John St. Croix
For release: May 30, 2012
SUMMARY OF ACTIONS TAKEN AT MAY 29, 2012 MEETING
At its special meeting on May 29, 2012 regarding the charges of official misconduct pending against Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, the San Francisco Ethics Commission took the following actions:
- After receiving comments from attorneys representing the Mayor and the Sheriff, the Commission agreed on the following with respect to procedure:
- Live testimony will be allowed;
- The Mayor has the burden of demonstrating by a preponderance of the evidence that the Sheriff engaged in official misconduct;
- The rules of evidence will not be strictly applied. Some hearsay evidence may be admitted, although hearsay alone will not be permitted to establish a fact. The Commission may choose to exclude some hearsay evidence on a case by case basis;
- All direct testimony will come in by declaration, unless the witness is outside of a party’s control and refuses to provide a declaration;
- Either party, upon request, will be given the opportunity to cross examine witnesses who provide direct testimony via declarations;
- If a witness provides direct testimony via declaration but does not appear, upon request, for cross-examination, the Commission will give that witness’s declaration the weight it deems appropriate;
- Upon receipt of declarations and objections, the Commission will decide whether declarations (or parts thereof) will be admitted;
- A majority vote by the members of the Commission is sufficient for the Commission to send its recommendation(s) to the Board of Supervisors.
- The Commission also approved the following schedule for the submission of declarations, objections, requests for subpoenas, and other matters:
Due Date Item June 1, 2012 The Mayor to provide a bill of particulars regarding the charges of official misconduct against the Sheriff. June 8, 2012 The parties to exchange witness declarations for proposed direct testimony. June 13, 2012
- The parties to submit any objections to the witness declarations, along with a list of the declarants they would like to cross examine. The objections must specify each paragraph to which the party objects and the basis for the objection.
- The parties to identify witnesses whom they want the Commission to subpoena, the date on which the witness is expected to testify, and the reasons why a subpoena should issue.
June 15, 2012 The parties to submit their expert declarations. June 19, 2012 Start of Ethics Commission evidentiary hearing: the Commission will address objections to evidence. The Mayor should be prepared to call on at least two witnesses, although it is possible that they will not testify on this date June 20, 2012 The parties to submit any objections to the declarations of the expert witnesses, along with a list of the declarants they would like to cross examine. The objections must specify each paragraph to which the party objects and the basis for the objection. June 29, 2012 Further Commission hearing. The Commission will inform the parties of other dates between June 20 – 29 when hearings can be held.
- The Commission approved the following with respect to witnesses:
- The Mayor’s list:
- excluded fact witnesses: either Inspector Becker, SFPD or Inspector Daniele, SFPD; Captain Kathy Gorwood, SFSD;
- excluded expert witnesses: Chief Wendy Still; Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Aguilar Tarchi; Beverly Upton; Hamish Sinclair; and two of the following: Michael Gennaco, Chief William M. Lansdowne, or Sheriff Laurie Smith;
- stipulated withdrawal: the parties to stipulate regarding facts that form the basis of Jan Dempsey’s testimony;
- withdrawn witnesses: Lt. Michele Jean; Inspector John Keane, SFPD; and former Sheriff Michael Hennessey;
- witnesses permitted to submit declarations for consideration: Inspector Becker or Inspector Daniele; Christina Flores; Linnette Peralta Haynes; Paul Henderson; Vicki Hennessey; Mayor Edwin M. Lee; Eliana Lopez; Ivory Madison; Abraham Mertens; Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi; Chief Wendy Still; Callie Williams;
- expert witnesses permitted to submit declarations for consideration: Nancy K.D. Lemon; and one of the following: Michael Gennaco, Chief William M. Lansdowne, or Sheriff Laurie Smith.
- The Sheriff’s list:
- excluded fact witnesses: Former Mayor Art Agnos; Former San Francisco Chronicle Editor Phil Bronstein;
- withdrawn witnesses: Inspector John Keane; Former San Francisco Bureau Chief and New York Times Columnist Evelyn Nieves; Attorney Lidia Stiglich; Callie Williams; and Probation Officer Andrea Wright;
- witnesses permitted to subject declarations for consideration: Leni De Leon; Linnette Peralta Haynes; Mayor Edwin M. Lee; Eliana Lopez; Ivory Madison; Abraham Mertens; Nancy Miller; Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi; and Emen Tekin
- expert witness permitted to submit declaration for consideration: former Sheriff Michael Hennessey.
- The Mayor’s list:
After listening to the testimony of 46 members of the public, the Commission approved the above actions by a vote of 5-0. The Commission’s next special meeting will be held on Tuesday, June 19, 2012 at 5:00 p.m. in Room 263 City Hall.
The Ethics Commission, established in November 1993, serves the public, City employees and officials and candidates for public office through education and enforcement of ethics laws. Its duties include: filing and auditing of campaign finance disclosure statements, lobbyist and campaign consultant registration and regulation, administration of the public financing program, whistleblower program, conflict of interest reporting, investigations and enforcement, education and training, advice giving and statistical reporting.