SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, facing trial over domestic violence charges, pleaded guilty to one count of false imprisonment Monday under a deal with prosecutors.

Mirkarimi, 50, appeared in court after agreeing to the plea deal, which resulted in three other misdemeanors being dropped — including a domestic violence battery count that would have permanently banned the sheriff from carrying a gun if he was convicted.

“For the last two months, this case has caused my family, the sheriff’s department, and the city great turmoil, pain and disappointment,” Mirkarimi said outside of court. “This plea allows us to move forward.”

The case stemmed from a New Year’s Eve argument in which he allegedly grabbed and bruised the arm of his wife, Venezuelan actress Eliana Lopez, in front of their young son. He was initially charged with battery, child endangerment and dissuading a witness and could have faced up to a year in prison if convicted at trial of all counts.

Mirkarimi opted for a plea deal after a Superior Court ruling on Friday that a 55-second video in which Lopez displayed bruises on her arm while tearfully describing the incident could be used as evidence. The videotape was taken by neighbor Ivory Madison, and although Lopez refused to cooperate with authorities and denied she had been abused, prosecutors proceeded with the case against Mirkarimi because of the videotaped evidence.

In court on Monday, Mirkarimi apologized to Madison for enduring some criticism for contacting the police, and told the judge presiding over this case that he realized that Madison’s action were done “out of desire to help my family.”

KCBS Team Coverage:

Mirkarimi will be sentenced on March 19; the plea deal calls for him to be fined $400, given three years probation and undergo a year of domestic violence counseling. He will also be required to take parenting classes and perform 100 hours of community service.

Still looming, however, is the possibility that San Francisco’s mayor and Board of Supervisors could act to remove Mirkarimi from office because of his conviction.

“The Sheriff, one of our top law enforcement officials, has now pleaded guilty to an unexpected and very serious charge… I understand the troubling nature that this guilty plea raises, given the Sheriff’s role in overseeing and incarcerating criminals in our county jails,” reacted Mayor Ed Lee.

Lee said he was reviewing legal options under the City Charter and would make a decision soon on whether to take action, but City Hall observers questioned whether there would be enough support among the supervisors to remove Mirkarimi.

“I intend to return to the business of running one of the finest sheriff’s departments in the nation, of mending my family and raising my son Theo in a safe and happy home,” Mirkarimi told reporters, indicating that he would not comment further until after sentencing.

For now though, Mirkarimi must continue to stay-away from his wife and 2-year-old son until a family court judge lifts the prohibition, which has been in effect since prosecutors first brought charges in the incident. Mirkarimi also is not be allowed to carry a weapon while that protective order remains in effect, according to the District Attorney’s office.

Paula Canny, the lawyer for Mirkarimi’s wife, said she believed the order would be lifted in the near future and said her client just wants to get her family’s life to get back to normal.

Following Mirkarimi’s guilty plea, prosecutor Elizabeth Aguilar-Tarchi told reporters simply: “We wish the victim and her family the best.”

Later, her boss, District Attorney George Gascon elaborated in a brief statement that read in part: “I am confident today’s plea and mandated counseling will help this family.”

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (37)
  1. Luke Chung says:

    If he doesn’t resign, Mayor Lee could convene an Ethics Commission hearing about this matter regarding grounds for termination. If that doesn’t work, a November recall election is entirely possible!

    1. malo the great says:

      the sherrif has no moral standing, its obvious that his wife is scared of him and she is the stupid one staying with him and backjing him up, the mayor has his head so far up mirkarimis rear that its hard to tell where one ends and the other starts…if he was truly sincere he should step down and the mayor should get rid of him

  2. s.f. peaches says:

    We now have a sheriff who has pleaded guilty on a false imprisonment charge.

    If Ross Mirkarimi has any respect for the people in this city, he’ll resign.

  3. Outraged says:

    Hey lee, Cuckoo for Cocapops.
    Stay off of Market Street in the City, you might run into people you know.

  4. Outraged says:

    Mirakarimi could either do the right thing and resign his position as Sheriff or wait for a recall where he will be thrown out of office in disgrace.
    He had the good sense to take a plea bargain in light of the overwhelming mounting evidence against him, so he should continue following good sense and resign for personal reasons. No shame in that.

    1. JaneQPublic says:

      I totally agree. And if he doesn’t have the good sense to resign, I will sign a recall petition and vote in support of his recall.

      This man has compromised any legitimacy he may have once had for the office of Sheriff of San Francisco (or anywhere else.)

