Ross Mirkarimi got more bad news today when a judge denied his request to bar City Attorney Dennis Herrera from representing Mayor Ed Lee in his effort to permanently remove Mirkarimi from his post as sheriff.
Here's how Judge Harold Kahn justified his decision:
Because the city attorney is representing the Mayor in his official capacity with respect to actions he took on behalf of the city in accordance with a provision of the Charter authorizing the Mayor to take such actions, the city attorney is not barred from representing the Mayor in this case.
Naturally, Mirkarimi's attorney, Shepard Kopp, wasn't pleased.
"[The suspension] is a travesty," Kopp told reporters outside the courtroom
. "[It's] gross
over-reaching by the mayor -- an abuse of the power to remove elected
officials. You know when this Charter provision was enacted that lets
the mayor remove public officials for misconduct it was never intended
to apply to this kind of situation. It supposed to apply to official misconduct which occurs while you are in office and typically related to
some sort of corruption or fraud."
Mirkarimi was sentenced to three years' probation after he pleaded guilty to charges of false imprisonment related to a New Year's Eve domestic dispute with his wife, Eliana Lopez. On Jan. 13 -- five days after he was sworn in as sheriff -- Mirkarimi was arrested and charged with battery, child endangerment, and dissuading a witness. Those charged were later dropped as part of his guilty plea.
Afterward, Mayor Lee met with Mirkarimi, and asked the sheriff to resign from office or face the public humiliation of being fired. Mirkarimi refused to step down, and the mayor began the process of removing him from his post permanently. Mirkarimi has been suspended without pay until the Ethics Commission makes a decision about his political future.
Tomorrow morning, a judge will decide whether this issue can proceed to the Ethics Commission.
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