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No official misconduct by San Francisco sheriff, board decides

October 10, 2012 |  9:01 am

Ross Mirkarimi
San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi needed three votes from the Board of Supervisors to keep his job after being convicted of domestic violence--and he got just that.

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday night that Mirkarimi did not commit official misconduct during the incident, and he should be returned to office.

Before casting the deciding vote, Supervisor John Avalos acknowledged that Mirkarimi is "a public figure and needs to be held to a very high standard."

But Avalos said that while it would be "emotionally satisfying and politically expedient" to oust him, there is a "danger of removing an elected official for actions committed before he took office."

Mirkarimi needed at least three members of the 11-person board to vote for reinstatement. Avalos was the third, and as he announced his decision, Mirkarimi reached over and shook his attorney's hand.

The board had to decide whether then-Supervisor Mirkarimi — eight days before he was inaugurated as sheriff — was guilty of official misconduct for a New Year's Eve fight with his wife, telenovela star Eliana Lopez, which left her with a bruised right arm.

"There is no question that on Dec. 31, 2011, Ross Mirkarimi made a serious and terrible mistake," his attorney, David Waggoner, told the supervisors. But "he immediately apologized to his wife. He entered into counseling. He apologized to the people of San Francisco. He pled guilty to a criminal offense."

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-- Maria L. LaGanga in San Francisco

Photo: San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi arrives at a Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday. Credit: Noah Berger / Los Angeles Times.

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