Editorial: The Mirkarimi case is an abomination

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Editor's note: And so the man who became interim  mayor on a false pretext and then lied his way through an election for a full term amid a sleazy mass of campaign irregularities and violations, has suspended Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi without pay and is now using the full power of the city attorney's office to continue the Mirkarimi crucifixion. Without pay? The usual City Hall/cop practice is to suspend or put a city official on administrative leave with pay. Even Willie Brown, former mayor, Chronicle columnist and PG@ES lobbyist, says Mirkarimi should not have been suspended without pay. B3

EDITORIAL There's only one way to say this: The official misconduct case against Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi has become a one-sided star-chamber proceeding that violates all the basic rules of fairness, decency, and due process.

Over the past few weeks, Mayor Ed Lee, acting through the City Attorney's Office, has been collecting evidence and issuing subpoenas to force witnesses (including some who have only a peripheral involvement in the matter) to give testimony. The mayor is acting as if he's prosecuting a murder case instead of conducting a hearing on whether an elected official should be thrown out of office for a misdemeanor.

And Mirkarimi and his lawyers have absolutely no ability to respond.

That's right: The mayor and the city attorney have subpoena power. The defense in this case doesn't.

If this were a criminal proceeding, in a real court, Mirkarimi would have the same ability to compel testimony as the mayor. And under the rules of discovery, he'd have the right to see all of the evidence compiled against him.

But because this in front of an Ethics Commission that hasn't even adopted evidentiary rules, one side has all the rights, and the other side has none. That puts Mirkarimi at a terribly unfair disadvantage. You can argue all day about Mirkarimi's conduct, but people charged with the worst horrific crimes have more legal protections than he does.

The Ethics Commission needs to immediately adopt rules that level the playing field — and the city attorney should insist on it. If there are going to be witnesses — and clearly the mayor is planning to present them — then Mirkarimi's lawyers must be allowed to review those statements in advance, as they would in any trial. All evidence against the sheriff should be turned over to the defense, well in advance of the hearing. Until that happens, the mayor and the city attorney should put the inquiry on hold.

Because right now, the process is an abomination.

Comments

Yes! It is an abomination. What can we do about it? What should we do about it? Who'll take the lead? Not the Chronicle, obviously, which promulgated the prosecution with one-sided, damning stories that treated--and still treat--allegations as "evidence." This is not rhetorical: As someone who has watched helplessly, I'd like to know what can be done. Take the lead, SFBG, and thank you.

Posted by Guest on May. 08, 2012 @ 1:44 pm

a coherent political campaign. Anyway, he's too busy counting his money from his lush real estate deal.

But by way of education for Bruce, this is not a court process and so isn't subject to the the rules of civil procedure. It's an ethics investigation and the sole purpose is to establish if Ross is "fit for purpose".

Hmm, let's see, he's abusive and violent, he tried to intimidate witnesses, he falsely imprisoned his wife, he bruised her, he's changed his story repeatedly and his wife ran thousands of miles away at the very first opportunity rather than stand by his side as most disgraced politicians' wives do.

Hmmm. What d'ya think, Brucey baby? You should stick to real estate speculation.

Posted by Anonymous on May. 08, 2012 @ 4:38 pm

Hmm, you may have mistaken this for the Chronicle or, better yet, the Examiner, where snark and ad hominem attacks are the rule in the comments section, especially welcome if you don't have your facts straight. This forum is for intelligent adults. If you have a gripe, be specific and smart about it. If you're just a hater, please, by all means, head right to the dailies, which gave up on real journalism right about the time of the Bronstein merger fiasco.
By the way, Ross never changed his story. You just never got to hear it. He was forced to say nothing during the whole lynching, while "witnesses" like his former girlfriend, who has an ax to grind (he dumped her, never loved her--this according to her own emails to him admitted as rebuttal evidence--it's not me opining) and the neighbor, who claimed he thought he heard Ross in the background when Eliana called to demand that Ivory Madison not go to police and to hand back the videotape. Well, Ross didn't even know about the tape at that point. So the neighbor was wrong and all the accounts that used the neighbor's op-ed as evidence that Ross tried to intimidate witnesses are absolutely wrong.

