Ethics Commission undercuts the main witness against Mirkarimi

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Journalists pepper Mayor Ed Lee with questions about the case he's brought against Ross Mirkarimi.
Steven T. Jones

The testimony of the star witness in Mayor Ed Lee's official misconduct case against suspended Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi came in for harsh criticism by the Ethics Commission last night, with that body striking most of it as prejudicial and unsupported hearsay evidence that should have never been introduced, something that even the city's attorneys admitted and apologized for.

It was a serious blow to the city's case that also undercuts the written testimony of the city's domestic violence expert, attorney Nancy Lemon, who based much of her analysis and judgments on this discredited and disallowed testimony of Ivory Madison, the neighbor and confidante of Mirkarimi's wife who reported the Dec. 31 domestic violence incident to police.

Meanwhile, Lee was confronted by a large pack of reporters following his monthly appearance before the Board of Supervisors earlier the day, which peppered him with pointed questions about his decision to bring what is evolving into an expensive, complicated, and nasty prosecution of Mirkarimi rather than simply allowing him to be recalled by voters. The exchange made news when Lee characterized Mirkarimi's arm-grabbing incident as “the beating of his wife.”

Mirkarimi and his attorneys labeled that comment and much of the city's case as simply a smear campaign that goes well beyond the narrow question of whether Mirkarimi committed official misconduct and should be removed from office, which the commission is still in the process of setting up procedures to answer.

Yesterday's hearing dealt mostly with deciding whether to exclude or allow the written testimony of nearly two dozen witnesses. The only testimony that was stricken entirely was that of Paul Henderson, Lee's criminal justice adviser, who testified that Mirkarimi's guilty plea to misdemeanor false imprisonment for the grabbing incident would hurt his ability to function as the sheriff. The commission found the testimony to be irrelevant and prejudicial, clearly upsetting Deputy City Attorney Sherri Kaiser.

But the big news from last week's hearing was the dim view that the commission took of Madison's 22-page declaration, which painted Mirkarimi as domineering and oppressive, a bleak picture that she attributed to his wife, Eliana Lopez, as conveyed during repeated conversations between October and December as the couple was having marital problems. Madison is the main source supporting the city's most serious allegations: that Mirkarimi abused his wife and then tried to thwart a police investigation

Commissioner Paul Renne – a career litigator appointed to the commission by the District Attorney's Office – took the lead role in criticizing Madison's testimony and the city for allowing it, ruing the fact that it was used by the Examiner and other media outlets to paint a defamatory “portrait of verbal abuse and child neglect inside Mirkarimi's fear-ridden household,” as the Examiner put it on the cover of yesterday's paper.

“I saw that and I thought maybe this idea of [taking initial testimony through written] declarations is not protective of the interests of everyone,” Renne said.

“I was disappointed by the content of Ivory Madison's declaration. A first-year lawyer should know that much of it is inadmissible and it should not have been given to us,” Renne told Deputy City Attorney Peter Keith, calling it “clearly hearsay, clearly having the intention of poisoning the well of this hearing.”

Keith didn't even try to defend most of the declaration, responding to Renne by saying, “We have an independent witness that is represented by [her own legal] counsel and we didn't have control over everything that was submitted...I think the criticism is well-taken and we didn't mean to put matters before the commission that are not relevant.”

“But you were the one who submitted the declaration,” Renne responded, telling Keith that the city must avoiding engaging in character assassination that goes beyond the scope of the commission's inquiry, which will result in a formal recommendation going to the Board of Supervisors near the end of summer.

“My recommendation is we reject the declaration and you bring her in for live testimony,” Renne recommended. The rest of the commission seemed to agree with Renne's criticism, but it opted to go through the declaration line-by-line, removing most of it from the proceedings. Madison is also expected to testify live and be subjected to a tough cross-examination by Mirkarimi's attorneys, who say she has blown the incident out-of-proportion and broke the confidence of Lopez, who denies that Mirkarimi was ever abusive.

