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

is to determine if he committed an act of "official misconduct" ..so disabling as to make him unable to serve in his elected position "Dootise" was my longtime moniker..as "guest" is apparently yours. When this story arose, I switched over to using my own name. sometimes the reply screen comes up with "dootise"..If it does again, I"ll correct it. I wouldn't want you to think I'm hiding what I think, at least on this matter.

Posted by GuestChristine Craft on Jun. 23, 2012 @ 8:09 am

support for your own position in that way. If you want any credibility here, keep it straight.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 23, 2012 @ 8:59 am

Hi ... Christine ... Jason Grant Garza ... nice to meet another who SPEAKS their name to the comments. A++++
I wish to inform you that the ETHICS COMMISSION has NO ETHICS since the SUNSHINE TASK FORCE has sent multiple "OFFICIAL MISCONDUCT" referrals to ETHICS as a matter of fact St. Croix (ethics), Mar, Chiu, Cohen and Wiener were also sent to ethics for "OFFICIAL MISCONDUCT" ... where are the results, the rush to insure speedy resolution. This is all a FARCE ...

Let me make it easy for you ... go to http://www.myownprivateguantanamo.com to see a NURSE RATCHED letter I received from the Sheriff's department that was sent to ETHICS. Has the definition of "Official Misconduct" changed?

What about the article in SFBG years ago about the referrals that were all denied by ETHICS from SUNSHINE. Yes, Christine a RIGGED and FAILING SYSTEM ... the only difference is ROSS ability to get LAWYERS.

Again Christine the JOB of the ETHICS COMMISSION is not to find "OFFICIAL MISCONDUCT" rather to just give the appearance ... for IF your premise was right the other "OFFICIAL MISCONDUCT" charges sent by SUNSHINE would have been confirmed and acted upon. Are the rules different ... and if the rules are being NOW corrected what does that say about DUE PROCESS and the RIGGED prior PROCESS such as the NURSE RATCHED affair.

Please go to http://www.myownprivateguantanamo.com

The paperwork is there on THEIR OWN letterhead ... Good to know that the "STANDARD of MEASUREMENT" for the PROCESS will be same as mine at ETHICS .... ha, ha, ha ... what a FARCE.

Keep tuned to the FARCE and the apparent "MORAL HAZARD" displayed by those at the city attorney's office "JUST DOING THEIR JOB" as they did in my FEDERAL lawsuit (C02-3485PJH) where they had my case thrown out (2003) with their EXPERT witness TESTLYING only to sign a "CONFESSION"/Settlement Agreement (2007) with the Office of Inspector General ADMITTING FAULT and GUILT for breaking FEDERAL LAW and leaving it INNOCENT VINDICATED VICTIM for DEAD.

So before you GIVE CREDIT to ETHICS examine the facts, the "RIGGED system" ,the NON-RESULTS of prior referrals, whether the rules have changed or the law or the definition "OFFICIAL MISCONDUCT."

An even more ETHICAL question ... will they NOW re-open all prior "OFFICIAL MISCONDUCT" cases .... and use the same BRUSH they are using with ROSS because in my case it was done BEHIND CLOSED DOORS so that I too may have DUE PROCESS ... I'm not holding my breathe nor belief in them (ETHICS) doing the right thing ... shall we see?

"Telling the TRUTH during times of UNIVERSAL DECEIT is a REVOLUTIONARY act." George Orwell

Again Christine thank you for your courage and integrity to post your name as I do ....

Posted by Jason Grant Garza on Jun. 23, 2012 @ 10:19 am

there is NO dispute that M grabbed E's arm and left a bruise, and I'm sure you know that. You think that every cross word and every arm grab means someone is being beaten, whipped, bloodied, broken, smacked, hit etc. I don't.

Posted by GuestChristine Craft on Jun. 23, 2012 @ 11:37 am

clearly indicated that in the video.

Ross already pleaded gulity to committing violence, and apologized for it, so your denial of that is moot.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 23, 2012 @ 12:23 pm

and prolly a host of others too. So far she's admitted to using 3 usernames, but denied JCCourt (which is strange because that sockpuppet uses the exact same terminology her other sockpuppets use - the same phraseology and in the same order as well).

Posted by Troll II on Jun. 24, 2012 @ 10:36 am

She lost credibility after she denied the third one

Posted by Guest on Jun. 24, 2012 @ 11:35 am

I've started reading the depositions and am encountering the man that I voted for sheriff. And I feel like I knew that beforehand. Mea culpa.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 23, 2012 @ 9:25 pm

depositions. declarations are not depositions

Posted by GuestChristine Craft on Jun. 24, 2012 @ 7:42 am
Posted by Guest on Jun. 24, 2012 @ 8:33 am

deposition..

Most simply, in a deposition, there are questions and a questioner.

