Mayor Lee ousts Sheriff Mirkarimi

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Mayor Lee makes the announcement, flanked interim Sheriff Vicki Hennessy and City Attorney Dennis Herrera
Luke Thomas

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee temporarily removed Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi from office today over a domestic violence case, dragging this long and sordid saga into the summer as city officials prepare a rare official misconduct hearing.

The brief announcement came just minutes after a 24-hour deadline Lee had set for Mirkarimi to resign or be removed. Lee took no questions from the huge crowd of journalists that had packed into his office and offered scant explanations about why he believes the process is warranted and how it will affect the city.

Standing behind Lee were City Attorney Dennis Herrera, with whom Lee had consulted on the decision, and Vicki Hennessy, a retired chief deputy from the Sheriff’s Department who Lee named interim sheriff. Shortly before the announcement, Mirkarimi told reporters he had no intention of resigning.

“He has chosen not to resign and now I must act,” Lee told reporters, emphasizing that “I do so with an understanding of the seriousness and gravity of the situation.”

Lee made no statements about how Mirkarimi’s guilty plea to a misdemeanor false imprisonment charge – reduced down from the three more serious charges he originally faced – rose to the level of official misconduct or why it warrants his removal, other than making general statements about ethics.

“We must always be held to the highest ethical and legal standards,” Lee said, adding that Mirkarimi had failed to do so. “I’m doing what’s in the best interests of the people of San Francisco.”

Time may tell whether that last statement is true, and whether the Ethics Commission and nine members of the Board of Supervisors agree and are willing remove a public official from office in San Francisco for just the third time in the last century.

Comments

WTF you talking about, Ross hasn't discussed the bruise. Come on smart guy, find where Ross stated the circumstances that bruise came about. Fact is he did an "apology" - he did not discuss the incident. So either you know what happened or you don't. If you did, you'd say, since you won't say, it's safe to assume you don't know shit about what happened.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 4:51 pm

That makes perfect sense.

Posted by Greg on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 5:17 pm

Anyone with 3 brain cells or more would have done the same thing eventually that he did - "apologize" - since they had him by the balls in about everyway possible. He knew it, they knew it, and he knew they knew it.

About the only one who apparently doesn't know they had him by the balls in terms of all the damage they could do to his life (legally, financially, personally), to his family, to his career, to his marriage, etc, even if he hadn't intended to hurt her in any way whatsoever IS YOU.

Fact is all you know is "he apologized" - in other words, you know nothing about what happened nor why "he apologized." Maybe after you read this you'll get it - or not - or keep playing dumb by saying, "but he apologized."

Posted by Guest on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 9:12 pm

Why do you write like this is something that has been done to Ross? Either his wife is a liar and she did this to him, or he is an abuser and did this to himself. It's not like someone went out and manufactured the charges.

Posted by Greg on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 9:29 pm

There are some flaws in your post.

Matier and Ross are reporting that Hayes-White passed a lie detector test for her incident. (And I'm the last person who would want to defend the fire department.)

Change of venue: I've never heard of a change of venue being granted in a misdemeanor case. Maybe you have. In any event, RM pled guilty before the judge ruled on the change of venue motion.

"Federal case": This wasn't a federal case. It was a state case.

Judge: the trial judge was actually a former public defender.

"Private sector cronies": I'd be looking more at the public sector cronies. Public employees make more in salary and benefits in this town than private sector workers do.

Posted by The Commish on Mar. 20, 2012 @ 9:38 pm

"Matier and Ross are reporting that Hayes-White passed a lie detector test for her incident. (And I'm the last person who would want to defend the fire department.)"

And her husband? Was he lying when he made the desperate 9-11 call? What about Julius Turman? Did he pass a lie detector test too?

"Change of venue: I've never heard of a change of venue being granted in a misdemeanor case. Maybe you have. In any event, RM pled guilty before the judge ruled on the change of venue motion. "

Yeah, well I've never heard of a misdemeanor case where the corporate media turns it into a media circus, to the point where the whole city has heard nothing but biased negative coverage about the defendant. When it gets to that point, the defendant routinely gets their motion for a change of venue granted. I read that they tried to get one, and they were denied.