Posted by Guest on May. 08, 2012 @ 7:25 pm

He said this was a private, personal, family matter. Then retracted that.

He also tried to get witnesses to keep quiet, and in fact witness tampering was one of the original counts against him.

His story is at odds with the testimony of his neighbor who, unlike Ross, has no reason to lie.

And Ross's claim that he was "gently guiding his wife's arm" is laughable.

Posted by Anonymous on May. 09, 2012 @ 6:14 am

Ross said his fight was a private, family matter. IT WAS! He never retracted his statement--what he said was that he never said that Domestic Violence or Abuse is a private matter. Two different things. And those of us who believe that holding his wife's arm is not domestic abuse agree. So that's that argument blown away,

As for the neighbor having no reason to lie--at this point, to save face, write a book--the neighbor absolutely has reason to lie.

The witnesses you say Ross tried to keep quiet--ridiculous! He didn't want his wife telling their business to who knows who. That's not witness tampering. Get over yourself, you self-righteous twit! You're just buying into the SF Chron/Gascon B.S.
Would that you ever wind up in a similar position.

Posted by Guest on May. 09, 2012 @ 1:14 pm

That apology was both to his city AND to his wife. I guess you missed that one.

Posted by Guest on May. 09, 2012 @ 4:18 pm

The apology was also to the neighbor: Ross Mirkarimi apologized to Ivory Madison.

Nobody believed it, of course, so I think we tend to forget it.

Posted by Guest on May. 13, 2012 @ 11:31 am

He didn't retract anything. He thought his fight with his wife was a private matter. He said he never said that DV is a private matter--and it isn't. But what happened with Ross and Eliana was not DV. Not by a long shot.

He didn't try to keep witnesses quiet. He tried to get his wife to calm down and stop ranting at neighbors. His wife wanted to make him look bad in case their was a custody fight--when couples with young kids have big fights, they devolve into this "I'll have custody" thing. Well, she sure made him look bad....But there was no witness tampering. There wasn't even a case when Ross told Eliana not to go to the neighbors. And he was right, because look at what has happened. It's given stupid people like you the opportunity to say things they know very little about.

The notion that the neighbor has no reason to lie. Duh!!!!! They absolutely do. They made this happen so they have to make sure they look like they were doing the right thing instead of doing the wrong thing. The neighbor who said Ross was in the background was wrong. Ross didn't even know about the tape at that point--at the point when Eliana was frantically trying to get the tape back when things had settled down between her and Ross. So don't make the neighbors a saint. They're not. They're weird and creepy and destined to write a book. Mark my words.

Posted by Guest on May. 09, 2012 @ 1:24 pm

I couldn't find a single word in it thatw as true. You must have Rossitis real bad.

Posted by Guest on May. 09, 2012 @ 4:19 pm

Give it up fool. The person NAILED your stupid ass with that great post and all you got is "I couldn't find a single word in it thatw as true."

Your debating skills - that's some funny stuff.

Posted by Guest on May. 10, 2012 @ 12:43 am

It's sufficient to point that out to any reader who did not realise they were lies.

Posted by Anonymous on May. 10, 2012 @ 5:40 am

Your debating strategy is to say, "nope, wrong!" - sorry but that's a lame debating strategy, hence your post was lame. He made strong points, you made no points that had any backing. If they're lies, prove it or give it up and stop making yourself come off any lamer than you already look.

Posted by Guest on May. 10, 2012 @ 10:02 am

exaggerated, or is speculative in nature. I literally could not find a sentence in there that is correct. Can you cite one that you think isn't wrong? If so, I'll happily explain the refutation to you.

If gainsaying a faulty post is "lame" then why are you doing that as well?

Posted by Anonymous on May. 10, 2012 @ 10:37 am

"He said this was a private, personal, family matter. Then retracted that."

