FROM:
Amy Cornell, Public Information Officer
(408) 792-2997   CONTACT PERSON:
David Tomkins, Assistant District Attorney
(408) 792-2792   For release on October 16, 2009   CRIMINAL GRAND JURY RETURNS NO INDICTMENT OF OFFICERS INVOLVED IN MAY 2009 SHOOTING DEATH OF DANIEL PHAM   On Thursday, October 15th, the criminal grand jury of Santa Clara County, after investigating the homicide and reviewing all evidence presented, declined to indict two San Jose Police Officers in the shooting death of San Jose resident Daniel Pham.   Shortly after the shooting, the San Jose Police Department reported that the officers responded to the Pham residence after being called to the home for a disturbance on May 10, 2009.  Relatives reported someone at the residence had been stabbed. When officers arrived, they discovered the suspect, 27-year old Daniel Pham, holding a knife. Police repeatedly asked Pham to drop the knife. He refused and charged at officers with the knife held in a threatening manner, and the officers discharged their service weapons, killing Pham.   The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office uses the criminal grand jury to investigate every officer involved shooting. This is to ensure all facts of each case are reviewed independently by 19 randomly chosen citizens. In general, officers appear voluntarily before the grand jury, giving up their constitutional rights, and testify under oath without their attorneys present.  After the grand jury hears evidence presented by a prosecutor from the District Attorney’s Office and witness testimony, the grand jury must determine whether there is probable cause to believe that the officer committed a felony offense, or, whether the homicide was justifiable. If the grand jury decides the officer killed the person without legal justification, an indictment is returned and the case proceeds to jury trial. The charging decision is left up to the grand jury. Grand jury sessions are closed to the public. A record of all evidence and witness testimony only becomes public record if an indictment is returned.   ###  

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