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Thursday, March 15, 2012

[CA] Sheriff Mirkarimi plea bargain lets him keep his gun. San Francisco has to decide if he can keep his job.

Photo Credit: Joseph Schell/Special to the SF Examiner

...Monday, [San Francisco Sheriff Ross] Mirkarimi pleaded guilty to false imprisonment. The more serious domestic violence charges of battery, child endangerment and dissuading a witness were dropped... Public Defender Jeff Adachi summed up the deal as: "The district attorney gave in by not insisting that the sheriff plea to a domestic violence charge. At the same time, the district attorney got the sheriff to agree to one year of domestic violence counseling"... If convicted of domestic violence battery, the sheriff would not be able to carry a gun at all...  "It's difficult for me to understand how he's going to be able to do his job as sheriff. He's incarcerating people who are in jail for the same crime that he pled guilty to"... 

It is up to Mayor Lee whether to bring misconduct charges against the sheriff, which would then proceed to the Board of Supervisors - the board Mirkarimi was a member of for years before becoming sheriff - for a vote on whether to bump him out of his job. But San Francisco is refreshingly a city of lifted voices, and come July there is also the option of recall. In the end, the people of San Francisco will make the decision if the politically confused system of it's city's leadership does not. "If this, then that" seems to be what the leaders and board are wrestling with in advance, like a game of chess. In the simplest terms the question appears to me to be whether a man who avoided facing the real charges, and pleading down to a yet serious (domestic) charge, should be head of the city's law enforcement. In that I see no "maybe."

Eliana Lopez wants her life back, her husband as sheriff, and to have her family together again. All of us who believe that the sheriff of San Francisco should not be someone who abuses his wife find ourselves having to ignore every word Eliana wants us all to hear. I stand with those who believe that the sheriff's actions and initial denials make him unsuitable for the position while at the same time feeling the wrenched heart of a woman who wants to be able to choose her own risks in hopes of her family's healing.

To Eliana, I am sorry for the way this has disempowered  you. Sometimes in the battle between accountability and what the victim wants, one is accomplished at the cost of the other. I hope that you understand that what is happening is not aimed at any of you. It's not intended to save you when you are saying that you do not need to be saved. It's about who should fill the position, effectively. It's about the city and the profession.

..."This is unbelievable,” she said. “As I said before, I don’t have any complaint against my husband. We are together and we are fighting. We are going to fight this. This is my family. My husband and my son. This is unbelievable. This is completely wrong"... 

Prayers are lifted for you individually, and for your family.

San Francisco Chronicle
Debra J. Saunders
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
[Excerpts] Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi agreed to a plea bargain on a misdemeanor domestic violence and two related charges... The district attorney dropped the three original charges; Mirkarimi pleaded guilty to misdemeanor false imprisonment... Mirkarimi should tell San Francisco voters what happened. Public Defender Jeff Adachi summed up the deal as: "The district attorney gave in by not insisting that the sheriff plea to a domestic violence charge. At the same time, the district attorney got the sheriff to agree to one year of domestic violence counseling." (Hence the sheriff should be able to carry a gun.) Is it a good deal for the city? I don't think voters will know until Mirkarimi levels with the public. Defense attorney Lidia Stiglich tells me he will do so after Monday's sentencing... Optimists might call the outcome a win-win situation. Mirkarimi agrees to counseling without being weighed down with the professional baggage of a domestic violence conviction. I'm not so sure. Pre-trial testimony got pretty ugly. An ex-girlfriend accused the sheriff of grabbing and bruising her arm four years ago - which allowed experts to label Mirkarimi as a repeat offender... Now that Mirkarimi has pleaded guilty, after saying he wasn't, there's still no context to the story. It's time the sheriff shared what happened with the people of San Francisco...

