Pose Questions to DA Jeff Rosen

UPDATE: San Jose Inside has selected reader questions and sent them to DA Jeff Rosen. Thanks to all who participated.

This week, Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen has agreed to answer questions from San Jose Inside readers. He is the fifth public official to participate in this series. Questions are selected from online posts to this site.

Rosen’s answers will be posted in a Q&A format. If an answer seems incomplete or unsatisfactory, SJI will do its best to follow up.

Elected in June 2010 after a contentious race against his former boss Dolores Carr, Rosen took office a little more than a year ago. He joined the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office in 1995. In his first 12 months since becoming DA, Rosen has created a Conviction Integrity Unit, resurrected the cold case division, crafted a new protocol on medical marijuana collectives and altered the county’s policy on how it handles cases involving illegal immigrants.

Before joining the DA’s office, Rosen worked for law firms in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., where he practiced commercial litigation. He has also taught trial advocacy at Santa Clara University Law School and trained police officers in report writing. Rosen received his undergraduate degree from UCLA and his law degree from UC Berkeley’s School of Law, where he served on the Moot Court Board and taught English to immigrants.

To submit a question, post below.


  1. Simple, courts do not preempt elections or issues.  there are many unconstitutional laws on the books that only get struck down if they are challenged.  It frustrates the electorate as they vote for many things that are unconstitutional.

    But that’s the system.


    • 1. You’re wrong: as recently as November a judge struck a portion of San Francisco’s Pension Reform Proposition,“B” as being unconstitutional (poison pill) prior to the measure going to the voters. By the way, it was soundly defeated and a compromise measure crafted by Mayor Lee, working with the unions, was passed (gee Mayor Reed, what a novel concept).

      2. I believe the question was posed to Mr. Rosen and not you, Horshack.

  2. What are the results of the MACSA investigation?  When will you release them?  And, what type of communication have you had with MACSA’s civil attorneys on this topic?

    • Current city counselperson Xavier Campos was COO of MACSA during the time hundreds of thousands of dollars “disappeared”.  This stalled investigation should have come to light BEFORE the election so that the residents of district 5 would have known whether we were voting for an embezzler. 

      Precious tax dollars that were granted to MACSA were absconded with; eastside residents and families were denied services that should have been operating with those stolen funds; teacher’s still don’t have their pension money replaced. 

      Where is the justice for the Eastside residents?  At best all the MACSA board & officers were incomptetent at worst they’re thieves. 

      Before the statute of limitations runs out on this issue, please D.A. Rosen, give the eastside justice and find out who is responsible for the missing funds and have them pay it back!

  3. Can you please comment on the difference between the standards police officers use to make an arrest, i.e. probable cause, versus the criteria that the District Attorney’s Office uses on deciding whether to prosecute.  I believe many people think that the criteria is the same, can you enlighten the general public as to other factors in the mix for prosecutorial decisions please?

  4. Will Mr. Robert Schiro who is accused of hitting two cyclist and seriously injuring one on the Saratoga-Los Gatos Road ever face trial for the charges of hit and run?  This simple case has been stalled in the Court for over 450 days. Why are victims treated so poorly by the Court while defendants such as Mr. Schiro appear to be coddled at every turn?

    • A more general follow up question:  Does the early resolution process used by the Santa Clara County Court violate item 10 of Marsy’s Law (Victim Bill of Rights Act of 2008)?

      When the attorneys and judge meet behind closed doors to decide a sentence that is then announced to the press, when does the victim have the opportunity to provide meaningful information to the probation department about the impact of the crime and sentencing recommendations? 

      A defender of the current system could argue the victim does have an opportunity as a probation report is completed after the closed door deal.  Let me say from the victim’s perspective the current process feels very wrong and does not respect the spirit of Marsy’s Law.

  5. Oh hai Jeff!

    Glad to see you here on SJI. 

    So given my case as an example…
    1.  If an owner of a pot club goes out and commits battery (or any other crime of moral turpitude) should they be allowed to stay in business?

    2. What is your overall opinion on the SJ marijuana ordinance as originally drafted?  Do you think it was “unworkable?”

    3. If you were to sing a karaoke song, what would you pick?

  6. I don’t really know that much about the DA’s office but kind of have a feeling that most of the work is around street level crimes.  Does your office also look into “white collar” types of criminal activity, or is that exclusively done by others (state/federal)?

  7. 1. Doesn’t the law stipulate that when a gov employee’s benefits are reduced, they are suppose to be provided with a benefit comparable to the take-away? If that is the law, how could the mayor impose on employees and take, take, take, without providing something in return, just as what he is doing with the pension reform?

    2. I have earned sick time that is on the books. I have so many hours available to me that I have not taken due to not being ill. I was in a contract to have those hours paid out (sick leave payout) when I retire. The city simply stated that effective January 1, 2012, there would be no more sick leave payout. Being that it did not take affect until January 1st, wouldn’t all of the sick leave hours I had up until January 1st still fall under the contract for payout? If so, how could the mayor simply take away what I have already earned under contract?

  8. Jeff,

    Just wondering how you feel about laws which go unenforced.  Obviously, I’m talking about illegal immigrants, who now are deported only if they have committed a felony. 