Don't know what he said but it appears it really was a personal family matter like most marital arguments are. From everything I've read, it appears 1) there was an ongoing disagreement about her traveling to Venezuela with Theo that grew loud and heated at times, 2) they did love each other (she apparently did love him, and presumably still does, since she wanted the two to go to therapy), 3) she wanted some ammo to have to keep Theo in case they separated which apparently was the purpose of the vid tape, 4) the extent of the physical abuse was him grabbing her arm that day - the bruise may have occurred when she pulled her arm away.

"He also tried to get witnesses to keep quiet, and in fact witness tampering was one of the original counts against him."

Like a lot of the charges in this case, this is one that borders on the absurd it appears - him talking to his wife about it that day suddenly becomes "witness tampering." Don't often agree with the Chron's Debra Saunders but she's had it right in noting the absurdity of the charges against him.

"His story is at odds with the testimony of his neighbor who, unlike Ross, has no reason to lie."

I didn't know she had much to say. She convinced Eliana to let her vid tape Eliana (there's a dispute betw the two on whether or not she said she was a lawyer) then gave the vid to the cops against Eliana's wishes. Her husband made an accusation that Ross was in the background giving Eliana instructions when he (her husband) was talking to Eliana but it appears Ross probably wasn't even home then.

"And Ross's claim that he was "gently guiding his wife's arm" is laughable."

Don't remember reading that but it appears to be a gigantic case of overkill by the City. Yes the two had been having marital difficulties but if the extent of the "domestic violence" is him grabbing her arm that day where a bruise occurred when she pulled her arm away, then this an incredible and ridiculous abuse of power by Lee, Gascon, and Herrera.

It's good to be king apparently. You get to use the power that comes with it to punish your enemies (or at least the ppl your handlers tell you are your enemies) with the flimsiest of reasons - and while running to stay king, you get to be the beneficiary of aids who tell dementia-addled elderly ppl how to vote for you (illegal of course) and since your king, no one can do shit about it.

Posted by Guest on May. 10, 2012 @ 12:36 am

Eliana stated to her neighbor that Ross had abused her before this particular incident, which was of course recorded on video as you do appear to know.

Ross said it was a private matter than admitted he was wrong about that right after pleasing guilty to false imprisonment. If that charge was bogus, as you suggest, Ross would not have pled guilty.

Coercing witnesses if a very serious crime. Ross tried to get both his wife and his neighbor to keep quiet about his DV incident. Thankfully for all concerned, the neighbor had the courage to resist that..

Eliana could have stood by her husband's side and supported and defended him. Instead, by her silence, she effectively let him take the rap, and then ran away as soon as his slary stopped coming in.

The neighbor is the only person who showed any honor and integrity here, and she is therefore the one who should be believed here. If Ross would simply resign as nearly all politicians do in situations like this, we could all move on

Posted by Anonymous on May. 10, 2012 @ 5:51 am

What an ignoramous you are.
"If that charge was bogus, Ross would not have pleaded guilty to it.: How idiotic and uninformed to say that. Do you really believe that people plead guilty to misdemeanors because they are guilty? There are many reasons why people cop pleas. In Ross's case, the fix was in. Even when his lawyer out-lawyered the prosecution, which was often, the judge, who was a former DV prosecutor whose own partner campaigned for Ross's opponent in the Sheriff's race, struck him down. Again and again and again. The SF Chronicle did one biased story after another, getting facts wrong and omitting others to suit its thesis that Ross was guilty. A change of venue wasn't going to happen. Ross's lawyer convinced him that it would be impossible to get a fair jury in SF and with three counts against him, the best he could hope for, probably, was a split verdict. And so to avoid all that and the expense, he pled. It happens ALL the time. I am an attorney and I have advised clients of the same.
Now, saying the neighbor was the only one who showed integrity is also B.S. She disregarded her "friend" and even said to her: "You're going to kill me. I called the cops."
Is she to be believed? No. She claims she wouldn't hand over the videotape and cell phone and the cops had to confiscate them. That's not true. She gave them the stuff, offered it to them. And her husband? Claims in his op-ed that Ross was in the background when Eliana called them up to ask for her tape back when that was not true, either.
So don't think you know everything by reading accounts. The accounts have not told the whole story.
Ross plead guilty to a single misdemeanor, the most minor of offenses, and now is facing this crucifixion by the Mayor who wants to save face and appease the knee-jerk DV groups that began calling for Ross's head even befor ehe was charged with anything. Don't tell me this case is simple and that "Ross should resign as nearly all politicians do in situations like this." It's B.S. The fire chief smashed a bottle ove rher husband's head, he called 911, and she is still the fire chief four years later. Don't tell me this is a fair case. It boils my blood when holier-than-thou peanut gallery commenters who don't know much at all just blab away on these forums. STFU until you know the facts.