By: Sandy Lopez & Jamie Goldberg
March 13, 2012 – 11:40 am
[Excerpts] Mission residents have little sympathy for San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, whose domestic violence case ended Monday with an agreement in which the sheriff pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of false imprisonment. In exchange, San Francisco prosecutors dropped a domestic violence charge and two other misdemeanor counts that were filed in January. The charges stemmed from a New Year’s Eve dispute between Mirkarimi and his wife, Eliana Lopez. Lopez declined to cooperate with prosecutors... “This case represents everything that is wrong with the criminal justice system,” said Page Thady, a 30-year-old Mission District resident. “We are creating a culture of victim-blaming.” Although Lopez declined to press charges, Ivory Madison, a neighbor, videotaped Lopez after the alleged abuse occurred... “This reinforces that it’s OK for men in power to abuse women,” said Tara Dorabji as she sat in Mission Creek Café. “His wife’s silence speaks really loudly to so many women who live in fear... It seems like there is a lot of threatening on his behalf because he has such power. A better investigation needs to be held.” The guilty plea does not disqualify Mirkarimi from retaining his job... “I think that’s pretty hypocritical for him to act like some kind of role model,” said Vanessa Bachik... “If he stays on as sheriff, how is anybody going to trust him?”... Mission residents said they could no longer trust the sherriff. Mirkarimi has lost his credibility, said Noe Bonilla... “I’m not a judge and I don’t completely understand how this system works, but I don’t trust him anymore... I think he needs to be held accountable. If he refuses to step down, then the mayor should take action”...

San Francisco Chronicle
Rachel Gordon
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
[Excerpts] Advocates for domestic violence victims, who worked hard to shape public opinion surrounding the Ross Mirkarimi saga and keep it in the spotlight, were satisfied with the outcome of his criminal case... "The justice system did its job," said Kathy Black, executive director of La Casa de las Madres, which aids abuse victims... "In the best-case scenario, I think (Mirkarimi) should step down," Black said. "It's difficult for me to understand how he's going to be able to do his job as sheriff. He's incarcerating people who are in jail for the same crime that he pled guilty to"... Michael Hennessey, who retired in January as San Francisco sheriff after 32 years in office and endorsed Mirkarimi to succeed him, doesn't think a forced ouster is warranted. "My opinion is that he should remain in the job and be given a chance to show what he can do with the office. I think he's being punished accordingly by the justice system... During my time as sheriff, I hired many people with criminal records who have done outstanding jobs for the department," Hennessey said... But not everyone thinks that should be the deciding factor. "The main function of the Sheriff's Department is to oversee the jails, and here's someone who pled to false imprisonment," said Minouche Kandel, an attorney with Bay Area Legal Aid who specializes in domestic violence issues... Even if Mirkarimi didn't admit he committed domestic violence, the false imprisonment charge is related, she said. "It was an improper use of power and control. I think it's a black eye on the city if he remains in office"...

By: Dan Schreiber
SF Examiner Staff Writer
03/13/12 7:15 PM
[Excerpts] ...Under the City Charter’s “official misconduct” clause, the mayor may seek the ouster of officials who display “conduct that falls below the standard of decency, good faith and right action impliedly required of all public officers.” But the question of removal will likely hinge on whether Mirkarimi’s crime was related to his job... Under the charter, a mayor may suspend an official but for the removal to be binding it must be upheld by nine of 11 members of the Board of Supervisors - THE PANEL MIRKARIMI SERVED ON FOR EIGHT YEARS BEFORE BEING ELECTED SHERIFF. A case from 1976 set the basic precedent for Mirkarimi’s situation, according to City Attorney’s Office spokesman Jack Song. In that year, Mayor George Moscone suspended labor leader Joe Mazzola from The City’s Airport Commission, and his removal was later upheld by 10 of 11 supervisors. But Mazzola won reinstatement from the Court of Appeals, which ruled that his suspension had nothing to do with his official duties... Lee told The San Francisco Chronicle on Monday that his “gut feeling” was that the new charge pointed to a clear job conflict for Mirkarimi, whereas the previous three charges didn’t necessarily constitute “official misconduct.” But the mayor backed off those comments Tuesday, and said he was reacting to the case’s “new twist.” Now, Lee says he’s seeking more detail from prosecutors about the nature of the false imprisonment, which he said could pose a conflict, considering the sheriff’s primary role is overseeing inmates in local jails...

