Mirkarimi sentenced in domestic violence case, apologizes outside of court 

click to enlarge San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi  wipes his face as he speaks to the media following a court appearance for his domestic abuse case at San Francisco County Courthouse in San Francisco, California, March 19, 2012. - REUTERS/BECK DIEFENBACH
  • REUTERS/Beck Diefenbach
  • San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi wipes his face as he speaks to the media following a court appearance for his domestic abuse case at San Francisco County Courthouse in San Francisco, California, March 19, 2012.

San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi fought back tears as he apologized this morning after being sentenced to three years’ probation for a misdemeanor charge in his domestic violence case.

Mirkarimi, 50, pleaded guilty last week to a misdemeanor count of false imprisonment in a deal with prosecutors, who agreed to drop three other charges stemming from a Dec. 31 incident in which he allegedly grabbed his wife’s arm during an argument.

He was sentenced today to the probation term, as well as 100 hours of community service, nearly $600 in fines and fees, 52 weeks of domestic violence counseling and other family counseling if deemed appropriate by the city’s adult probation department.

Mirkarimi’s voice quavered as he addressed reporters outside the courtroom after this morning’s hearing.

“I deeply and humbly apologize for my behavior and the pain it caused to my wife and son,” he said. “For what happened on Dec. 31, there are no excuses. I accept full responsibility.”

He said the case has been “a very public reminder that I’m not the person that I thought I was.”

He said he has already started counseling “to address my arrogance and anger issues” and looks forward to the other counseling required by the court.

Mirkarimi, who became sheriff in January after serving for seven years on the Board of Supervisors, also apologized to his colleagues at the sheriff’s department and the public, saying, “I will work so much harder so I can regain the trust that I obviously have lost.”

Mirkarimi’s future as sheriff remains in doubt, as Mayor Ed Lee said last week that he is considering the options available to him under the city charter.

The mayor has the option of suspending the sheriff for official misconduct, which would prompt a hearing by the city’s Ethics Commission, which would then make a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors.

Nine of the 11 members of the board would then need to approve the charges for Mirkarimi to be ousted from office.

Mirkarimi insisted today that the sheriff’s department “has been running right and well amid my personal strife” and has said he has no plans to step down.

Judge James Collins ordered Mirkarimi to return on Thursday for an orientation meeting at the adult probation department. He will also be required to return to court on April 6 to prove he has enrolled for probation.

The stay-away order preventing Mirkarimi from contacting his wife, Eliana Lopez, will remain in effect until he begins his domestic violence counseling, Mirkarimi’s defense attorney Lidia Stiglich said.

He will not be allowed to carry a firearm while that order is in place, Stiglich said.

She said Mirkarimi is already looking into his counseling options.

“We want to get that process moving,” she said.

Prosecutors declined comment on the sentencing outside of court. District Attorney George Gascon has planned a news conference this afternoon to discuss the case.

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