Posted by Guest on May. 16, 2012 @ 1:35 pm
Posted by Guest on May. 16, 2012 @ 2:09 pm

Having worked for the defense of some misdermenor SF DV cases I will say the evidence against Mirk was somewhat stronger than the ones I worked on, the charges were similar Battery and a non-dv charge, and the eventual plea agreement was very similar (Battery dropped, exact same sentence 52 week DV course, probation, 1 day time served), and they DA's office wouldn't back down a lick.

Were the Guardian filled with decent journalists someone would have gone down to Department 24 for a week, watched the proceedings, talked to the victims and perpetrators, the ADA, and the defense attorneys of the every day, non-Mirk DV cases, and reported on everything they found. But it seems they would rather many people believe that someone with vast resources (he hired yet another lawyer immediately after saying he pleaded guilty because he was out of money, and is still paying Paula, never heard of the term conflict, Canny) was railroaded into the guilty plea.

BTW it doesn't matter if the bruise is from "Eliana pulling her arm away" Battery is defined as objectionable contact or restraint.

Posted by Guest on May. 11, 2012 @ 6:42 am

for a DV case. SFBG is making a big fuss about nothing.

Posted by Guest on May. 11, 2012 @ 7:20 am

The SFBG is happy to stick to their little world view and just poo poo reality.

Posted by Dnative on May. 11, 2012 @ 7:50 am

If battery were defined as objectionable contact or restraint, then since battery is a crime and the province of the state, then the state would be in the position of sussing out what is objectionable.

Not so in this case. The individual who would make that determination was excised from the process, the state made that determination on her behalf against her wishes.

Try again, there was no battery here, the plea makes that clear.

Posted by marcos on May. 16, 2012 @ 2:07 pm

What if Ross had killed Eliana? Are you saying the DA can't prosecute because Eliana didn't complain?

No, the crime exists regardless of complaint. And in fact it is routine for Dv cases to be prosecuted even when the victim is too scared to testify.

Finally, DV doesn't require battery. A simple verbal threat can be a DV crime.

Posted by Guest on May. 16, 2012 @ 2:15 pm

I'm just saying what I know from working on DV cases in San Francisco, if you experiences from that side please tell us about them.

Posted by Guest on May. 17, 2012 @ 11:04 am
Posted by Guest on May. 17, 2012 @ 11:23 am

Everything I have seen indicates this case was handled like many others in the system. Nothing surprising or unusual in the charges or the sentence.

Posted by Guest on May. 17, 2012 @ 12:08 pm

I know this is a weak response, but if you haven't signed this petition in support of Ross, start here: http://www.change.org/petitions/mayor-of-san-francisco-support-sheriff-r...

Posted by Guest Ann Garrison on May. 09, 2012 @ 5:48 am

About half the signer of that petition are outside San Francisco - some even outside California. Petitions are the lowest order on the food chain and if they're to have ANY impact they should exclude those outside the political boundaries of the entity they're trying to influence.

Posted by Troll II on May. 09, 2012 @ 11:51 am

I have one friend who signed from Uganda this morning, another from Belgium. Ross stands for things like restorative justice, public banking, public power, and the redistribution of authority in the foreclosure disaster. These things all have meaning outside San Francisco.

