SCC DA faces first challenger in a decade in 2022 election

Santa Clara County’s District Attorney will face his first challenger after a decade-long tenure, as candidates officially kick off their 2022 campaigns for top prosecutor.

District Attorney Jeff Rosen will appear on ballots along with Sajid Khan, a Santa Clara County deputy public defender since 2008, if both declared candidates follow through.

The elected position has come under renewed attention after George Floyd’s murder as the District Attorney sets the tone for local law enforcement and advocates public policy for the criminal justice system.

Rosen, who gained office by launching an insurgent campaign against a sitting DA and has cast himself as a reformer, blasted his email announcement Thursday evening, officially confirming his bid for a fourth consecutive term, if he is reelected in 2022.

Rosen’s news squeaked ahead of his opponent’s kickoff event; Khan confirmed his campaign Sunday at his rally at Ryland Park in downtown San Jose—a long awaited announcement after staying mum for months, following calls from reform advocates to enter the DA’s race. He launched his campaign website as well, touting endorsements from former Congressman Mike Honda and former judge and San Jose Police Auditor LaDoris Cordell.

“For the last 13 years, I have been a public defender serving our community, fighting against mass incarceration, and standing up for our constitutional rights, the humanity of our people and for values of compassion and redemption,” Khan said in a statement. “As District Attorney, I will honor victims of crimes, hold police accountable when they violate the law, tell the truth about and undo systemic racism, manifest Black Lives Matter, and bring our criminal legal system in line with basic notions of justice and humanity.”

Born and raised in San Jose, Khan attended San Jose High School, UC Berkeley and UC Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco, before returning to the South Bay to work in the public defender’s office. Since then, Khan has been vocal in a swath of criminal justice issues in Santa Clara County, including removal of police officers from school campuses, halting the opening of a new county jail and increasing accountability for fatal encounters and uses of force by police.

The San Jose Police Officers' Association has already begun spending to highlight Khan’s calls to defund police departments, launching a website that it promoted with purchased advertisements on San Jose Inside.

Rosen boasts endorsements from more than 60 elected officials and hundreds of community and law enforcement leaders across Santa Clara County, including all sitting county supervisors, Assemblyman Evan Low, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo and Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia, who previously headed San Jose’s department.

Rosen, a former deputy prosecutor with the office he now heads, was first elected in 2010, defeating one-term incumbent Dolores Carr. He ran again in 2014 and 2018 unopposed.

Since 2010, Rosen has welcomed jail population reduction, diversion programs for non-violent offenders, the end of cash bail and expungements for low-level drug crimes. Some reforms—zero dollar bail, early release—were implemented to manage Covid risks by reducing overcrowding.

Rosen landed on Governor Gavin Newsom’s shortlist to become the state’s Attorney General position, after Xavier Becerra was appointed United States Secretary of Health and Human Services. The AG appointment went to former Assemblyman Rob Bonta.

“For the last ten years, my team and I have worked hard to bend the arc toward justice in Santa Clara County,” Rosen wrote in a statement. “Public safety for all cannot exist without equality for all. Today, Santa Clara County’s criminal justice system is fairer, and our neighborhoods are safer.”

Last year his office filed felony bribery and conspiracy charges against political supporters of Sheriff Laurie Smith after an investigation sparked by an illegal contribution discovered by Metro Silicon Valley. Prosecutors believe that concealed carry weapons permits were expedited for applicants who contributed to a pro-Sheriff independent campaign fund or donated technology to the department.

The weapons permit case has not gone smoothly for Rosen, however. Charges filed against Apple’s head of security were dismissed by a judge who cited lack of evidence. Rosen is also fighting his disqualification by Sixth District Court of Appeals because of conflicts of interest with one of the defendants, who alleged in filings that Rosen targeted the sheriff’s inner circle because she wouldn’t permit warrantless eavesdropping on jailhouse telephone calls.

Rosen’s critics have zeroed in on some of his policies, including his challenge of legislation that prohibited trying 14- and 15-year-olds accused of serious crimes as adults, as well as his opposition to the 2018 recall of Judge Aaron Persky, who was voted off the bench after his lenient sentencing in the sexual assault conviction of Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner.

Rosen and Khan are well acquainted.

After Khan, who represents adults and juveniles facing charges in court, published an op-ed about how protesters against disparate police brutality should include DAs along with grievances against police departments, Rosen filed (and later withdrew) a whistleblower complaint.

