Mirkarimi Removal Makes Up Rules As it Goes

Removing the sheriff has no precedent.

By Chris Roberts
|  Friday, Mar 23, 2012  |  Updated 2:34 PM PDT
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Mirkarimi Removal Writes New Rules

San Francisco has not removed a public official from office in more than 30 years. Defining that process is the first step in the sheriff's case.

The first part of the process is the process.

There are no set ground rules for removing a public official, so the ground rules for removing Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi from office need to be set by the city's Ethics Commission, the body that will eventually vote on the removal, according to the San Francisco Examiner.

The process to remove a public official has not been used in more than 30 years. The last San Francisco public official removed from office was an airport commissioner in the 1970s. Former supervisor Ed Jew was slated to be removed from office, but resigned before the process began. He is now serving time in federal prison.

Mayor Ed Lee moved to remove Mirkarimi from office for "official misconduct" on Wednesday, after the sheriff pleaded guilty to falsely imprisoning his wife, Eliana Lopez, after a Dec. 31 argument. Lopez allegedly showed a bruise Mirkarimi left on her arm when he grabbed her to a neighbor, who recorded it on video.

That video may be played for the Ethics Commission; it might not. Likewise, the commission must decide if it will hear live testimony or not.

"The first hearing we have will be to establish what the procedure will be," commission Executive Director John St. Croix told the newspaper.

The commission must decide these and other rules for its hearing before Mirkarimi's suspension is heard in three weeks, according to the newspaper.

Mirkarimi was suspended without pay and has been barred from seeing his wife since January.

At issue will be the mayor's definition of "official" misconduct.
 

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