Efren Carrillo recall, Sonoma County, California (2014)
An effort to recall Efren Carrillo from his position on the Board of Supervisors of Sonoma County, California was launched in August 2013 after he was arrested on suspicion of prowling and burglary. He was subsequently charged with a single count of misdemeanor peeking. Recall supporters never officially started the recall process.
Carrillo was first elected to the Board of Supervisors, representing District 5, in 2008. He was re-elected for a second four-year term in 2012. In April 2014, he was acquitted of all charges. The recall effort ultimately did not go to a vote, despite the fact that Carrillo refused to step down.
In mid-July 2013, Carrillo was arrested in Santa Rosa on suspicion of prowling and burglary. A woman called 911 when she was awakened by rustling blinds as someone tried to climb through the window. She called 911 a second time when a man claiming to be a neighbor knocked on her door and then fled. Police found that the screen on the woman's window had been torn. Carrillo was found nearby the woman's home in just his socks and underwear and failed to provide police with a reasonable explanation for his actions.
Aftermath of arrest
There was some indication alcohol was involved in the incident. Carrillo reportedly checked into an alcohol abuse treatment facility shortly after posting bail for the arrest and then returned to work on the board. Had prosecutors pursued a felony charge and Carrillo been found guilty, he would have been removed from office under California state law. However, legal experts speculated state prosecutors had a weak case for such charges. Legal proceedings in the case were on hold until October 11, 2013. After the case once again resumed, prosecutors ultimately concluded there was not enough evidence to warrant a felony charge, and Carrillo was charged with a single count of misdemeanor peeking in November 2013.
A jury of 12 Sonoma County residents acquitted Carrillo of all charges. The verdict renewed calls for either his resignation or launching a recall effort. Laura Gonzalez, a two-term member of the Santa Rosa School Board, said in response to the verdict, "He is an embarrassment to the county. He should resign and if he doesn't, there should be a recall. This man is a train wreck."
After the arrest, several groups came forward with discussions of recall. North Bay Labor Council and the Sonoma, Lake & Mendocino Building and Construction Trades Council had jointly called for Carrillo's resignation in August, and the North Bay Labor Council said it would consider a recall effort in late September, though no effort materialized. Another group, the Coalition for Grassroots Progress, stated they would initiate a recall if Carrillo did not resign by September 15, however, such an effort has was never started. Carrillo indicated he had no plans to give up his seat.
Carrillo declined to respond to the calls for recall, stating, "My focus is on the work before me. That's what my focus has been and will continue to be." He further stated, "I was elected by the voters of the 5th District. Until they tell me otherwise, I'm not resigning."
Path to the ballot
- See also: Laws governing recall in California
The recall process would have begun, officially, had recall supporters served a notice of intent to recall to Carrillo in accordance with state recall law. Carrillo's court date was moved from February 28, 2014 to March 7, 2014 amidst discussion of a possible plea bargain. He was acquitted of all charges. Had he been convicted, he would have faced up to six months in prison.
- Recall campaigns in California
- County commission recalls
- Political recall efforts, 2014
- Political recall efforts, 2013
- The Press Democrat, "Groups considering recall of Supervisor Efren Carrillo," August 31, 2013
- The Press Democrat, "Supervisor Efren Carrillo's critics renew call for resignation; supervisor says he's staying," September 10, 2013
- Sonoma County, "5th District," accessed September 11, 2013
- The Press Democrat, "Political allies, critics react to Efren Carrillo verdict," April 28, 2014
- The Press Democrat, "Efren Carrillo's return to work exposes challenges," May 8, 2014
- The Press Democrat, "More time allowed in Efren Carrillo peeking case," January 17, 2014