Ten years ago, the domestic violence murder of Claire Joyce Tempongko helped bring down San Francisco District Attorney Terence Hallinan and put Kamala Harris in his place. Five years later, Harris' office put Tempongko's killer behind bars.
On Tuesday the tragedy came full circle, as the California attorney general's office — now under Harris' leadership — sought to preserve the conviction of Tare Beltran before the California Supreme Court.
A divided appellate panel had thrown out the verdict, but Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye sounded eager to reinstate it, even objecting at one point to the description of Tempongko and Beltran's relationship as stormy. "When you say 'stormy,' we're using the wrong word," she said. This, she declared, was a domestic violence killing. "The storminess is all on his side."