Mirkarimi ethics hearings set to begin today


Last month, Mayor Ed Lee suspended the sheriff after he pleaded guilty to false imprisonment in connection with a New Year's Eve altercation he had with his wife, one in which he bruised her arm. Then on Friday, a judge gave the go-ahead for the ethics commission to being its official misconduct hearing.

The closest the ethics commission has come to holding an official misconduct hearing was with disgraced Supervisor Ed Jew. He was convicted in 2007 of bribery, extortion and perjury, but Jew spared the commission from a lengthy hearing when he resigned after the opening session.

So, this commission will have to come up with the rules of procedure, the protocols for the hearing. "Are we going to have briefing? What is scheduled for the briefing going to be? Are we going to call witnesses or not? What kind of evidence are we going to look at?" asks city attorney spokesman Matt Dorsey.

"I'm going to object to the commission doing anything other than shutting the whole proceeding down," says Mirkarimi's lawyer Shepard Kopp. That, in a nutshell, is the position Mirkarimi's attorneys are taking. "We think the whole process is fatally flawed and no rules that they can promulgate today can fix it," Kopp said.

Monday's hearing will be held in Room 400 of city hall before the five commissioners. The director of the commission has drafted his recommendations for the procedures. They call for written legal briefs, first from the city, along with all its evidence, then Mirkarimi's response two weeks later, followed by the city's response. Finally, attorneys from both sides will argue their case before the commission.

The city charter requires their recommendation to be approved by the supervisors but it will take a super majority, 9 of 11 members, to remove Mirkarimi. Mirkarimi's lawyers says that if they lose on the supervisor's level, they will definitely take the case to the courts.

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