DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: Symbol of San Francisco failure to protect domestic violence victims gag order ruling delayed to May 17

By Tamara Barak and Brent Begin

A man at the center of a murder case that became a symbol among advocates for the justice system’s failure to protect domestic violence victims appeared briefly in a San Francisco courtroom this morning.

Handcuffed and dressed in the orange uniform worn by county jail inmates, Tari Ramirez, 33, appeared in front of Superior Court Judge Kathleen Kelly but did not speak.

Ramirez was represented today by public defender Matthew Rosen.

Both Rosen and Assistant District Attorney Liz Aguilar-Tarchi, who is prosecuting the case, are bound by a temporary gag order.

This morning Kelly delayed until May 17 a ruling to make the gag order permanent.

Ramirez was extradited from Mexico last month after being sought for more than six years in the Oct. 22, 2000 murder of his former girlfriend, Claire Joyce Tempongko, in her Richmond district home.

He pleaded not guilty on April 23.

The FBI arrested Ramirez on June 15, 2006 in Mexico. He was living with a relative near Cancun and working at a resort under an assumed name.

Ramirez fought the extradition, and federal officials had worked for 10 months to bring him to San Francisco.

Ramirez had a long history of domestic violence. Police arrested him three times in 1999 for assaulting Tempongko, and he spent four months in jail for one of the arrests. In the month leading up to her murder, police prepared two separate reports alleging Ramirez had battered Tempongko.

A year after her murder, the victim’s mother, Clara Tempongko, along with the victim’s two surviving children sued the city of San Francisco, alleging that the police failed to transmit their reports to the city’s adult probation department, district attorney and superior court as
required by various regulations and procedures.

In 2004, the city of San Francisco settled the lawsuit by awarding $500,000 to Claire Tempongko’s two children.

Bay City News

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