When San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi released Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez from jail on April 15, he was likely focused on expunging criminal charges from his own record–charges that had been downgraded from “domestic violence” to “false imprisonment” after he had initially pleaded guilty in 2012 to false imprisonment over “a spat with his wife, Eliana Lopez, during which he bruised her arms.”
According to NBC News, Mirkarimi had been sentenced to one day in jail, anger management classes, three months of probation, and “a temporary stay-away order preventing him from contact with his wife and toddler son [for a time].” A large majority of San Francisco residents polled at the time (61%) wanted him to leave office.
Mirkarimi took the plea deal, NBC News reported, because a guilty verdict on the original charge of domestic violence would have barred him from carrying a gun, even while on duty.
Later, the San Francisco Chronicle reported, Mirkarimi worked to have the “false imprisonment” charges expunged from his record, and did indeed succeed in getting them expunged on April 20, 2015–five days after he released Sanchez onto the streets.
After the charges were expunged, Mirkarmi’s attorney Betsy Wolkin said the Sheriff had received the “relief he’s entitled to.”
Her exact words were:
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. For him, it’s really personal. It’s the relief he’s entitled to.
The Chronicle reports that a video of the bruised arms of Lopez was key to Mirkarimi’s conviction. She allegedly made the video with a neighbor so it could be used later, if needed, in any custody battle over their son. But the neighbor allegedly turned it over to investigators as soon as it had been made.
After Sanchez, by his own admission, gunned Kathryn Steinle down on Pier 14 last wee, Sheriff Mirkarimi defended his decision to free Sanchez from jail. Moreover,Mirkarimi continues to defend San Francisco’s sanctuary city policies.
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.