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Santa Clara County

COUNTY OF SANTA CLARA

Santa Clara County | Mother Teresa on Abortion | Santa Clara County District Attorney
  
    

Office of the District Attorney
70 West Hedding Street, West Wing
San Jose, CA 95110
Phone: (408) 299-3099
Fax: (408) 286-5437

Santa Clara County Law Library
360 North First Street
San Jose, CA 95113
Library Hotline Line: (408) 299-3567
Library Assistance: (408) 299-3568Phone: (408) 299-7400
Email: webmaster@da.co.santa-clara.ca.us

Public Defender Main Office
120 West Mission Street
San Jose, CA 95110
Phone: (408) 299-7700

FBI
Palo Alto Resident Agency
575 High Street
Suite 310
Palo Alto, CA 94301
(650) 251-9520

George W. Kennedy
Santa Clara County District Attorney

70 W. Hedding Street, West Wing
San Jose CA 95110
Phone: (408) 299-3099
Fax: (408) 286-5437
Karyn Sinunu
Chief Assistant Santa Clara County District Attorney

Phone: (408) 792-2702

TOP RANKING ASSISTANTS
Marc T. Buller
Assistant Santa Clara County District Attorney

Phone: (408) 792-2770
David Howe
Assistant Santa Clara County District Attorney
Phone: (408) 792-2633
Stephen Gibbons
Assistant Santa Clara County District Attorney

Phone: (408) 792-2570
David Tomkins
Assistant Santa Clara County District Attorney
Phone: (408) 792-2504

Santa Clara County Public Defender Main Office
120 West Mission Street
San Jose, CA  95110
Phone: (408) 299-7700
Office of the Public Defender

Santa Clara County Alternate Defender Main Office
701 Miller Street

San Jose, CA  95110
Phone: (408) 299-7200
Alternate Defender’s Office

Santa Clara County Public Defender South County
12429 Monterey Hwy.
San Martin, CA  95046
Phone: (408) 686-3626

Santa Clara County Alternate Defender Palo Alto
270 Grant Avenue
Palo Alto, CA  94306
Phone: (650) 324-6430

Santa Clara County Public Defender Sunnyvale
333 W. El Camino Real, Suite 250
Sunnyvale, CA  94087
Phone: (408) 739-1750

Supervisor District 1  Supervisor District 2  Supervisor District 3   Supervisor District 4  D5  Sheriff  District Attorney  Assessor

Stephen D. Lodge Chief of Police 

 

Mission Statement
Photo of Pete Kutras, Acting County Executive

Santa Clara County Executive provides support to the Santa Clara County's Board of Supervisors, to the Santa Clara County's various organizations, and to the residents and businesses of Santa Clara County. The Office ensures the implementation of legislative mandates and Board policies. It provides analytical support, strategic planning, policy analysis, and budgetary oversight for the Santa Clara County organization. In addition, it seeks to safeguard civil rights, and to educate, inform, and advise both those who administer and those who receive Santa Clara County services.


Peter Kutras, Jr.,
County Executive
70 West Hedding Street, 11th Floor
San Jose, CA 95110
Phone: (408) 299-5105

Santa Clara County Criminal Justice Information Control System

Gaurav Garg, Director

The Santa Clara County Criminal Justice Information Control (CJIC/2) criminal history and case tracking system is a shared database which provides to all authorized users key information about every individual who is booked locally. Complaint information, court calendars, prisoner movement lists, custody status case disposition and more are included. CJIC is the backbone of the criminal justice data system, used by 40 county, state and city law enforcement agencies.


For More Information Please Contact:
Criminal Justice Information Control System
1555 Berger Drive
Building 2, Floor 2
San Jose, CA 95112
Phone: 408.299.3581
Fax: 408.437.0656

Staff Name

Position

Phone Number

GREENWOOD, Mary J.   