In arguing unsuccessfully for much of Madison's written testimony to remain in the record, Keith told the commission that it was the basis for Lemon's assessment of patterns of behavior by batterers, thus undercutting that testimony as well.

“If they're untrue, they're meaningless, right?” Renne asked Keith, referring to the sensational tales Madison told about Mirkarimi's controlling behavior.

But Keith said that even if the stories Lopez told Madison were untrue or highly embellished – as Lopez's attorney, Paula Canny, has implied as she characterized her client as building a child custody case in the event the couple divorced – they are still relevant to understanding why Madison reported Mirkarimi to the police.

“Whether or not these actions happened, it's relevant to her concerns,” Keith said.

But Mirkarimi attorney Shepherd Kopp said that, like much of the city's case, hearsay testimony based on flawed and prejudicial information should be irrelevant to these proceedings and shouldn't be allowed as evidence against Mirkarimi.

“Their expert, Ms. Lemon, can believe what she wants, but that doesn't mean it should come in as evidence,” Kopp said.

The hearing was continued to next week when Mirkarimi, Lee, and other key witnesses are expected to begin giving live testimony before the commission on June 28 and 29. Click here to read the various documents associated with the case.

Comments

multiple sock puttets, then your credibility goes way down.

Including when you deny all your other sock puppets.

Your writing "style" is too one-dimensional for you to get away with this crap.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 24, 2012 @ 8:36 am

"dootise" and "coppersmom(on sfgate for many years and banished when I questioned the dubious legal credentials of the main witness in this case)?

That really piqued my curiosity . I didn't know Mirkarimi at all, but it reeked of a fix. Nothing I had posted was an illegitimate inquiry or at all profane.
At the time I was banished, Mr. Bronstein was still a top Hearst muckety.We know that Mrs. Madison-Mertens strangely consulted with Mr. Bronstein multiple times prior to calling the police.
The more important question is whether or not Mr. Bronstein was discussing all things Mirkarimi with his super good friend Mrs. Madison-Mertens for some period of time before the events at question. Mr. Bronstein is noted for a particularly nasty and ongoing custody battle with his former wife. Perhaps Ms. Madison-Mertens who counseled Eliana to "call the police every time" her husband even uses a cross word,perhaps Ivory was being coached in that advice(see exhibits..emails of Ivory Madison sfethics.org)
Did Mr. Bronstein manage the Chronicle's bizarre reporting in this story? Did he or Mrs. Madison-MErtens have conversations with Kamala Harris, the AG of California, and former Bronstein babe and Cunnie campaigner, prior to the attempted lynching of Ross Mirkarimi and his family?

Posted by GuestChristine Craft on Jun. 24, 2012 @ 5:25 pm

And now you admit it.

You're also JCCourt, Daniele and no doubt any number of other sock puppets. You're obsessed with trying to create the desperate illusion that Ross isn't a wife-beater and isn't unsuitable for office, but you've been exposed as a liar, just like he has.

Give it up.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 24, 2012 @ 5:34 pm

"Dootsie".

Love, Dootise

Posted by GuestChristine Craft on Jun. 24, 2012 @ 8:25 pm

I know both Ross and Eliana and I have asked her one-on-one what happened and she denies that Ross was ever been abusive to her. I accept her response as the truth. She is not an uneducated foolish woman who is dominated by her powerful husband. He has shown his remorse for even touching her arm and I also accept that along with his apology for turning the car around and not going to eat lunch. This case is costing we the tax payers too much money and should be shut down immediately and the Elected sheriff should be reinstated with full back pay and Mayor Lee should apologize to the people who voted for the Sheriff.

Posted by Guest Concerned Resigtered SF Voter on Jun. 21, 2012 @ 6:22 am

admitted being abusive.

In the experience of this forum, those claiming to persosnally "know" Ross and Eliana give the most biased and apologist accounts of anyone here, and so are best ignored as being self-serving and prejudicial.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 21, 2012 @ 7:04 am

My god that is a nonsensical statement breathtaking in its vacuity. "Naturally," people who know Ross and Eliana can't express an honest opinion about them; it is only the rabid haters of all that is good and progressive who must be consulted as to what to think in this matter.

