DA Jeff “Karen” Rosen

photo cred: Matt Izzi, Esq.

watch out folks. Santa clara county’s so called “progressive” DA Jeff Rosen will ask to talk to the manager if you have anything to say about anything racism in the criminal justice system. He’ll also respond to #truth about racism in prosecutions by claiming he has black friends. (See quote below.)

Alameda County Public Defender Brendon Woods has dubbed him the first DA Karen. And yes friends, Rosen is acting very Kareny.

SCC Public Defender Sajid Khan posted two very thoughtful pieces on his personal blog calling those to action not only against racism in policing but racism in our courts. If DAs weren’t charging crimes that were the product of racist prextextual stops or on the basis of trumped up police reports written to justify excessive force used, then police wouldn’t have any incentive to keep doing it. This is so basic I dont even understand how it could be controversial? And, yet, SCC DA Mr J. Karen Rosen is now seeking to chill any public criticism of DA offices by trying to have Mr Kahn “investigated” for misconduct and by threatening to file a whistleblower complaint. (Sidebar: I thought I knew what a whistleblower complaint is and Im now very confused.) And, yes folks, DA Mr K literally called Mr Kahn’s manager. Rosen claimed that Kahn’s post was somehow threatening and his staff left early because they were scared. BIZARRE.

Rosen’s defense to Mr Kahn’s substantive points in his blog was the employer equivalent of i’m not racist because I have black friends…And I quote: “Rosen’s spokesman also directed [the washington post] to an op-ed by several black prosecutors who objected to Khan’s assertion that prosecutors contribute to the oppression of black people and ‘rob black people of their humanity.’”

In solidarity with Mr Kahn, I am linking to his blog here and copying and pasting the post in question below. Because what is in there is the truth. If Rosen goes for him come for me too.

Also, don’t let this be lost on anyone:

“In this moment, we appropriately unleash our anger and frustration at police departments across the country for their continued brutality, violence and harassment imposed upon black people. But to best honor George Floyd, we should fire our very righteous outrage, fury and ire at District Attorney’s offices too.

DA’s offices everywhere are the umbrella organization tasked with enforcement of laws and the prosecution of crimes- police officers and the departments they work for are merely the agents of prosecutors. In combination and together, prosecutors and police form the machine of law enforcement that has exacted a massive toll on and dehumanized black communities in our country for centuries- police officers terrorizing and arresting black people and handing them in shackles to DA’s offices for the ultimate and further stripping of their individual and collective humanity. 

When police officers act flagrantly in violation of the constitution and our laws- when they illegally stop and frisk a black man walking on our city streets, when they racially profile and pull a car over driven by a black man without reasonable suspicion, when they beat, choke, punch, baton, tase, unleash dogs upon, shoot at and/or kill black men who pose no imminent threat- it is the DA’s office that is responsible for prosecuting those police crimes or at the very least not endorsing that callous and illegal behavior by using the fruits of those unlawful police intrusions as part of their prosecutions. 

But that’s not what happens. Instead, DA’s offices regularly and customarily overlook, justify and promote illegal, unconstitutional police misbehavior by using illegally collected evidence in their prosecutions and by actively and stubbornly opposing 4th amendment suppression motions brought by public defenders and defense attorneys in our courts. They regularly and customarily do not prosecute police officers who use unreasonable, excessive force and  brutal violence against black men.  In fact, prosecutors actively and affirmatively protect and shield the police from liability by prosecuting the very black victims of police violence on trumped up crimes like resisting arrest and assault on a police officer. If George Floyd had somehow survived Derek Chauvin squeezing the life out of him, the local DA’s office surely would’ve prosecuted Mr. Floyd for resisting arrest and likely for assaulting the cop. So be mad at the police, but be even madder at the DA’s offices that perpetuate and protect them. 


When we yell out “black lives matter,” we call for and demand the recognition and valuing of the humanity of black people in this country. Yet it is the DA’s offices across this nation that are responsible for actively, affirmatively and proudly dehumanizing black people by perpetuating and feeding the mass incarceration monster that is fueled and filled by black bodies. It is DA’s offices that rob black people of their humanity by stripping them of their names, calling them defendants, bodies, criminals, thugs, reducing them to their rap sheets and charges. It is DA’s offices that repeatedly and flagrantly tell us that black lives don’t matter by sending black boys and young men to prison for life and long sentences, by defining them by their worst moments, by separating them from their families and their families from them, turning blind eyes to their stories, contexts and traumas. It is DA’s offices that diminish black lives by insisting that black men and women with convictions forever be labeled and scarred as felons, offenders, strikers and convicts, preventing them from true reentry and reintegration into society.  To DA’s offices, black lives, no matter what they tell you, do not truly matter except to rack up convictions and fill prisons.

So yes, let’s rally at city halls and at the local police station. But don’t forget to make it loud and clear to our DA’s offices that black lives matter. Better yet, make it even clearer at the polling station to vote them out next time they’re up for election.”

-Sajid Khan

Published by Jenny Brandt

About Me: sociology, african american studies, chicano/a studies, critical race studies, and criminal law scholar. public school kid from kindergarten-J.D. Former public defender. I am a post-conviction guru. Appeals. Sentencing. Withdraw Pleas. Habeas. Published author in the Criminal Law Bulletin and California Defender. "I do it for the joy it brings, because I'm a joyful girl, because the world owes me nothing, and we owe each other the world." Why I started JJC: My PD buddy suggested it. What and who JJC is inspired by: public defenders I have worked for, with, and next to. my clients who have battled things no one should and are still here. innocence and guilt and everything in between. My coworkers, who fight just as hard as the PDs I love, for many of the same reasons. My husband who was once voted "most Christ like" (every Jewish girl's dream). My Corgi who loves everyone. The constitution. Tabloids. My mom, for giving me a voice. My dad, for teaching me what to say. My brother, for teaching me how to say it.

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