Jeff Rosen, the recently elected District Attorney for Santa Clara County officially takes his seat today. However, Rosen enters his new job in an office plagued by scandal, corruption and questionable ethics. Rosen has promised to clean-up the image of the office, but that is indeed a tall order. Over the past several years Rosen's predecessor, Dolores Carr promised the same thing: greater transparency, strong ethics and inter-office reform. However, the last four years witnessed an uncanny number of ethics charges against certain deputy district attorneys. Allegations of withholding exculpatory evidence, misleading and refusing to follow judge's order and other abuse have been cited. Carr herself ordered her deputies to ban a Superior Court Judge she thought unfriendly. Carr has been known to defend these prosecutors rather than discipline them. Several of these attorneys are being held accountable by the California State Bar. Rosen first acts should be to set up a new discipline policy, with a board that supervises and disciplines acts of misconduct. The office should implement new polices of punishment and dismissal. Rosen should be more transparent about ethics charges and ready to pursue disciplinary action. It is hoped, although not expected, that Rosen will also implement new policies toward drugs and alcohol cases. This attorney would like to see a diversion program for first time DUI offenses. We treat drug cases very differently than alcohol, and it might be time for a change. Perhaps something equivalent to DEJ or Prop 36 for first time DUIs? Just a thought for the new DA.
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