by Carolyn Tyler and Vic Lee
Monday, March 12, 201
[Excerpts] In a surprise move, San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi announced a plea deal that erases a domestic violence charge and allows him to return to his duties as sheriff. Monday's development came on the day jurors would have been selected to hear the case. Instead, the sheriff pleaded guilty to false imprisonment... Monday, Mirkarimi pleaded guilty to false imprisonment. The more serious domestic violence charges of battery, child endangerment and dissuading a witness were dropped. He will get three years probation, 100 hours of community service, and 52 weeks of domestic violence counseling and parenting classes... Since Mirkarimi was convicted of the lesser charge, he will not have to turn over his gun. But the previous court order banning him from staying with his wife but allowing supervised visits with his young son remains in place. Mirkarimi says he will try to get the order lifted after he is sentenced. Still at question is what the plea deal means for Mirkarimi's future. Monday afternoon, Mayor Ed Lee indicated he is troubled by the surprising guilty plea to a charge of false imprisonment. The city was expecting a trial on the domestic abuse charges, now the mayor says he is reviewing his options but isn't likely to make a decision on whether to try to force the sheriff from office until after Mirkarimi's sentencing next week. Lee has the option of suspending Mirkarimi as the first step toward trying to kick him out of office. The city charter allows removal for official misconduct, described as any wrongful behavior by a public officer in relation to the duties of his or her office or conduct that falls below the standard of decency. Mirkarimi says he plans to move forward... The head of the Deputy Sheriff's Association sent ABC7 statement late Monday afternoon, saying the rank and file stands behind their chief law enforcement officer and will continue to follow Mirkarimi's lead.

San Franciso Bay Guardian
Tim Redmond
[Excerpts] Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi didn’t want to cop a plea... It may seem an odd plea for a sheriff, but it was a way to get rid of the more serious charges. A domestic violence conviction would seriously interfere with Mirkarimi’s job - among other things, nobody with a DV rap can possess a gun - not that the sheriff of San Francisco needs to carry a gun, but in the law-enforcement world, domestic violence is (properly) taken very seriously... Can the progressive community accept and once again support a sheriff who has all of this baggage? Is there anything Mirkarimi can do to convince his allies and the voters that either (a) the charges were overblown or (b) he’s learned from this, is going into counseling, is a changed person, and can seek political redemption?...

...Mirkarimi denied to reporters that he had ever physically or verbally abused his wife, calling the New Year’s Eve incident “a private manner, a family matter"... 

..."It most certainly is not [a private matter]," wrote San Francisco Examiner columnist Melissa Griffin. "And shame on Mirkarimi for saying so... Public safety officials, whose salaries are paid with our taxes, have even less of a right to claim privacy when their neighbors call the cops"... 

...The billboard is also a way to confront the "deafening silence" from City Hall in response to that archaic way of thinking, said Kathy Black, director of La Casa de las Madres... "When those comments were made, I feel like the city and city officials should have stepped right up and said, 'No, that's not correct. It's a crime'..."

San Franciso Bay Guardian
Tim Redmond
03.14.2012 - 2:00 pm
[Excerpts] Everything I've written on the Mirkarimi case has attracted sizable volumes of comments... Some advocates for victims of domestic violence are satisfied with the outcome of the case, and some are not. Former Sheriff Mike Hennessey told the Chron that Mirkarimi should stay in office... If Mirkarimi remains in office, he won't be the only public official in the law-enforcement business who was charged with domestic violence and pled to a lesser offense but kept his job.... The chair of San Francisco NOW [Mona Lisa Wallace] thinks none of that is OK -- she thinks the city needs to adopt a zero-tolerance policy for law-enforcement officers who are convicted of a broadly defined set of domestic violence offenses (and Sheriff Mirkarimi, she argues, would fall under those guidelines). I'm posting the opinion piece she sent me below to keep the discussion going... "When the new sheriff in town, Ross Mirkarimi, pled guilty Monday to misdemeanor false imprisonment (in exchange for prosecutors dropping three other charges), it begged a bigger question: Should Mirkarimi keep his office?... San Francisco NOW believes we need to hold ourselves to the highest standards in preventing domestic violence, which affects one in four women in their lifetimes... Actions have consequences... Mirkarimi committed what the model policy defines as domestic violence, so he should lose his job and his pension. That’s what zero tolerance means. It should not matter that he has friends in high places. It should not matter that he needs the sheriff’s salary and pension. People who uphold the law against domestic violence need to be beyond reproach. Mirkarimi is not. SFNOW is disturbed by the national resurgence of a “war on women” apparent in the current presidential primary elections and congressional hearings working to roll back women’s rights through legislation. We have joined “Unite Against the War on Women,” a movement now 20,000 strong who will march on every state capitol on April 28th to say enough is enough. Join us at: uniteCalifornia@gmail.com We sincerely hope that San Francisco rises to take a strong position opposing the war on women. The city’s sheriff’s and police departments should immediately adopt the model policy on domestic violence by police officers, and quickly apply the zero tolerance standards to our top law enforcement officers.