""Federal case": This wasn't a federal case. It was a state case."

It's a figure of speech, Commish. Actually it's a local case. What it really is, is a witchunt.

"Judge: the trial judge was actually a former public defender. "

No, she was a domestic violence prosecutor
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/01/19/BAPN1MRQ5O.DTL
Moreover, she authored a study which urged prosecutors to aggressively use court orders splitting families apart in order to coerce women who were unwilling to play the part of the "victim" to cooperate with the prosecutorial line.
https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/199660.pdf

Some impartial judge!

""Private sector cronies": I'd be looking more at the public sector cronies. Public employees make more in salary and benefits in this town than private sector workers do."

I don't think that's true. It's certainly not true statewide or nationwide, and probably isn't even true in "this town." But in any case, the subtle shift in attention to the "workers" can't go unchallenged. It's not the workers I'm worried about, because it's not the workers that our money is being funnelled to. When PG&E and GoLorries and Twitter and Oracle and Lennar and Recology rape the city, it's not their workers who get the loot. It's the bosses, the owners, the CEOs.

Posted by Greg on Mar. 20, 2012 @ 10:25 pm

by a judge that Stiglich lauded, so the whole "bad judge" argument falls flat. Plus, the new judge's decisions on evidence were upheld by 3 additional judges. Seems pretty fair to me

I have very mixed feelings on this whole matter, but what it seems to boil down to is that the Sheriff is supposed to be someone who protects women in Lopez's situation. The fact that this cloud hangs over RM's head feels very inappropriate.

And the argument that other people may have gotten away with DV is beyond tiresome. Even assuming that they wrongfully skated on their charges, that makes it ok for RM to get away with it this time? When all's said and done, he confessed to a crime.

Posted by DanO on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 6:06 am

Do you honestly think that pool of local superior court judges, in this political climate, in this witch hunt, are going to find that tape inadmissable? They'd be lynched. So the trial judge lets it in, the appellate division of the same court(a panel of the same buddies,located here) also let the tape in.
The legal arguments in support of not admitting the tape are major, solid, justiciable issues.
Eliana's lawyer, Paula Canny takes it up in a brief to the State appellate court, a court outside of the narrow interests and political fears of the local bench.
The plea deal brings a halt do that consideration. So, in fact there has not been a thorough legal examination and ruling on the question of the tape.
All of these motions etc. are not free, nor should they be.
preparing for saturday night midnight bombshells...on some radio station somewhere.

Posted by GuestChristine Craft on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 8:24 am

yesterday you besmirch Madison and her husband, and today 4 judges. I guess everyone's hands in this matter are dirty except for RM and his wife.

Posted by DanO on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 9:12 am

Can they get someone in there to lead that has law enforcement experience!!??!!

Posted by Guest on Mar. 20, 2012 @ 9:01 pm

MPetrelis

9:13 PM on March 20, 2012
check out her blog tonight, http://blog.sfgate.com/djsaunders/2012/03/20/sheriff-ross-mirkarimi-the-... , and hopefully this note will be there:

Hey Debra, If I didn't know better I'd say you read this post of mine about the sheriff's site from January:

http://mpetrelis.blogspot.com/2012/01/sf-sheriffs-sites-mirkarimi-mia.html

And that you read this update about the still anemic site of the sheriff's site at my blog:

http://mpetrelis.blogspot.com/2012/03/anemic-sf-sheriffs-site-still-unde...

Kind of odd that this post of yours makes many of the same points I have earlier this week and in January, but you give no reference to my site. Did you really just get the notion today to check out the sheriff's site and notice what I had already reported on?

Posted by MPetrelis on Mar. 20, 2012 @ 9:56 pm

Michael, nobody cares what you have to say. Are you that self absorbed that you have to post non sequitur comments like this in a public forum?
Don't you have a flag somewhere to obsess about ?

