Santa Clara County sheriff accused of corrupt misconduct by civil grand jury
SAN JOSE, Calif. - Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith was formally accused of "willful and corrupt misconduct" by a civil grand jury that had investigated the embattled official.
Smith could be removed from office depending on what comes of the jurors accusations in the report, which cited evidence of corruption and jail mismanagement, among other missteps.
Court documents filed Tuesday revealed that jurors accused Smith of seven corruption-related acts, including favoritism and improperly issuing concealed-carry weapons permits.
Specifically, the sheriff was accused of seven corruption-related acts.
Six involve ongoing criminal indictments alleging Smith engaged in political favoritism and traded favors by leveraging her control over issuing concealed-carry weapons permits.
The seventh accuses her of failing to cooperate with the county law-enforcement auditor in an investigation into negligence allegations stemming from a 2018 jail inmate’s injury that led to a $10 million county settlement, the Mercury News reported.
Civil grand juries file accusations against public officials for willful corrupt misconduct. It also has the authority to launch the process of removing an elected official from office. Accusations can be taken to trial by district attorneys.
Smith has been ordered to appear in court on Jan. 12.
She has not responded to KTVU's inquiries.
San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo and other elected officials have previously called for Smith to resign.
Smith, who has been sheriff since 1998, dismissed those calls.
The jury began investigating the Sheriff's Office in October following a request by the Board of Supervisors, which this fall passed a vote of "no confidence" in her.