Sher­iff pleads guilty af­ter court OKS video show­ing

The Washington Times Daily - - Nation -

SAN FRAN­CISCO | San Fran­cisco’s sher­iff pleaded guilty Mon­day to false im­pris­on­ment, thus avoid­ing a do­mes­tic vi­o­lence trial that could have cost him his job and end­ing the public air­ing of a per­sonal drama wor­thy of the Venezuela te­len­ov­ela that his wife once starred in.

Ross Mirkarimi, 50, ac­cepted the plea deal Sun­day night, af­ter an ap­peals court said an emo­tional video of his 36-year-old wife dis­play­ing a bruised bi­cep could be shown to the jury. The deal also ap­pears to have de­fused a po­lit­i­cally charged at­mos­phere that in­cluded a sup­port group for do­mes­tic vi­o­lence vic­tims erect­ing a down­town bill­board tak­ing ex­cep­tion to Sher­iff Mirkarimi’s claim that the in­ci­dent was a “pri­vate mat­ter.”

The plea on a misdemeanor charge of false im­pris­on­ment in San Fran­cisco Su­pe­rior Court de­railed a trial that promised to tag the sher­iff with al­le­ga­tions of abu­sive be­hav­ior and in­fi­delity.

Po­lit­i­cal com­men­ta­tors and le­gal an­a­lysts said the plea bar­gain was a rea­son­able end to an only-in-san Fran­cisco po­lit­i­cal drama.

“He cut a good deal, and he did get a break,” said Peter Keane, a Golden Gate Univer­sity law pro­fes­sor and a po­lit­i­cally con­nected for­mer chief as­sis­tant public de­fender in San Fran­cisco. “But it was well within rea­son for the pros­e­cu­tor to also make this deal.”

Mr. Keane cited Sher­iff Mirkarimi’s lack of a crim­i­nal his­tory and the sin­gle bruise as among the rea­sons prose­cu­tors sought to make the deal.

The judge ex­tended Mon­day’s dead­line for prose­cu­tors to respond un­til April 16. Prose­cu­tors didn’t im­me­di­ately respond to a mes­sage seek­ing com­ment.

The chal­lenges, in­clud­ing one filed elec­tron­i­cally Sun­day night, said the pur­ported at­tacks aren’t hate crimes but in­ter­nal church dis­ci­plinary mat­ters not in­volv­ing bias against the Amish.

The mo­tion to dis­miss the in­dict­ment said the hate-crimes law is vague and overly broad and in­cludes ac­tions, like the ones in the Amish case, “that were not in­tended to be cov­ered as ‘hate crimes.’ ”

“The ac­tions al­leged in this case are not al­leged to be the re­sult of an­tiAmish bias,” the mo­tion said.

Sa­muel Mul­let Sr. and 11 fol­low­ers are charged in five beard- and hair­cut­ting at­tacks on other Amish last year. They have pleaded not guilty.

A feud over church dis­ci­pline al­legedly led to at­tacks in which the beards and hair of men and hair of women were cut, which is con­sid­ered deeply of­fen­sive in Amish cul­ture.

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