By Luke Thomas
April 14, 2012, 11:30 am.
The office of City Attorney Dennis Herrera will not represent the Ethics Commission or the Board of Supervisors over charges of official misconduct leveled by Mayor Ed Lee against suspended Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, Fog City Journal can report.
Due to a conflict of interest raised by Mirkarimi’s defense team, filed Wednesday in San Francisco Superior Court, attorney Scott Emblidge of Moscone, Emblidge and Sater LLP, has been assigned to represent both the Ethics Commission and Board of Supervisors.
“There’s no legal requirement in this case for outside counsel but if, out of an abundance of caution, the Ethics Commission and the Board of Supervisors made that choice, it will be authorized by the City Attorney – and that has happened in this case,” Herrera spokesperson Matt Dorsey told FCJ.
“This is consistent with past practices in the Ed Jew case,” Dorsey added. “The Ethics Commission and Board will have outside, independent, pro-bono legal counsel. We think that renders the legal issue in Superior Court moot, but this will all play out in the next week.”
Herrera’s office will continue to represent Lee in Superior Court and in the upcoming Ethics Commission hearing, tentatively scheduled to begin April 23.
The Court is scheduled to consider the conflict of interest issue April 19. A separate Court hearing to consider whether Lee overstepped his legal authority in suspending Mirkarimi is scheduled for the next day, April 20.
Lee suspended Mirkarimi without pay March 21 after Mirkarimi pleaded guilty March 19 to one count of misdemeanor false imprisonment stemming from an alleged domestic violence incident involving his wife, Eliana Lopez, on New Year’s Eve. Mirkarimi was sworn into office January 8.