GOOD ROSS, BAD ROSS: How did Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi—feminist pinup, legislative superstar, hero of San Francisco’s political left—fall so far so fast? Lauren Smiley unravels the story behind the story.
SanFrancisco Magazine
Lauren Smiley
March 13, 2012
[Excerpts] Ross Mirkarimi stood outside the courtroom in the Hall of Justice on the morning of March 12, surrounded by reporters, as he had been almost constantly over the previous two months... “This plea allows us to move forward... I intend to return to the business of running one of the finest sheriff’s departments in this nation, of mending my family and raising my son, Theo, in a safe and happy home.” Never mind that the deal meant pleading guilty to one count of misdemeanor false imprisonment, an ironic charge for a sheriff to live down. Mirkarimi would be able to keep his gun and the job he was elected to in November, assuming Mayor Ed Lee and Mirkarimi’s former colleagues on the board didn’t try to push him out... The truth was, Mirkarimi had been bullying people behind the scenes for years before he quarreled with his wife this past New Year’s Eve. The difference this time was that he left a bruise... From the outside, the relationship seemed happy. López called Mirkarimi her “copilot” on her Spanish-language mommy blog, Maminatural, and posted photos of him assisting in Theo’s home birth. “I worship the ground that [Theo] and his mother walk on,” Mirkarimi writes... López is diminutive in stature, but she has a big personality. “I am not the little poor ignorant immigrant,” she lectured the judge who approved the restraining order against her husband... Mirkarimi had booked a family trip to Monterey for a couple of nights before his swearing in. But before they could enjoy their long-overdue vacation, everything fell apart. While the family was driving to lunch on New Year’s Eve, López told him that she was thinking of visiting Venezuela after the inauguration, apparently with Theo in tow... If we are to believe the story relayed by Ivory Madison from López to the police, Mirkarimi lost it, spewing expletives and accusing his wife of trying to take Theo away from him, then turned the car around. Back at the house on Webster Street, the fight allegedly turned physical. Mirkarimi was “pushing, pulling, and grabbing,” according to Madison’s statements to police. López ran out of the house, threatening to call the cops. Faced with such an embarrassing spectacle, the yelling wife and crying kid, Mirkarimi caved, pleading for López to come back inside. But the next day, while Mirkarimi was in the shower, she walked over to Madison’s house and agreed to make a tape in case there should someday be a custody battle... Though no one in city hall had seen Mirkarimi get violent before, no one seemed surprised by his outburst. So why didn’t word of his temper become public sooner? “He’s the guy who wanted to change the world,” says one former supporter, adding that Mirkarimi may have been a jerk, but “he’s our jerk.” There’s also the political code of silence: Aides don’t want to be known as someone who will betray their boss. Along with the schadenfreude and genuine sadness for Mirkarimi’s family (and whispers about whether his bitter history with law enforcement had come back to haunt him), some feel vindication—even relief. “It’s going to force him into therapy,” says an ex-supporter, “something he refused to do”... Beyond the court’s sanctions are the ones Mirkarimi will surely impose on himself. In his email, he finally started to admit his flaws. “At times I know that my insistence rubbed people the wrong way. I get it now,” he wrote... "I will spend the rest of my life trying to become a better man, husband and father"...