Face it chump. The wheels are coming off the wagon. I hope you enjoyed the rush from the crack cocaine to a hubba-head that was this story until now.

Posted by lillipublicans on Jun. 21, 2012 @ 7:18 am

I just hope that the EC is not just leading Ross' team along in order to promote the illusion that they're giving Ross consideration only to do what the EC does best when it wraps up, cover for power.

Posted by marcos on Jun. 21, 2012 @ 8:15 am

be seen sticking up for a disgraced sherriff with a 76% disapproval rating.

It will be more self-survival than a coverup.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 21, 2012 @ 8:57 am

And you can bet every supervisor will have read the full declarations of Madison, Mertens, and Williams. In a sense the EC hearing is a circus, since the Board will probably ignore whatever the commission recommends and vote how they like.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 24, 2012 @ 1:25 pm

that it was Gascon's appointment to the Ethics Commission -- and husband of former City Attorney Louise Renne -- who was seemingly leading the point against the mayor's star witness.

Posted by lillipublicans on Jun. 21, 2012 @ 9:24 am

is a very experienced, long-time litigator. He knows a pile of steaming, irrelevant, prejudicial, poorly-written, dirty-the-well hearsay when he sees and he called it like he saw it. That does not mean that anyone knows how he'll vote ultimately..which is as it should be.

Posted by GuestChristine Craft on Jun. 21, 2012 @ 5:41 pm

Because everything in this town is about who's on who's side, rather than about this issue at hand.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 24, 2012 @ 1:26 pm

When the EC made it majority vote rather than unanimous you've got to know what is going to happen, considering the mayor appoints three of the five members.

They already voted to allow testimony of the mayor's appointed sheriff who has serve all of about a month in office as their "expert", rather than the previous sheriff, who won election to eight terms in office and is the longest tenured sheriff in the state of California.

I see through Ed Lee like a window and what I see is really, really gross.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 21, 2012 @ 1:25 pm

has, by all account, received far more respect and support than Mirk did. She will understand how much having a rap sheet for violent crimes will make the job too difficult. She can testify how someone running the prisons should not have a conviction for false imprisonment. And how someone on probation cannot be adjudicating over others who are, and even over his own PO. So I welcome her testimony.

For all the debate on this topic, the real issue is crystal clear. If you're a liberal, you'll support ross even tho he's a wife beater. If this had been a conservative, you'd be singing the exact opposite tune.

So on what basis is this support for Ross justified?

Posted by Guest on Jun. 21, 2012 @ 1:53 pm

for violent crimes....rather a non-violent misdemeanor..check it out.

Posted by GuestChristine Craft on Jun. 21, 2012 @ 5:42 pm

At least get your basic facts right if you're going to try and lecture actual real San Franciscans on our politics.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 22, 2012 @ 11:12 am

a dv crime....do your own legal research, don't impune mine.

Posted by Guest christine on Jun. 22, 2012 @ 12:31 pm

"not a crime of violence".

It was.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 22, 2012 @ 12:45 pm

"considering the mayor appoints three of the five members"

Except that the mayor does not appoint 3 out of 5 ethics commissioners.

Posted by marcos on Jun. 21, 2012 @ 1:59 pm

him. I'd rather hear objective opinions from those not personally imvolved. 100% of Ross's "friends" probably support him, but 76% of the rest of us do not.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 21, 2012 @ 8:52 am

Lillipublicans is in need of anger management counseling.
I'm sure Ross can refer you to join him in his sessions.

Posted by GuestOfNoOne on Jun. 21, 2012 @ 7:59 am

Nothing could be farther from the truth. You mistake seeing your shills and propaganda taken to task for having been the victim of some violence or anger.

If you spread intellectual filth, be prepared for others to forcefully discredit you for it. It isn't done in anger as much as disgust.

Posted by lillipublicans on Jun. 21, 2012 @ 10:02 am

convince us that Ross is an impeccable public servant who is innocent of all allegations.

Hmm, I wonder why? Paid to do so, perhaps?