Posted by Greg on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 8:02 am

I never cared much about the flag issue, but I've come to respect Michael as one of the city's best independent investigative journalists. He often breaks important stories that I haven't seen anywhere else, and I think he makes a valid point that it's bad form for so-called "professional" journalists to take credit for other people's work. Not very "professional," IMHO.

But someone who steals other people's identities and uses them as a cover to assassinate other people's characters wouldn't know much about journalistic ethics, would you "Greg?"

Posted by Greg on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 8:26 am

I'm really not sure how using my own name in a public forum with no way to register a particular name to a particular user constitutes stealing.
If you met someone at a party who had the same name as you would you tell them they stole it from you? If so, that's a very childish and self absorbed response.

At any rate, google Michael petrelis and you will find what people think of him. I am sure, however, that he feels better to have your support.

Posted by Greg on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 8:55 am

Ivory Madison's decision to report the incident to the police (and the DA's to file charges) are the kinds of judgment call that get made every day in domestic abuse situations, and they could have gone either way.

From a purely legal point of view, Ms Lopez had every right to chose to press charges or not, to seek help, or decide to stay with her husband. In this case, she apparently preferred not to press charges. Under normal circumstances, it's difficult to understand why the DA (or Ms Madison) would pursue charges against the repeated express wishes of the alleged victim.

However, from the moment these charges were filed, the only way for Mr Mirkarimi to keep his job as sheriff was to fight all the charges and be exonerated. Pleading guilty to any charge made his position politically untenable.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 3:14 am

Suppose I am walking down the street, moving too slowly according to the group behind me so one of them whacks me in the back with a baseball bat.

When I wake up I decide not to press charges because they were an unsavory lot and I just don't want to antagonize them any further. So they get to go free.

Is that in our best interests as a society?

Posted by Troll on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 6:57 am

The few remaining liberals who support Ross are already being accused of condoning wife-beating. Now they'll have to attack his female replacement who, incidentally, has actual, real experience of law enforcement - imagine that?

Posted by Anonymous on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 6:39 am

throughout the course of this. I mean, Ross was clearly placed in a handicapped position, so unfair to judge this as some sort of even fight from the beginning.

With that said, something pretty interesting has happened:

Lee (and Gascon) have demonstrated tremendously sharp political acumen, and Mirkarimi has demonstrated horrendous political acumen. Regardless of my thoughts of either Lee or Gascon they have picked their spots beautifully throughout this. If Ross even had political advisors, there is no way he listened to them. It's as if he acted as though he had the power structure firmly behind him from the start - when in reality he should have know they wanted him nowhere but out.

Posted by Phillip on Mar. 25, 2012 @ 10:24 pm

1) You don't believe that going to trial will produce a better outcome, or
2) You want to put the matter to rest so that you can move on with your life, or
3) You don't have the money to fight the charges, or
4) You are trying to protect the innocent, or
5) You are trying to protect the guilty, or
6) You don't want to waste tax payer funds on prosecution/defense, or
7) You have been blackmailed, or
8) Some combination of the above, and/or
9) Stuff that I can't think of in about a minute is going on.

It's the criminal injustice system acting in a public and politicized environment, people. Use your imagination for a minute, or, if you don't have any, ask a lawyer how this works.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 7:30 am
No!

A GUILTY plea means he's GUILTY!!! There's NO OTHER POSSIBLE explanation!!! NO ONE has EVER pled guilty who wasn't GUILTY, because our justice system is always fair, and why would a not guilty person plead GUILTY? Besides, he's GUILTY!!! And anyone who says there might be another expplanation is just condoning DV.

And another thing, I'm getting tired of you people bringing up all the other criminality by public officials. None of that matters. The only thing that matters is ROSS. ROSS ROSS ROSS!!! I don't give a crap if anyone else commits DV, steals, or even kills. All these people are good public servants who support our hard working job creators, so LEAVE THEM ALONE!!!