Huffington Post
First Posted: 1/12/12 
[Excerpts] A coalition of anti-domestic violence advocates gathered on the steps of City Hall Thursday to demand the resignation of newly sworn-in San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi. The San Francisco Domestic Violence Consortium's demonstration came in the wake of troubling allegations that Mirkarimi, a longtime city supervisor, bruised his wife during an altercation on New Year's Eve... "We cannot have elected officials who are under investigation," Sharon Johnson, former executive director of the San Francisco Commission on the Status of Women, told CBS News. "These are very serious allegations"... Curiously, [Mirkarimi's wife, Eliana] Lopez previously drew flack for claiming the allegations against her husband were "taken out of context" and that she had no complaints against him. She has refused to cooperate with the investigation... The Domestic Violence Consortium joins a growing group of individuals and organizations who believe the new sheriff should step aside. Katherine Feinstein, the San Francisco judge slated to administer Mirkarimi's swearing in ceremony this past weekend, even declined to do so after the accusations surfaced. For his part, Mirkarimi has dismissed the allegations, denying the abuse and calling his behavior "a private matter... "It most certainly is not [a private matter]," wrote San Francisco Examiner columnist Melissa Griffin. "And shame on Mirkarimi for saying so... Public safety officials, whose salaries are paid with our taxes, have even less of a right to claim privacy when their neighbors call the cops"... District Attorney George Gascon said he is still debating whether he will formally file charges... 

By: Ari Burack 
SF Examiner Staff Writer
01/13/12 7:03 PM
[Excerpts] The San Francisco District Attorney claims the New Year's Eve domestic violence incident at Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi's house was not an isolated incident. “We have information that there might have been other incidents,” District Attorney George Gascón said during a press conference Friday afternoon announcing the three misdemeanor charges in connection with the New Year's Eve disturbance involving his wife, Eliana Lopez... Mirkarimi left City Hall on Friday afternoon to be booked into a jail facility he oversees as sheriff. He vowed to fight the charges of domestic violence battery, child endangerment and dissuading a witness. Bail was set at $35,000... An emergency protective order was issued requiring Mirkarimi to stay away from his wife and son... Lopez, as she has before, defended her husband Friday as they left City Hall holding hands. "This is unbelievable,” she said. “As I said before, I don’t have any complaint against my husband. We are together and we are fighting. We are going to fight this. This is my family. My husband and my son. This is unbelievable. This is completely wrong"... Lopez has retained her own attorney,... Following his public inauguration as sheriff last Sunday, Mirkarimi denied to reporters that he had ever physically or verbally abused his wife, calling the New Year’s Eve incident “a private manner, a family matter... I trust in the system, and we have to let the system sort this out,” Mirkarimi said at the time. But he also intimated that “there are forces at work that want to stop me from becoming sheriff.” Lopez told reporters that day that the incident was “completely taken out of context”... 

Letters to the editor
San Francisco Chronicle
Friday, January 13, 2012
[Excerpt] The attorney for Ross Mirkarimi is quoted as saying that Mirkarimi's spouse "never wanted to go to the police" and that "the neighbor stepping in and reporting it was out of line." ("Cloud hangs over Mirkarimi," Jan. 7) This rationale is shocking and mind-boggling. Since when are allegations of domestic abuse something to be kept within the family and not reported to authorities?... 

San Francisco Examiner
By: Joshua Sabatini 
01/14/12 5:43 PM
[Excerpts] ...Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi has promised to arrive at work Tuesday, despite a possible criminal court arraignment for three misdemeanor charges connected to an alleged domestic violence incident at his home on New Year’s Eve... On Thursday, anti-domestic violence advocates stood on the steps of City Hall demanding he step down. It was the beginning of what could become a public campaign to force Mirkarimi to step aside... Another possibility is a recall effort initiated through a signature-gathering campaign... Mayor Ed Lee also has the power to suspend the sheriff under the City Charter for “official misconduct”... David Latterman, a political analyst at the Leo McCarthy Center at the University of San Francisco, said, “There are three options and two are not good” for Mirkarimi — fighting the charges and being found guilty or pleading a no- contest — and he would “muddle along under a cloud of suspicion... The only way Mirkarimi finishes his term out is innocence”... 

