Santa Clara County proposed budget cuts include 20 detectives from DA’s office

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

Cities and counties throughout California are having to make tough budget decisions for their next fiscal year.

In the South Bay, those discussions are coming to a head with the Santa Clara County District Attorney accusing the county administration of not putting public safety first.

Santa Clara County Executive James Williams in his proposed budget recommends the district attorney eliminate 20 positions in his office.

“We’re facing a $251.3 million structural budget deficit,” Williams said.

Williams said he is asking most county departments to make difficult cuts, adding it is not an easy task.

“It’s exceedingly difficult,” he said. “Look, I don’t relish at all bringing forward a recommended budget that has cuts.”

The proposed cuts would be detectives from the DA’s office of investigations. District Attorney Jeff Rosen said the proposed cuts put public safety at risk.

Investigators with the District Attorney’s Office routinely gather information at crime scenes to make sure prosecutors have a solid case in court.

“We follow up and make the case stronger,” said Anthony Mata, former San Jose police chief who now serves as the DA’s chief of investigations. “We locate witnesses, collect evidence, conduct search warrants, interviews.”

Mata oversees 62 detectives. Rosen said the county to specifically ask for eliminating 20 detective is dangerous. But Santa Clara County officials said there are currently 98 investigators and it would be 78 remaining if the reductions go forward.

“I think this is the first time I’ve been as concerned about public safety as I am,” Rosen said.

Rosen said he offered to cut $11 million from his budget, including eliminating 28 positions, but does not want to touch the detectives bureau.

“If those cuts go through, there’ll be more guns on the street,” he said. “There’ll be more fentanyl, more rapists. There’ll be more gangsters. There’ll be more child molesters, and less safety for everyone else.”

The county executive said a county-by-county comparison suggests the detective cuts would still keep the DA’s office on par with other jurisdictions, bringing it to the same starffing level it had five years ago.

“We are still doing very, very well,” Williams said. “So the decision how to deploy those resources is up to the separately elected DA. But we thought very carefully in bringing that proposal. We looked at the data.”

Still, Williams said he is open to any ideas that will help reduce costs or bring in more revenue. But at this stage, the county executive said the math is not adding up.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.