It’s been nearly three months since we first reported that San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi was charged with domestic violence charges in relation to an incident involving his wife. He was initially charged with domestic violence battery, dissuading a witness, and child endangerment. In a plea agreement, however, these three charges were dropped.
This past week Mirkarimi pled guilty to one count of false imprisonment, a misdemeanor offense. As part of the plea agreement, he will be sentenced to three years of probation, one year of domestic violence batterer’s classes, fines, and 100 hours of community service. Though some are likely to call for his resignation, Mikarimi has no intentions on leaving his new job.
The incident happened when he allegedly left bruises on his wife during an argument in front of their son. Though his wife has stood by him throughout the legal ordeal, it was her who initially showed the bruise to a neighbor who subsequently called the police.
It isn’t clear what brought about the charge of false imprisonment, a charge that wasn’t among the initial accusations. According to the San Francisco Gate, however, more details may be available at sentencing time.
The criminal case is winding down and now the Mayor must decide what administrative steps should be taken, if any. Mayor Ed Lee has said he will reach a decision quickly as to whether the false imprisonment plea conflicts with the office of the Sheriff, saying he has a “gut feeling” there will be such a conflict.
If the mayor determines there is reason for an official misconduct charge, there will be a hearing before the city’s independent Ethics Commission who will refer the case to the Board of Supervisors to determine any sanctions. Nine of the 11 supervisors would have to agree that Mirkarimi needed to be out of office in order for him to lose his position.
District Attorney George Gascon said, “If we are committed to ending domestic violent, we in law enforcement must continue to encourage witnesses to come forward because it is the right thing to do for the victim, for the community and for our city.”
There is a good chance that Mirkarimi will face professional sanctions because keeping someone who admitted guilt in a false imprisonment case at the helm of the Sheriff’s Department seems like a slap in the face to the domestic violence victims and the community that Gascon spoke of.
If you are accused of domestic violence charges, you will face the same sort of widespread and long lasting repercussions as Sheriff Mirkarimi. Sure, your job might be different, but the effects of a charge like this reach into your personal and professional life, regardless of what it is that you do.
Contact our offices today to discuss your case and how we might be able to help.