ABCNews, Associated Press
By Terry Collins 
January 14, 2012 
[Excerpts] San Francisco's new sheriff is vowing to fight domestic violence and other misdemeanor charges... Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi faces one count each of domestic violence battery, child endangerment and dissuading a witness, San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon said Friday... Gascon said the basis for the child endangerment charge was that the couple's son saw the alleged incident occur. Gascon declined to explain the allegation that Mirkarimi influenced a witness. "While I do not relish having to bring charges against a San Francisco elected official, I have taken an oath to uphold the laws of the state of California," Gascon said. "Whether this was the elected sheriff or any other San Francisco resident, this type of behavior is inexcusable, criminal and will be prosecuted"... His wife spoke briefly but with emotion. "This is unbelievable," she said. "I don't have any complaint against my husband. This is unbelievable"... Days after the alleged dispute, Mirkarimi was sworn in as San Francisco sheriff, but a judge had declined to perform the ceremony to avoid a potential conflict if Mirkarimi were charged. Mirkarimi appeared at the ceremony with his wife and son. Asked about the incident, he called it a "private matter, a family matter." But the case prompted newspaper commentary and protests by anti-domestic violence groups. A coalition of them on Thursday urged Mirkarimi to take a leave from his post until the case is resolved... 

San Francisco Chronicle
Rachel Gordon,John Coté, Chronicle Staff Writers
Saturday, January 14, 2012
[Excerpts] ...District Attorney George Gascón on Friday charged [San Francisco Sheriff Ross] Mirkarimi with domestic violence battery of his wife, child endangerment and dissuading a witness in connection with an incident that prosecutors believe happened on New Year's Eve... Prosecutors also obtained an emergency restraining order that prevents Mirkarimi from seeing his wife and young son or returning to their Western Addition home. But before the stay-away order went into effect, Mirkarimi's wife, Eliana Lopez, stood by her husband's side and proclaimed his innocence. "I don't have any complaint against my husband. We are together and we are fighting. We are going to fight this. This is my family, my husband and my son. This is unbelievable and this is completely wrong," she said... The neighbor said she had a video and cell phone photo of the bruising and text messages from Lopez about the episode. Police, armed with a search warrant, seized the photo, video and texts as evidence... 

San Francisco Chronicle
David R. Baker, Chronicle Staff Writer
Sunday, January 15, 2012
[Excerpts] Former San Francisco officials have some advice for City Hall regarding Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi: Hands off... "We want to make sure that there is an unbiased, fair judicial process - not a political process," said former Mayor Art Agnos, who conducted Mirkarimi's swearing-in ceremony last Sunday. "I think everybody needs to step back from all the attention this is getting and let the judicial system do its job. Let the D.A. make his case, and let Mr. Mirkarimi and his wife make their case." Former Supervisor Aaron Peskin agreed. The board should not take any action regarding Mirkarimi before the criminal case has run its course, he said. "It would be entirely premature," Peskin said. "It would not only be political, but it could interfere with the criminal justice process".. Prosecutors obtained an emergency restraining order that keeps Mirkarimi from seeing his wife or young son. That tends to be standard procedure in misdemeanor domestic violence cases, said Minouche Kandel, staff attorney with Bay Area Legal Aid. But prosecutors don't always seek stay-away orders in cases such as this, in which the alleged victim insists no violence has occurred. "It's very complicated, because you want to respect the wishes of the victim," Kandel said. "It's difficult to know, when the victim says she still wants to live with someone, whether there's intimidation going on." 