Santa Clara County Public Defender  

408-299-7701

 

BREWER, Nancy

Santa Clara County Assistant Public Defender       

408-299-7702

 

GUZMAN, Jose

Santa Clara County Assistant Public Defender 

408-299-7704

 

KLIPPEN, Nona

Santa Clara County Assistant Public Defender 

408-299-7703

 

 

 

 

AARON, John

Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender

 

408-299-7744

ABEL, George

Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender

408-299-7793

ALVAREZ, Jaime

Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender

408-299-7183

BANKS, Peggy A. Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender 408-299-7150
BAROUDI, Nisreen Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender 408-299-7129

BEATTY, Carl G.

Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender

408-299-7771

BEDOLLA, Jennifer Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender 408-299-7748

BENITEZ, Ralph

Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender

408-299-7752

BROWN, Shelyna

Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender

408-299-7940

CALLAHAN, Rita Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender 408-299-7734

CAMPERI, Mark

Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender

408-299-7760

CAVAGNARO, Francis C.

Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender

408-739-8436

CHAN, Beverly

Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender

408-299-7910

CHANG, Paul

Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender

408-299-7158

CHRYSOGLOU, Emanuella Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender 408-299-7764

CLIFT, Casey

Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender

408-299-7920

COLIN, Enrique

Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender

408-299-7797

CONROY-LUCIO, Christy Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender 408-299-7756

DAMES, Mark A.

Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender

408-299-7737

DAVIS, Kipp

Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender

408-299-7750

DAWSON, Dennis

Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender

408-299-7926

DEL ALCAZAR,  Andres

Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender

408-299-7726

DELGADO, Jessica

Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender

Leave of Absence

DO, Phong Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender 408-299-7922
DUNN, Jeffrey

Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender

408-299-7727
EBRAHIMI, Panteha

Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender

408-299-7180
ENDRAWOS, Bichara Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender 408-299-7147

FLAGSBERG, Seth

Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender

408-299-7941

FLINT, Andrea

Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender

408-299-7746
FLOYD, Michelle Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender

408-299-7795

FRANCO, Chleora (Yoyi) Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender 408-299-7912
FRANCO, Jose

Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender

408-299-7159
GALLARDO (Jurado), Irma Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender 408-299-7188
GALLOWAY, Ben

Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender

Leave of absence
GILLAN, Charlie

Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender

408-299-7758
GLASS, Stefany

Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender

Leave of absence
GLEASON, James P.

Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender

408-299-7730
GOMEZ, Edward A.

Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender

408-299-7779
GONZALEZ, Socorro

Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender

408-299-7196
GREEN, Jennifer A.

Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender

408-299-7146
GUITIERREZ, Andrew

Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender

408-299-7798
HALL, Melinda S.

Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender

408-299-7177
HAYES, Lindy C.

Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender

408-299-7770
HOOPES, Patrick

Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender

408-299-7754
HULTGREN, Jennifer Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender 408-299-7187
KALRA, Ashu

Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender

408-299-7773
KAUR, Preeti Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender 408-299-7915
KENDALL, Beth Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender 408-299-7745
KENNEDY, Craig

Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender

408-299-7762
KIM, Mark Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender 408-299-7790
KNAPEL, Ronald E.

Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender

408-299-7769
KULICK (Paul), Kelley A. Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender 408-299-7176
LOPEZ, Alfonso Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender 408-299-7913
LOPEZ, Juan

Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender

408-299-7720
MANDEL, Kenneth A.

Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender

408-229-7139
MATTHEWS, Brian

Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender

408-299-7721
McMAHON, Ross

Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender

408-299-7774
MOSBY, Jonathan

Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender

408-299-7923
NINO, Edward, Jr.

Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender

408-299-7914
O''CONNOR, Roderick S.

Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender

408-299-7781
O''KEEFE, Mairead

Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender

408-299-7925
O''NEAL, Molly

Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender

408-299-7905
OWENS, Traci A.

Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender

408-299-7921
PEREZ, Sylvia

Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender

408-299-7763
REESE, Benjamin W.

Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender

408-299-7906
RIOS, Javier

Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender

408-299-7170
RODRIGUEZ, Miguel

Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender

408-299-7924
RUDICH, Kevin

Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender

408-299-7759
SAUCEDO, Bernardo

Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender

408-686-3624
SHAMOS, Susannah

Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender

408-299-7192
SHARKEY, Thompson

Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender

408-299-7724
SHORES, Gregg

Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender

408-299-7736
SHORES, Susan

Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender

408-299-7740
SILVER, Damon

Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender

408-299-7195
SMITH, Sonia M.

Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender

408-686-3625
SOLIS, Luz Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender Leave of absence
SPIELMANN, Alfred

Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender

408-299-7916
STEEL, Mary A. Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender 408-299-7741
STREET, Malorie M.

Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender

408-299-7194
STUART, Lori

Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender

408-299-7909
TARICA, David B.

Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender

408-299-7919
TERRY, Tanya L. Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender 408-299-7747
TREVIÑO Yolanda

Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender

408-299-7945
TSAI, Louella

Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender

408-686-3622
VALEROS, Gilda B.

Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender

408-299-7918
VAUGHN, John

Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender

408-299-7738
WARDLAW, Melissa

Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender

408-299-7735
WILSON, Matthew Santa Clara County Deputy Public Defender 408-299-7148
BOLSTER, Alayne Santa Clara County Chief Investigator 408-299-7706
OTT, Yvette Santa Clara County Chief Assistant Investigator 408-299-7782
ABRAMS, Julia Santa Clara County Investigator 408-299-7024
AYALA, Annabeya Santa Clara County Investigator 408-299-7184
BERG, Chirs Santa Clara County Investigator 408-299-7729
BROWN, Nancy Santa Clara County Investigator 408-299-7739
COFFEY, Doug Santa Clara County Investigator 408-299-7788
COOPER, Brent Santa Clara County Investigator 408-299-7189
FISHER, John  Santa Clara County Investigator 408-299-7710
FLORES, Raul Santa Clara County Investigator 408-299-7765
IVEY, Patricia Santa Clara County Investigator Leave of absence
JAQUEZ, David Santa Clara County Investigator 408-299-7768
KUH, Dan Santa Clara County Investigator 408-299-7787
LASER, Liza (HALE) Santa Clara County Investigator 408-299-7102
LUCIO, David Santa Clara County Investigator 408-299-7061
MERA, Helena Santa Clara County Investigator 408-299-7786
MOE, Carolyne Santa Clara County Investigator Leave of absence
NORMAN, Keith Santa Clara County Investigator 408-299-7048
RAMIREZ, Margarita Andra Santa Clara County Investigator 408-299-7022
ROHANI, Poriya Santa Clara County Investigator 408-299-7716
SANTANA, Valente Santa Clara County Investigator 408-299-7732
SAUNDERS, Diane Santa Clara County Investigator 408-299-7722
SERATTI, Geoff Santa Clara County Investigator 408-299-7792
SERRANO, Pamela Santa Clara County Investigator 408-299-7019
STANSBURY, Kathryn Santa Clara County Investigator 408-299-7055
TURINO, Laurence Santa Clara County Investigator 408-299-8708
VAN CLEAVE, William Santa Clara County Investigator 408-299-7783
ZORB, Kathryn Lee

Santa Clara County Investigator

408-299-7785
EXPUNGEMENT PARALEGAL Santa Clara County Paralegal 408-299-7143
FELONY REDUCTION PARALEGAL Santa Clara County Paralegal 408-299-8230
MENTAL HEALTH PARALEGAL Santa Clara County Paralegal 408-299-7152
    
PROCHAZKA, Donna Santa Clara County Administrative Services Manager 408-299-7777


PLEASE VISIT: USHOSTAGE.com --- Click Here

Santa Clara County California District Attorney
HAS 9/11 BLOOD ON HIS HANDS!

