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Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Ron Del Pozzo put an end to months of speculation and unofficial campaigning when he announced on Monday a leave of absence to run for district attorney next year. The announcement did not come as a surprise to many in the South Bay legal community. Some have complained that Del Pozzo has been actively campaigning for months, despite the fact that sitting judges are not legally allowed to do so. Del Pozzo, however, disputed this on Monday, saying he and his wife are actively involved members of the community who enjoy meeting new people in their neighborhood. “We support a lot of nonprofits and the arts,” Del Pozzo, 51, said. If elected DA next year, Del Pozzo said, he would encourage his deputies to get out into the community more often. Del Pozzo joins Chief Assistant DA Karyn Sinunu and Assistant DA Marc Buller in the county’s first DA race in 16 years. “I have long expected that Ron would be a candidate,” said Sinunu, who has the endorsement of retiring DA George Kennedy. Sinunu said she expects the race to be a “fair” one, adding that, “I look forward to the competition.” Del Pozzo, a 12-year prosecutor in the DA’s career criminal unit who won a seat on the bench in 2002, agreed with Sinunu, saying he doesn’t intend to run a smear campaign against any of his opponents. Del Pozzo, a native of Ohio, spent seven years in the corporate world before deciding to go to law school. He graduated from Golden Gate University School of Law when he was 31 and was admitted to the State Bar in 1990. Kennedy said he wasn’t surprised with Del Pozzo’s decision to run. “Everyone knows he’s been running for quite some time,” he said. Asked what kind of DA Del Pozzo would make, Kennedy declined to publicly comment, suggesting the same question should be posed to sitting judges. Santa Clara Judge Edward Lee said he wishes Del Pozzo the best, noting that it is probably the “safest” answer to give. Lee, who was once considered a serious contender for the DA’s race, said he is now leaning toward not running. “I think there are too many judges [running] already,” Lee said. In addition to Del Pozzo, Judge Dolores Carr has said she is considering a bid for DA. Carr, who could not be reached for comment on Monday, has not yet announced her intentions. Del Pozzo, who will go unpaid during his leave of absence, said the judges he spoke with only expressed encouragement. During the 2002 judge race, when he spent $100,000 on his campaign, Del Pozzo received broad-based support from county Sheriff Laurie Smith, law enforcement agencies, labor immigrant communities and local politicians. Del Pozzo said his decision to run came on Friday, his 10th wedding anniversary. The judge said he took his wife, Corina, out to lunch and asked her what he should do. He said she looked him straight in the eye and said, “Let’s do it.” Del Pozzo then told Santa Clara Presiding Judge Alden Danner on Friday afternoon that he was taking a leave of absence to concentrate full time on the DA race.

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