostly on whether or not they donated to her political marketing campaign, had been members of the nonprofit Sheriff’s Advisory Board or had a private connection to her.
The accusation additionally accuses Smith of accepting an illegal reward in 2019 from Chadha within the type of meals, drinks and tickets to a San Jose Sharks hockey sport. The Civil Grand Jury claims Smith dedicated against the law by not reporting this reward on her annual assertion of financial curiosity.
Chadha was indicted in 2020 for allegedly bribing undersheriff Rick Sung for a hid carry license. Santa Clara County District Legal professional Jeff Rosen requested the courtroom to seal parts of the grand jury transcript containing Chadha’s testimony, citing issues that it may violate his proper towards self-incrimination in his legal case.
The accusation additionally claims Smith didn’t cooperate with a legislation enforcement auditor searching for details about her investigation of a high-profile harm on the jail involving a mentally unwell inmate named Andrew Hogan. Santa Clara County paid $10 million to Hogan’s household after he suffered a head harm in 2018 whereas being transported for psychiatric companies.
Involved with Smith’s administration of the jail system, the Board of Supervisors requested a civil grand jury investigation final yr. Additionally they requested the California Legal professional Basic and U.S. Division of Justice to research whether or not Smith and her workplace dedicated civil rights violations whereas working the jail. The board then held a vote of no confidence in Smith’s management.
Smith can also be going through a rising variety of rivals for her job. 4 folks have formally entered the Santa Clara County sheriff election: Palo Alto Police Chief Robert Jonsen, former San Jose Assistant Police Chief Dave Knopf, Santa Clara County sheriff Sergeant Christine Nagaye and retired Captain Kevin Jensen. County Sergeant Sean Allen says he’s additionally working, however hasn’t filed papers but.
Smith, who has not filed to run for reelection, has not stated publicly what she intends to do.
Political guide and columnist Wealthy Robinson, who is without doubt one of the witnesses listed within the accusation, advised San José Highlight he sees parallels between Smith’s scenario and the legal bribery case that introduced down former San Jose Mayor Ron Gonzales. The courtroom dismissed all costs towards Gonzales, however the case ended his political profession. Robinson believes Smith can be acquitted, however that received’t undo the harm to her status and profession.
“It’s unlucky this type of taxpayer debacle is allowed to occur,” Robinson stated.
Contact Eli Wolfe at [email protected] or @EliWolfe4 on Twitter.