Gascón's challenge to Mirkarimi belies his own official shortcomings

George Gascón, shown here in January when he announced charges against Mirkarimi, is still making demands.
Steven T. Jones

The backlash against Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi's reinstatement by those who oppose him has often been biting and bitter – an indicator that coming together around real solutions to domestic violence, something most supervisors pledged, could still be difficult – but the most hypocritical reaction came yesterday from District Attorney George Gascón.

“Ross is now reinstated as our Sheriff and I accept that. What I will not accept is any compromise of public safety as a result of his reinstatement. Ross Mirkarimi is on probation in this county for a crime of domestic violence. He is, at a minimum, incapable of adequately performing the functions of his office that relate to crimes of domestic violence,” Gascón said in a public statement, calling for Mirkarimi to “wall himself off” from all domestic violence programs and inmates and hire an independent special administrator to oversee them.

Gascón didn't explain why he believes Mirkarimi can't oversee these functions, although that's been a common refrain among Mirkarimi's critics, almost an article of faith that to them needs no explanation. I understand the sentiment, but as a practical matter, it still doesn't make sense to me (I'd welcome comments that could offer insights or explanation). I've also posed that and other questions to both Gascón and his spokesperson, Stephanie Ong Stillman, and I'll include an update when I hear back.

Maybe the issue is a conflict of interest, the belief that Mirkarimi will either be too easy or too hard on domestic violence inmates or programs, which seems to be stretch. But if that's the case, Gascón should get off his high horse. Gascón was the police chief when then-Mayor Gavin Newsom appointed him as DA, and there were many voices in the community who questioned such an unconventional move, one that raised obvious questions about whether Gascón could be objective about cases of police abuse, evidence tampering, or assorted other cases in which he would be called upon to make tough judgments about the SFPD. There were calls for Gascón to wall himself off from such cases, which he refused to do, even though that was arguably a more serious and direct conflict of interest than Mirkarimi overseeing the jail.

Also, let's not forget that it was Gascón who started this whole ordeal by deciding to charge Mirkarimi with domestic violence crimes, accept the plea bargain to misdemeanor false imprisonment, and recommend the punishment that the court accepted – which included the highly unusual requirement that Mirkarimi issue a public apology to his neighbor, Ivory Madison, who went to police against the wishes of Mirkarimi's wife. At the time, Mirkarimi was serving as sheriff and overseeing all the department's functions – and he wasn't letting the batterers run free or battering them himself – and Gascón didn't raise this issue of then or make it a condition of Mirkarimi's plea, which he certainly could have.

Finally, there was this sanctimonious statement by Gascón: “As the chief law enforcement official in this City and County, I will stand unapologetically with the victims. I will work tirelessly to be sure both victims and witnesses know this city does not tolerate domestic violence.” Yet the record of his office indicates something that falls far short of tireless efforts to combat domestic violence.

As a San Francisco Public Press investigation revealed last month, San Francisco has by far the lowest rate of domestic violation prosecutions of any Bay Area jurisdiction, a terrible record that has gotten even worse since Gascón took over. Whether judged by the number of domestic violence cases filed per capita (29.5 per 10,000 residents, compared with 58.5 in the region) or the number cases it received that it declined to prosecute (it dropped 6,200 of the 8,600 cases that it received from police), Gascón has no business claiming to show zero tolerance for domestic violence. His prosecution of Mirkarimi was more aberration than rule.

We've been trying to get a comment out of the DA's Office on this issue for weeks, and they still haven't replied (Stillman told me today that “we're still working on it”). Gascón was also asked about his office's poor record on domestic violence recently on KQED's Forum and gave only a deflective non-answer. Perhaps he'd be better off figuring out how his office could so consistently fail the victims of domestic violence rather than worrying so much about the too-few of them that he's managed to send to jail.

We all understand what an emotional and important issue domestic violence is, and even how unsettling it may be to many to have Mirkarimi as sheriff. But the members of the Domestic Violence Consortium and La Casa de las Madres – those who have led the campaign to oust Mirkarimi – aren't the only people who care about this issue.

During the public comment portion of Tuesday's Board of Supervisors meeting, there were many domestic violence victims who expressed more outrage over the failure of these domestic violence groups or the DA's office to support them than they were about Mirkarimi continuing to be the sheriff. The city just spent $1.3 million trying to remove Mirkarimi and another [[CORRECTED FIGURE: $140,000]] paying his interim replacement, Vicky Hennessy – money that could have been better spent directly responding to domestic violence than this fruitless symbolic stand.

