Top DA Jeff Rosen’s Prosecutorial Discretion List Grows to Include Naked Cops

Officer Jeffery Vasquez
Officer Jeffery Vasquez

As an elected or appointed official, the prosecutor is the most powerful official in the criminal justice system. Prosecutors exercise unfettered discretion, deciding who to charge with a crime, what charges to file, when to drop the charges, whether or not to plea bargain, and how to allocate prosecutorial resources. In jurisdictions where the death penalty is in force, the prosecutor literally decides who should live and who should die by virtue of the charging decision.

Criminal justice professors Joseph Senna and Larry Siegel propose the true measure of a prosecutor. In their view, a litmus test for the integrity of a prosecutor is how he or she answers the following question:

“When you exercise discretion, are you more concerned with fairness, the likelihood of conviction, or political considerations?”

Prosecutors exercise the most discretion in three areas of decision making: the decision to file charges, the decision to dismiss charges, and plea bargaining.


Once an arrest is made, a prosecutor screens the case to determine if it should be prosecuted or dropped. The decision to prosecute is based on the following factors:

The sufficiency of the evidence linking the suspect to the offense.
The seriousness of the offense.
The size of the court’s caseload.
The need to conserve prosecutorial resources for more serious cases.
The availability of alternatives to formal prosecution.
The defendant’s culpability (moral blameworthiness).
The defendant’s criminal record.
The defendant’s willingness to cooperate with the investigation or prosecution of others.
The defendant is a cop. See related story: Menlo Park Cop Busted “Killing Time” With Prostitute Gets His Job Back

Dropping charges

After a prosecutor files a charge, the prosecutor can reduce the charge in exchange for a guilty plea or enter a nolle prosequi (nol. pros.) . A nolle prosequi is a formal statement by a prosecutor declaring that a case is discontinued. Reasons for entering a nol. pros. include insufficient evidence, inadmissible evidence, false accusations, and the trivial nature of some crimes.

Plea bargaining

Prosecutors also exercise discretion in negotiating pleas with defense counsel. A plea bargain is an agreement in which a prosecutor permits a defendant to plead guilty in exchange for a concession, such as reducing the charges or recommending a lenient sentence. There are advantages of plea bargaining to both the accused and the state. For the accused, it offers the possibilities of a reduced sentence and cheaper legal representation. For the government, it reduces the financial costs of prosecution, improves the efficiency of the courts by having fewer cases go to full trials, and allows the prosecution to devote its resources to the more serious cases.

DA’s recent rational for not prosecuting naked cop and prostitute by Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Rob Baker. “I am not going to drag a cop, who’s dealing with a bunch of family medical problems, into courtroom just to prosecute a misdemeanor prostitution charge.”  

How does Top Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen reconcile and answer his own apparent conflict of two systems of justice.  A separate justice system for cops and a separate justice system for the ordinary citizen? Two systems of Justice


5 Replies to “Top DA Jeff Rosen’s Prosecutorial Discretion List Grows to Include Naked Cops”


    According to Deputy District Attorney Rob Baker, he couldn’t pursue “prostitution solicitation” charges against Menlo Park Police Officer Jeffrey Vasquez because the arresting Sunnyvale police officer, Dzanh Le, is unable to testify in court due to caring for his sick wife.

    DDA Baker, is Ofc. Le presently showing up at work and getting paid by the citizens of Sunnyvale, if so, why is he not able to go over to the court house as a part of his daily routine to do his job?

    I don’t know about you, but I bet if any other citizen violated the same law as Ofc. Vasquez Ofc. Le could find the time to testify.

    It is a part of the job description and duty of any officer to testify in court any time he/she arrests a citizen. I sure hope the citizens of Sunnyvale are not paying officer Le any compensation during this period of time while he is not working for the citizens of Sunnyvale and taking care of his wife instead.

    DDA Baker, would you be refusing to prosecute Ofc. Vasquez for the same reasons if he had robbed a gas station?

    DDA Baker also stated that without Le’s testimony he couldn’t pursue the case. Yet there were two other officers involved in the arrest, D Klein and Ochoa, why can they NOT testify?

  2. Simply because the DA is more interested in making sure that none of the officers involved in this case and in others, don’t have their rights violated in accordance to there special police bill of rights.

    Right down to getting paid while there being interrogated, to the number of hours they should be interrogated.

    Police Officers Bill of Rights


    1. Prosecutorial discretion–the deeper you look the more mysterious the concept becomes.

      Only we the citizens–by principled discussion–study, writing -speaking-out–demanding–transparent prosecutorial filing standards (rich, poor, ordinary citizens, police, senators, presidents) can transform a system that gives lip service to equal protection under the law for all–to a system that matches reality with its lofty, –but undelivered rhetoric.

      1. Here’s another apparent Kit-Glove case handled by Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Rob Baker involving El Dorado County sheriff`s deputy Jon Paul Svilich.

        I wonder if he gets to keep his pension too?

        SUNNYVALE – The Placerville resident and former El Dorado County sheriff`s deputy Jon Paul Svilich, 64, charged with nine counts of child molestation in the 1970s, pled “no contest” to all nine charges in the Santa Clara County Superior Court in Sunnyvale on Friday during a pretrial conference.

        Superior Court Judge Jean Wetenkamp sentenced Svilich to 7 years, 8 months in prison. Svilich had faced a possible 15 years in prison if the case had gone to trial. The trial was scheduled to be held on April 8. “The de-fense attorney and I talked about the case.

        We agreed to settle the case,” said Rob Baker, deputy district attorney in Santa Clara County. Svilich was convicted of molesting three 8- to 11-year-old girls 27 years ago, with six of the offenses committed at his former residence in Sunnyvale, and three in Sonora in Tuolumne County while visiting friends, said Baker.

        The victims, now in their mid-30s, had testified at a preliminary hearing held in early-March. Two are members of Svilich`s extended family and the third is a family friend.
        “I conferred with each of the three victims on the case to see how they felt about it and each of them was satisfied with the result of the proposed disposition, so I felt comfortable settling the case at that point,” said Baker.

        All Svilich`s charges were for incidents that took place before he moved to El Dorado County in 1980, according to Baker. The episodes took place between 1974 and 1979, according to court documents.

        Svilich was a Santa Clara County sheriff`s deputy in the 1960s and 1970s and grew up in San Jose. He joined the El Dorado County Sheriff`s Department in 1980. During his 21 years in El Dorado County, of which 13 were spent in Placerville, Svilich was a member of the El Dorado Chamber of Commerce, was on the DiplomaticCorps, was a member of Hangtown Posse and served on the board of directors of the Northern California Peace Officers Association.

        Now, in addition to serving time, Svilich is required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life, and this two-time sheriff`s deputy will not be allowed to carry firearms, according to Baker.

        Svilich had originally denied the charges, according to court documents. Although Svilich`s attorney didn`t return phone calls, Baker said he could easily speculate on the reason for Svilich`s admission of guilt.

        “The evidence was very strong,” said Baker. “The three victims testified at a preliminary trial and their testimony was very convincing. Each testimony corroborated with the others.

        “It`s very clear that this man committed these terrible acts to these poor women when they were just little girls.”

  3. Code of Silence

    Dear Ediror:

    The Mafia calls it “omertà” or the code of silence. The cops have the same concept and they call it the “blue wall.”
    In this case, Sunnvale cops excercised “the code of silence” and wouldn’t testify against Menlo Park Detective Jeffrey Vasquez. In some ways, organized crime and law enforcement have some things in common.

    The most disturbing part of the incident is that Santa Clara Country District Attorney Jeff Rosen tolerated omertà.

    Art Dent
    Palo Alto

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