San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera took elected city officials and their staffs to task today after a San Francisco Chronicle story on the city’s sanctuary policy quoted a confidential memo from his office.
“Confidential legal advice is not intended to be fodder in political disputes,” Herrera said in a statement released Thursday evening. “Principles of comity in the legislative process dictate that confidential legal advice should not be used in this fashion.”
The political dispute concerns Supervisor David Campos’ proposal to change the city’s sanctuary law so that undocumented juveniles are turned over to immigration authorities only after they’re convicted of a felony. According to the Chronicle, the confidential memo advises the Board of Supervisors that the proposed law would violate federal and possibly state law and could undermine the city’s existing sanctuary policy.
“The memorandum was prominently labeled as ‘privileged and confidential,’ reflecting the fact that it was a confidential attorney-client privileged document,” Herrera wrote in his Thursday memo addressed to Mayor Gavin Newsom and the Board of Supervisors.
An update (a confession!), after the jump.
Since Herrera’s complaint about the leak, the mystery has been solved: The mayor did it.
Nathan Ballard, a spokesman for the mayor, pointed today to a line in Herrera’s legal guidance that says “the individual recipient may waive the privilege on behalf of the City.”
“That’s what happened in this case,” Ballard said. “The mayor wanted the sanctuary city memo shared. That’s his prerogative as mayor.”
We are not sure that will entirely soothe the city attorney. We expect to have more on this on CalLaw late this afternoon.
— Kate Moser