But that's over now, just like their efforts to remove Mirkarimi, and we all need to move on instead of trying to re-fight this difficult battle over and over again. People can still disagree with what happened and vent and be angry – and from what we're hearing from City Hall, many of the messages have been quite savage, some even threatening violence. They can even work on a recall campaign or take other political actions.

Yet we all still share a city – a wonderfully diverse city with a wide range of perspectives and opinions – and we're all forced to accept things about it that we don't like. Gascón doesn't get to decide who the sheriff is or how he plays that role any more than Mirkarimi got to tell Gascón how to do his job – despite suffering far more direct impacts.

We each have our roles to play, and we'll all be better off if we do them well and accept that we live in a rainbow city, not a black-and-white world.


The DA piled on charges and reduced them to practically nothing so as to wrestle a plea from the Sheriff. Innocents accept pleas all the time. Thanks.

Posted by jccourt on Oct. 12, 2012 @ 6:18 pm

Why are you still banging on about this as if it matters now? Are you that disconnected from reality?

Posted by Troll II on Oct. 12, 2012 @ 7:08 pm

"The DA is responsible for this travesty. This case should never have been prosecuted. Thanks."

And the DA got a plea bargain, Mirk acknowledged his offense, and got three years probation. Thanks.

Posted by Demented, Yet Terribly, Terribly Persistent on Oct. 12, 2012 @ 8:02 am

and once again, he is wrong.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 12, 2012 @ 2:48 pm

""The city just spent $1.3 million trying to remove Mirkarimi and another $1.4 million paying his interim replacement, Vicky Hennessy""

Is it that much? I know Vicky was doubled-dipping in classic city-family fashion . That is, she gets a $173,000 pension as a city-family retiree, but I heard the salary was ONLY $193,000 annually.

In any case, I wish I had a $366,000 annual salary from the city of San Francisco. But, alas, I am not a "city family" member. I'm a mere prole.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 11, 2012 @ 9:08 pm

I don't consider grabbing your wife's arm to be domestic abuse

Posted by Guest on Oct. 11, 2012 @ 9:26 pm

The law states that a battery is any willful and unlawful use of force or violence
upon the person of another. So, even an act less than grabbing a person, and it could be anyone--it doesn't have to be your spouse, it could be a stranger--and it doesn't have to be a grab, it could just be a poke---is a crime.

Domestic battery just concerns WHO the victim of the battery is and makes the punishment more severe. Now, there is a more serious felony charge of spousal abuse (Pen. Code Sec. 273.5) which requires a traumatic injury, but that is a felony charge, not the misdemeanor offense.

The bottom line is, we all learned this in kindergarten, keep your hands to yourself. You have no right to touch anyone without their consent, and even with it, you may not use force, and the only limited exception is in the circumstance where you may use reasonable force in self-defense if you are under physical attack. Otherwise, hands off.

Posted by Chris on Oct. 12, 2012 @ 12:38 am

A parent can hit, spank or whip their kids with a brush or belt, and no gets particularly upset about it (except, of course, the child). Why isn't that abuse? It appears that many parents never learned the lesson about keeping their hands to themselves. How do they expect their kids to learn this if they can't even control themselves?

Posted by Guest on Oct. 14, 2012 @ 12:31 pm

So the city drops over 3/4 of its domestic violence cases! Let it never again be said that we have a "Zero Tolerance" policy towards DV. Not that I necessarily agree with that -zero tolerance policies of anything (DV, drugs, whatever) fail to take into account the nuances of life. I'm sure that many of those cases were dropped for good reason -lack of evidence, uncooperative witnesses, accusers who later recant without whose testimony a prosecution will be impossible, maybe even recognition by all parties in the case that other interventions than the cop and jail model might be best in that particular case. But then they're not making these decisions with politics in mind. And that just shows how political this case really was. Of all the cases to prosecute, the fact that the mayor and DA chose a case where the victim didn't even call the police, shows how blatantly political all this was... and what a hypocrite Gascon is.

Posted by Greg on Oct. 11, 2012 @ 9:48 pm

All jurisdictions have a stated commitment to vigorously prosecute DV, as they should all crimes, but in reality I have never heard of a judge, DA, public defender, private defense attorney, or clerk who really cares to have a DV case/assignment, it is considered a crap case/assignment to have, and there are some valid reasons for that sentiment.