Posted by GuestChristine Craft on Jun. 24, 2012 @ 11:13 am

That's the point

Posted by Guest on Jun. 24, 2012 @ 11:33 am

there can be more than one point to an issue. A declaration is just an unquestioned statement in which the declarant can spew endless self-serving goo.That's goo, under oath. In a deposition, one is questioned by a person who is not your friend or your advocate, but your opponent's lawyer. You may have to answer lots of things you don't want to answer or discuss. It's also under oath , but it is a much different critter.

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

Whether a depo, hearing or trial, testimony is given under oath and penalty of perjury.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 24, 2012 @ 6:30 pm

you will then know the difference.. Let's try again. Both declarations and depositions are under oath and penalty of perjury. A declaration is just something you write without being challenged on any of your assertions of fact.

A deposition is where you get the bejesus drilled out of you.

Get it? got it? good.

Posted by GuestChristine Craft on Jun. 24, 2012 @ 8:39 pm

you will then know the difference.. Let's try again. Both declarations and depositions are under oath and penalty of perjury. A declaration is just something you write without being challenged on any of your assertions of fact.

A deposition is where you get the bejesus drilled out of you.

Get it? got it? good.

Posted by GuestChristine Craft on Jun. 24, 2012 @ 8:39 pm

Get help for your Stockholm Sydrome by-proxy. Your obsession has become overwhelming.

Posted by Troll II on Jun. 24, 2012 @ 9:10 pm

of disdain for the idea of tearing down Hetch Hetchy Reservior, replays a familiar Mirkarimi hater meme that anyone defending Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, or finding fault with the Gascon/Lee machine politics against him are one and the same person as everyone else taking such a stance. Pop-psychology added as an overlay doesn't make it any prettier.

Posted by lillipublicans on Jun. 24, 2012 @ 11:10 pm

That shows me she has little confidence in her arguments and so felt the need to "big up" support for herself by inventing people to "agree" with her.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 25, 2012 @ 5:42 am

that my usual moniker for commenting on the sfbg site was "dootise" ..not Dootsie.When this story gained steam, and I was having M as a radio guest, I changed to my own name(unlike all you guests). Sometimes the reply screen pops up ..still with Dootise..ask the webmaster about this.I'm all old and dried up and has beenish and don't live here anymore, and didn't pay it any attention. I'm in fact so old, that I'd never even heard of the expression "sock puppet" until now and am still not quite sure what it means...but I guess it's funny?

In addition, I have posted for many years on sfgate as "coppersmom"..since I was the mother of a "copper".

When I raised significant questions about the background and motivations of Ivory Madison, I was suddenly banned from sfgate.com...NOthing I had posted as coppersmom was profane or an illegitimate question..All of it was based on Ms. Madison's own curriculum vitae.

For the record, I am not jccourt, daniele,truthout, rjerje,bob in beaverton..etc.

So tell me young-uns..should I now just post as "guest"?somehow that would be more meaningful? more transparent?more honest?

This week will be a doozy...I predict.

Posted by GuestChristine Craft aka Dootise,coppersmom on Jun. 25, 2012 @ 8:30 am

the illusion of support that is really non-existent, and that is what you have given the appearance of doing. The irony is that weakens your position because it indicates you have little faith in the persuasiveness of your argument, and so resort to games and tricks to fabricate support that really isn't there at all.

Posting as "Guest" or "Anonymous" doesn't suffer from that flaw because it's not seeking to deceive in any way, and just prevents stalking.

If you're really "so old and dried up and has beenish and don't live here anymore, and didn't pay it any attention" then why don't you try posting less and listening more? You don't have to post here all day, every day, over and over on the same topic saying the same thing ad nauseum, you know?

It's boring. Try a little humility.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 25, 2012 @ 10:13 am

is forbidden from posting on sfgate because she raised significant inquiries about the allegedly altruistic behavior of Ivory Madison...so you won't be hearing from coppersmom anymore.

Dootise and Christine Craft are the same person...so attribute those appropriately..

I'm now a guest.

you can stick that up the appropriate orifice.

Posted by Guest Guest on Jun. 25, 2012 @ 3:09 pm

because it's the same lame arguments.

You didn't take the advice - listen until you know enough to debate with the big boys.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 25, 2012 @ 3:48 pm

this.

Posted by Guest Guest on Jun. 25, 2012 @ 3:12 pm

it's psychobabble term used by people who make a living promoting it. see: diff between "diagnosis" and "syndrome".

Posted by Guest on Jun. 26, 2012 @ 12:16 pm

Some pretty daming stuff in Ivory M's ethics commission filing.

Ross is a control freak who wouldn't let his wife leave the house without permission and didn't let her go to restaurants:

http://www.sfethics.org/files/declaration_of_ivory_s_madison.pdf

Posted by WallyP on Jun. 24, 2012 @ 7:43 pm

never observed any such thing.

