Appeals Court Issues Order to Show Cause in CCW Case

An appeals court has ordered the California Attorney General’s Office explain why Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen should continue to prosecute an alleged corruption case involving someone with whom he shares personal and political ties.

California’s 6th District Court of Appeal gave the Attorney General, which represents Rosen in the case, until Dec. 10 to respond.

The order to show cause stems from an appeal filed on behalf of Christopher Schumb, one of several defendants accused of conspiring to exchange bribes for gun licenses—known as concealed carry weapon (CCW) permits— issued by Sheriff Laurie Smith.

Schumb’s attorney, Joe Wall, argued that Rosen should recuse himself from the case because of his past dealings with Schumb, a South Bay litigator and political fundraiser.

On Oct. 30, the appeals court halted an upcoming trial against Schumb and his co-defendants—attorney Harpaul Nahal, gun maker Michael Nichols and sheriff’s Capt. James Jensen—to consider Wall’s petition to remove Rosen.

When Schumb’s attorney made a similar case to the Santa Clara County Superior Court a couple months prior, Judge Eric Geffon rejected the argument.

Wall said he’s heartened to see his petition now make some headway.

“We are encouraged by the fact that the 6th District Appeals Court is seriously examining the significant issue presented by way of our writ,” Wall said in a phone call Wednesday.

When issuing the stay on the CCW trial last month, the appeals court asked all parties to the case to address the following questions:

  • Where the elect district attorney, determined by the trial court to be a friend of the defendant, is personally involved in the prosecution of the defendant and others for crimes related to alleged public corruption involving another elected official of the same county, is it reasonably possible that the District Attorney’s Office may not exercise its discretionary function in an evenhanded manner, which conflict likely affects the fairness of the prosecution?
  • What is the relevance, if any, to the analysis under Penal Code Section 1424 of the elected district attorney being called as a percipient witness at trial in this matter? Does the analysis change if the district attorney is called only as a character witness?
  • Does the District Attorney’s Office have a formal recusal policy? What is the relevance, if any, to the analysis under Penal Code Section 1424 of the existence of and adherence to such a policy?
  • Should the trial court have conducted an evidentiary hearing on the extent of the personal involvement of the elected district attorney in the investigation or prosecution of this matter?

Rosen has defended his involvement in the alleged bribery case, saying Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s Office already ruled out any conflicts and that he and his second-in-command, Assistant District Attorney Jay Boyarsky, stopped associating with Schumb once their investigation began two years ago.

In a Nov. 12 response to the DA in appeals court, Wall and his colleague, fellow attorney Kathleen Sherman, maintained that Rosen’s investigation was motivated by a political rivalry with Sheriff Smith. They wrote that Schumb’s alliance with Smith “raises the specter” of Rosen using him “as a pawn.”

By personally involving himself and emotionally investing himself in a case against a friend and past political ally, Rosen has violated his own ethical rules requiring recusal, Wall and Sherman argued. That Schumb plans to call Rosen and Boyarsky as character witnesses should disqualify their entire office, the filing goes on to state.

The  response to the DA ends by stressing the gravity of the situation.

Because Schumb makes a living as an attorney, the consequences of his legal case “are different from other cases and other defendants,” his attorneys wrote.

Charges must be reported to the State Bar, they added, which has already created “a cloud over Schumb’s law practice.”

“Thus, the very filing of this case exposes Schumb, in effect, to a professional death sentence,” the 45-page filing concludes. “Even if he is acquitted, Schumb might ask, as did Ray Donovan, President Reagan’s Secretary of Labor, who asked in a press conference after he was acquitted of alleged corruption linked to organized crime, ‘Which office do I go to to get my reputation back?’”

While the trial for Schumb, Nahal, Jensen and Nichols is on hold pending 6th Circuit review, two additional indictments in the alleged bribery scheme came down this week.

The latest charges name Undersheriff Rick Sung, Apple Inc. global security chief Thomas Moyer, insurance broker Harpreet Chadha and—once again—Jensen. The new defendants are scheduled to be arraigned on Jan. 11 at the Hall of Justice in San Jose.

Jennifer Wadsworth is the news editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley. Email tips to [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth. Or, click here to sign up for text updates about what she’s working on.

6 Comments

  1. > An appeals court has ordered the California Attorney General’s Office explain why Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen should continue to prosecute an alleged corruption case involving someone with whom he shares personal and political ties.

    Did the appeals court say anything about Jeff Rosen being a corrupt, unlikeable twit?

  2. If Jeff Rosen was friends with Chris Schumb long enough to sit through a football game, he’s gotta be a sleezeball.

  3. Sure seems like Chris Schumb is getting a dose of Karma for the way he treated all those innocent CTA teachers. The only difference is Schumb actually is guilty and many of the teachers he left high and dry were innocent. It’s probably lost on him, cause he seems incapable of any sort of empathy. I just hope he does time in prison and I hope his billing CTA gets investigated.

  4. If Trump and Chris Christie produced a baby together , I would imagine it would turn out exactly like Chris Schumb.

  5. The comments by Chris Schumb’s attorney were very hard for me to read and process. Why should Chris Schumb get a presumption of innocence when the teachers he took money from didn’t get that? Why doesn’t Chris Schumb have to go and work for minimum wage in home health care when that’s what happens to the innocent ruined teachers who Schumb was supposed to help? Why does Chris Schumb get to complain about his reputation being ruined when I was told (in so many words) to “suck it up” and made to feel like I deserved to never work again?
    When I was accused by a vindictive principal because I turned the principal in for something illegal, the principal seeked revenge and made up stuff about me that was laughably absurd.At first, I wasn’t all that worried because what the principal said was completely untrue, and I had witnesses to prove it, and the principal had no evidence at all. Most importantly, I thought I had protections because I had paid into the union for years and years. They sent me to the notorious Chris Schumb. I had been warned by teachers that Schumb would make me pay under the table out of pocket if I wanted any real representation, but I was ready, because supposedly if you win the case, you get the money back. At first Chris Schumb laughed at the principal’s accusations and I thought we would win without much effort. As time went on, Chris Schumb became abusive towards me and just kept demanding more and more money to the point that I couldn’t pay or even keep going. I got no representation, and was shoved out for something I never even did. I have since learned so much about this evil operation that is set up to give the appearance of teachers getting a defense, but is really just the CTA paying Chris Schumb to be a campaign fundraiser for their candidates.
    I was not even a little surprised about Chris Schumb and the CCWs, and I believe it is just the beginning of what he has done. Even if he didn’t do this CCW crime (which I believe he did), IMHO he does not deserve to have a good reputation.

  6. Does Schumb really want to start discussing his reputation ?
    As much as I want to see him in prison and I personally dislike Schumb , I do believe everyone, even Karma come uppers , deserves a fair trial, so Rosen should recuse himself.
    Guess is that Schumb knows the dirt on everyone in this town, and he could start really singing.

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