Many San Francisco inmates voting for the first time

KPFA Evening News, 11.03.2012


San Francisco County jails 3 and 4 are on the 6th and 7th floors of the Hall of Justice, which is better known as 850 Bryant.

KPFA News Anchor Sharon Sobotta: San Francisco is the leader in voter registration and voting among county jail inmates in the State of California, because of the efforts of its Sheriff's Department's Prisoner Legal Services program. Over 400 new voters have been registered for the upcoming election, but the program's director would still like to see more inmates registered to to vote. KPFA's Ann Garrison has the story    

KPFA/Ann Garrison: San Francisco Sheriff Ross Miirkarimi said that most inmates who are eligible to vote are eager to do so, and said that many who register in jail are doing so for the first time.

Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi: Our county jail system is really no different than any other county jail system across the state, or across the country. Black and Brown people. African American, Latino population - primarily. And, for the first time in many of these inmates’ lives, they are being San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi asked to register to vote, or have demonstrated some interest in registering to vote, so the San Francisco County jail system has made that process easy and accessible. And I am proud to say that San Francisco leads the rest of California, in us registering more inmates than any other county in this state.

KPFA: Sheriff Mirkarimi also said that voting is part of the San Francisco Sheriff's Department's longstanding emphasis on rehabilitation and re-entry.

Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi: This is also a function of our society, and that is exercising their participation in the election process, in the democratic process. And through our rehabilitative efforts in preparing an inmate in re-entering society comes also, I think, their hope and expectation to be a participant in that process, and that participation begins while in incarceration.

KPFA: The San Francisco County Jail also has one of the highest rates of voter participation in the City and County of San Francisco.. 

For Pacifica, KPFA Radio, I'm Ann Garrison.






Reinstate or remove Sheriff Mirkarimi? San Francisco Supervisors vote on Tuesday


KPFA Evening News, 10.06.12

On Tuesday, October 9th, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors will hold a hearing and vote on whether or not to overturn the election of Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, in response to charges of official misconduct brought by Mayor Ed Lee.  KPFA spoke to Mirkarimi attorney David Waggoner about due process, also known as fairness, in the proceeding.


Mirkarimi attorneys request and file sworn declarations at San Francisco Board

KPFA Weekend News Anchor Cameron Jones: The San Francisco Board of Supervisors will review the findings of the San Francisco Ethics Commission in the case ofSan Francisco Board of Supervisors' Chambers  suspended Sheriff Ross ​Mirkarimi on October 9th. This week Mirkarimi’s attorneys filed a legal brief in which they asked that each of the 11 Supervisors either sign a sworn statement that they have not discussed the case with Mayor Ed Lee, or recuse themselves from voting to reinstate or remove him. KPFA’s Ann Garrison has the story.

KPFA/Ann Garrison: San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee suspended Mirkarimi, then brought charges of official misconduct against him after Mirkarimi pled guilty to a misdemeanor stemming from a New Year’s Eve argument with his wife Eliana Lopez, who has stood by his side, adamantly insisting that he did not abuse her and that he has been the target of a political witch hunt, as the first progressive to win executive office in many years in San Francisco,   

Suspended San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, left, and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, right.

Neither of Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi’s attorneys, Shepard Kopp and David Waggoner, were available to explain why they have asked that each of the 11 Supervisors sign a sworn statement that they have not spoken to Ed Lee about this case, but Mirkarimi himself explained the basic rules of both criminal and civil court which they have asked this administrative court, in which the Supervisors are both judge and jury, to abide by as well.  

Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi: The prosecuting attorney is not supposed to speak with the judge or the jury panel about any case that they are prosecuting, and in this case, that potential violation has been percolating for quite some time. And the action that we're taking is a very reasonable action to make sure that there is not any undue or unfair bias in the proceeding by the Board of Supervisors in rendering a decision on our case.

KPFA/Ann Garrison: Mayor Lee is not only a lawyer but also the official Prosecuting Attorney on the case. He, not City Attorney Dennis Herrera, signed the charges of official misconduct.

Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, center, and his attorneys Shepard Kopp, left, and David Waggoner, right. Photo: SF Chronicle

Should the Board of Supervisors fail to abide by fundamental rules that are widely accepted throughout the American judicial system, and should they at the same time vote to remove Mirkarimi, that could strengthen any legal action that Mirkarimi might then take to San Francisco Superior Court should the Board vote to remove him on October 9th.  

Yesterday the San Francisco Examiner’s editorial board published their opinion that the Board should indeed sign sworn statements  that they have not spoken to Mayor Lee or recuse themselves.

Mirkarimi attorneys Shepard Kopp and David Waggoner have also filed declarations signed by San Francisco Building Commissioner Debra Walker and former President of the Board of Supervisors Aaron Peskin, in which they give evidence that Mayor Lee perjured himself while testifying in the case before the Ethics Commission.  

For Pacifica, KPFA Radio, I’m Ann Garrison.



Did San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee's team drop the bomb on Shepard Kopp?

Attorney Paula Canny


KPFA Evening News, 06.30.2012

Paula Canny, Eliana Lopez's attorney, spoke to KPFA about the bomb threat at the 06.29.2012 San Francisco Ethics Commission hearing on Mayor Ed Lee's suspension of Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi.




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