Posted by Guest/Anonymous/DanO/DanC on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 8:02 am

...until forced to plead guilty, forced into bankruptcy, and convicted by public opinion and defender.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 10:50 am

Even Ross has stopped with the "I didn't do it" shtick.

Posted by Anonymous on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 11:26 am

...or under duress.
The way I see it, he lost his temper during an argument, grabbed his wife, and told her she wasn't going anywhere until he spoke his piece. It happens a million jillion times a day, everywhere.
Until his wife made the mistake of getting outsiders involved, it was just another typical day in the battle of the sexes.
If she were pursuing the complaint, I'd say, bummer, but she's within her rights. She's not the one pursuing this, though.
So the question is: why can't they be left alone alone to sort out their issues?
What motivates people to attempt to destroy others?

Why did this turn red?

If you get off on other people's foibles, watch Jerry Springer or something.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 12:27 pm

Because Ross isn't claiming that.

Posted by Greg on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 12:53 pm

There are some good points being made by people who are trying to discuss this seriously, and all you (under your various aliases) can come up with is the same semantic shtick. We've heard it already, it's getting tired, and it's no more convincing than when you said it the first time.

Posted by Greg on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 4:49 pm
Posted by Greg on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 5:17 pm

Interesting to see Aaron Peskin weighing in today and telling Mirkarimi to resign.

What fascinates me:
Why aren't any of his friends or former work colleagues backing him up? Why so little support?

His temper must be pretty nasty after all.

Posted by Troll the XIV on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 8:03 am

Where is this article where Peskin weighs in and asks him to step down?

Posted by Greg on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 8:24 am

Peskin asking Mirkarimi to step down:

http://blogs.sfweekly.com/thesnitch/2012/03/ross_mirkarimi_refuses_to_re...

You have to go to SF Weekly...you won't see it in SFBG because Redmond's head exploded when he found out.

Posted by Troll on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 8:29 am
lol

lol

Posted by RamRod on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 10:17 am

reporting all the news fairly and fully?

Posted by Anonymous on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 11:27 am

I just think the concept of Master Peskin coming out for something that Tim has been desperately fighting to prevent was just too much to for Tim to handle.

It's like if you were walking down the street and you saw Mother Theresa and Martin Luther King Jr getting into a fist fight right in front of you. You just couldn't process it.

But what is this you say about Tim 'reporting all the news fairly and fully'? Is there a parallel universe or something that I'm not aware of?

Posted by Troll on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 11:48 am

Did anybody else see the Guardian Editorial in the new SFWeekly?

Tim & Co pretty much just got their asses handed to 'em. Funny stuff :P

Here's the link... http://www.sfweekly.com/2012-03-21/news/san-francisco-bay-guardian-ross-...

Posted by RamRod on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 1:48 pm

No wonder Tim is "laying low".

Posted by Greg on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 2:03 pm

Here, Greg. This is for little-old You:

Aaron Peskin, a San Francisco progressive and chair of the Democratic Party, issued a statement this afternoon, saying Mirkarimi has no business being the sheriff.

"San Franciscans want and deserve a functional, wholly functioning City government -- one that embodies the values that we all hold dearly," Peskin said. "Ross shares those values of restorative justice and redemption, and by stepping aside, he can seek to mend his relationships and family, his publicly stated priorities."

Posted by Troll the XIV on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 8:50 am

...I have to admit that he did show a certain level of awareness that has been lacking for the SFBG. Specifically that the longer this drags on, the worse it becomes for the Progressives. And the possible end scenario of Campos, Avalos and Mar being left with no good options should be avoided at all costs. So he gave them some cover.

Still, when it comes to blood sucking insects I prefer the ones who are at least honest about their intentions.

