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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

PROSECUTOR FIRED FOR ABUSE OF POWER

Santa Clara Deputy District Attorney Lisa Rogers was recently fired for what is being called an "outrageous abuse" of her power by pressuring police to arrest her husband's ex-wife. This was a climax of a series of issues involving Rogers who has been disciplined on five other occasions. 

In 2003, the Public Defender wrote a detailed letter to the then DA stating that Rogers had "misrepresented information" to judges and/or defense attorneys on four occasions.  She was investigated by the DA's Office and orally counseled in 2004 for her "failure to meet office standards of honesty and truthfulness."  It was believed that Rogers was not fired over the 2004 incident due to worries that she would file a claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act since she is deaf in one ear and has limited hearing in the other.  The DA's Office had just lost a lawsuit trying to force the state Superior Court to assume the financial burden of having a real-time captioner for her. 

Rogers was orally counseled again in 2007 after failing to turn over key information about a case to the defense, which resulted in the judge dismissing a felony due to her untruthful behavior.  More complaints about her behavior from defense attorneys were given to the DA, and Rogers was suspended in 2010 for a week for "incompetence" and "gross misconduct."  Rogers was again suspended after she made "implied accusations" to a judge that a young public defender had harassed a crime lab analyst to tears, yet the analyst recalled the exchange as "pleasant."  Another incident that led to a suspension was Rogers' response to a not-guilty verdict by ripping up a trial exhibit in front of the jury and berating jurors in a raised voice. 

Rogers' latest issue came about when she got involved in the custody battle between her husband and his ex-wife and tried using her position to influence the situation.  At a carnival, Rogers' husband and his ex-wife got "into it" and the ex-wife apparently grabbed his cell phone and threw it down.  She contends that she grabbed the phone and handed it back to him after he shoved it into her face and bruised her cheek. 

Rogers' husband urged a police officer in a telephone call immediately after this to arrest his ex-wife for battery but the officer said the incident was at most vandalism.  At this point, Rogers got on the phone, identified herself as a Santa Clara prosecutor, demanded that the ex-wife be arrested for robbery and "bullied" the police officer for over five minutes.  The police eventually interviewed the ex-wife and presented their report to the Contra Costa County DA's Office, who rejected the case.  A senior deputy DA in Contra County then notified Santa Clara's DA's Office about Rogers' "impropriety". 

After being fired, Rogers has petitioned the county's Personnel Board for reinstatement, as her dismissal was based on retaliation, disparate treatment and discrimination. 

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