    Looks like everyone, from Obomba down to our benighted local politicians choose to ignore the law.  Hmmm, would it be okay if I ignored some laws too… there are some that I much care for.

  9. Can you explain your reasoning for the hire of Sean Webby from the Mercury News as your new PIO?  It just seems odd that you would hire someone from the Mercury news and in particular someone who has written many negative articles about the DA’s office. We all know how much the MN hates law enforcement.

    Is Nick Muyo still with your department in some fashion?

    • DA Rosen:

      I also would like to hear more about choosing Sean Webby.  Due to his one sided muck racking articles I would have thought there would have been a better candidate for the job.  Why him? 

      Having said that, thank you for choosing him.  I’ll have to choose another columnist to line my birdcage with.

      Hey wait…he isn’t going to answer these questions for you is he?

    • I am intrested in learning the logic on the hiring of Mr. Webby. How come someone who has written and distorted many facts in several articles be allowed to represent the DA’s office. The DA’s office is supposed to represent the highest level ethics and morales, which I seriously question in Mr. Webby based on his past practices. In my opinion his crediability is serious concern.

      On a side note will he be a contractor or a full-time county employee. What will become of his relationship with Mercury news?

    • Is this true? and If it is, when can we expect to see mr webby’s salary and compensation package posted on the public employee salary database?

      Beware… SJPD mistakenly extended multiple olive branches to webby when he was at the Merc which included behind the scenes tours and total access to sensitive investigations units – all he did was misinterpret what he saw and “learned” and spin things in the most inflammatory/negative ways imaginable.

      The “fifth column” (the media) is the willing tool of America’s enemies!

      • To Mr. Webby’s defense, he did one hell of a job bringing to light the lack of monitoring of Registered Sex Offenders in CA.  (Except in San Jose, thanks to the 290 Team who was a head of the curve)

        Do we still have a Sex Registration team due to officer layoffs?

  10. Just wondering ,if it is shown and proven that the Mayor and or Council either misappropriated or shifted funds illegally , can they be held accountable personally. It just seems funny that the Mayor ran on “SUNSHINE REFORM” but so much of his dealing are behind close doors

  11. DA Rosen

    Please explain the mission of the Governmental Integrity Unit.

    Does this unit actively monitor government for corruption and or illegal acts?

    Does this unit self initiate investigations?
    What is the expertise and background of those assigned to this unit?

  12. If you were DA right now, how would instruct the Mayor of San Jose, on the Ballpark initiative?

    I ask because it seems like a lot of potential litigation from AT&T, Better Sense San Jose and the usual NIMBY types. Can San Jose with all our financial issues, really afford to divert money to fighting sports lawsuits?

    Thanks Jeff!

  13. Mr. Rosen,

    Your predecessor admitted that she inherited a “Brady List” that was extremely disorganized and problematic.  How important is the application of the basics of “due process” considered, when maintaining and implementing the Brady List by your office?

  14. DA Rosen:

    I heard of a situation in San Mateo County where a suspect was identified in an identity fraud and financial theft.  A felony warrant was issued and the suspect was located in another state.  The San Mateo DA refused to make the warrant extraditable because he/she knows that the suspect would be sent to County Jail to serve their prison sentence rather than State Prison.  Hence sucking up County dollars rather than State dollars.

    I realize this is second hand info but can we expect the same disregard for victim rights and criminal accountability from you?

  15. D.A. Rosen

    How is it legal for San Jose City council members to also be
    1) The R.D.A Board
    2) The Financing Authority (headed by D. Figone)
    3) Diridon Agency

    and also how is it legal for the City to act as “the successor Agency” for RDA??

    It just somehow Feels wrong. any clarification would be greatly appreciated

    • Assembly Bill IX 26 was upheld by the State Supreme Court and bars redevelopment agencies from engaging in new business. After passage of this bill, San Jose’s Diridon Development Authority which was created by the RDA, gave a purchase option to the “A’s” Baseball Entity to purchase land. The RDA also sold three parking lots downtown after this law was enacted. RDA says that the sale of the three lots were prior enforceable obligations. Who checks to see if the RDA cheated.

  16. Regarding the worker who was arrested for child molest at the Trace Elementary childcare center…it was reported in the Mercury News that this man was previously fired from a position at a local church because of an incident involving children which went unreported to the police.  Why aren’t charges being filed against the church for not reporting this incident that happened in 2007, which could have possibly prevented further abuse?


  17. When you were running to be DA, you hammered your opponent Dolores Carr for the way she handled the DeAnza sex case by not pressing charges. Now that the civil trial is complete and your office declined to press charges, do you think Carr made the right decision in hindsight?

  18. A few questions, since I didn’t even know that the County was hiring:
    -How was this position posted?  How many individuals applied or were interviewed?  How long was this in the works, and who will Sean Webby be reporting to?

    Things to consider, depending upon the answers Sean Webby writes for Jeff Rosen:
    -Was this arrangement made while Webby was writing/contributing to news stories during the DA’s race?  How did any of this influence the way stories were covered, or was it a part of the interview process?  Does this smack of collusion or a breach of ethics?  Is this why we learned about the hiring from this blog instead of being reported in the Mercury itself?

    And a suggestion for the Mercury staff – you are supposed to expose political backroom deals, not make them yourselves.

    (Resubmitted from SJI Sean Webby post.)

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