Posted by Guest on Jun. 21, 2012 @ 10:14 am

Namaste lillipublicans, namaste.

Yoga, incense, meditation, even soothing music may calm you. It's quite alright for others to have an opinion that is contrary to yours without you pouncing on them.
Try not to let Ross' non-supporters get under your skin, it is not personal after all.

Posted by GuestOfNoOne on Jun. 21, 2012 @ 3:39 pm

“I was disappointed by the content of Ivory Madison's declaration. A first-year lawyer should know that much of it is inadmissible and it should not have been given to us,” Renne told Deputy City Attorney Peter Keith, calling it “clearly hearsay, clearly having the intention of poisoning the well of this hearing.”

Dear Mr. Renne, I believe it is called “LITIGATION PRIVILEGE” in where the city can represent you as they wish thus “POISONING” of the well. In my particular case C02-3485PJH the city represented EXPERT TESTIMONY that was FALSE, INCORRECT and INADMISSABLE; however, since I was silenced (you may not speak against the EXPERT) only to have my case thrown out (2003) and then the city sign a “CONFESSION/Settlement Agreement” (2007) with the Office of Inspector General admitting fault and guilt and leaving its INNOCENT VINDICATED VICTIM for DEAD. Type my name (Jason Grant Garza) into a google search engine or go to myownprivateguantanamo.com and there you will see the documents. Any more QUESTIONS as to HOW FAR the city attorney will go to WIN ??? As a matter of FACT in this case ... the ETHICS Commission was sent an “OFFICIAL MISCONDUCT” for a NURSE RATCHED letter I received from the SHERIFF’s office ( go to myownprivateguantanamo.com to see the paperwork and city letterhead) ... would you like to see the DEAD END RESULT from ETHICS and my followup to them ( ETHICS) and NO RESPONSE? I still await my JUSTICE, DUE PROCESS, CIVILITY or any sign of HUMANITY. Redress, restitution, contrition, genuine sorrow, or damages is out of the QUESTION ... they are ONLY concerned with their PAY, PENSION, RETIREMENT and the ILLUSION of the GAME PLAYING (we care, we are accountable, etc.)

Now this brings up an interesting question: How MUCH longer on the “OFFICIAL MISCONDUCT” charges brought by the MINISTRY of SUNSHINE (Sunshine Task Force) for St. Croix case # 11013 & 11014 (Ethics Commission) and Mar, Chiu,Wiener and Cohen case # 11048 (Supervisors - Board of Supervisors) I believe that were sometime in Aug or Sept 2011 ( see - http://www.sfbos.org/index.aspx?page=11889 ) ??? What about the rules and procedure for these and why are they languishing? Yes, Virginia ... look over here BUT NOT here.

“THE EMPEROR WEARS NO CLOTHES !!!”

“During times of UNIVERSAL DECEIT telling the TRUTH becomes a REVOLUTIONARY Act.” George Orwell

Ross is DUE the same as NURSE RATCHED ....or did that PERSON retire to live the GOOD LIFE (city pension, etc) while his VICTIM was further ABUSED by NOT only NURSE RATCHED but the FAILED ETHICS COMMISSION.

Yes, Virginia ... the MINISTRY of SUNSHINE (perfect city shill) and ETHICS COMMISSION (we change the rules and procedure as we see fit and as we go) ... aren’t we painting St. Croix, Mar, Chiu,Wiener, Cohen or even NURSE RATCHED with same BRUSH ???

Yes, Virginia ... it is a GAME ... go to myownprivateguantanamo.com to see the paperwork and HOW it is PLAYED.

Posted by Jason Grant Garza on Jun. 21, 2012 @ 7:59 am

She is entitled to bear witness to whats he saw and heard, and that includes any and every conversation she had with Eliana over those several months when Eliana was relating her fears,

There is no reason to believe that Eliana did not say those thigns, and in fact a video supports at least some of them, including her allegation that Ross had assaulted her before.