SF Examiner
01/17/12 3:49 PM
[Excerpts] ...The New Year’s Eve incident was reported to police by a female neighbor of Mirkarimi, Ivory Madison, who said [Eliana] Lopez spoke to her about it the following day... Madison came forward to police three days later, saying Lopez had told her she had been a victim of domestic violence but had been “hesitant to report the incident to the police due to Mr. Mirkarimi’s position in San Francisco government” Lopez had a bruise on her upper right arm from where Mirkarimi had grabbed her, Madison told police... District Attorney George Gascón has indicated this may not be an isolated incident. “We have information that there might have been other incidents,” Gascón said Friday.... 

Carolyn Tyler 
Monday, January 23, 2012
[Excerpts] San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi is scheduled to go on trial for domestic violence on Feb. 24. Now there could be an unexpected witness: a former girlfriend who is willing to testify to abuse she says she suffered at his hands... A former girlfriend, whom ABC7 is choosing not to identify, filed a police report Sunday and told ABC7 she "wanted to show this is part of a pattern" of behavior by Mirkarimi. She says they dated from 2007- 2008 and said in one incident, "He pushed me up against a wall, grabbing my arm and yelling. He caused a bruise that he apologized for"... Mirkarimi heads back to court on Thursday to try to get the order to stay away from his family lifted. Last week a judge issued a restraining order to keep him away from his wife and 2-year-old son until the trial is over. 

San Francisco Chronicle Staff Writer
Rachel Gordon,
Monday, January 23, 2012
[Excerpts] One of San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi's chief responsibilities is to hold his subordinates accountable for misconduct. But facing three criminal charges involving domestic violence, his effectiveness in that role has been called into question by criminal justice experts... "If he is currently under investigation, he should step aside on disciplinary actions while there's a cloud over him," said law enforcement accountability expert Sam Walker, professor emeritus of criminal justice at the University of Nebraska... Between now and the trial, added Paul Fitzgerald, president of the National Sheriffs' Association, it will be hard for Mirkarimi as the Sheriff's Department's chief disciplinarian to sow an environment of accountability, even if he is innocent until proved guilty. "With that kind of taint hanging over him, it's going to be difficult," Fitzgerald said... Mirkarimi, a former member of the Board of Supervisors who did not receive the backing of the San Francisco Deputy Sheriffs' Association or the city's police union in his campaign, said his independence from those special interests would serve the department and public well in assuring a fair approach in handling misconduct cases... What constitutes misconduct is laid out in the department's set of employee rules and regulations... On Friday, Mayor Ed Lee, who has the authority to suspend him, questioned whether the sheriff could proficiently perform his job given the seriousness of the charges he faces... The Sheriff's Department, with about 850 sworn personnel and another 100 or so civilian employees, runs the jails, provides protection at City Hall and local courts, carries out court-ordered evictions and assists in some Police Department actions... 

SF Weekly
By Joe Eskenazi 
Wed., Jan. 25 2012 at 1:15 PM
[Excerpts] Until this point, this paper - and, we assume, others - did not publish stories about Ross Mirkarimi's well-known temper and lengthy history of loudly berating City Hall staffers. To do so while the sheriff is facing domestic violence charges could be construed as prejudicial; a propensity to yell at less powerful colleagues does not make one a batterer. But when Mirkarimi's own lawyer refers to him as "a bit of a tyrant" - an interesting legal maneuver, to say the least - it necessitates an explanation... Former colleagues told SF Weekly that they could hear Mirkarimi through the thin walls, berating staffers either on the phone or in person. This was regular behavior. For years. Mirkarimi's former colleagues on the board declined to be named in this story... When Mirkarimi berated his staff, it appeared he didn't care who knew about it... Mirkarimi's former colleagues described him as "a screamer"... Mirkarimi picked up a reputation for "berating people who were weak" - and doing so behind closed doors... 

Carolyn Tyler, Leslie Brinkley
Thursday, January 26, 2012
[Excerpts] When San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi walks into court Thursday, attorney Bob Waggener will not be by his side. Waggener tells ABC7 he is no longer on the case. Instead, Lydia Stiglich will now represent the Mirkarimi. Stiglich has had other high profile defendants... Mirkarimi, who's been a vocal gun control advocate, was forced to surrender three handguns he owns according to court documents - a SIG SAUER, a Beretta and a Smith & Wesson. If convicted of domestic violence battery, the sheriff would not be able to carry a gun at all. 

