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No taxpayer-funded lawyers for Ross Mirkarimi

By Josh Richman
Thursday, June 7th, 2012 at 2:49 pm in San Francisco politics.

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera today rejected embattled Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi’s request that taxpayers foot the bill for lawyers he hired to defend himself against an attempt to boot him from office for official misconduct – having bruised his wife in an argument.

Mirkarimi sent a letter to Herrera dated May 15 but received just this Tuesday citing a San Francisco Charter section dealing with elected officers’ and department heads’ right to engage outside counsel in instances when the city attorney’s office has a conflict of interests.

The city attorney’s office has erected a “screen” to separate lawyers representing Mayor Ed Lee from those advising the Ethics Commission or Board of Supervisors in Mirkarimi’s misconduct hearing, the sheriff wrote, but has not carved out anyone to represent him.

“Moreover, the actions of your office thus far in these proceedings demonstrate that neither you nor anyone in your office could ethically represent me,” Mirkarimi wrote. “Without cataloging every action you have taken, suffice it to say you chose to represent the Mayor in derogation of your equally compelling legal duty to represent me.”

Not so, Herrera responded today in a letter to Mirkarimi’s lawyers.

The charter section Mirkarimi cited doesn’t apply here, in that it doesn’t require the city to provide personal representation to suspended city officers, Herrera wrote; rather, it makes clear that the city attorney’s client is the city and county, not individual elected officials. “There is simply no basis for your client’s demand for City funded representation.”

“Contrary to your client’s implication, this proceeding is not a private dispute between the Mayor and the Sheriff,” he wrote, citing a Superior Court’s recent ruling. “As the court recognized, the City Attorney’s Office represents the Mayor’s Office in the pending official misconduct proceedings, just as we continue to represent and advise the Sheriff’s Office regarding City business. This office has no conflict of interest here.”

“(T)he City does not pay for private counsel to represent employees charged with misconduct,” he concluded. “Your client’s position as an elected official is no different and does not entitle him to that personal benefit at taxpayer expense.”

Mayor Ed Lee suspended Mirkarimi, 50, after he pleaded guilty to false imprisonment related to a New Year’s Eve altercation that left a bruise on the arm of his wife, Venezuelan former telenovela star Eliana Lopez. If the Ethics Commission upholds the charges, it would take a vote of nine of 11 city and county supervisors to toss him from office.

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  • RR, Senile Columnist

    Exile this slob and his dumb wife to Caracas.

  • JohnW

    Conservative newspaper columnist Debra Saunders and liberal/feminist radio commentator Christine Kraft have repeatedly criticized how this matter was handled by the authorities (DA and mayor). Mirkarimi may be a big, boorish, leftish slob with marital problems, who shouldn’t be either a Supervisor or sheriff. But the man was elected.

  • Elwood

    @ #2 John W.

    “the man was elected.”

    Only in San Francisco could a twit like Mirkarimi be elected Sheriff, of all things.

    He becomes a little more pathetic every day.

  • JohnW

    Elwood,

    No argument with your assessment of the man. But the voters elected him. Let them un-elect him or convince him to resign.

    Sheriff’s job in SF is over-rated anyway. Not much to do with law enforcement. It’s about being jail warden and serving papers on people.

  • Menddoza

    “The charter section Mirkarimi cited doesn’t apply here, in that it doesn’t require the city to provide personal representation to suspended city officers, Herrera wrote; rather, it makes clear that the city attorney’s client is the city and county, not individual elected officials. “There is simply no basis for your client’s demand for City funded representation.”

    If I interpret this correctly, individual elected officers of the government cannot hide from his or her allege misconduct and be foot the bill from public taxpayer’s fund even in official capacity if the case that gave rise to litigation is of one’s own wrong-doing.

    “(T)he City does not pay for private counsel to represent employees charged with misconduct,” he concluded. “Your client’s position as an elected official is no different and does not entitle him to that personal benefit at taxpayer expense.”

    So if for instance, a Police Officer who chose a dereliction of duty to defend our Constitution by a misgiuded and corrupt Sheriff, the individual officer may be held to account for not abiding to THAT which he/she pledge an OATH to protect against foreign and demestic enemy (Enemy including those superior of him or her who put an order to disavow the State and Federal Constitution and the LAW.

    It all make sense. That is to deter government official’s individual misconduct and those that enable it to occur. That Clarifies that every individual government officers’ and employees’ LOYALTY is to our nation, LAWS and Constitution and the PUBLIC. It is every citizens responsibility regardless whether employed in public or private NOT to succumb to those who chose to abuse it’s power over the public’s interest. Government Officers who conspire otherwise with other government agent to hide wrongdoings from within our government and is found to be guilty of treason against the People for which they have a duty to serve. Government officer who willfully committed wrongdoing and their subservient staff are individually accountable for their action and are not entitled to USE public money for their own individual misguided acts and omittion and duty regardless in what ever capacity while in public time. If they chose to chose to do wrong, they are adults and should know the consequences of those acts.

    Using public money for private case would be a conflict of interest, just as Judges who accepted bribes from county, City or State; or have an interest in the case to be judge are guilty of that OATH. So legal scholar and former U.S Prosecutor Richard I Fine who was held in prison for exposing conflict of interest and judicial misconduct without any legal due process are guilty for their action. NO ONE IS ABOVE THE LAW, not any individual elected officials; not any of the individual Judges who chose to corrupt the Judicial System or the Legislature and their accomplice and corrupt LAWYER that took part in the attempt to diminish our peoples’ rights by designing LAW that are contrary to the safety, protection,and well-being of the PUBLIC at Large. LAWS that sets the stage for MONETARY gains for their self interest at the expense of the TAX-PAYER and at the cost citizens rights that made it “IMPOSSIBLE” for the common citizens to have acess to legal representation UNLESS individual has the MONEY. This kinds of well engineered and thoughtfully planned was cleverly made to to deprive the citizens right to legal acess. That is also a violation of our Constitution. It weeds out the have not from the HAVES. A citizens who have to come to court pro se or pro per should not be allowed justice on the account that they can not afford the expensive legal fees and court fees that LAWYERS and the Justice System has designed for their own self interest. Individuals in CIVIL case where Lawyers has abandone their client for no other reasons than it finds out that the COST for their services are not worth their time. THAT is the same thing when DOCTORS were refusing medical care to those injured and sick that come in the emergency without an insurance. LAWS were adopted to end this fundamental human rights to medical care. SO should there be a LAW that LAWYERS and Courts and Judicial System can not deprive legal access to legal representation and due process of the LAW. It is an alienable rights of our Citizens. Otherwise, individual with no money resource means no acess to Justice and THUS a serious offense of an obstruction of JUSTICE.

    IT IS IMPERATIVE for PEOPLE to LEARN and realize how we got to where WE ARE today in a dire consequences WE the PEOPLE find ourselves in.

  • JAFO

    @ #5 Mendozza

    I just love trying to wade through such pithy, self-indulgent posts. I dozed off after the first two paragraphs. Please awake me when it’s over.

  • Bruce R. Peterson Lafayette

    I agree with #6. #5 needs to learn how to edit. His/her statement “NO ONE IS ABOVE THE LAW”, means they have never been to my neighborhood. In all appearances, the special interest group that dominates the neighborhood, IS ABOVE THE LAW. They OWN all of the local politicians & the local media.

  • Bruce R, Peterson, Lafayette

    LAW ENFORCEMENT IN LAFAYETTE IS A JOKE. Not a funny one.