----------------------------------------------------------

SANTA CLARA COUNTY REGISTRAR OF VOTERS
County of Santa Clara Voter Information - California Voters

Donald F. Gage - District 1 - Santa Clara County
Blanca Alvarado - District 2 - Santa Clara County
Pete McHugh - District 3 - Santa Clara County
James T. Beall Jr. - District 4 - Santa Clara County
Liz Kniss - District 5 - Santa Clara County

EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THESE SANTA CLARA COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS WERE TOLD ON PUBLIC RECORD IN 1998, AND 1999 IN THE FORM OF LETTERS THAT I SERVED TO THEM WITH DATE AND TIME STAMPED ON A COPY FOR EACH SUPERVISOR, AND I HAD TOLD THEM MORE THAN ONE TIME SPEAKING UNDER PUBLIC ISSUES AT THEIR MEETINGS AND SPOKE TO SANTA CLARA COUNTY COUNCIL'S OFFICE THAT TERRORIST AGENTS LINKED TO USAMA BIN LADEN ARE OPERATING IN THE MUSLIM COMMUNITY ASOCIATION OF THE SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA, GRANADA ISLAMIC SCHOOL, AND MASJID AN-NOOR WHICH ARE ALL LOCATED IN SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIFORNIA.

INSTEAD OF BEING CONCERNED FOR THE PUBLIC SAFETY ALL OF THE SANTA CLARA COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS INVITED THE MUSLIM COMMUNITY ASOCIATION OF THE SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA TO A PUBLIC MEETING TO PRAY, THEN THE BOARD WENT AND GAVE LECTURES AT THE MUSLIM COMMUNITY ASOCIATION OF THE SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA TO GAIN VOTES.

WHAT ABOUT ALL THE PEOPLE THAT WERE MURDERED ON 9/11?

DO NOT VOTE FOR THESE PEOPLE!
NEVER FORGET 9/11

 

District Attorney; County of Santa Clara Voter Information;
George Kennedy
Santa Clara County California District Attorney
DOES NOT BELONG IN A PUBLIC OFFICE


Public Defender; County of Santa Clara Voter Information;
GREENWOOD, Mary J.  and (
Jose R. Villarreal )
Santa Clara County California Public Defender
DOES NOT BELONG IN A PUBLIC OFFICE

History of the Santa Clara County Old Court House

timeline for the Old Courthouse in San Jose, Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara
Santa Clara County was once part of Spain, and then part of Mexico. Prior to California being admitted to the union, our local court was held in Juzgado (a combined court, mayor and jail building) from about 1805 to 1850. The Juzgado was located at what is now the intersection of Market and Post Streets in downtown San Jose. The adobe building was inadequate for the increased community usage and was destroyed in July 1850. Later, after the formation of Santa Clara County on April 25, 1851, a number of buildings served as courthouses.

The eighth courthouse is the building known now as the Old Courthouse, still in use and located across from St. James Park in downtown San Jose. In 1866, Valley residents began erecting this Neo-Classical monument in an attempt to persuade the California government to re-locate the state capital to San Jose. San Jose did not regain the capital, but this effort resulted in the construction of one of the most prestigious courthouses in the United States. This courthouse has served the public well for over a century. Today it serves as one of the numerous Superior Court of California facilities in Santa Clara County.

 

Building the Santa Clara County Old Courthouse
Photo of Old Courthouse in San Jose, Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara. Photo courtesy of Santa Clara Historical Courthouse, Sourisseau Academy (SJSU) negative #232
Photo of Old Courthouse courtesy of Sourisseau Academy, San Jose State University

San Jose was the location of California's first state capital. This honor remained with San Jose for only two years, 1849 to 1851. Initial Senate sessions had to be held in a private residence because the statehouse building wasn't ready; local hotel facilities were considered inadequate, and an unusually rainy winter caused flooding, making downtown streets impassable. The loss of the capital may not have been seen by all San Jose residents as a great loss, as the behavior of the legislators themselves earned the 1849 session the title "The legislature of One Thousand Drinks." In 1851 the legislators decided to move to Vallejo. But the desire to lure the legislators back with a building truly worthy of being the State Capitol provided some of the motivation behind the design of the current courthouse. Additional motivation included a better location than the previous courthouse, a larger facility, and a brick construction.