In California, you can't imprison a DV victim for contempt for failure to testify (you can still fine them, but it almost never happens), even though you can do it for any other sort of uncooperative victim/witness. But, most victims recant in any event, and they did it even when they used to face the possibility of imprisonment for contempt. Most jurors don't care about DV, they say they care, but unless the victim is beaten into a coma or killed, then you typically just have a group of bitter people who resent having to take time out of their life to serve on a jury and who are indifferent to violence occurring within a domestic relationship. And to your silly comment about whether someone calls the police or not, plenty of victims call the police, and the police come out because that is their job and everyone's tax dollars are spent on arresting the perpetrator, etc, and then the victim recants and wants the whole thing dropped--even though the criminal justice system is not a private venue for people to bring and then decide to drop charges--it is up to the state, not the individual. But, the system ends up being used as some dysfunctional social work service instead of the criminal justice system it is intended to be. (It is the same thing with the mentally ill--it rightfully pisses off DAs, judges, and jurors that they are stuck having to deal with the mentally ill because in addition to a makeshift social service, society has decide that the criminal justice system is supposed to be a substitute mental health service, rather than just paying for real mental health services).

Personally, I don't see the difference between getting violent with a stranger or with a domestic partner, except that is worse to abuse a domestic partner because you actually have an obligation to care for and protect your domestic partner, unlike a stranger. But, for some reason we have this weird view in our society that doing things you would never dream of doing to a stranger, even on a very bad day, are acceptable when it is with a family member/domestic partner. So, there it is.

And, no, Gascon is not a hypocrite. I am sure like most prosecutors, public defenders, jurors, judges, police officers, private defense attorneys, etc, he would be glad not to have to deal with DV period, but the law is the law, and where his office has enough suitable evidence to bring charges, then they follow through, not just in Mr. Mirkarimi's case, but in many cases. And, as in this case when you have a video and other evidence, it was enough of a case not to be dropped, but like most DV cases, and most criminal cases period, it ended up with a plea bargain.

Posted by Chris on Oct. 12, 2012 @ 12:07 am

for each and every one of your supposed facts. That's one slick piece of writing in defense of this reactionary connivance, and you come off sounding like you were smack dab on the insided of it.

Posted by lillipublicans on Oct. 12, 2012 @ 4:12 am

Lil, there is nothing "slick" about it. Go online and look up the penal code and you will find all the legal citations you desire.

As for the facts in this specific case, you can go get the court transcripts and read them if you would like. It is not my job to go cite them for you.

Also, how is one on the "insided" of something? Is that sort of like the opposite of being on the "outsided?" :)

Posted by Chris on Oct. 12, 2012 @ 9:13 am

I understand your point that DV is hard to prosecute, but that doesn't address the Public Press finding that San Francisco is far worse than other Northern California jurisdictions. It's a serious and legitimate point, and one that Gascon should really address before pretending to be strong on the issue. Mirkarimi is responsible for one woman's injury, Gascon is responsible for justice not being served in thousands of cases. Let's have a little perspective here.

Posted by steven on Oct. 12, 2012 @ 9:41 am

which is part of why DV is prosecuted far more aggressively than some other crimes. So, for instance, if you walk up to a guy in the street and punch him on the nose, chances are you'll be put in a diversion program, meaning no official conviction in return for a probation-like program. There is no diversion program for DV. So a slight injury to a spouse is treated more seriously than a broken nose to a stranger.

Of course, DV has the connotation that it is an escalation of violence, which is also part of the no tolerance approach.

And since cities need the money the mosy, city DA's are tougher on Dv than country DA's.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 12, 2012 @ 9:57 am

Guest, your circlular logical makes no sense. Cities and counties get federal money from the Justice Department to prosecute all sorts of crimes, not just DV crimes.

More importantly, your post presupposes that cities and counties are just given federal money. But, no they have to apply for it and most federal grants are rather competitive. Also, federal grants never cover the full cost of prosecuting crimes, whether DV or any other crime. So, if cities and counties are getting grants for DV, it is because they have a need to prosecute DV crimes AND they are willing to spend some of their own scarce funds on prosecuting DV since the grants require some investment by the city and counties. In other words, cities and counties apply for these grants, not simply because they need money, because frankly they need money to prosecute all crimes (and they need money to repair roads, and they need money for schools, etc.), rather, they apply for these grants because these sort of crimes are prevalent and require a fair amount of resources to prosecute.

And, I don't know what planet you live on, but if you walk up to a stranger and punch them on the street without any provocation, you are not going to get sent to a diversion program--perhaps, you are getting confused with drug diversion programs? Also, for a first-time misdemeanor DV offense, you are not going to be sent to prison for years (it is sort of implicit in the fact the crime is a misdemeanor). Also, DV convictions do result in anger-management counseling. Of course, many DV perpetrators go through the counseling and come out only to offend again. There should be no diversion programs for any violent crimes. Diversion programs are appropriate for drug offenses and petty thefts, not acts of violence. People who commit violence need to be treated more severely by the criminal justice system because crimes of violence are far more serious than crimes against property or drug crimes.