Posted by GuestChristine Craft on Jun. 24, 2012 @ 8:41 pm

one of those people who suffers abuse and then projects the character of their abuser on anyone else they don't like?

Why is Abe Mertens so shrivelly when he sees a photograph of a nude woman by the legendary Ruth Bernhard?

Is that why Madison is still in therapy?

I think she had some help in creating the attempted destruction of the Mirkarimi family...some help that the Chronicle doesn't want you to know about.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 26, 2012 @ 12:11 pm

So she has committed purgery?

The link is an interesting read. You wonder how much of what Elena told her is true. As a soap opera star, she is no doubt prone to exaggeration.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 25, 2012 @ 2:59 pm

you need to look up "hearsay". Ivory Madison is not a direct witness..she's a hearsay witness..see if you can figure out why.

Posted by Guest Guest on Jun. 25, 2012 @ 3:10 pm

that she personally witnessed, which of course she did with Eliana.

It's only hearsay if she gives evidence about what Eliana said to her about what some third party said.

Important difference. If Eliana says to Ivory that Ross threatened her life, then that is admissable and is not hearsay.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 25, 2012 @ 3:46 pm

"It's only hearsay if she gives evidence about what Eliana said to her about what some third party said."

Like (third party) Ross Mirkarimi? That's precisely what/ who that declaration is about, no? What Ross did or said. Was Madison there when Ross allegedly said or acted in the ways she claims he did? No (duh!). That's why it's hearsay, genius.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 25, 2012 @ 3:59 pm

her state fo fear and terror, her claims about what she was threatened with, her statements about her fear for her life, and any pattern of abuse and ill treatment.

She cannot testify about other conversations she was indirectly a party to, but she absolutely can testify as to the regime of violence and abuse to which she was subjected to by "our" ex sheriff.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 25, 2012 @ 4:15 pm

Madison may have seen a bruise but she had no direct knowledge of how it got there. There are some exceptions to the hearsay rule, such as an "excited utterance", etc. But as Paul Renne noted, any first-year law student would recognize that most of what Madison wrote in her declaration was clearly inadmissible. Like Christine said, get yourself a copy of Black's and familiarize yourself with the hearsay rule and its (limited) exceptions before you go spouting off. Perhaps then, you will realize that what IM wrote in her declaration did not, in any way, constitute direct knowledge or evidence~

"Hearsay is information gathered by one person from another person concerning some event, condition, or thing of which the first person had no direct experience. When submitted as evidence, such statements are called hearsay evidence. As a legal term, "hearsay" can also have the narrower meaning of the use of such information as evidence to prove the truth of what is asserted. Such use of "hearsay evidence" in court is generally not allowed. This prohibition is called the hearsay rule.

"For example, a witness says "Susan told me Tom was in town" as her evidence to the fact that Tom was in town. Since the witness does not offer in this statement the personal knowledge of the fact, this witness statement would be hearsay evidence to the fact that Tom was in town, and not admissible. Only when Susan testifies herself in the current judicial proceeding that she saw Tom in town, that Susan's testimony becomes admissible evidence to the fact that Tom was in town. However, a witness statement "Susan told me Tom was in town" can be admissible as evidence in the case against Susan when she is accused of spreading defamatory rumors about Tom, because now the witness has personal knowledge of the fact that Susan said (i.e., pronounced the defamatory words) "Tom was in town" in the presence of the witness and it is an opposing party’s statement that constitutes a verbal act."

Posted by Guest on Jun. 25, 2012 @ 6:10 pm
Posted by Guest on Jun. 26, 2012 @ 12:12 pm
Posted by Guest on Jun. 26, 2012 @ 12:13 pm

LIKE GOOD CATCH OF THIS "GUEST GUEST" YOU ROCK LIKE THAT GARZA PERSON!!

Posted by Guest on Jun. 26, 2012 @ 8:55 am

See page 10-11 of the deposition in which Madeline states her belief that Ross is trying to turn her into a Stepford Wife.

Good reading!

Posted by troll the XIV on Jun. 25, 2012 @ 3:05 pm

Madelaine??

Posted by Guest Guest on Jun. 25, 2012 @ 3:11 pm

serious...(the madeline part). just goes to show how you think you get it right, and it comes out different on the other end. funny, that.

Posted by Daniele E. on Jun. 25, 2012 @ 10:11 pm

I know Daniele. Like really funny.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 26, 2012 @ 8:56 am

The really good stuff is around pg. 14, where Madison reports that Ross left Elena and little Theo at the airport, and she ran out of gas trying to get home:

http://www.sfethics.org/files/declaration_of_ivory_s_madison.pdf

Posted by Guest on Jun. 26, 2012 @ 8:52 am

so afraid of Ruth Bernhard photography...?
use the google.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 26, 2012 @ 12:06 pm

Why...if you can get ahold of Ivory Madison"s comic book"The Huntress"..why is it that Ms. Madison describes herself as a .......?

