Monday, August 10, 2020

To Quote Jim Nabors: "Surprise, surprise, surprise!"

The surprise, however, is an indictment.  8/6/20 San Jose Mercury-News:
 SAN JOSE — A grand jury has indicted a Santa Clara County Sheriff’s captain and three political supporters of Sheriff Laurie Smith for allegedly brokering a pay-for-play scheme in which campaign donations were exchanged for concealed-carry weapons permits. The sheriff herself avoided indictment, but prosecutors said Friday that their corruption probe is far from over.

Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen announced felony charges including conspiracy and bribery against Capt. James Jensen; Christopher Schumb, an officer for a sheriff reelection committee and a prominent South Bay litigator; attorney Harpaul Nahal; and Milpitas gun-parts maker Michael Nichols. All four are accused of plotting to illegally secure concealed-gun permits for employees of Seattle-based executive security contractor AS Solution.

The indictment marks the first criminal case to come out of a decade’s worth of complaints regarding political favoritism in Smith’s issuing of the hard-to-get concealed-carry permits. Rosen said Friday that an 18-month investigation uncovered a two-tiered policy for the concealed gun permits: a process for regular citizens whose applications were destined for a filing cabinet, and another for VIPs whose applications were fast-tracked for approval.

“My office’s concern is not whether the sheriff grants many or few CCW licenses, but whether they are being granted or denied for the wrong reasons,” Rosen said. “CCW licenses should not be given out in exchange for campaign donations. They should not be for sale.”

A criminal grand jury was impaneled in July and began convening about two weeks ago. When asked whether Smith or other top commanders were involved in the pay to play scheme, Rosen declined to comment, citing the active investigation.

“We are not done,” he added.

Jensen has been placed on administrative leave, the sheriff’s office said Friday, adding that “we will continue to monitor the situation and have no further information at this time.”

1 comment:

  1. The prior sheriff had a similar setup. Laure started out by allowing no permits, and not renewing any existing ones. Money talks, I guess. It was my understanding that this money was traditionally utilized as the sheriff's retirement fund.
    I don't recall any charges for it. The only flak I recall was the local rag* posting all the permit holder's personal info when they had a beef with the sheriff, usually during election time. About 550 permits, $2k for the permit, and $1k/yr to keep it active, I was told.

    *San Jose Murky News