Jury Selection Begins for Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Alleged Corruption Trial – NBC Bay Area

The corruption trial against Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith will begin Wednesday with jury selection.

Smith is fighting a series of civil grand jury corruption charges, which means the trial is neither civil nor criminal. The allegations include claims that Smith issued concealed weapons permits in exchange for political donations.

“It’s going to be a bloodbath at trial,” said criminal defense attorney Paula Canny.

Canny added that he has not seen anything like this in his more than 40 years of legal practice and believes it is primarily political.

“She can’t be jailed, they can’t do anything to her other than remove her from office, and that would prevent her from holding office in the future. But Laurie is in her 70s and she did not seek re-election; her tenure as sheriff on duty will be up in a few months,” Canny said.

Because this type of trial is so rare, Canny said there are a lot of uncertainties about how it will play out, starting with jury selection.

“It’s not like you can go to the civil proceeding and find out what rules apply because it’s a hybrid case, it’s not a criminal case and it’s not a civil case, even though it’s being prosecuted by a district attorney,” Canny said. .

Conflicts of interest are also unusual. The prosecutor is from San Francisco and the judge is from San Mateo County. But, they will remain in San Jose.

It is unclear whether or not Smith will take the stand and if the outcome of the trial could lead to criminal prosecution.

“They’ve been trying for probably two years and they haven’t been able to do it,” Canny said. “This is the best they can muster against her. It could change if Sheriff Smith testifies.”

In a last-ditch attempt to dismiss some of the allegations, Smith’s attorney sought to invoke a recent US Supreme Court ruling on concealed weapons permits. But according to the Mercury News, a judge refused to dismantle the case, although the judge dismissed at least one of the indictments.

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