Karyn Sinunu-Towery

Karyn Sinunu-Towery Ends Career on Top

Karyn Sinunu-Towery, left, ended a 30-year career in the District Attorney’s office last week. In her last case, she successfully prosecuted George Shirakawa Jr.

Very few people go out on their own terms, but there’s no doubt that Karyn Sinunu-Towery finished on top. The prosecutor wrapped up a 30-year career in the District Attorney’s office by successfully sending former county supervisor George Shirakawa Jr. to jail in her final case, and she handed off what seems to be a strong case involving Shirakawa and political mail fraud. Last week, colleagues honored her accomplishments with a cash bar fiesta at the De Anza Hotel, where junior and senior attorneys clinked cocktails as equals for minutes at a time.

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Shirakawa Sentenced to One Year in County Jail

Once the top elected official in Santa Clara County, George Shirakawa Jr., middle, was immediately remanded after receiving a one-year jail sentence Friday for his pilfering of campaign funds. (Photo by Geoffrey Smith)

Disgraced former county Supervisor George Shirakawa Jr. will spend the next year in jail for his pilfering of campaign funds. Judge Daniel T. Nishigaya on Friday sentenced Shirakawa, who pleaded guilty this spring to five felonies and seven misdemeanors, to a year behind bars, minus one day served. Following the ruling, he was immediately escorted out of court and taken into custody. A source within the county Sheriff’s Office tells San Jose Inside that Shirakawa will spend his time behind bars in Alameda County. He will receive probation for three years following his release.

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Shirakawa Sentencing Date Set; Mercury News Editorial Board Member Could be Defense Witness

George Shirakawa Jr. will have a sentencing hearing Nov. 8 after pleading guilty this spring to five felonies and seven misdemeanors.

More than seven months since he resigned from office and pleaded guilty to five felonies and seven misdemeanors, former county supervisor George Shirakawa Jr. will finally be sentenced for crimes that include perjury and a misuse of campaign funds. Judge Daniel T. Nishigaya, the third judge to handle the case, set Nov. 8 for sentencing. Defense attorney John Williams said he might call a character witness, who happens to be a member of the Mercury News editorial board.

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Shirakawa ‘Allegedly Indigent,’ Requests Public Defender in Mail Fraud Case

George Shirakawa Jr., right, will continue to have attorney John Williams represent him in a case he has already pleaded guilty, while a public defender will now represent the former county supervisor in his case. (File photo)

George Shirakawa Jr. can no longer afford his legal bills, according to his top-dollar lawyer. As a result, county taxpayers will now start picking up the tab. In court Wednesday, attorney John Williams told Judge Risë Jones Pichon that the disgraced former county supervisor needs a public defender to represent him on a felony charge of false personation. That case, as well as a sentencing hearing for Shirakawa’s admitted misuse of campaign funds and perjury, will be heard next week.

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Judge Allows New Trial for Shirakawa on Mail Fraud Charges

George Shirakawa will have new charges against him heard in court Wednesday. (File photo)

A judge ruled Friday that charges against George Shirakawa Jr. for his alleged involvement in a 2010 political mail fraud scandal should not be thrown out as part of a plea deal the disgraced former county supervisor agreed to earlier this year. The ruling was a victory for prosecutors, whose efforts to put Shirakawa behind bars had stalled in recent months. “We think justice was done,” said prosecutor Karyn Sinunu-Towery. “It was fair.”

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Shirakawa Hearing Reveals New Details on Timing of DA’s Charges

Friday’s court hearing focused on the timing of charges against former county supervisor George Shirakawa Jr. (File photo)

George Shirakawa Jr. didn’t attend court for his procedural hearing Friday, disappointing camera crews who were hoping for a shot of the disgraced former county supervisor. And while the brief hearing in Judge Philip Pennypacker’s courtroom didn’t provide much gripping footage for the evening news, it did reveal new details about the fraudulent mailer charges against Shirakawa.

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Shirakawa Sentencing Hearing Continued Due to New Felony Charge

George Shirakawa Jr., right, and his attorney John Williams speak to Judge Philip Pennypacker at Friday’s sentencing hearing.

George Shirakawa Jr. remains free after his hearing Friday, at which he was scheduled to be sentenced for misusing campaign and county funds. Judge Philip Pennypacker chose to delay sentencing the former county supervisor until at least July 19 due to a new felony charge that the District Attorney’s office filed against Shirakawa on Wednesday.

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Shirakawa Pleads Guilty to All Charges

George Shirkawa pleaded guilty Monday to all 12 charges against him. The District Attorney’s office is asking he spend a year in county jail for his crimes. (Photo courtesy of Sing Tao Daily)

Hands loosely clenched, the thumb on George Shirakawa, Jr.’s right hand nervously rubbed back and forth across the inside of his index finger, as Judge Philip H. Pennypacker read the charges against the disgraced former county supervisor. “Guilty, your honor,” Shirakawa said Monday, announcing the same plea after each of the 12 criminal charges against him, which include five felonies—four for perjury and one for misappropriation of public funds—and seven misdemeanors.

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The Unraveling of George Shirakawa Jr.

DA Jeff Rosen, center, along with Karyn Sinunu-Towery and Michael Brown, announced 12 criminal charges last Friday against former Supervisor George Shirakawa. The DA said its investigation was sparked by a Metro/San Jose Inside report and a Public Records Act request. (Photo by Geoffrey Smith II)

It’s always a shame to let facts interfere with a good story, but county Supervisor George Shirakawa Jr.‘s downfall didn’t start with a hushed voice from a trench coat in the dark corners of a parking garage. Here’s how Metro/San Jose Inside uncovered some of the disgraced politician’s illegal activity.

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