Posted by Troll on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 9:24 am

We can understand Ross wants to fight for his job. If he survives the Ethics and BOS process (the removal standard is fairly vague, which should weigh in his favor, and his dismissal would repudiate the express will of the voters), and if he gets past any recall election in 6 or 8 months (recall campaigns are always difficult to win and often merely empower the recalled politician when the vote comes up short), he may even have a shot at winning the 2015 Sheriff election. Three years in politics is an eternity.

But the $3 dollar question is, at what cost does Ross pursue this strategy? For Ross to force allies on the BOS to cast an unpopular vote to save his job seems quite callous and extraordinarily divisive. Weren't he and Olague key leaders of the local Green Party not too many years ago? Does he think he helps her D5 campaign if she votes in his favor when Ross must know her close connection to him over the past 10 years will likely be used against her? And what about the other three solid progressives running this November - who are some of the most solid, serious, and committed progressive leaders in the city, much more than Rhetorical Ross ever was or will be - does he really want to force them to make a vote to save his job?

Even if Ross gets his three votes, how much damage is done to the progressive movement when it's repeatedly portrayed that supervisors from D1, D5, D9 and/or D11 voted to save another progressive, especially after Ross has carried himself so poorly over the past two months since the charges were first announced? At some point selfishnessness turns into something far more sinister and destroys a far larger community. Although I suppose an 11-0 vote to sustain the mayor's removal might help to partially restore the credibility of the larger progressive movement.

For the consistent posters who have said from the beginning that Ross is only out for Ross and he could care less about building and sustaining a much larger progressive community, they will be proved absolutely correct if Ross really takes this all the way to a BOS vote. If it gets that far, I hope we see an 11-0 vote so that finally Ross gets the message that movements are far, far larger than the ego of one individual member, especilly one who has already brought so much shame to the movement.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 11:35 am

Not Ross' conduct but how his conduct reflects on the progressive movement and its three stalwarts running for reelection this year.

Thanks for reiterating that for us.

Posted by Troll II on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 12:28 pm

Ross to immediately resign. If Ross really cares about the will of the voters, then why not resign and then stand again? Voters clearly did not realise what they were getting.

Posted by Greg on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 12:56 pm

Third act of Ed Lee. First was to vow to not Run For Mayor. Ivory Madison gets her 15 minutes at the expense of her neighbors happiness, and marriage . A small price to pay when Ivory Madison I guess.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 9:48 am

He merely stated that at a certain point of time, he had no intention to run.

It was not a promise merely a description of his state of mind months earlier.

Over 60% of voters supported that change of mind. While Ross's debacle is all Ross's fault. He admitted that so why can't you?

Posted by Anonymous on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 11:29 am

"It was not a promise merely a description of his state of mind"

wtf? complete BS. Lee said unequivocally that he would not run for mayor. repeatedly.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 27, 2012 @ 10:30 pm

And not Ross. Thank you for making that distinction.

Posted by Troll II on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 11:39 am

the neighbour will say "I'd love to help you but I am worried you might turn around and sue me later. So just go home and get beaten some more."

Posted by Greg on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 11:59 am

Calling "GREG" and his racist clique. No response. To busy working on the "Free George Zimmerman" site.

Posted by Patrick Monk RN on Mar. 21, 2012 @ 7:59 pm

Wow. A bruise on his wife's arm and now RM is a "wife beater". Hmmm.
My girl friend shows me bruises and she does not even know where they She jokes: What did you do to me in my sleep last night??

It's a fact: Some people bruise easily.

Maybe you all know that RM brutally beat his wife but I sure don't. Don't both he and his wife dispute it?

Suppose they did have a heated argument and he grabbed her arm roughly. I agree thats not good. But some people make no distinction between that and punching her or pushing her to the ground and kicking her or slapping her around. The zero tolerance philosophy amounts to zero intelligence. There is a huge difference between rough contact and brutal contact, between grabbing someone's arm and real physical abuse.

I don't know but suspect we are witnessing a political hatchet job with the support of the sheriffs union. If we are talking about morality here ..... what about that?

Posted by Guest on Apr. 05, 2012 @ 12:59 pm