Suspended Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi’s official misconduct proceedings before the Ethics Commission will begin in three weeks unless a Superior Court judge rules in his favor just days before then.
The Ethics Commission has scheduled April 23 for the first of what is expected to be a series of meetings on Mayor Ed Lee’s suspension of Mirkarimi on charges of official misconduct. The commission ultimately must advise the Board of Supervisors whether to permanently oust the sheriff, a move that would take the votes of at least nine of the 11 members.
In March, Mirkarimi pleaded guilty to false imprisonment, which led to the dismissal of charges of domestic violence battery, child endangerment and dissuading a witness related to a New Year’s Eve incident in which he allegedly bruised his wife during an argument. Lee suspended Mirkarimi from office March 21 and appointed Vicki Hennessy to his post.
The first Ethics Commission meeting will establish the parameters of the hearings, set procedures to submit briefs and rebuttals, and possibly consider opening statements by the two sides in the case — the City Attorney’s Office representing Lee, and attorney David Waggoner representing Mirkarimi.
But days before the hearing, on April 20, Mirkarimi’s lawsuit challenging Lee’s authority to suspend him, without pay, under the City Charter will be heard in Superior Court. A judge’s decision, expected days after the hearing, could put an end to the misconduct proceedings if the ruling favors Mirkarimi.
Waggoner said “the mayor has no case” for several reasons, including that the conduct occurred before Mirkarimi was sheriff and the incident was not related to his duties as sheriff.
The City Attorney’s Office plans to file a counter-argument to Waggoner’s suit Monday.