This is not a trial - it's a fact-finding inquiry. The rules are broader and reports of conversations that Madison participated in should be heard. If Eliana wishes to testify and come up with a different story, or an explanation of why she claimed abuse by Ross, then let her do that. and then we can all decide who to believe.

Personally I'd believe Madison over Eliana at this point. Elians needs Ross to get his salary back, while that's irrelevant to Madison who, it seems, is being hounded just because she tired to save her neighbor from assault.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 21, 2012 @ 10:09 am

The video ..all :45 second of it..with the comment that this is the second time "this is happening" refers to their prior heated argument about mama taking son out of country YET AGAIN. She does not say she had her arm grabbed before..watch, listen, pay attention..and get yourself a good legal dictionary(Black's) about what hearsay is and isn't. It will be very helpful for you.

Try to understand also, that Mr and Mrs. Madison-Mertens have a huge legal problem here and thus the self-serving nature of their very odd declarations. Mr. Mertens, the decor critic, decided he hated Mr. Mirkarimi and then turned around and held a fundraiser for him. read the declaration on the ethics commish website.
Mrs Mertens bends over backwards to avoid being sued for misrepresentation..stay tuned.

Posted by GuestChristine Craft on Jun. 21, 2012 @ 5:47 pm

I support Ross, but why would the neighbors have legal problems? My understanding is that defamation is a very difficult legal standard to meet, especially when the target is a politician.
The Madison/Mertens declarations are venomous hearsay for sure, but could you elaborate on why they may be illegal?

Posted by Erika McDonald on Jun. 21, 2012 @ 8:16 pm

gave legal advice about making a tape for future use in a legal custody proceeding and promised to keep it confidential, while concurrently advertising herself as highly legally trained and experienced, a reasonable person(especially one who speaks and writes broken English) would believe she is being counselled by a lawyer.
Did the husband, a lawyer who has actually passed the bar, also give legal advice of any kind?

the tort is MISREPRESENTATION.

Posted by Guest christine on Jun. 22, 2012 @ 12:36 pm

I can only assume Madison has her own defamation case against Lopez and Canny in the works, too, as well she should.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 24, 2012 @ 1:30 pm

in any defamation action would be her own status as a public figure. She's an acclaimed female vengeance comic book authoress,performing torch singer,lecturer, and CEO of an online literary clearinghouse, Redroom.com which features her bio, claiming extensive legal training and experience. Just like Superman was Clark Kent by day, Ivory Madison was a mild mannered bookie by day, and
The Huntress by night.
The week ahead will reveal much. sfgovtv.org ..for the live stream Thursday and Friday evenings. Live testimony from Mirkarimi, Mayor, and more.

Posted by GuestChristine Craft on Jun. 24, 2012 @ 8:33 pm

this wasn't the first time that Ross had done that.

And anyone with experience with DV knows that wife abusers never stop at one time.

You're naive.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 21, 2012 @ 9:18 pm

no sense of scale or proportionality, an absolutist with no ability to think outside of a psychobabble box...pity. You'd be the kind who'd scream ABUSE if someone sneered at you funny.BOO

Posted by Guest christine on Jun. 22, 2012 @ 12:39 pm

Eliana still pointed to the bruise and said Ross had done that before.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 22, 2012 @ 12:49 pm

that he grabbed her arm before...period

Posted by GuestChristine Craft on Jun. 23, 2012 @ 7:58 am

You didn't say the exact words you cited but the emaning is clearly the same.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 23, 2012 @ 9:01 am

KrisKraft is on top of this one, folks.

The fill-in radio host from Sacramento has exited her trailer park and come to town...

The battle is all about interior decoration and decor.

Posted by Troll the XIV on Jun. 21, 2012 @ 8:25 pm

to read the Abraham Mertens declaration and his obsession with the decor of M and E's house. Personally, I hate the Sacramento weather, but I do love the fact that it enables us to have a trailer..for the horses.
I favor funky decor, mixing old with new,and with a pop of color!!