Posted by Cities and Counties Get Federal Money To Prosecute Many Crim on Oct. 14, 2012 @ 9:24 am

@Chris you say: "DV is Always Hard to Prosecute"

Really. If anyone wanted to railroad anyone, those DV courts would be the easiest one to use, as in this case. Thanks.

Posted by jccourt on Oct. 12, 2012 @ 6:54 pm

Jcourt, not sure why you are "thanking me." You are just disagreeing with me without offering much to support it, except that you apparently support Mr. Mirkarimi, so obviously, in your mind, based on the fact that you support him, he was "railroaded."

Somehow, I suspect if the facts had been EXACTLY the same as in this case, but the guy involved was Willie Brown or Gavin Newsom, or god forbid, a Republican, then you would be clapping and cheering and calling for his head, rather than protesting and saying how easy it is to allegedly "railroad" someone for DV.

For me, it's not that you have a different opinion, but rather that you and your crew, much like the far right (like Dick Cheney or Mitt Romney and his pals) are complete hypocrites. You don't have any principles, you just care about your "side" being right. If the DV "glove," so to speak were one of your opponents hands, then you would be cheering and very happy to be on an anti-DV crusade. So, yes, I get you and your pals are completely morally bankrupt. So, "thanks" to you, too.

Posted by Chris on Oct. 12, 2012 @ 10:12 pm

Steven Jones writes, incredibly:

"Also, let's not forget that it was Gascón who started this whole ordeal by deciding to charge Mirkarimi with domestic violence crimes, accept the plea bargain to misdemeanor false imprisonment, and recommend the punishment that the court accepted"

That is hilarious. Mirkarimi had nothing to do with any of the above. Nope, Gascon started the whole ordeal by not ignoring an act that Mirkarimi admitted was violence against his wife.

Steven Colbert, on his best day, is nowhere near as funny a caricature as Steven Jones is. What a jokester!

Posted by Troll on Oct. 11, 2012 @ 10:33 pm

You missed the point, Troll. If Gascon believed this case was so serious that it should warrant Mirkarimi's removal, he could have charged it as a felony, which would have automatically removed Mirkarimi. Or he could have insisted this "walling off" provision be a part of the plea deal. He did neither, probably because he knew that he wouldn't have gotten a conviction. Mirkarimi accepted a plea deal that shouldn't have affected his right to keep his job, but Lee and Gascon tried anyway and failed, and now that's over. Move on.

Posted by steven on Oct. 12, 2012 @ 9:49 am

try and get Ross removed from office. It wasn't a felony rap because the injury to Eliana wasn't serious enough. If Ross had broken Eliana's nose, then it would have been a felony.

Not everything is a vast right-wing conspiracy, you know?

Posted by Guest on Oct. 12, 2012 @ 10:03 am

I aspire to be able to follow suit, but personally I can't see any possibility of it working; with this thread a case in point.

Posted by lillipublicans on Oct. 12, 2012 @ 10:11 am

Did you think it was the tooth fairy?

Posted by Guest on Oct. 12, 2012 @ 2:50 pm

I still dont understand -- how can a man be convicted of spousal abuse if the spouse denies he abused her and refuses to press charges?

Posted by tagletigre on Oct. 11, 2012 @ 11:42 pm

You seem beyond help with understanding how the criminal justice system actually works, but here goes: Spouses or any victims do not press charges. Charges are brought by a DA, or in some cases through a grand jury indictment.

Also, if there is other evidence that can support a charge of domestic violence aside from the spouses testimony, then the case can move forward. Admittedly, it is often very hard to win a DV case with an uncooperative victim, which is why many such cases are dismissed or end up being lost, but that does not mean it is impossible, and cases have been and are successfully prosecuted even with an uncooperative victim.

Also, in this particular case, Mr. Mirkarimi chose to plead guilty to a lesser charge of criminal confinement and also admitted to grabbing his wife and bruising her arm. So, I am not sure what you think still is at issue?

Posted by Chris on Oct. 12, 2012 @ 12:26 am

Perhaps if Gascon had recused himself from prosecuting this dubious case, and instead had passed it to the grand jury, he'd have come off looking less like he used his office to further his own political goals.

Also, perhaps the grand jury can look into the mayor's perjury, the bomb threat, etc.