Santa Clara County Old Courthouse Design Contest

A contest for the building's design resulted in Levi I. Goodrich's architectural plans being chosen as the vision for the new courthouse in 1860. Goodrich was one of the first professional trained architects to practice in California.

The Old Courthouse today in San Jose, Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara
Photo of Old Courthouse today courtesy of E. Carlson, Soft Underbelly of San Jose
He also designed the county jail in 1871 and many other local schools, churches, and commercial buildings. On another note, Goodrich's wife, Sarah Knox-Goodrich, was a strong advocate of women's rights and organized San Jose's first Women Suffrage Association in 1869. She and Levi Goodrich are buried in Oak Hill Cemetery in San Jose. The Knox-Goodrich commercial building still stands today, at 34 South First Street.

 

Old Courthouse is Completed

Begun in 1866 and completed by January 1, 1868 (at a cost of $200,000), the ornate courthouse, with its columns and dome covered with a shimmering layer of solid copper, was not enough to convince the legislators to return to San Jose. However, it did provide San Jose with a beautiful and lasting building: its six-foot solid brick masonry superstructure resting on a six-foot deep concrete foundation was solid enough to survive numerous earthquakes.



 


The Old Courthouse Neighborhood

Hall of Records, Sourisseau Academy (SJSU) negative #12
Photo of Hall of Records and Old Courthouse courtesy of Sourisseau Academy, San Jose State University

Hall of Records

The Hall of Records was built adjacent to the Old Courthouse (see picture, right) in 1893, and housed the offices of the county clerk, treasurer, auditor, surveyor, recorder and superintendent of schools.  Many old buildings were lost in the 1960's, and the Hall of Records went under the wrecker's ball in November 1966. Structural engineers had reported that the building was an earthquake hazard, and it was not considered (by some) to be worth the cost of renovation.

Hall of Justice

The Hall of Justice, which held the old Justice Court and later the Municipal Court, was first occupied in 1908. It was torn down in 1962 to make room for a new Superior Court Building at 191 North First Street, which was completed in 1964. At the start of the demolition in 1962, the wrecker's ball struck the Hall of Justice, constructed of sandstone and granite, and bounced off the structure (which had been declared unsafe for the government employees working there). In fact, the building proved so difficult to demolish that the wrecking contractor went bankrupt doing the job. The new Hall of Justice was built in 1991 at the new civic center complex, and provided space for 19 new courtrooms.

St. James Park

The Old Courthouse fronts St. James park, an open space set aside in 1848 which continues to  reflect the activity and diversity of an urban park.

Old postcard photo of children near fountain in St. James park
Old postcard of fountain at St. James park, courtesy of E. Carlson, Soft Underbelly of San Jose
In his definitive book on San Jose, The History of San Jose, Clyde Arbuckle describes a park activity in the 1930's,
"During the depression days of the 1930's, leather-lunged, hat passing radicals harangued the curious and gullible on the economic ills of the nation. Bible waving, hell-fire and brimstone evangelists shouted fundamentalist condemnation of sinners from park bench pulpits. In pre-jury commission days, court bailiffs collared park loafers and bums for immediate jury duty across the street."

Notable park visitors include President William McKinley, who spoke in the park across from the courthouse in 1901, four months prior to his assassination in Buffalo, New York. Two years later the McKinley statue was erected in the park in his honor. (Side note -  in March 1968, only weeks before his assassination, presidential candidate Robert Kennedy also held a campaign rally in St. James Park.) After the 1906 earthquake, the National Guard set up and lived in a tent village in St. James park, while helping to prevent looting in the earthquake-damaged city.



