Rob Bonta’s Office Investigating Santa Clara Sheriff
California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced Wednesday that his office is investigating Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith and her department for alleged civil rights violations. The investigation will examine whether Smith’s office has “engaged in a pattern or practice of unconstitutional conduct.”
The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office has faced scrutiny for years over jailhouse abuse and allegations of corruption and cronyism. In 2015, county jail guards beat an inmate to death. Last year, the Board of Supervisors issued a vote of no confidence in Sheriff Smith and asked the state attorney general to investigate her office. San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo called for her to resign.
In December, the civil grand jury accused Smith of willful misconduct. If the case goes to trial and Smith is found guilty, she will be forced to step down.
Smith has served six terms as sheriff. She has not announced whether she will run for re-election to a seventh term.