Posted by lillipublicans on Oct. 12, 2012 @ 4:16 am

That's not how the system works. clearl the DA was justified in bringing charges against Ross because he ended up admitting them!

Posted by Guest on Oct. 12, 2012 @ 5:14 am

A grand jury is rarely used in criminal matters, and certainly not something that would be used for a routine DV charge. I mentioned them just to generally indicate how criminal charges may be brought, not to suggest that a grand jury indictment is common in DV proceedings. The point I was making is that victims do not bring charges, nor do they decide whether or not they get dropped.

As for Ed Lee, if you or anyone else has evidence he committed a crime, alone or in collusion with others, then go ahead and present it to the authorities. But, whatever Ed Lee may or may not have done with regard to the later Ethics Commission proceeding has nothing to do with the earlier actions of Mr. Mirkarimi or with the earlier criminal matter against him that resulted in his guilty plea.

Posted by Chris on Oct. 12, 2012 @ 9:26 am

That's why you blandly try to fob off the idea that this case was a "routine DV charge."

Since you are obviously on the inside Chris, I'm sure you're in the best position to be able to look up any other DV prosecutions based on arm grabbing... if they exist. When I asked this previously, the only answer which came back was a story of a man who grabbed his pregnant wife's arm and threw her into some bookcases; an act that was witnessed by her five-year old son and her father, who *called* *the* *police.*

So, balls in your court...

Posted by lillipublicans on Oct. 12, 2012 @ 7:26 pm

Yes, Lil, you caught me, I am on the "inside." Though, you might want to check your memory, you never asked me about any arm-grabbing before, and I did not post anything about a man grabbing his pregnant wife--that must have been one of my other "inside" friends.

In any event, I should advise you that you are being monitored right now.

In fact, you might do well to run off to an undisclosed location in Latin America or Africa before I send my minions to abduct you in the middle-of-the-night and lock you away in a secret prison where no one will ever hear from you again. You will be chained to a well and have electro-schock therapy administered on a regular basis.

Bwahahahaha! You are doomed, my pet, doomed!! :)

Posted by Chris on Oct. 12, 2012 @ 10:17 pm

rather than as an assistant DA -- now that I've asked you a question that any DA *certainly* ought to be able to answer.

Nobody has been able to provide me with an example of a mere arm grab being charged as DV. I think the reason must be that such a case has never before existed.

Posted by lillipublicans on Oct. 13, 2012 @ 12:38 am

Lil, again, in your paranoid mind you are confusing comments from other people with comments I have posted. I never wrote a comment about a man supposedly grabbing his pregnant wife. Nor did I make any comment about cases that I would cite for you.

Also, I am not interested in doing research for you. Anyone can access public records, so if you want to know how cases are handled, do your own research. Moreover, even if I cited a case to you, you would only respond that I was "making it up," or being an "Internet troll," or that the cases I cited were "different." You don't want to be enlightened, you want to be "right."

You have no interest in discussion or even a rational debate. You are convinced that you and the people on your "side" are martyrs and that the "system" is out to persecute and harrass you because of some grand "Downtown" scheme, and you believe any contrary explanation offered is invalid. I have no desire to argue with crazy.

Also, you apparently believe that I have magical powers to throw innocent people in jail and you chastise me for it, but then you turn around and make a comment about how I am supposedly just a "troll," so apparently nothing to be worried about. So, which is it? Either, I am an all powerful, corrupt DA who can conspire to have you and your friends thrown in prison on orders I guess from Ed Lee, or I am just an Internet "troll." I cannot be both. And, if I were really so powerful, do you honestly think I would waste my time posting comments on some little alternative newsite trying to persuade someone who clearly has a different opinion from me? There is simply no logic in your thinking.

Finally, it isn't that hard to trace IP addresses and figure out where someone is posting from. Don't you think that supposedly powerful and "inside" people who apparently don't care about breaking the law would be tracking you and your friends down and demonstrating how powerful they are? You love the melodrama of pretending you are fighting some vast and nearly unstoppable evil force, while all the while you know you are just debating with another ordinary person posting on his or her computer. All your comments reveal boredom and loneliness at best, and delusions of grandeur at worst. The hard truth is that powerful and corrupt people wouldn't even give you the time of day, let alone waste their time posting on a message board to you. And if they were to do it, just on a lark, then if you ticked them off they would very easily be able to exercise their power against you. And that is what you want, you want drama and peril and intrigue, but you only have your ordinary life. Live your life and stop concocting fantasies that only distract you from it.