Early History of The Old Courthouse

Attorneys were drawn to San Jose in the late 1800's, not necessarily because of the fancy new courthouse, but due to the busy law trade involving land grants and other property issues, and the burgeoning legal needs of the growing population. In addition to attracting the best and brightest from all over the country, by the 1890's many California-born and educated attorneys were setting up practice locally.
Clara Foltz picture
Clara Foltz, 1st woman lawyer California. (Photo from the 1901 "History of the Bench and Bar of California" O.T. Shuck, editor.


First Woman Lawyer in the State

Clara Foltz, the first woman ever admitted to the bar in California (in 1878) was a San Jose housewife and mother of five who went on to practice law in San Jose. Foltz drafted a bill to change the law's wording for becoming an attorney from being just for "white males" to being "any citizen or person". She introduced and lobbied for the bill at the State Legislature, where objections to the bill included the fear that once women became lawyers, there might someday be woman jurors, even judges! At two minutes before midnight on the 30th of March, 1878 (the last day the legislature was in session) the governor signed her bill into law.

At times Foltz was vilified for her gender in court: a public attorney told jurors, "She is a woman, she cannot be expected to reason. God Almighty decreed her limitations". Once during a trial Foltz was referred to with contempt as a "lady lawyer." She said of her opponent, "I am sorry I cannot return the compliment, but I cannot. I never heard anybody call him any kind of a lawyer at all." Foltz is also credited with writing the law that gave women the right to vote in 1911.

Crimes and Trials in the late 1800's

Although vagrants and drunken brawls took their toll on the early citizens of Santa Clara County (as today), domestic disputes (still too common) were a leading factor in local homicides in the early days of the Old Courthouse.

  • 1868 - Harry Love, alias Black Knight of the Seyante (said to be the apprehender and executer of notorious robber Joaquin Murietta) was killed by a bodyguard of his estranged wife after ambushing and shooting both wife and bodyguard. The bodyguard was arrested but discharged for justifiable homicide.
  • 1868 - William Cooper, a would-be eloper, was killed by the 's father when he approached the house in the evening for the elopement. A Grand Jury discharged the case.
  • 1869 - Mrs. John Hauser was killed by her estranged husband. The jury deliberated 60 hours but failed to agree. The case was retried, Hauser was found guilty of murder in the 2nd degree and sentenced to 25 years imprisonment.
  • 1871 - Arthur Parsons, a local farmer who lived in the area between Saratoga and Blackberry Farm, was fatally shot in his barn while feeding his livestock their evening meal. The wife and her former lover Wolverton were arrested. The latter was tried and acquitted, and Mrs. Parsons was dismissed on a nolle by the D.A.

The information above is from the 1881 History of Santa Clara County, California (located in the California Room of the main San Jose library).

Landmark Case - Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company

In 1886 the case of Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company was a landmark case that had a major impact on the role of corporations in American society.  According to the official case record, Supreme Court Justice Morrison Remick Waite simply pronounced before the beginning of argument in the case of Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company that: "The court does not wish to hear argument on the question whether the provision in the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which forbids a State to deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws, applies to these corporations. We are all of opinion that it does." (source) Although the U.S. Constitution does not mention corporations, this statement by Judge Waite began the long history of granting corporations that status of persons, along with all the accompanying powers and protections, such as freedom of speech. This case, based on a dispute over a railbed route, would change the course of American history.

picture of Tiburcio Vasquez
Tiburcio Vasquez, photo courtesy of Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society


Outlaws in the Old Courthouse - Tiburcio Vasquez

Several of the legendary California outlaws have passed through the doors of the Old Courthouse. One of these was Tiburcio Vasquez, convicted in Santa Clara County (after the trial was moved from Southern California) of leading a Wild West-style gang involving stage-coach holdups and murderous raids. He was executed here for murder in 1875. Vasquez had a reputation as a gallant lady's man, and while on trial in San Jose, he received messages of sympathy, as well as candy and flowers, from women he scarcely knew or he had never met.