Posted by Guest christine on Jun. 22, 2012 @ 12:27 pm

I keep forgetting in Progressiveland, if it is your man doing it it's ok. So what if he routinely denied food and manipulated his wife? So what if he's a jerk and clearly has a loose grip on reality? So what if he's so disliked by progressive politicians they gave the board presidency to a freshMAN legislator instead? So what if when this comes to a vote, he's gonna get creamed by his own "allies?"

Denial isn't just a river in Egypt. And the grossness of the Guardian to stick up for this jerk just makes me wonder how much crack is smoked over there.

Posted by Prog Pog on Jun. 22, 2012 @ 1:54 pm

If you keep up with this crap, I'm going to have to send you to bed without any dinner.

Posted by marcos on Jun. 22, 2012 @ 2:12 pm

for your family is now in prog prog's mind a bad thing? an unhealthy thing? Did you think that Eliana and Ross and Theo looked malnourished? Those text messages with Ross describing the foods he picked up at Whole Foods for his family must make you twitch ..just a bit. Or perhaps, the text messages with utterly no indicia of an attempt at witness dissuasion really cause a tremor?

another good question if you pay attention to the filings..Why do Ivory Madison and Mr. Madison need a therapist, long before the Mirkarimi matter? Is it because the wife thinks you should call the police or a caped avenger every time your spouse says a cross word to you? Or is it Mr. Madison's fixation on the home decor of his neighbors..tsk tsk tsk... anal retention at its finest.

Posted by GuestChristine Craft on Jun. 23, 2012 @ 8:03 am

Is there any lie you won't tell?

Posted by Guest on Jun. 23, 2012 @ 9:00 am

you really should read the record...very avail at the ethics committee website. Ms Madison tells Eliana to call the cops every time Mr. M raises his voice at her.

Posted by GuestChristine Craft on Jun. 23, 2012 @ 4:27 pm

abusive, insulting and (particularly) threatening.

So when Ross says "I'm a powerful man" in the context of warning Eliana he could use his power to take her child away from her custody, that is a verbal threat and an incident of domestic violence.

As it happens, Ross was physically violent too, at least three time - twice bruising her arm and once falsely imprisoning her.

You need another angle of attack, Christine/Dottie/JCCourt

Posted by Guest on Jun. 23, 2012 @ 5:08 pm

my only regret is someone didn't call CPS on his ass. He's an abusive monster who is a cheapass when it comes to his kid, who abuses and is controlling to his "wife" (concubine?) and while I think the Mayor's a walking dildofuck, he didn't hurt Eliana, and Ross's ego needs to get punched down. Maybe if he got his ass kicked once in a while he'd realize how fucked that is.

Keep on, progressives. You continue to make yourselves more irrelevant even amongst left minded voters with your support of this asshole. You're just as bad as the assholes who supported Run ED Run and the corruption there.

Sucks to be you people!

PS: The lunatics that show up to support Ross at the hearings just make him loos even worse. When this is all done, he needs to pack his bags and go back to where he came from and stop stinking up Webster Street!

Posted by prog pog on Jun. 23, 2012 @ 7:36 pm

determined there was "no issue" whatsoever. Someone was trying to manipulate a custody situation...somebody(ies) who had no right to do so, someone in the practice of creating nightmarish custody battles in other people's lives.

Posted by GuestChristine Craft aka Dootise,coppersmom on Jun. 25, 2012 @ 3:02 pm

quit while you're "ahead" or, at least adequate.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 25, 2012 @ 3:52 pm

"The only testimony that was stricken entirely was that of Paul Henderson, Lee's criminal justice adviser, who testified that Mirkarimi's guilty plea to misdemeanor false imprisonment for the grabbing incident would hurt his ability to function as the sheriff."

Henderson was running for DA when Gascon jumped into the race. He was given a nice soft landing and is now singing for his supper. How sad.

Posted by marcos on Jun. 22, 2012 @ 2:13 pm

it stricken from the record hardly matters either way.

Everyone knows this hurts Ross's ability to do the job. What we're debating is whether that degree of disability is overwhelming or merely contingent and capable of remediation. And that is the job of the EC to determine.

I'm sure that even Christine and her many aliases here would agree.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 22, 2012 @ 2:25 pm