Ross Mirkarimi Filing "Utterly Without Merit" - NBC Bay Area

Ross Mirkarimi Filing "Utterly Without Merit"

The latest volley in the back and forth between Herrera and Mirkarimi came from the Herrera side.



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    San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera filed a response to a motion by the attorneys of suspended Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, who is  seeking to have Herrera removed from the suspension proceedings, a move he  said was "utterly without merit."

        The filing was the latest in a back-and-forth between the city  attorney's office and attorneys for Mirkarimi, who was suspended by Mayor Ed  Lee last month on official misconduct charges following his conviction in a  domestic violence case involving his wife.     Mirkarimi pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor false imprisonment  charge and was sentenced on March 19 to three years' probation and other  penalties. Lee officially suspended him without pay two days later.
        Mirkarimi has the right under the city charter to a hearing on the  official misconduct charges before the city's Ethics Commission, which would  then make a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors, which would need the  approval of nine of the board's 11 members to remove him from office.
        David Waggoner, an attorney representing Mirkarimi in the  administrative proceeding, filed a motion last week arguing that the city  attorney has a conflict of interest because it is representing Lee in the  proceedings and was also advising the Ethics Commission at the time.
        "The city attorney cannot ethically serve as both the prosecutor  of this attempt to remove Sheriff Mirkarimi and the lawyer for one of the  supposedly neutral fact-finding and decision-making bodies," Waggoner wrote.
        Herrera responded in today's filing by noting that the Ethics  Commission last Thursday announced that they would be advised by outside  counsel for the suspension proceedings, which Herrera wrote "should eliminate  all of (Mirkarimi's) concerns" about a potential conflict of interest.
        However, Waggoner has chosen to continue with his motion, which  Herrera wrote "is calculated simply to delay the proceedings ... and to drive  up the litigation costs borne by San Francisco taxpayers."
        He added that even if the city attorney's office was still  representing the Ethics Commission, there would be no conflict of interest  because the office employs ethical screens that separate prosecuting  attorneys from those advising the commission.
        Herrera wrote that the attempt to remove his office from the  proceedings has "no factual basis ... let alone a credible legal argument.  This is an abuse of the court process and a waste of judicial resources."
        A judge will consider the motion in a hearing this Thursday in San  Francisco Superior Court.
        That same judge, Harold Kahn, will also consider on Friday a  separate motion by Mirkarimi's attorneys to overturn his suspension.
        The Ethics Commission is scheduled to begin its hearing on the  Mirkarimi matter on April 23 barring any change as a result of the judge's  rulings this week.
        Vicki Hennessy, a former chief deputy sheriff, is serving as  interim sheriff while the case moves forward.