The Court Fire of 1931

Fire proved to be a bigger threat early on than earthquakes, and on May 18, 1931, a fire quickly spread through the courthouse, causing extensive damage including the loss of the dome. The fire actually melted the dome to the point that the covering layer of copper dripped down the front steps of the building. The dome, which had 172 steps to the iron-railed observation deck at the top, was no more. When the courthouse was restored in 1932 it was without the dome, but with the addition of a third floor and Spanish tile roof. At this time the portico was removed, and the columns recessed into the facade. Above the main entrance, the original frieze was inscribed with the motto "Justitia Dedicate" (Dedicated to Justice). This was replaced with the words "Santa Clara County Courthouse" after the post-fire repairs.

 

The Old Courthouse fire of 1931, Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara. Photo courtesy of Sourisseau Academy (SJSU) negative #347   The Old Courthouse fire of 1931, Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara. Photo courtesy of Sourisseau Academy (SJSU) negative #1831   The Old Courthouse fire of 1931, Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara. Photo courtesy of Sourisseau Academy (SJSU) negative #348
Photos of Courthouse fire courtesy of Sourisseau Academy, San Jose State University


Oakland newspaper headlines of lynching
Headlines in Oakland newspaper, the only one to carry the photograph)



Kidnap, Murder and Mob Revenge - Brooke Hart

A crime that put San Jose in the national spotlight involved the tragic kidnap and murder of the son of the prosperous owner of the Hart department store downtown. The public, enflamed by the increase in kidnappings since the Lindburgh baby kidnap and death one year earlier, as well as encouraged by some of those in power, became a vigilante mob. Fourteen hours after the victim Brook Hart's body was found (in the San Francisco Bay, tied to a chunk of concrete), a group used a battering ram (using construction materials from the Post Office under construction) the break into the jail behind the Old Courthouse, dragged the two men suspected of the crime to St. James park and hung them in front of 3000 witnesses. (The current central YMCA building at Naglee and The Alameda is located on the site of the razed old Hart mansion. The Hart's Department Store, a downtown fixture for many years, was located at the southeast corner of Market and Santa Clara streets.)

 

 



drawing of route mob took to jail and St. James park
Artist drawing shows route mob took, passing courthouse to storm the jail, then back across first street where the two victims were hung in St. James park. (The dome is shown on the courthouse but was not longer there by 1933.) Photo from "The Santa Clara County Courthouse: Justitia Dedicata" by Loi Kha, 1933 Pioneer Papers (California Room, Martin Luther King Library San Jose)

McKinley Statue & Cannon in St. James park, San Jose
Photo of the cannon, taken by the Superior Court of California, Santa Clara County

McKinley's Cannon

The bronze cannon on the bottom step of the McKinley monument (erected after President McKinley spoke in the St. James Park - see section on St. James Park, above) has played a part in the history of the Old Courthouse. A Halloween "prank" in 1933 resulted in the cannon in the park being loaded with gun-powder and the fuse being lit. The resulting explosion blew out the windows of the Santa Clara County Courthouse across the street. It is believed that the current "cement plug" in the cannon was placed there in the hope of deterring any similar pranks in the future.


 

Modern History of the Old Courthouse

Major Restoration after Loma Prieta

After the substantial damage that occurred during the Loma Prieta earthquake there was talk of razing the Old Courthouse, but public sentiment prevailed. The building was closed in 1989 and reopened in 1994, the restoration project having been completed under budget and ahead of schedule. This successful effort to return a valuable part of local history to the public's use was recognized with multiple awards, including an award for "Historical Preservation/Adaptive Reuse", an award in recognition of "Outstanding Achievement in Design of Preservation Projects", and the "San Jose Interior Restoration of the Year" award in 1994. The restoration effort used 5,000,000 pounds of concrete and 240,000 pounds of steel.


