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The Rosen Blog

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Campus rape is no different than off-campus rape. Rape is rape. We will prosecute it the same.

Leo Briones

The following is my statement regarding yesterday’s sentencing in the Stanford sexual assault case.
— District Attorney Jeff Rosen

I am disappointed with the sentence in this case.  The punishment does not fit the crime.  This predatory offender has failed to take responsibility, failed to show remorse and failed to tell the truth.  It does not factor in the true seriousness of this sexual assault, or the victim’s ongoing trauma.

Let me quote from our sentencing brief: “He purposefully took her to an isolated area, away from all of the party goers, to an area that was dimly lit, and assaulted her on the ground behind a dumpster.  He deliberately took advantage of the fact that she was so intoxicated that she could not form a sentence, let alone keep her eyes open or stand.  This behavior is not typical assaultive behavior that you find on campus, but it is more akin to a predator who is searching for prey.  The prey in this case was a young woman who drank too much and was unable to protect herself.  Ultimately, the fact that the Defendant preyed upon an intoxicated stranger on a college campus should not be viewed as a less serious crime, than if he were to assault a stranger in downtown Palo Alto.”

This is an unjust sentence but this case will still have some positive resonance.  Students at Stanford and beyond are using this case to demand accountability and changes.  Just last week, I met with leaders from all area colleges, including Stanford, to discuss ways that we could better inform students about how to prevent sexual assaults and how to better handle them when they happen.  We will soon, I hope, come out with real reforms and a shared resolve to make our campuses safer.  Meanwhile, I hope that we all agree to confront college sex assault as a serious problem.  Let’s take care of an intoxicated woman at a party.  Let’s intervene if we see something wrong, to call the police or campus security.  And let’s care, comfort and support the victims.  It is unconscionable that they must bear the trauma of a violent assault alone.

Campus rape is no different than off-campus rape.  Rape is rape.  We will prosecute it the same.


Preparing for legalization.

Leo Briones

It's possible that California voters will chose to legalize the recreational use of marijuana this November. While, I still need to understand the details of the measure before deciding to support or oppose the initiative, I am preparing to set standards for marijuana impairment while driving.

California has a legal limit for driving while intoxicated of a blood-alcohol content (BAC) is .08 percent or higher.  We have no such law to govern how we regulate marijuana and driving.

This year, I sponsored a bill written by Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Silicon Valley) that clarifies the standard for marijuana impairment while driving. This following KQED radio segment takes a look at those efforts: 

It's important for the public to know the truth.

Leo Briones

As your District Attorney, I have worked hard to bring a new spirit and practice of transparency to the DA's Office. From our Conviction Integrity Unit to our Cold Case Unit–ensuring the community is completely informed is an essential part of ensuring justice and public trust.

This week we began the practice of releasing the videos of law enforcement involved shootings to the public. Our criteria for doing so is:

  • If they are available, and if the videos are relevant to our decision of whether to file criminal charges against the officers.

While this practice is necessary to ensure transparency, watching a video of someone being shot is painful.

Please do not watch the video if you are even a little bit sensitive to violence. We released this video of the fatal shooting involving Palo Alto police officers and William Raff to help everyone understand why the DA's Office chose not to press charges against the officers.  

Uploaded by Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office on 2016-05-24.

In addition, we oversaw and monitored the investigation into the shooting and then wrote and released a 31 page report that you can read by clicking here:

"Someone out there knows."

Leo Briones



I understand why we all use it, but I dislike the phrase “Cold Case.” It implies inaction. Today, we gather against inaction, against apathy, to make sure that the murder of Matthew Flores is not forgotten. Today, we hope that this generous reward will expose even the smallest thread of information about this homicide. That’s what we need.

When I became District Attorney five years ago, I re-opened and re-invigorated our Cold Case Unit. I knew that we could solve some of these cases with renewed energy, thought, fresh eyes, maybe even a bit of luck. And we have. Five times. So far. Five times we have held murderers accountable for bloodshed that had long faded from local headlines. So far.

Five times we have been able to call a victim’s family answer some of their questions, tell them what happened to their loved one, who is responsible, and provide them with some measure of justice. Five times, we have sent murderers to prison for crimes committed many many years ago.  So far, five times.

All of us at this podium hope that one day soon we can call the Flores family and tell them that we have found the person or persons responsible for Matthew’s killing. Someone out there knows. Someone out there may have that thread of information that will help us unravel this mystery. $100,000 is a lot of money for a name. But for Matthew Flores’ family, for me and for all of us, that name means justice, and justice is priceless.


A different kind of district attorney

Leo Briones

The following video discusses the innovative criminal justice reforms that District Attorney Jeff Rosen is implementing in Santa Clara County. His reforms illustrate the ways, in which, his prosecution team aims to reduce the use of jail incarceration even as they protect public safety.