In a symbolic and expected turn of legal events, Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi has gotten his 2012 misdemeanor conviction on a false imprisonment charge involving his wife, expunged from his permanent record. He did not appear in San Francisco Superior Court because, as his lawyer Betsy Wolkin put it, "He's not creating a story here." But while the expungement is routine, it comes three years after a dramatic scandal unfolded just as Mirkarimi was being sworn in for his job as Sheriff a position that he is not guaranteed to be reelected to this November.
The expungement also comes just a month before Mirkarimi's wife, Venezuelan-born actress Eliana Lopez, premiere's a one-woman show that she helped write which details the events of the domestic-abuse case, through comedy.
To recap, as we just did last month when Lopez announced her show, Mirkarimi and Lopez got in a heated argument on New Year's Eve 2011 that had something to do with Lopez traveling back to Venezuela for an extended period with the couple's young son Theo. In a scuffle, Lopez's arm was bruised, and fearing a potential custody battle down the line, she went to neighbor Ivory Madison to help her film a statement and document the bruise. She had no idea, however, that word of the incident would get out and cause a possible undoing of Mirkarimi's career political foes of Mirkarimi would go on not only to subpeona the video but also to try to get him removed from office via the city's Ethics Committee. In the ensuing drama, Mirkarimi avoided any actual charges of battery or domestic abuse and pled guilty to a single misdemeanor charge of false imprisonment, and Lopez remained his champion throughout the ordeal.
Mirkarimi's sentenced three-year probation period ended March 19, and his attorney, Wolkin, then filed the petition for expungement.
As the Chronicle reports, Wolkin said outside the courtroom today, "I can only speak in a general sense that it’s always something I’m grateful for, to be able to appear with people in court who are able to be afforded this kind of relief. It’s really a cornerstone of restorative justice. It’s something that I believe in, the people in San Francisco believe in, the district attorney believes in and I think Sheriff Mirkarimi believes in."
Mirkarimi became, in the case, the first SF sheriff ever to be barred from carrying a firearm, and under state law, that restriction will remain despite this expungement.
Also, Mirkarimi will still have to disclose his conviction on questionnaires relating to any future public office.