San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi plead guilty today to one count of misdemeanor false imprisonment in the domestic violence case that’s plagued the new sheriff since before he took office. In exchange, the district attorney dropped three additional charges against the sheriff, including domestic violence. Mirkarimi is expected to be sentenced to three years of probation, 100 hours of community services, around $600 in fines, and a year of anger management counseling. Mirkarimi’s legal battle appears to be over, but the case is bound to follow him for years, as he defends his job, his ability to lead a law enforcement office, and his progressive political credentials. Minouche Kandel, a staff attorney for Legal Aid in San Francisco, who represents domestic violence victims in family court and immigration matters, led protests against the sheriff when Mirkarimi originally denied his guilt and called the New Years Eve incident “a private matter.” I spoke with Kandel earlier today about the verdict.
From traffic court to the 9th Circuit, and everything in between.
When prisoners are looking to clear their names, they often turn to the same place: the Innocence Project. Across the country, branches of the project have helped exonerate 289 prisoners using post-conviction DNA testing. Thirteen of those cases were handled by the Northern California Innocence Project. I spoke with Linda Starr, legal director of the Northern California Innocence Project, in her office at Santa Clara University’s law school.
It’s the early 90s. Young people are watching MTV, their parents Twin Peaks. Maurice Caldwell is 22 years old and lives in the Alemany projects in Bernal Heights, on the same streets where he grew up. He works in an industrial warehouse in Hayward and likes to hang out with his friends.
But, he admits today, he was also a troublemaker. “I wasn’t a choir boy,” says Caldwell. “I sold drugs, from time to time.” And, from time to time, he’d come in contact with police.
So when Caldwell was picked up by police and taken to the county jail on 850 Bryant Street in the morning hours one day in September 1990, he thought nothing of it. Until he learned that he was accused of murder.
San Francisco Weekly reports that the city has suspended its medial marijuana dispensary permitting program:
Pending permits had been on hold since December, after a ruling in a state appeals court case halted similar permitting programs across California. That case was appealed to the state Supreme Court, and during the appeal, the city could resume processing permits, a spokesman for the City Attorney told SF Weekly last week.
But the city reversed its decision today. All medical cannabis dispensary permit applications are on hold indefinitely, according to Jim Soos, an assistant director of Policy and Planning with the city Department of Public Health, until the city can “receive assurance that it is in compliance with state and federal law.”
There’s speculation that the feds threatened San Francisco with a lawsuit.
Last night, a show called “Weed Wars” premiered on the Discovery Channel, and it’s entirely based on the Bay Area medical marijuana trade. The premiere has interesting timing: earlier this week, a U.S. District judge in Oakland rejected a request from dispensaries to keep federal prosecutors from filing charges against them. It’s the latest in a series of events that have been challenging California marijuana advocates, kicked off by Melinda Haag, the U.S. Attorney for California’s Northern District, when she announced in early October that the Justice Department is targeting certain cannabis dispensaries for closure.
MELINDA HAAG: Last week we sent letters to landowners and lien holders of these stores, putting them on notice that marijuana is being sold and used on their property in close proximity to children and that the operations must cease.
KALW’s Ben Trefny asked reporter Steven Short to catch us up on the state of medical marijuana in California.
Yesterday, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Seeborg denied a request by the ACLU of Northern California and the National Lawyers’ Guild for a temporary restraining order preventing excessive use of force by the Oakland Police Department during crowd control situations.
The request for a restraining order stems from the joint ACLU-NLG lawsuit filed earlier this week alleging violations of OPD’s crowd control policies on October 25th and the evening of November 2-3 during clashes between police and Occupy Oakland protesters.
In denying the requested restraining order, Judge Seeborg says the Oakland Police Department’s peaceful clearing of the Occupy Oakland encampment in Frank Ogawa Plaza demonstrated no urgent need for restrictions on OPD’s crowd control response. Continue reading