SANTA CLARA DA FILES COMPLAINT OVER
A PUBLIC DEFENDERS BLOGS POST
DA FILES COMPLAINT OVER BLOG POSTS ABOUT PROTESTS
For decades, state prosecutor lobbies have been effective in going beyond trying cases to influencing criminal justice policy, most recently gutting criminal justice reforms in a number of states.
Only in the past 10 years or so have public defenders taken on a similar advocacy role beyond the courtroom, at least on the same scale.
This hasn’t always resonated well with prosecutors and judges. And while public defenders had no means to retaliate against prosecutors for their activism, prosecutors and judges have lots of ways to retaliate against public defenders.
Take, for example, a new case out of California, where prosecutors were at the forefront of the 1980s and 1990s movement toward draconian sentencing policies that the state is now rolling back.
Several weeks ago, Sajid Khan, a deputy alternate public defender in Santa Clara, published two posts on his personal blog about how protesters angry about the killing of George Floyd shouldn’t limit their outrage to police departments but should also consider the role prosecutors play in perpetuating racial bias and police brutality.
Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeffrey Rosen responded in an email to staff. Rosen wrote that he found the posts to be threatening to his office. He responded by promising to file a whistleblower complaint against Khan, which he hoped would spawn an investigation.
Khan’s posts are suffused with the fury and indignation of an activist.
“In this moment, we appropriately unleash our anger and frustration at police departments across the country for their continued brutality, violence and harassment imposed upon black people,” he wrote in one post.
“But to best honor George Floyd, we should fire our very righteous outrage, fury and ire at District Attorney’s offices too.”
To emphasize that DAs should be protested, he included a map of a planned protest route, which included the police station, courthouse and the DA’s office.
DAWG SAYS: READ SAJID KHANS PIECE ON HIS BLOG AND THE CALIFORNIA PUBLIC DEFENDERS MEDIA RELEASE HERE:
THOUGH THE CPDA CLAIMS CHARGES HAVE BEEN FILED A CHECK OF THE COURT INDEX DOES NOT INDICATE A FILING OF CRIMINAL CASE AS OF THIS WRITING.
IT WOULD NOT SURPRISE ME IF THEY DO.
MY EXPERIENCE WITH THE DA’S OFFICE IN STANISLAUS COUNTY THEY BELIEVE THE ONLY ONES ALLOWED FREE SPEECH IS THEM.
THEY HOLD PRESS CONFERENCES TO SHOW PEOPLE ARE GUILTY BEFORE A TRIAL, PUT UP DOCUMENTS LIKE WARRANTS ONLINE, THEN COMPLAIN TO A JUDGE ABOUT THE BLOGGER IN THE BACK OF THE ROOM.
IN FACT, THEY ATTEMPTED TO GET A GAG ORDER ON WARREN YATES AND THIS WRITER DURING THE FRANK CARSON ET AL CASE.
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