Phillip Matier, Andrew Ross
Monday, January 30, 2012
[Excerpts] Here comes the sheriff: San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi hitched a ride with an on-duty sheriff's deputy to his court appearance Thursday... Mirkarimi was allowed to come into the building through a back door, and waited in a back room until being called. No fewer than seven deputies stood inside the courtroom for Mirkarimi's appearance in the misdemeanor case - more than were on hand at the nearby trial for triple-murder defendant Edwin Ramos... 

Rachel Gordon
Jan 30 at 5:34 pm
[Excerpts] Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, who has been charged with misdemeanor domestic violence, kept his wife [Eliana Lopez] “isolated” in their home for 18 hours to prevent her from talking to police after he allegedly abused her physically, the prosecution asserts in a new motion filed today with the court... Lopez has not cooperated with authorities, and has made repeated public statements that her husband did not abuse her... The prosecution then sets out its theory: The couple and their son remained at home, and not until Mirkarimi got into the shower 18 hours later did she have an opportunity to get away and went next door to speak to Madison. Until that time, the motion states, “He kept her silent, kept her from telling anyone, and kept her behind closed doors.” Stiglich, Mirkarimi’s attorney, called the theory “just absurd.”

San Francisco Chronicle
Heather Knight
Sunday, February 12, 2012
[Excerpts] The new billboard that will be seen starting Wednesday near the Hall of Justice reading "Domestic Violence is NEVER a private matter" is an obvious dig at Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi. Last month Mirkarimi said that the domestic violence he allegedly committed against his wife is "a private matter, a family matter." But the billboard is also a way to confront the "deafening silence" from City Hall in response to that archaic way of thinking, said Kathy Black, director of La Casa de las Madres, a domestic violence shelter that is fundraising for the billboard. "When those comments were made, I feel like the city and city officials should have stepped right up and said, 'No, that's not correct. It's a crime,' " she said. "If the last message people hear is the sheriff saying it's a private matter, why report it? How can you encourage safety for women and children who are victims of domestic violence if they don't understand it's a crime?" Black said the sheriff's case "could have been a big teaching moment." Instead? Crickets... Emberly Cross, coordinating attorney for the Cooperative Restraining Order Clinic, which helps domestic violence victims obtain restraining orders against their abusers, said she has been disappointed by City Hall's collective shrug about the cavalier attitude Mirkarimi has displayed since the allegations surfaced. "I am shocked that somebody can make a comment that domestic violence is a private, family matter and not have there be an uproar from all of our elected politicians," she said. "This is 2012, not 1972." City officials say they're keeping mum because of advice from the city attorney's office... Beverly Upton, president of the San Francisco Domestic Violence Consortium, said there's a difference between commenting on a legal case and speaking out against the notion that domestic violence is a private matter. Upton led a group of advocates who asked Lee to use his "moral authority" to usher Mirkarimi out of office. "He asked the sheriff to consider stepping down and again, all he has to do is say no and everybody goes away," she said. "Well, we're not going away"... 

By Erin Browner 
Fri., Feb. 17 2012 
[Excerpts] Activists use a billboard to correct Mirkarimi's point of view on domestic violence You might notice a new billboard on the corner of Harrison and 10th streets during your commute today - you may even recognize a face on it. A local domestic violence group unveiled its new Ross Mirkarimi-inspired billboard Thursday afternoon, which references Sheriff Mirkarimi's disturbing quote in response to his own domestic violence allegations. The billboard says: "Domestic Violence is NEVER private matter," and is there to remind commuters passing by Harrison Street that there is help for victims of domestic violence. More than 50 people attended the unveiling of the new billboard - which cost $4,000, paid for by community donations - some chanting "si se puede" ("yes we can"). Members of La Casa De Las Madres and others in the community published their photos on the billboard... Activists are gladly using Mirkarimi's infamous quote when he claimed claims he physically abused his wife, Eliana Lopez, was a "private matter, a family matter" to make their case that "domestic violence is a community and health matter"... 
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