The Central Felony Team prosecutes felony cases in the San Jose facility of the Superior Court. The unit is responsible for the prosecution of felony crimes that occur in the central portion of the county, including the cities of San Jose, Santa Clara, Campbell, Milpitas, and Los Gatos.
The team currently focuses on two major areas of prosecution:
- Prosecution of property crimes, such as burglary and auto thefts
- Prosecution of violent crimes, such as assault with a deadly weapon, felony driving under the influence, and robbery
The unit is referred to within the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office as the Central Felony team.
Some of the cases prosecuted by members of the Central Felony Team include:
Burglaries - A first time burglar of a home faces a mandatory 2 year prison sentence unless there is a finding of "unusual circumstances" for probation eligibility. Repeat offenders face lengthy prison sentences.
Felony Drunk Driving - The Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office treats driving under the influence cases as a violent crime due to its extreme potential for injury or loss of life. Individuals with three prior misdemeanor DUI's on their record are charged with felony driving under the influence and face up to three years of state prison for this offense. Stiffer penalties apply to chronic or habitual offenders.
Robberies/Assaults/Violent Offenders - Serious or violent offenders are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Central Felony team members work to make sure that victims of violent crime receive compensation for their medical expenses, loss of wages, psychological counseling expenses or other losses from violent crime.
Animal Cruelty - The Central Felony team also prosecutes cases involving animal cruelty. Central Felony team members have successfully prosecuted dog fighting rings and animal neglect cases. Recently, a Central Felony team member successfully prosecuted and obtained the maximum possible sentence for the defendant in the "Leo" the dog killing case.
Graffiti - The Central Felony team targets repeat graffiti offenders or "taggers." Under the provisions of voter implemented Proposition 21, any vandalism or "tagging" which involves property damage over 400 dollars is now a felony. Felony vandalism carries up to a three-year prison sentence. The Central Felony team has successfully argued for prison sentences in the case of notorious or chronic graffiti offenders.
Vice - Part of the responsibility of the Central Felony team is the prosecution of vice-related activity. Every year the unit handles numerous prostitution, pimping and pandering, bookmaking and illegal gambling cases.
Hate Crimes - The term "hate crime" describes any of various crimes of violence against a person, threats of violence against a person or property damage because of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, gender or sexual orientation, or because there is a perception the person has one or more of those characteristics. Please read our online [PDF] Hate Crime Brochure at bottom of page.
Central Felony team trial deputies are not only responsible for preparing and trying their cases, but also handle felony sentencing, bail motions, and restitution hearings. Central Felony team deputies also assist local law enforcement agencies in the preparation of search warrants.
The Central Felony team works closely with both the victim witness assistance program as well as a full time restitution paralegal. This enables the team to make sure that victims are compensated fully for their medical and financial losses from crime. The team also works hard to make sure that victims are made aware of and involved in all stages of the criminal justice process.
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