Posted by Chris on Oct. 14, 2012 @ 9:52 am

@tagletigre. Very good question. The courts treats all women as liars from the get go in those kind of cases even if they are telling the truth.

They simply accuse them of suffering from the battered woman syndrome. More on that later. Thanks.

Posted by jccourt on Oct. 12, 2012 @ 6:51 pm

Can any of the DV activists explain why they thought the thing to do when they heard that Eliana got a bruised arm was to break up the family and have the husband arrested and thrown out of his job?
This when Eliana tells them she is not afraid of him, doesnt want to split up, doesnt want him separated from his child, doesnt want or need their "help", and on and on? Who are the real abusers here?

Posted by tagletigre on Oct. 11, 2012 @ 11:55 pm

When did the so-called "DV activists" get deputized? The police arrested Mr. Mirkarimi, the DA brought charges, the presiding judge issued a standard no-contact order, which is issued in all criminal cases of this sort. None of the officials involved are known for being "dv activists."

And, what Eliana wants is irrelevant with respect to the criminal justice system. What many victims don't seem to get, and what is very annoying, is that the criminal justice system is not their private justice system/social work service/family mediation center. It is not up to a victim, and it never has been, to bring charges or drop charges. The case is not entitled Lopez vs. Mirkarimi (that would be the divorce case Ms. Lopez was apparently contemplating at one time), but rather the People vs. Mirkarimi because it is the state that brings charges and the state that decides whether or not to drop them. If Ms. Lopez needs a therapists or family counselor, then the criminal justice system is not the appropriate venue to go looking for one, even though so many people seem to be bent on making the criminal justice system into some makeshift social services/mental health provider.

Here are some helpful hints: Don't want to get arrested? Then don't commit an act likely to get you arrested. Don't want the police to find out your husband roughed you up and get him arrested? Then just use your fucking minuscule brain and don't go to some vague acquaintance you barely know and cry and say you're afraid of your husband and ask them to videotape your freaking bruise--that is only something a complete nutcase would do and not expect the police to find out. Don't want help? Then don't fucking ask for it in the first place. It really is that simple. And, if you just had a supposedly innocent "no-big deal" argument with your spouse, then man-up and get over it and make up in private and on your own terms and don't drag everyone else into your drama.

Posted by Chris on Oct. 12, 2012 @ 12:18 am

I will remind you, though, that it's bad for your health.

Please justify your claim that an arm grab typically results in a no-contact order over the wife's tearful objections. A single example would be helpful.

And, by the way, Eliana was acting on what she thought was competent legal advice and she believed her communications with her attorney did not constitute her "going looking" to involve the criminal justice system.

You come of as a real piece of work. I have no doubt that you've put innocent people behind bars for serious time.

Posted by lillipublicans on Oct. 12, 2012 @ 4:25 am

How do you know that "Eliana was acting on what she thought was competent legal advice and she believed her communications with her attorney did not constitute her "going looking" to involve the criminal justice system"?

Only because she said so, after her husband and his campaign manager talked to her and gave her this story. We have no other corroboration for her version of events. On the other hand, we have three neighbors who agree that the Mirkarimis fought a lot and with the potential for violence, as well as Lopez's own testimony on video.

Chris sounds to me like a competent legal professional. You should listen to what he or she has to say, not defensively tear him or her down

Posted by Hortencia on Oct. 12, 2012 @ 5:15 am

I have much better reason to state these things as fact as you have to deride me for it. I also have good reason to state as fact that you are not the neutral and open-minded observer that you portray yourself to be.

These beliefs are based on the words of the subjects at hand.

In Ivory's case, there are a number of citations suggesting that she liked to use her legal training in sefl-aggrandizing, and her history with DV and self-professed ambitions dovetail perfectly with Eliana's sworn statements.

In your case, we have your frequent snide and unfair characterizations of others' positions and the fact that you've made practically a cottage industry of posting here.

Posted by lillipublicans on Oct. 12, 2012 @ 6:00 am

A little self-serving, no?

Confirmation bias is a terrible waste of a mind.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 12, 2012 @ 6:05 am
Posted by Guest on Oct. 12, 2012 @ 2:51 pm

Since Ross has the support of 100% of the citizens of San Francisco!! Anyone who opposes our sheriff is clearly Ivory Madison or her husband because everyone else, every other person, supports Ross 100%.

Posted by Troll II on Oct. 12, 2012 @ 3:20 pm

Lil, sorry to disappoint you, but I am not upset. I am also in great health--I just had my physical. Though, I would remind you that wishing others to suffer has been proven in several clinical studies to cause surges in adrenaline, which is bad for your health.

