SANTA CLARA, Calif. (KRON) — The Santa Clara County district attorney has charged Anh Colton, 48, an unsuccessful candidate for Santa Clara County Sheriff, with perjury for falsely confirming that she had the law enforcement experience required to run for the position, according to a June 16 press release from the Santa Clara District Attorney’s Office.
Colton, who received about 4% of the vote in the sheriff’s election earlier this month, has had no law enforcement experience in the past five years, according to the release. California state law requires that candidates have at least one year of experience in the five years prior to running for sheriff.
“The qualifications for sheriff are not for show,” Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen said. “The sheriff oversees the safety of thousands of people, hundreds of deputies and our jail. It is not a job for the inexperienced or incompetent.”
Colton will be arraigned this summer and could face up to four years in county jail.
In Colton’ candidate statement. she described herself as a “business owner, entrepreneur [and] parent” who was “raised by immigrant parents.” She wrote that she would “take responsibility to be the supreme keeper of the peace and the people’s protector.” She also described her goal to restore the “true essence” of sheriff values.
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Colton swore in her official campaign declaration that she met the experience requirements to run for sheriff. But the District Attorney’s Bureau of Investigations found through “numerous comprehensive checks” that Colton “was not and had never been” in law enforcement, according to the release.
In April, a DA investigator asked Colton about her law enforcement experience at her home and was referred to her campaign advisor. The investigator was told by the campaign advisor in a May email that Colton would not — and did not have to — answer his questions.
Under state law, Colton could not be removed from the ballot by the Registrar of Voters or the DA’s Office.
Colton’s participation in the election did not prevent either of the two leading candidates, Robert Jonsen and Kevin Jensen, from winning the election outright at the primary, which requires receiving at least 50% of the vote, according to the release. Jonsen and Jensen received 32% and 30.5% of the vote, respectively, according to Santa Clara County election data. The election will be decided in a runoff in November.
The DA is “thankful” that Anh’s involvement in the election did not change its outcome, according to the release.