Posted by Guest Ann Garrison on May. 09, 2012 @ 1:28 pm

telling Americans how they should discipline or elect their politicians or run their internal political affairs. Just as Americans telling Belgians who should be their monarch or demanding Ugandans junk their ties to the British commonwealth would be inappropriate. Extremely inappropriate. The fact that you don't see that really doesn't speak well of your ability to positively influence this case on behalf of your pal Ross.

Posted by Troll II on May. 09, 2012 @ 1:59 pm

I agree with you 1000%, Rose Pak should either become an American citizen or go back to China, there is no place for foreigners to meddle in American politics.

Posted by Guest on May. 09, 2012 @ 2:30 pm

I'm no fan of Rose Pak, but to hear somebody pull that "go back to China" crap in this city is just fucking shameful! Posted anonymously, of course, as I would expect of any comment that's so xenophobic at best, bigoted at worst.

Posted by myklValentine on May. 09, 2012 @ 3:04 pm

That IS repulsive. I'm no fan of Rose Pak, but she's a San Franciscan, regardless of her U.S. citizenship. As a real progressive who wants Mirkarimi gone, I think she gets to participate in the city's politics if she wants to. (And, boy, does she want to!)

Posted by Guest on May. 13, 2012 @ 11:36 am

Scored a big fat 2.4 (out of 10) on the corruption scale for Transparency international. Ironic huh.

I would prefer that your friend from Uganda and the friend from Belgium mind their own business and let those of us that actually live in SF deal with this thank you.

And who cares what he stands for. Are you saying that because he stands for these things he should be treated differently?

Posted by Dnative on May. 09, 2012 @ 2:29 pm

Las Vegas too.

The preachy comments on that site are hilarious as well.

Posted by Troll II on May. 09, 2012 @ 3:14 pm

He is toast, and no amount of BS editorial is going to change that.
I mean really, whats next, a novella by Chicken John ?

The guardian has sold itself to the Examiner, and Bruce has sold the examiner building to a real estate developer for a cool profit of over 2 million.

After reading that, do you see any problems with the guardian being your savior?

Everything that has happened to Mirkarimi is of his doing

Posted by Mirrorman on May. 08, 2012 @ 3:44 pm

1) A "progressive" sheriff who beats his wife, or
2) Dragging up bad dancers and writers as "experts" on law, or
3) Selling a building for a huge profit while whining about capitalism

Then again, does it really matter?

Posted by Anonymous on May. 08, 2012 @ 4:33 pm

Such nasty bits on comments sites. I hate to become part of them. But your ignorance demands it.

The Sheriff does not beat his wife. if he did, the D.A. would never, ever agree to a plea. it was a one-time fluke thing where he held her arm while she was trying to leave their vehicle.

I don't know what you're talking about with your number 2 (literally and metaphorically), but the Guardian was in serious debt (i'm onto number 3 on your hit list) and they had to sell or face going under. A huge profit is in the eye of the observer--when your debts are in the seven figures, well, that's another story, isn't it?
Finally, theGuardian has never espoused socialism or Communism. That's just silly. Just because it has espoused social justice, civil rights, LGBT rights, and the end to a utility monopoly that bilks the public willynilly does not make the Guardian a Communist rag. Please grow up.

Posted by Guest on May. 08, 2012 @ 7:31 pm

For saying that, so I didn't have to.

Posted by Guest Ann Garrison on May. 08, 2012 @ 8:09 pm

The bruise was a "one time fluke thing"? Really? You were there all the time and so know that? How? It's contradicted by the video where Eliana tells Madison this has happened before. DV is almost never a "one time" thing - it's a habitual pattern of abuse and harm.

Re 3 how could the SFBG be "going under" when they supposedly won a 20 million lawsuit award? What SFBG supports is actually more left-wing than a number of socialist governments in Europe.

