Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi Pleads Guilty, Stay Away Order Still in Effect
|The happy couple in happier times|
(Original story 9:57 a.m.): The legal saga surrounding Ross Mirkarimi has ostensibly come to an end today after attorneys announced that San Francisco's embattled sheriff will indeed plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge of false imprisonment in connection with a domestic violence case involving his wife. In exchange, prosecutors will drop all three charges against the sheriff, who was charged with battery against his wife, Eliana Lopez.
KQED interrupted its morning news program to make the announcement about the plea deal, just a half hour after experts and media representatives debated the sheriff's future amid such damning charges.
The plea deal will bring Mirkarimi's trial to a halt. The District Attorney's Office had charged Mirkarimi with three misdemeanors, including battery, child endangerment, and dissuading a witness. He was arrested and booked into his own county jail just a few days being sworn in to his current post.
Prosecutors were relying on a video that came from Mirkarimi's neighbor, Ivory Madison, who had filmed Lopez crying and explaining how her husband had left a large bruise on her upper arm following a New Year's Eve domestic dispute.
Check back for updates.
Update: Prosecutors say Mirkarimi agreed to three years of probation, 100 hours of community service, 52 weeks of domestic violence classes, a $400 domestic violence fine, as well as parenting and family counseling. The stay-away order from his wife will remain in effect subject to a family court order.
What's more, the DA is forcing Mirkarimi to do something that probably doesn't come easy to him: Apologize. Specifically, the hot-headed sheriff must issue a public apology to his neighbor, Ivory Madison, for the "public scrutiny" she and her family endured thanks to Mirkarimi's relationship problems.
"Domestic violence is an underreported crime that happens behind closed doors. Ivory Madison and other witnesses should be commended for their courage," said DA George Gascón.
Mayor Ed Lee issued a statement of his own, acknowledging the disturbing irony to the county sheriff pleading guilty to a crime. "This clearly remains serious and troubling for our City. The Sheriff, one of our top law enforcement officials, has now pleaded guilty to an unexpected and very serious charge that has introduced a new set of legal issues that must be thoroughly reviewed. I am working with legal counsel to review the facts and determine what options are available to me under the City charter," Lee said in a statement issued to the press.
"I intend to make a decision based on all of the facts as quickly as possible," Lee added.
Follow us on Twitter at @TheSnitchSF and @SFWeekly