By Bay City News
Criminal convictions in Santa Clara County are rising along with a higher caseload of serious and lesser crimes, the district attorney said today at an awards ceremony in San Jose.
District Attorney Jeff Rosen, speaking to about 200 deputy district attorneys, crime investigators, staffers and family members at the County Government Center, praised his employees as "great people with a well-deserved reputation for excellence."
"What you are doing in court is crucial to the well-being of the people in our state," he said.
Each year, the District Attorney gives his State of the Office address and highlights the year's most outstanding public service work by the 500-employee Office's lawyers, criminalists, paralegals and support staff.
Felony cases increased 15 percent and misdemeanors were up 30 percent in the county in 2012 over the previous year "and our conviction rates remain very high," Rosen said.
The district attorney, elected in 2010, pointed to a number of convictions the D.A.'s office won last year under tough circumstances, such as the one in April of hired by his former mother-in-law. Prosecutors traveled to China to obtain evidence. Cai had been a defendant in the 2006 murder of his wife, Ying Deng, who was found drowned in the pool of their Cupertino home.
Rosen also cited convictions obtained last year in a 2005 former cold case murder, a case of man who seriously wounded a 13-year-old girl in a drive-by shooting, and a former school principal who failed to report the possible sexual abuse of a second-grade girl by a teacher.
Another highlight of the year involved his office's prosecution of the largest methamphetamine bust in the U.S., where Palo Alto police working on a stolen iPad case found 750 pounds of the drug in an apartment in San Jose.
Rosen said the office also prevailed in a number of fraud cases, such as a San Jose family whose home-care facility illegally cashed Social Security checks of 12 elderly and disabled victims, and a company that sold a phony diet with "flavor crystals" spread on food.
Rosen had praise for one case last year when a deputy district attorney realized a defendant had been wrongly charged—and got him out of jail. By such example, he said, the office gains a reputation of fairness with criminal defendants.
"I think what is seeping through our office is pursuing justice in a way that's fair to everyone, treating everyone with respect," Rosen said, after the awards ceremony.
The winners of the 2013 Santa Clara County District Attorney Office's Awards were:
- Crime Lab Lowell W. Bradford Achievement of Excellence: Trevor Gillis
- Legal Support Award of Excellence: Raven LaBuguen
- Robert Drexell Award for Outstanding Achievement for an Investigator: Jeff Mock
- Paralegal Excellence Award: Duane Shewaga
- Robert L. Webb Award for Misdemeanor Trial Advocacy: Tamalca Harris
- Clayton L. Haupert Excellence Award for a Non-Trial Advocacy: Kaci Lopez
- Napoleon J. Menard Award for Trial Advocacy: Luis Ramos
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