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Monday, August 20, 2012

Ross Mirkarimi Will Probably Appeal Commission's Guilty Ruling

Posted By on Mon, Aug 20, 2012 at 4:07 PM

click to enlarge SUZANNE STATHATOS
  • Suzanne Stathatos
Sheriff-in-limbo Ross Mirkarimi says that if the Board of Supervisors decides to permanently boot him from office, he just might appeal the case, according to media outlets.

After an all-day meeting last Thursday, the Ethics Commission decided in a 4-1 vote that the sheriff committed official misconduct when he bruised his wife's arm during a domestic dispute last New Year's Eve. Although the commission could not agree on a formal recommendation to the Board of Supervisors pertaining to his fate as the sheriff, Mirkarimi doesn't have much reason to be optimistic.

The Board of Supervisors will ultimately decide whether or not to fire Mirkarimi as sheriff. Until then, he remains suspended without pay. 

So, why would Mirkarimi keep fighting this on, especially after his own attorney, Shepard Kopp called this whole thing an "unnecessarily protracted dog-and-pony show?"

The Ethics Commission interpreted the City Charter's official misconduct statute too loosely, Kopp says. During the hearing last Thursday, Mirkarimi's attorneys worried that this interpretation was "unconstitutionally vague," according to David Waggoner, Mirkarimi's other attorney.

But the commission said that wasn't its problem.

"I don't think constitutionality is part of what I signed on for as a commissioner, and I don't think we have that authority," Ethics Commissioner Jamienne Studley said. "We have to see it as we deal with the charge and the facts before us."

Needless to say, Kopp left the 11-hour meeting feeling unsatisfied.

"The fact that the Ethics Commission took the broadest possible view of what official misconduct is under the law renders the recommendation legally infirm," Kopp told the press.

Unless our city supervisors agree with that, we're in for another slew of tedious hearings.

Paula Canny, Eliana Lopez's lawyer, was also rather miffed about Thursday's outcome. After the hearing, she told reporters that the sheriff "just got screwed" since they city did not meet its burden of proof.

We have a call in to Kopp to get more details about what's to come, but no word back. We'll update if and when he calls us back.

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Suzanne Stathatos

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