This interview was first published in JWeekly.
Name: Jeff Rosen
City: Los Altos
Position: Santa Clara County District Attorney
J.: What did you do before you were elected district attorney in 2010?
Jeff Rosen: I was a deputy district attorney for about 15 years before I ran. I was a prosecutor and tried cases in court: misdemeanors; juvenile; drug trafficking; robbery; child molestation; rape and murder. Before that, I worked for a couple of years in private law firms in Los Angeles, where I am from, but that was not my thing.
J.: You’re not the only lawyer in your household, right?
JR: That’s right. My wife is a federal prosecutor. She’s an assistant U.S. attorney in San Jose.
J.: Has it been hard adjusting to being an elected official after having been a prosecutor?
JR: There have definitely been new challenges. For instance, campaigning really took me out of my comfort zone. Many decisions I make are public and high-profile, and you can’t please all the people all the time. Even if it’s the right decision, there will always be people who will disagree with it. Nobody wants people calling them names or saying that they aren’t doing what’s right, or that they’re unfair or unethical. But it’s not really about me. It’s about what the issues are and doing what’s right. I’ve developed a thicker skin and it has gotten easier for me.
J.: The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office is huge, right? The largest north of Los Angeles?
JR: Yes. We have 185 prosecutors, 85 investigators, 75 criminalists and over 200 support staff. We have four offices — the main office in San Jose, small offices in Palo Alto and Morgan Hill, and we also run our own crime laboratory. We prosecute approximately 40,000 criminal cases per year.
J.: You don’t personally try cases anymore, so do you miss being in court?
JR: I do go to court to watch prosecutors at trial. It’s very important for me to see the great work they are doing there and to support them. I miss some aspects of trying cases, but the truth is I’m completely engaged in what I am doing now.
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© 2013 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.