Gascón Takes Mirkarimi at His Word

Written by Kat Anderson. Posted in News, Politics

Tagged: , , ,

Published on March 19, 2012 with 4 Comments

San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón, with Deputy District Attorney Liz Aguilar-Tarchi by his side, said he accepts the apology and remorse expressed earlier today by Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi. Photo by Luke Thomas.

By Kat Anderson

March 19, 2012

San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón in a press conference today following Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi’s sentencing for misdemeanor false imprisonment, affirmed his belief in the power of redemption and restorative justice and expressed his satisfaction that the terms of Mirkarimi’s probation show that justice has been served, and that Mirkarimi is sincerely sorry for what he did.

Gascón said he recognized that there are those who wanted him to “go for the jugular” and keep the trial going; others felt that the prosecution of Mirkarimi was a political vendetta.  Gascón concluded that since “ideologues on both sides” may be disappointed in the plea agreement, “This gives me comfort and reassurance that I have not politicized the case and that I have done my absolute best to treat it like any another domestic violence allegation.”

Under the terms of the plea agreement, Mirkarimi was sentenced to 3 years probation, 100 hours community service, 52 weeks of domestic violence classes, a $400 domestic violence fine along with standard court fines and fees. He was ordered to attend parenting or family counseling. Mirkarimi waived all future appellate rights. The stay away order remains in effect until modified in Family Court. Mirkarimi may be able to regain use of his gun following successful completion of the terms of his probation.

Gascón thanked and honored Ivory Madison and Callie Williams, Mirkarimi’s neighbors, whose statements, he said, were instrumental in building a case against Mirkarimi. Gascón said, “These two women, who were neighbors and friends of Ms. L (Eliana Lopez), acted with great courage. Ms. Madison found herself in a difficult situation trying to protect a friend who was in danger.”

District Attorney George Gascón.

Gascón recounted that Ms. Madison was vilified for reporting her concerns about Eliana Lopez’s safety following conversations she had with Lopez about alleged abuse Lopez suffered at the hands of Mirkarimi on New Year’s Eve. Gascón commented, “I find this shameful. People in our community should be applauded for stepping forward to help a fellow San Franciscan. We, particularly those of us in law enforcement, need to encourage the community to help us when they see or learn of a crime.”

Gascón would not explain the legal strategy behind the new false imprisonment charge that popped up after jury selection began, but he defended it as a domestic violence charge. “Let’s wipe the slate clean on that,” he said. “False imprisonment is a domestic violence charge and it is not a lesser charge.”

It was also revealed during the press conference that the controversial videotape that depicts Lopez displaying a bruise on her arm and crying will not become available to the public. Because it was never offered as trial evidence, it remains confidential, attorney work product. The District Attorney is bound by law to protect that confidentiality.

Ms. Lopez is expected to provide a full public statement tomorrow, Mirkarimi’s defense attorney, Lidia Stiglich, said.

More Photos

Lead prosecutor Liz Aguilar-Tarchi.

Lead defense attorney Lidia Stiglich.

Kat Anderson

Kat Anderson is a graduate of Hastings College of the Law and Stanford University. She has made San Francisco her home since 1988.

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Comments for Gascón Takes Mirkarimi at His Word are now closed.

  1. Still waiting for Gascon to explain why it took his office until after election day to bring charges against the cyclist who killed a pedestrian four months earlier.

  2. agree with all of the above. i never thought this to be a “vast political conspiracy”. here is a quote from Michael Hennessey:
    (From Tim Redmond’s blog on Ross Mirkarimi’s case), “My opinion is that he should remain in the job and be given a chance to show what he can do with the office. I think he’s being punished accordingly by the justice system,” said Hennessey, who has been lauded by victims’ advocacy groups over the years for domestic violence services and programs that began under his watch. While admitting guilt to the crime of false imprisonment is serious, he added, it should not automatically disqualify Mirkarimi from holding office. “During my time as sheriff, I hired many people with criminal records who have done outstanding jobs for the department,” Hennessey said. “Oftentimes, you have to look at the whole issue of rehabilitation and redemption.”

  3. Tami, Actions speak louder than words. Be sure to let us know the reaction you get!

  4. I plan to call down to the DAs office and tell him that he needs to be accountable for all the funds they wasted, all the evidence leaks, and the fact that he is still condemning Ross in the media. This was a political persecution, no doubt about it!