      1. TarzanQPublic says:

        Me too Jane.

  5. JG says:

    I always wondered why those buses, which carry prisoners, have word ‘Sheriff’ on them? Now I know. There is the SF Sheriff inside!

  6. Two Left Feet says:

    Anybody else without his status and high powered attorney would have had the book thrown at them. The DA should not have dropped the DV charge. I hope the people of S.F. will not let this jerk continue to oversee their Sheriff department.

  7. I Didn't VoteForHim says:

    He won’t resign. He is an egotistical power hungry unqualified ASS that our City deserves. Why the hell did you people vote for him? NAME RECOGNITION. Nothing else. When I saw his name on the ballot, I knew he would win. Voters are (for the obvious majority) stupid lemmings. Oh, look a shiny object. Oh, over there a name I’ve heard. No matter the turd floating on top of the cesspool that he was as a Supervisor, now and he shall remain, The Sheriff.

    1. SenorChico says:

      Lets face it he was the Dem candidate. The voters of Frisco would elect Jos Stalin if he were running as a Dem

  8. kf says:

    Well, Now Mayor Lee and Ross can go celebrate over a large bowl os Shark Fin Soup

  9. Mark says:

    As usual, the Public figure gets off scott free. This is repulsive and he should step down immediately. After all else fails he pleads to a much lower charge. How about the jurors, almost 400 of which had to give up their lives for this time?

  10. dj says:

    Talk about SF politics. Mirakarimi is somebody and the city goes after him big time. When this happens to a regular citizen, nothing much happens. They should treat them all the same and go after all of them.

  11. crissyfield says:

    Oh, San Francisco, my hometown. How corrupt and vile you have become. These corrupt politicians can get away with ANYTHING! We import third world people who cannot stand up for themselves and insert Democrat Machine. Welcome to the Brave New World San Francisco style. We 99% ers cannot have a stupid “Happy Meal” or a smoke in a park…but.. the 1% politicians and their friends can do ANYTHING!!!

  12. Gary Pedersen says:

    I have always wondered why SF needs a sherrff? It is a city and county in it self. Kind of unique.So why not consolidate into the police dept? Of couse maybe that would save money, and we sure don’t want to do that.

  13. tn says:

    Moving forward, this will only serve precedence to all spousal abusers charged with domestic violence- “Your honor, I would like to enter a plea of Mirkarimi.” Easy- misdemeanor granted, no jail time! Then when Mirkarimi runs for re-election, he’ll state he saved the city thou$ands of dollar$, since those spousal abusers didn’t have to use our tax dollars being incarcerated. (The wheels of the bus go round and round, round and round, round and round!)

  14. tn says:

    I give you 5-1 odds he’ll resort to some sort of domestic violence against her hot wife, claiming the “Hayashi defense.” His attorney will claim Ross had a benign brain tumor that temporarily affected his judgement; but he’s okay now and able to continue making “good” decisions as San Francisco’s Sheriff…. (and the seasons, they go round and round and the painted ponies go up and down!)

  15. fredfarnan says:

    reasons to throw him out. 1. has a serious problem with anger. 2 he thinks an apology and uttering something about moving forward makes the bad go away. 3 judgment is seriously lacking in treating his family so poorly. 4 absolutely no relevant law enforcement background. 5. sees the position as a stepping stone to the big time. 6 does not seem to understand the concept of moral turpitude. 7 his self-centeredness causes him to only be concerned about his needs. 8. staff morale does not enter his thinking. this person is the total political hack.

  16. Lou Sylvestri says:

    This guy is too well connected. I fear He will weather the storm.

    Is that Agnos I see lurking in the back ground?

  17. AD says:

    I’m so glad I didn’t vote for this turkey. I voted for the Japanese guy.

    Too bad the majority of SF residents didn’t have the wisdom to do the same.

    Maybe instead of worrying about our shopping bags and charging us 10 cents — this guy ought to be more focused on issues “closer to home” as they say…

  18. Ann says:

    if he were a Republican he would have been crucified by now, but he’s a liberal so we must be tolerant and understanding. Sickening!

  19. Mila says:

    we had knew Stalin! Thinking…

  20. Zachary RunningWolf says:

    Surprise, Surprise a sherriff after a full days work of incarcerating people of color goes home to beat wife. Sounds par for the coarse

  21. The PublicIsn't Blind says:

    Has anyone started a recall petition yet? I want to sign it..

  22. Trudy Sanders says:

    I think July 2012 is the soonest for signing any recall petition.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s