For release on June 16, 2022
Deputy District Attorney
Public Law Enforcement Integrity Unit
Sheriff’s Candidate Charged with Lying About Law Enforcement Experience
An unsuccessful candidate for Santa Clara County Sheriff has been charged with perjury for falsely certifying that she had the required experience to run for the elected law enforcement job.
California law requires that candidates for sheriff have at least one year of law enforcement experience within the last five years. Anh Colton, 48, of Cupertino, has had no law enforcement experience in the last five years.
Colton’s arraignment is expected to be later this summer. Perjury is a felony punishable by up to four years in the county jail.
“The qualifications for sheriff are not for show,” 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.”
The DA said he was thankful the unqualified candidate did not affect the outcome of the election.
Earlier this year, the District Attorney’s Bureau of Investigations began looking at Colton’s qualifications.
Numerous comprehensive checks seemed to show that Colton was not and had never been a peace officer. She swore – under penalty of perjury – that she had such experience in her official declaration.
When a DA investigator asked her about her law enforcement experience at her home in late April, she referred him to her campaign advisor.
In May, the investigator received an email from her campaign advisor saying that the investigator should stay away from Colton and she did not have to and would not answer his questions.
Unfortunately, state law did not permit the Registrar of Voters or the DA’s Office to remove Colton from the ballot.
Colton, who received about four percent of the vote, did not make the runoff for the sheriff’s office. Because neither of the two leading candidates for sheriff received more than 35% of the total vote, it does not appear that Colton’s unlawful participation as a candidate in the election prevented any candidate from winning outright (receiving more than 50% of the votes) at the primary. Nor did it affect who will be the participants in the runoff election.