Posted by Anonymous on May. 09, 2012 @ 6:18 am

Ignorance, thy name is whatever your name is, Dude. DV is almost never a one time thing. Well, Duh. This was not DV, jerkface.

As for the SFBG, read up, sweetheart. They settled for nearly nothing. Please be informed before you start spewing. Oh, wait. People like you thrive on not being informed. Sorry! Keep up the good work! You rate as ignorant enough to work for the Chronicle!

Posted by Guest on May. 09, 2012 @ 1:18 pm

His sentence was identical to the standard DV sentence, including DV classes and a TRO. Riddle me that, "Guest".

Posted by Guest on May. 09, 2012 @ 4:21 pm

it is not a TRO (Temporary Restraining Order, which is sought by the victim) it is a DV CPO (Criminal Protective Order, which is sought by the court [and no that does not mean the DA])

Posted by Logan The Huge on May. 15, 2012 @ 8:58 am

Mirkarimi will either be ousted by the BOS or recalled in an election due to happen in either September or November. You won't have to agonize over this "abomination" any longer. You're old - you deserve a little peace and comfort (and that fat profit you made on selling the Guardian building will certainly help with THAT).

Posted by Troll II on May. 08, 2012 @ 4:20 pm

What a bunch of lonely, pathetic people on here. They have nothing better to do in their pathetic, sad lives than to regurgitate and regurgitate and rehash and rehash over a case that they have nothing to do with. Your opinions matter to no one in a position of power or to the courts, which is where this will be decided. I guess all of you tired of the other thread. So you're over here to cut and paste the same things you wrote over there and to hate on the Guardian and to spam about your addiction, complex, craze, crush, fascination, fetish, hang-up, infatuation, mania and preoccupation with "progressives." I would image that the Guardian staff does their best to not read the comments, so as to not feel ill.

Lonely, dysfunctional, pathetic people with no social skills who live on a site that they say they hate. How dysfunctional and pathetic is that?

That's like me living on some right-wing site and telling them every minute of every day how much I can't stand them. What would that accomplish? Nothing, but filling up their server space.

Fin.

Note: I will not be responding to anything written by the trolls in response to this so don't waste your time throwing a stink bomb out to get a reaction from me. It ain't going to happen.

Posted by Guest on May. 08, 2012 @ 5:27 pm

In which case, I'd agree with you.

Posted by Anonymous on May. 08, 2012 @ 5:47 pm

This just proves that Anonymous is not just lonely but dumber than a bag of hammers.

Posted by Guest on May. 08, 2012 @ 6:08 pm

But since you offered no facts, evidence, argument, rebuttal or refutation, you might as well not have.

Posted by Anonymous on May. 08, 2012 @ 6:13 pm

It sounds as if you are a very angry person.

Posted by Troll II on May. 08, 2012 @ 7:45 pm

He simply had no intention of standing at one point in time, and then later changed his mind because of the outpouring of support, trust and enthusiasm that was expressed.

Just like Bruce "changed his mind" about caving to capitalism and selling his building, after devoting his life to fighting capitalism.

Posted by Anonymous on May. 08, 2012 @ 6:15 pm

Haha. I'm ROFL with this one. Lee vowed not to run for office. Then his powerbrokers, Willie and Rose, made him change his mind. As for outpouring of support, he was elected in a race where most people stayed home. So there goes your outpouring. Not to mention all the usual Rose Pak/Willie Brown shenanigans--all kinds of donor fraud (having people "give" the max under their name when it was really the Pak Pac doing it)--don't play holier than thou here, buddy. What Ross did--have a big fight with his wife--is nothing, not even in the same universe as what Lee has done to get and stay in office.
And this stupid talk on this comments site about Bruce fighting capitalism. He fought corruption and injustice--I guess you equate that with being against capitalism, do you? What are you doing here, anyway? You belong on the SFGate site, where the haters are thriving. Ugly, baseless, ignorant rhetoric is very welcome there--or haveyou grown tired of being with your own kind?

Posted by Guest on May. 08, 2012 @ 7:47 pm