Ross Mirkarimi was sworn in as the 35th sheriff of San Francisco this past weekend, despite allegations that he was involved in a domestic violence incident with his wife. Mirkarimi’s wife, Eliana Lopez, was by his side during the ceremony and said she had “no complaints” against her husband. The duo suggests the fact that this “misunderstanding” went public may have been a subversive effort to derail his quest for his new office, though they remain confident that things will work out.
The pair’s neighbor reported the potential domestic abuse situation about a week after speaking with Lopez. Photos that reportedly show Lopez’s bruised arms and text messages about the situation were turned over to authorities. Though it isn’t clear what happened, the case is in the hands of the district attorney’s office to see if charges are warranted. If Mirkarimi were to ever be convicted of a domestic violence offense, he would be ineligible to serve as sheriff.
The couple, as seen here in photos at the swearing in over the weekend, seemed to be all smiles. Mirkarimi said, “I am sorry that a cloud hangs over what should be a very special day…but you know what? Clouds break and the possibilities shine through.”
The new Sheriff denies ever being verbally or physically abusive to his wife.
Domestic violence cases are often hard for prosecutors to manage because the alleged victim sometimes changes their story and winds up showing support for the person that they initially accused of harming them. The close relationship of the alleged aggressor and their victim makes things tricky.
This makes things difficult for everyone involved, from the cops trying to conduct a fact-finding investigation, to the defendant who is accused of hurting someone he cares about.
But, the law in California is definitely designed to protect the victim in cases like this. The penalties are severe and the consequences can last for years. From a whole year of domestic violence counseling, to 40 hours of community service, and jail time—a domestic violence conviction can carry far more penalties than your typical misdemeanor or even felony case.
Perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of a domestic violence case is the no contact order that’s often put in place while the case is still being investigated. Obviously, there isn’t such an order in Mirkarimi’s case, but these orders can make life extremely difficult.
Coping with charges like these and trying to decide how to best handle them is something that comes a bit easier when you have a criminal defense lawyer on your side. Contact our offices today to discuss the details of your case and how we might be able to help.