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KCBS In Depth: The San Francisco DA's Office

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon has a number of high profile cases on his docket right now but perhaps none has received as much media attention as the domestic violence case involving suspended San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi.

Although Mirkarimi pleaded guilty to reduced charges, the case still looms as he is now fighting to save his job.

"What he's doing now is very typical of many criminal defendants. Criminal defendants have a tendency to minimize their behavior and to rationalize it and occasionally they lie," Gascon said. "The problem that we have as a community going forward is the other piece. Typically a law enforcement officer who is convicted of a crime and then during an administrative process, they are deemed to be providing false or misleading statements, generally that's a very serious offense."

KCBS Interviews San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon:

Gascon said that he doesn't agree with the way Mirakrimi has characterized the case. "He actually indicates that the reason why he bruised his wife is because he was trying to be a good father. The context on which he describes where this occurred is contrary to the evidence," Gascon said.

The Mirkarimi case is just one of many Gascon's office is handling right now. Another high profile trial is one involving triple murder suspect Edwin Ramos, who is accused of killing three members of the Bologna family. Former San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris decided not to seek the death penalty in the case and Gascon is in agreement with her decision.

"I support that decision. I am opposed to the death penalty. I do not believe that the death penalty belongs in a modern society," he said. "It's irreversible so if you make a mistake, you can't reverse that. It's very expensive. And in this country, the application of the death penalty has had a horribly disparate impact on several minority groups."

Another situation that has garnered attention over the last year in San Francisco is accidents involving bicyclists and pedestrians. Last year, a 23-year-old cyclist ran a red light on the Embarcadero and hit a pedestrian, who later died from her injuries. That bicyclist pleaded guilty to misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter. And more recently, a bicyclist collided with an elderly pedestrian, at the intersection of Market and Castro streets in late March. That pedestrian later passed away. Gascon now has to decide whether to file charges in the case.

"This has a different texture than the prior case in that there is additional evidence that appears to be indicating a greater level of recklessness in negligence," Gascon said. "But we're still evaluating the evidence. We're waiting for the medical examiner to give us some further information concerning the cause of death. But what I think we all need to realize is that we live in a densely populated, urban environment and that requires that we all be more mindful and traffic rules are not only for cars, but they apply to everyone."

Gascon also said that his office is working on the quintuple murder in the Ingleside near City College of San Francisco. He said investigations continue in the case and there is still plenty to uncover, including a possible motive.

You can hear KCBS In Depth, a weekly half-hour news interview, Saturdays at 5:30a.m. and Sundays at 8:30 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. on KCBS All News 740AM and 106.9FM.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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