Anh Colton, an unsuccessful candidate for Santa Clara County sheriff in the recent Primary Election, has been charged with perjury for falsely certifying that she had the required law enforcement experience, District Attorney Jeff Rosen announced this afternoon.
Anh Colton, 48, of Cupertino, has had no law enforcement experience in the last five years, Rosen said in a June 16 press release. California law requires that candidates for sheriff have at least one year of law enforcement experience within the last five years.
“Unfortunately, state law did not permit the Registrar of Voters or the DA’s Office to remove Colton from the ballot,” Rosen said.
Colton’s arraignment is expected to be later this summer, according to the press release. The perjury charge is a felony punishable by up to four years in the county jail.
“The qualifications for sheriff are not for show,” Rosen said in a statement. “The sheriff oversees the safety of thousands of people, hundreds of deputies, and our jail. It is not a job for the inexperienced or incompetent.”
Rosen said he was thankful the unqualified candidate did not affect the outcome of the election.
Colton, who received 13,620 votes, or 4.4% of the vote, with 98% of ballots counted as of 4:50pm today, did not make the runoff for the sheriff’s office. Bob Jonsen and Kevin Jensen will face off for sheriff in November.
Rosen said that earlier this year, his Bureau of Investigations had begun looking at Colton’s qualifications.
“Numerous comprehensive checks seemed to show that Colton was not and had never been a peace officer,” the press release said. “She swore – under penalty of perjury – that she had such experience in her official declaration.”
When an investigator asked her about her law enforcement experience at her home in late April, she referred him to her campaign advisor.
In May, the investigator received an email from her campaign advisor, who was not identified, saying that the investigator should stay away from Colton and she did not have to and would not answer his questions.
“It does not appear that Colton’s unlawful participation as a candidate in the election prevented any candidate from winning outright (receiving more than 50% of the votes) at the primary – nor did it affect who will be the participants in the runoff election.”