Also, I did not realize that stating facts supposedly reveals someone's disposition? But, I guess it is just wishful thinking on your part.

In any event,there is nothing I have to justify because I am not prosecuting this case. I am simply stating what the law says, which is that you cannot touch anyone (not just your spouse, but anyone) in a rude or offensive manner or in a way intended to or likely to cause them harm. It really is that simple.

As for Ms. Lopez, the individual she spoke with is not a licensed attorney, nor did she ever hold herself out to be one, and I would think Ms. Lopez was aware of that (it is also something one can easily check online with the State Bar of California). There are plenty of great lawyers listed in the telephone book. One can also call either the local or state bar association, or check out their websites, and get a good referral to a family lawyer. There are also numerous and well-advertised non-profit organizations that provide referrals to family and individual therapists, and also legal referrals. So, the notion that a bright, sophisticated and educated woman wouldn't be able to figure things out stretches all credulity. When I need help, my first thought is not to run to someone I barely know and spill my guts, and most other people also know better. Also, the judge in the case dismissed Ms. Lopez's objections based on alleged attorney-client privilege.

Also, I AM a real piece of work, and that is why I am well-loved and well-liked by my friends.

Finally, as for my supposedly putting innocent people "behind bars," sorry to disappoint you again, but that has not happened.

Posted by Chris on Oct. 12, 2012 @ 9:04 am

You self-image is quite suspect, and I have little doubt you've put innocent people away; and little doubt you lack the intellectual makeup to see it.

When you portray Ross arm grab as undoubtedly showing his intent to harm Eliana, you exhibit an irrational avoidance of facts. Their sworn testimony is that Eliana drew her arm back swiftly pulling it from his grasp. Only a total hack prosecutor who never doubts the righteousness of his indictments could jump to the conclusion that because the easily-bruised Eliana got a bruise from drawing her arm back from her husband's grasp, that he intended to harm her. (Note -- for the trolls out there -- I'm not claiming that his arm grab was other than wrong, but only explaining why there is not good reason to believe he intended to harm her.)

The only good reason to "know" that he intended to harm her is if you are a thoughtless attack-dog prosecutor who is constitutionally unable to see grey area in your case.

When you portray Eliana as a bright and sophisticated and educated woman who couldn't possibly have thought Madison was acting as her attorney, you conveniently blur-out several facts which might trouble your cock-sure lock-em-up prosecutor-type confidence.

Madison has mentioned her law training at just about every opportunity. In Eliana's country such training is all that is required to be a practicing lawyer.
Your pretense that "she hardly knew" Madison is laughably blindered. Lastly, Eliana was just barely learning English.

Yes, you damn well lock-up innocents; and no, I don't expect you to get it.

Posted by lillipublicans on Oct. 12, 2012 @ 7:47 pm

Eliana wasn't "just learning English" when this happened - she had been here for years. She spoke English well enough to teach a class, to create friendships with non-Spanish speakers, to attend public events. You're either misinformed or a liar - either way Eliana was not fresh off the boat when this happened.

You know, I find the turns and twists in Eliana's defender's arguments to be dizzying. She claims herself she is a strong woman who's not weak-willed and knows exactly what she wants. Then her defenders attempt to paint her as the complete opposite - a poor, weak immigrant who barely spoke English and was taken advantage of by a vast conspiracy involving hundreds of different actors. Which is it - the strong Eliana or this stuttering, confused creature of which you speak?

Posted by Troll II on Oct. 12, 2012 @ 8:12 pm

Lil, I know it is mean on my part, but I am really getting a kick out of your hysterical paranoia. According to you, I apparently go around locking up "innocents" and I am "constitutionally" unable to see grey? Do you even know how absolutely insane you sound? No, you don't, because crazy people often don't realize how mentally ill they are.

Well, I am here to tell you that you are unbalanced and paranoid, and you would be much healthier and happier if you went to get therapy. There are many free and low-cost mental providers in the city, so please take advantage of one, or I would be more than glad to give you a referral.

Also, I don't know or care about Ms. Madison. And, "law training" is not the same as being a licensed attorney. You are only legally authorized to act as an attorney in California if you are licensed by the State Bar of California, simply having some sort of unspecified "law training," is not enough. Moreover, Ms. Lopez is not a stupid woman (or at least I assume), even in Venezuela, you have to be licensed to practice law--just having alleged "law training" is not enough. And honestly, are you trying to fucking pretend that Ms. Lopez "barely knows English?" What kind of crack are you smoking? Ms. Lopez speaks English exceptionally well. Also, what does the supposed inability of someone to speak English have to do with whether or not they know someone well? Answer: Nothing. It is amazing to me that you blather on about how we should respect Ms. Lopez and then you treat her like some stupid, helpless fool who doesn't even understand how to judge others' character. Why do you have this pathetic and patronizing attitude toward Ms. Lopez? Is it because she is Hispanic? Talk about a white privileged racist attitude that you have!

