News

Days after abrupt retirement, former Sheriff Laurie Smith found guilty in corruption trial

She was involved in 'pay-to-play' scheme involving gun permits issued by her office

Former Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith has been found guilty on all six civil counts of corruption and willful misconduct less than one week after retiring.

Laurie Smith was found guilty in a civil corruption trial on Nov. 3, 2022. She had resigned as Santa Clara County sheriff three days earlier. Embarcadero Media file photo.

Smith was on trial over accusations from a 2021 civil grand jury report that the sheriff's office traded concealed carry weapon licenses to campaign donors and that Smith accepted San Jose Sharks tickets without reporting them as gifts.

The civil trial began in September. Smith has denied the claims and would have been removed from office following the guilty verdict if she had not abruptly announced her retirement on Monday.

In a statement on the verdict, acting Sheriff Ken Binder said the sheriff's office respects the jury's decision and intends to move forward.

"The actions of a few people are not a reflection of the great work that our deputies do every day," Binder said. "The men and women of the sheriff's office are looking forward to new beginnings, with the Sheriff election coming up next week."

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District Attorney Jeff Rosen echoed Binder's statement and lauded the jury for considering evidence from the district attorney's office's investigation.

"We look forward to working with the next sheriff and all the honest, professional and hardworking men and women of the sheriff's office to serve our community with honor and integrity," Rosen said.

Smith first joined the sheriff's office in 1973 and had served as sheriff for the last 24 years.

She announced earlier this year that she would not seek reelection and originally planned to retire once her term ended in January.

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Days after abrupt retirement, former Sheriff Laurie Smith found guilty in corruption trial

She was involved in 'pay-to-play' scheme involving gun permits issued by her office

by Eli Walsh / Bay City News Foundation /

Uploaded: Thu, Nov 3, 2022, 6:38 pm

Former Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith has been found guilty on all six civil counts of corruption and willful misconduct less than one week after retiring.

Smith was on trial over accusations from a 2021 civil grand jury report that the sheriff's office traded concealed carry weapon licenses to campaign donors and that Smith accepted San Jose Sharks tickets without reporting them as gifts.

The civil trial began in September. Smith has denied the claims and would have been removed from office following the guilty verdict if she had not abruptly announced her retirement on Monday.

In a statement on the verdict, acting Sheriff Ken Binder said the sheriff's office respects the jury's decision and intends to move forward.

"The actions of a few people are not a reflection of the great work that our deputies do every day," Binder said. "The men and women of the sheriff's office are looking forward to new beginnings, with the Sheriff election coming up next week."

District Attorney Jeff Rosen echoed Binder's statement and lauded the jury for considering evidence from the district attorney's office's investigation.

"We look forward to working with the next sheriff and all the honest, professional and hardworking men and women of the sheriff's office to serve our community with honor and integrity," Rosen said.

Smith first joined the sheriff's office in 1973 and had served as sheriff for the last 24 years.

She announced earlier this year that she would not seek reelection and originally planned to retire once her term ended in January.

Comments

CT resident
Registered user
College Terrace
on Nov 3, 2022 at 7:17 pm
CT resident, College Terrace
Registered user
on Nov 3, 2022 at 7:17 pm

Why is this a civil trial, rather than a criminal trial?


vmshadle
Registered user
Meadow Park
on Nov 3, 2022 at 7:58 pm
vmshadle, Meadow Park
Registered user
on Nov 3, 2022 at 7:58 pm

I found it interesting, to say the least, that she resigned while the jury was in the middle of deliberating. In light of her convictions on all counts, I certainly hope she doesn't automatically receive ill-gotten gains in the form of severance or other payouts.


JonnyK
Registered user
Ventura
on Nov 3, 2022 at 8:33 pm
JonnyK, Ventura
Registered user
on Nov 3, 2022 at 8:33 pm

"The actions of a few people are not a reflection of the great work that our deputies do every day," the temporary-replacement Sheriff said.

This corrupt Sheriff has been in charge of the department for 24 years. Are we supposed to believe that these deputies didn't know what their boss was up to?


John
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 4, 2022 at 6:53 am
John, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Nov 4, 2022 at 6:53 am

This validates the deputies and their union’s near constant clamor over the past 15 years to replace Smith. Powerful democrats and other monied interests in the county ensured that didn’t happen- election after election after election….


jhskrh
Registered user
Community Center
on Nov 4, 2022 at 11:05 am
jhskrh, Community Center
Registered user
on Nov 4, 2022 at 11:05 am

As a taxpayer I am disgusted that Smith, guilty on ALL counts will get her FAT PENSION at Taxpayer expense. "She gets her pension either way," Robinson said. "She's been in the sheriff's office for over 49 years. She's earned that pension. She gets that pension regardless of the outcome of this trial." REALLY? A CORRUPT OFFICIAL SHOULD BE STRIPPED OF BENEFITS. Seems certain people ARE above the law, just like 45.


JonnyK
Registered user
Ventura
on Nov 4, 2022 at 11:18 am
JonnyK, Ventura
Registered user
on Nov 4, 2022 at 11:18 am

Sheriff Laurie Smith was the last conservative Republican to hold office in a county-wide position, and in most city offices and school boards in Santa Clara County. And, most likely, the last we will ever see in the Sheriff's Department.

The so-called "Democrat machine" has been trying to get her out of office for the past 15 years - since well before the current issue arose. Well, they finally did it. Congrats!


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