A judge on Tuesday rejected Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith’s late-stage attempt to quash her corruption trial — by invoking a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the issuing of concealed-gun permits — paving the path for the trial to get underway.
SAN JOSE, CA – AUGUST 17: Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith speaks during a news conference at the sheriff’s office in San Jose, Calif., on Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2021. (Anda Chu/Bay Area News Group)
On the eve of Smith’s civil trial — which begins with jury selection Wednesday — San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Nancy Fineman denied a request from Smith’s attorney to dismiss six of the seven accusations filed by a Santa Clara County civil grand jury last December.
Allen Ruby, Smith’s attorney, had argued in filings and in court Tuesday that the Supreme Court’s landmark Bruen decision in June, which struck down New York’s requirement that concealed-carry weapons license applicants demonstrate “good cause” for why they should be granted a license, nullifying similar rules in California.
It was an ambitious legal move — and an untested one, given how recently the Supreme Court made its ruling. Fineman acknowledged as much, saying she’d been tasked with “making that first analysis as to how Bruen applies” at the trial-court level.
Ruby argued the high court’s ruling invalidates the entirety of California’s CCW requirements, thereby nullifying three corruption counts alleging Smith favored donors and political supporters in selecting who got gun permits, failed to investigate other applicants’ good cause statements, and flouted mandatory response deadlines for permit applications.
In essence, Ruby argued, the trial proceeding would be enforcing a now-unconstitutional law.
“The courts cannot enforce (a law) especially after it’s determined that a statute is unconstitutional in part or in whole,” Ruby said Tuesday. “The court has no jurisdiction.”
San Francisco Deputy District Attorney Gabriel Markoff, who is prosecuting Smith, said that the abuse of discretion alleged against her was illegal before and after the Bruen ruling. He argued that the Supreme Court decision did not provide a “constitutional shield” for alleged misconduct like that of Smith’s but was instead denouncing it.
“It would be using a Supreme Court case that expressly condemns the arbitrary conduct the sheriff is accused of engaging in, and using it as her defense,” Markoff said of Ruby’s Bruen argument.
Fineman largely sided with Markoff, though she did dismiss one corruption count …read more
Source:: The Mercury News