Honey, here is some advice: Stop putting your big foot in your mouth at every opportunity. You really are coming across as completely ignorant.

Posted by Chris on Oct. 12, 2012 @ 10:34 pm

"Lastly, Eliana was just barely learning English."

LOL. That was less than year ago. Yet mysteriously, Eliana was able to write an essay for the Guardian a few days ago that was written at an above tenth-grade level (probably better than the average graduate of a San Francisco high school could manage).

Yet Lilli didn't question the essay - he apparently can simultaneously believe that someone a few months ago was "barely learning English", yet could also write an essay at a high-school level a few months later.

Posted by Demented, Yet Terribly, Terribly Persistent on Oct. 13, 2012 @ 6:03 am

Which might also explain how she was able to figure out after only 9 months that conspiring to damage your husband might actually damage him.

That insight alone by everyone's favourite Venezuelan soap actress deftly marries her acting skills, her ESL skills and her "effective conspiring" skills.

She's a complete package now.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 13, 2012 @ 6:27 am

My portrayal of Eliana as "barely learning English" does not do her bi-lingual skills justice, but the point remains that she speaks English -- an *exceedingly* difficult language to master -- as an adjunct to her native Spanish.

Any analysis of what she "ought to have realized" about Ivory Madison's self-aggrandizing claims to being trained as a lawyer must take into account her language limitations.

If this is the only point I made that you felt comfortable trying to refute, then I guess I did pretty well.

Posted by lillipublicans on Oct. 13, 2012 @ 6:57 am

It's possible that Eliana misheard or misunderstood a word, but there is no evidence that she did not know what she was doing in making that video. She made it to give herself an edge in what she predicted would be a divorce battle. It seems highly unlikely that she would not have been ;aware of that primary intent. Nor that, when she pointed to the bruise and said "it's happened before", she emant anything other than that Ross's violence towards her was not a single isolated incident.

Her later testimony was coached and self-serving; the video was the real thing.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 13, 2012 @ 7:32 am

It is a little strange you keep asking me to research things for you because you believe I supposedly am some all powerful "inside" DA, but then you respond as if you are some legal expert. In Venezuela, just as in the U.S., practicing law is a licensed profession.

Second, Ivory Madison was a neighbor, not a close friend, and certainly not the sort of person anyone would go running to with very personal stories of abuse and a desire to divorce ones husband. Also, you don't need to videotape a bruise to get a divorce. Divorce is no-fault. You can get a divorce for any reason, and you legally get your share of community property, plus you can petition for child support and also spousal support. You don't need a bruise, you don't need an affair, you just go file the paperwork and go through the court proceedings. Eliana is not an unsophisticated woman, clearly there was more going on than just a small tiff between spouses.

Third, you are the one who want to portray Eliana as bright, educated and competent--someone who should be taken seriously, but all the while you contradict it by making her out to be some helpless, confused little person who supposedly doesn't even understand English.

Fourth, since you seem to want to make everyone cite and prove everything they post, then why don't you do it yourself? If you supposedly know with certainty that I "damn well lock-up innocents." Then prove it. Go find even just one of the supposedly innocent people I have locked up. I am not the one posting under some silly pseudonym, like Lil Repub, Lil Wayne, or Lil Abner.

What I don't expect you to get is that you are mentally unwell. Though, I have to admit I have probably been unfair to you, and I shouldn't toy with someone who clearly is not thinking right. As I said in my other post, I know you want drama in your life, and it is exciting to imagine that you are battling some powerful foe, but you are not. You are just posting with another ordinary person. I hope you get over feeling bored and lonely. Even though I disagree with your opinions, I don't wish you ill. Good luck.

Posted by Chris on Oct. 14, 2012 @ 10:24 am

Chris you say: "but rather the People vs. Mirkarimi because it is the state that brings charges and the state that decides whether or not to drop them."

In this case the state was the DA. The presumed victim Eliana Lopez did not call the authorities, the neighbor did.

Who did the neighbor talked to between December 31 and January 4 2012? Thanks.

Posted by jccourt on Oct. 12, 2012 @ 8:02 am