Forgotten Dungeon

In 1992, during the earthquake restoration effort, engineers and construction workers made an interesting discovery. According to the Mercury News on July 20, 1992, "Deep in the bowels of the 124-year-old Santa Clara County Courthouse are two forgotten high-security jail cells..." The cells, with four-inch thick double safety-doors and steel ceilings, were heavy-duty and primitive. Though gas outlets indicated that heat was available, there were no plumbing facilities, so that function was probably taken care of by a bucket. Within the cells, workers found numerous old documents including some Mexican-era hand drawn boundary maps, partially burned and water-soaked, presumably in the fire of 1931. The cells were behind a brick wall that was added at some point in the Old Courthouse's history.
photos of holding cells from Old Courthouse basement, Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara
Photographs taken by Court staff in 2002 in the Old Courthouse basement

Old Courthouse in the National Register of Historic Places

In 1977 the United States Department of the interior put St. James Park and  nine of its surrounding buildings on the National Register of Historic Places. The area was also designated a San Jose Landmark.



Old Court Documents

Old Booking Photos

The following information and linked photos are booking entries from a volume entitled Historic Booking Journal of Santa Clara County, Circa 1880-82, owned by a current Santa Clara County Superior Court of California judge. (Click on the name to see the photo.)

  • Frank Contillo (aka Frank Contyeyo) - 11/26/1878 charged with assault to commit murder in Gilroy. Discharged by Judge Belden.
  • Florencio Barantos - Sentenced to four years in San Quentin on 4/26/1880 for robbery in house of a Daniel Murphy on 1st Street in San Jose.
  • William Burns - Convicted 12/1881 of robbery at the "5 Mile House" on Almaden Road. Sentenced to 18 months in San Quentin.
  • Jesus Banales - Sentenced 12/7/1882 for robbery (with a partner) of an "Old Frenchman" in Gilroy. "They pleaded guilty and saved the county the expense of a trial."


Old Legal Fee Documents

The following are the personal possessions of a current Santa Clara County Superior Court of California judge. (Click on the document name to see the image.)

  • Payment for Jury Duty Services, dated 3/15/1858, from the Auditor's Office of Santa Clara County. Payment of $2.00 for "Services as Petty Juror, People vs Palmer"
  • Justice Court Receipt to attorney, dated 5/25/1903, from San Jose Township Justice of the Peace. Payment of $2.00 for filing suit, Baker Estate vs F.M. Eley.


Source Materials

The following sources were used to obtain historical information for this page:

Books or other printed material:

  • Courthouses of California - An Illustrated History. Edited by Ray McDevitt. 2001. Publisher Heyday Books, Berkeley CA.
  • History of San Jose. Clyde Arbuckle. Smith and McKay Printing Co. 1986.
  • The Santa Clara County Courthouse: Justitia Dedicata. 1933 Pioneer Papers (Essay Contest Winners) Loi Kha.  California Room, Martin Luther King Library, San Jose, CA
  • Old Santa Clara Valley - A Guide to Historic Buildings from Alto Alto to Gilroy. Phyllis Filiberti Bulter. Wide World Publishing 1975, second edition 1991.
  • Swift Justice - Murder and Vengeance in a California Town. Harry Farrell. St. Martin's Press NY.
  • History of Santa Clara County, California. 1881. Alley, Bowen & Co. Publishers.
  • Legends of the California Bandidos. Angus MacLean. 1977. Pioneer Publishing.
  • Historic Booking Journal of Santa Clara County, Circa 1880-82 (privately owned)
  • Forgotten Dungeon Found Under Courthouse. Joanne Grant. Mercury News July 20 1992 1B.
  • Information on modern restoration obtained from awards hung in the Heritage Room of the Old Courthouse
Websites:

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