Santa Clara County is getting a new sheriff for the first time in more than two decades, following Laurie Smith’s decision to not run for a seventh term. Five candidates are jockeying for Smith’s seat.
Smith’s tenure as sheriff has been marred by scandals and political investigations. Last year, the Board of Supervisors voted no confidence in Smith and demanded state and federal investigations into her office after several high-profile cases involving mentally ill inmates who suffered injuries, including one that resulted in the county paying a $10 million settlement.
The state attorney general is investigating possible civil rights violations in the jail system, and Smith is fighting a political corruption accusation brought by a civil grand jury that claims she granted concealed firearm licenses to political supporters.
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