Posted by Guest on Jun. 26, 2012 @ 10:16 am

Why...if you can get ahold of Ivory Madison"s comic book"The Huntress"..why is it that Ms. Madison describes herself as a .......?

Posted by Guest on Jun. 26, 2012 @ 10:17 am

wonderful work of Ruth Berhard.?.google it..Is he a prude....? or does he just not value important art??

Posted by Guest on Jun. 26, 2012 @ 12:05 pm

Some pretty damning stuff on page 6 of the filing. This is a serial abuse case, folks:

http://www.sfethics.org/files/declaration_of_ivory_s_madison.pdf

Posted by Guest Guest on Jun. 27, 2012 @ 8:08 am

anyone to credibly believe that this was an isolated incident.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 27, 2012 @ 9:21 am

to spend many thousands of dollars bringing some out of town police chief who doesn't know any of the parties here to testify when his own department is beleagured? I'm referring to the san diego fellow who needs accomodations and other expenses to come here an opine..but the city attorney can't find considerably less money to bring a star witness here(Eliana)? After taking away her husband's income and after keeping her and her child away from being with dad..it's the least they could do...why is the city so scared of Eliana's testimony? Maybe the domestic violence activists who raised many thousands for their billboards...could scrape up some funds to give the city? oops..forgot they've already determined that Eliana couldn't possibly know her own mind.
AND btw..why Does Mr. Madison Mertens flinch with such anxiety when he snoops around M and E's house and sees the Ruth Bernhard "Woman in a Box" photographic print? Only a super prude would be so repelled.. I thought the Madison-Mertenses were all artsy and fartsy and literary. seems not.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 27, 2012 @ 8:33 am

Jason Grant Garza ... my, the CITY can NOT even afford to find and pay for a HIPAA expert in my case # 11081 (where the city illegally denied me my MEDICAL RECORDS) and as of today ... even after the city conceded ... the MINISTRY of SUNSHINE does NOT perform by holding accountable the city attorney nor their DCA (Threat) for the INCORRECT advise. This has been going on now for HOW MANY MONTHS?

Yes, RIGGED process as FAR AS THE EYE can see at the MINISTRY of SUNSHINE ... shall we ask them why Barbara Garcia ( case # 11099 ) who was found guilty of 67.21e has NOT been sent to ETHICS for the EXACT same finding as Eileen Shields in case # 10038 ( http://www.sfbos.org/index.aspx?page=10743 ) and WHERE are my MEDICAL RECORDS and WHAT was the CONSEQUENCE/PENALTY to Shields. Now if Garcia does NOT get sent to ETHICS what does that say about the RIGGED SYSTEM?

Amazing ... now that I have gone to Angela (Clerk BOS 554-5184) to file a formal complaint and start an investigation as to the FAILING METHODOLOGY at the MINISTRY of SUNSHINE ... guess where I am LEFT in that RIGGED PROCESS ... I still await.

Shall I speak about the FIASCO at Wiener's Office when I was trying to submit paperwork to him regarding the FAILURES at SUNSHINE ... I have that paperwork too.

Shall we speak of my effort in escalating the INCORRECT and UNACCOUNTABLE city attorney advise that denied and delayed my receipt of my own medical records (Sunshine case # 10038 and 11081) ... you could call Tara or Allie at 554-4748 and ask how many times I have called to bring forward this to my government officials for redress as I am allowed ... maybe they could tell you why NO followup to the Compliant and INVESTIGATION that I am seeking. Please note that I too have kept records of the RIGGED and UNACCOUNTABLE process.

Yes, go to http://www.myownprivateguantanamo.com to see how the GAME is played ... there you will see a signed "confession/settlement" agreement between the city and Office of Inspector General where the city admits FAULT and GUILT for breaking FEDERAL LAW then leaving its INNOCENT VINDICATED VICTIM for DEAD. Please note that the city had my case dismissed with Testlying (C02-3485PJH - 2003) only to sign a "confession'" in 2007. It is on the website. Please also NOTE that it was NOT out of the KINDNESS of the city after the SCORCHED EARTH tactics in FEDERAL COURT but rather my continuing against ALL odds and INHUMANITY. Ask me if after they signed the CONFESSION they made me WHOLE, had ANY CONTRITION or just asked me to file another complaint ... Imagine the MEDICAL field and the LEGAL field ...

I await the SPIN ... if they can pay for Elena why can't they pay when BUSTED ???
What does it say about ETHICS???

Justice for the RICH and "JUST THIS" for you and ME.

Posted by Jason Grant Garza on Jun. 27, 2012 @ 9:31 am