A letter from 650 public defenders supported Khan’s actions.

Khan is no stranger to sharing his political beliefs, most recently detailing his views on “progressive prosecution” in the Stanford Journal of Civil Rights & Civil Liberties in February 2021.


  1. I am guessing if Mr, Khan gets elected, San Jose will go the way of San Francisco with their progressive DA Chesa Boudins.

  2. That’s the plan — another Boudin, Gascón, Diana Becton, Tori Verber Salazar, Larry Krasner in Philadelphia — another “progressive prosecutor” (liberal activist rather than prosecutor, the infection spreading elsewhere)

  3. For the past 10 years, Santa Clara County has experienced the most brutal political competition between Far Left male politicians. Both DA Jeff Rosen and mediocre public defender Sajid Khan are part of that far left competition. Jeff Rosen is the darling of the Judiciary always protecting corrupted law enforcement, judges, attorneys, other privileged criminal offenders in the county. Sajid Khan is the darling of no other than Ash Kalra’s far left male club with the mission to decriminalize violence in California through their legislative bills. Santa Clara County women and children have paid this impunity perpetrated by this all male club. Domestic Violence, child sexual abuse and exploitation, rapes, and crimes have increased. Jeff Rosen have given privileged perpetrators of Domestic Violence, sexual assault, and violent crimes pass after pass. Me and my own daughter victims of this DA Jeff Rosen’s ripoff and corruption. Sajid Khan and the rest of extremist far left males in this county are the same supporting SB Bill 1509 authored by Alex Lee, Ash Kalra. Ash Kalra is the founder of young political democratic clubs where all these extreme left candidates are shaped and then placed in power with the funding of Asians and tech people. Jeff Rosen competes for the same funding. I am a centrist democrat not a fool of these far left males’ corruption club. It is time to clean this county and this country from corrupted public officials. We should start with our own party. Jeff Rosen is a corrupted person and DA, and Sajid Khan is more of the same. It is time to show the way out to DA Jeff Rosen because he has failed protecting women and children in Santa Clara County from violence. Do not open the door to a bigger harm, Sajid Khan. NO TO #JeffRosen NO TO #SajidKhan

  4. Sajid Khan is a Marxist buffoon! His defund the police policy, his moves to decriminalize quality of life crimes, his support of the no bail initiative, and his overall support of far Left looney causes that would destroy our county (and country) should disqualify him from consideration by any reasonable person.

  5. I just read through the SJ Police Officers Assn’s website, The Shocking Khan (dot com). Let me comment on that.

    – Posting a picture of The Stanford Rapist’s victim is in poor taste, especially right under a picture of her perp. Bad form, that really sucks.

    – The quote from Mr Khan about that case is what I’d expect from a defense attorney. It may have very well been in response to the recall of the judge in the case. What’s so ‘shocking’ about that? It’s just like a prosecutor always, always asking for the severest sentence allowed under law. Not surprising at all.

    – Regarding the image of the yellow legal pad with Mr Khan’s supposed agenda, I don’t find any of them too terrible. Or shocking. Hunting for criminals before they commit a crime… You all, as SJ cops, aren’t making me feel any safer if you guys are really doing that. Also, as a member of this community, I’m not sure if I want to be ‘policed’. I have to ask, what do you guys mean when you say you want to police the community?

    It’s funny that I get letters from the SJPOA asking for money. Is this what you’re spending that money on? If this is the best you’ve got, you’ll need to level up your professionalism.

  6. Hey James, agree on Rosen. However, Khan is common sense for those that support dictatorship and communist regimes ideologies such as Bernie, Ro Khanna. Ash Kalra, Evan Low, Alex Lee, you and SCC Resident. You all are part of Ash Kalra’s young extremist democrats. I do not want the Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, Hamas regimes being part of Santa Clara County DA’s office. Sajid Khan has experience in excusing and minimizing the behavior of violent criminals not prosecuting them. Jeff Rosen is a corrupted person and DA. Sajid Khan is the representation of extremist terrorist and communist regimes oppressing and abusing women and children. Talk about Bacha Bazi in Afghanistan which it is the systemic rape of young boys by privileged and extremist Islamic state males. NO on Rosen, NO on Khan. SCC residents deserve better! [email protected] your email?

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