San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi made another appearance in court to face domestic violence charges Wednesday, hours after his attorney filed a motion asking a judge to exclude statements his wife made to neighbors that are key to the prosecution's case.
Mirkarimi has pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor charges of domestic violence battery, child endangerment and dissuading a witness in connection with a Dec. 31 incident in which he allegedly bruised the arm of his wife, Eliana Lopez, during an argument in which his 2-year-old son Theo was present.
Mirkarimi appeared in court for a brief pre-trial conference in advance of his trial date Friday, when the case will be likely be sent to a trial judge. However, actual trial proceedings will not begin until next week.
The trial judge, who has not been determined, will have to consider a motion filed by Mirkarimi's attorney Lidia Stiglich Wednesday in which she argued that statements Lopez made to neighbors Ivory Madison and Callie Williams in the days after the New Year's Eve incident should not be
admissible in court.
Stiglich argued in the filing that exceptions that allow for out-of-court statements by a victim -- such as spontaneous statements made under duress -- do not apply to Mirkarimi's case since Lopez's statements were made many hours after the alleged incident.
Stiglich also argued that a 45-second video recorded by Madison of Lopez talking about the incident should be inadmissible because the video was meant to be used in a custody battle, not to prove she was criminally abused.
In the video, Lopez pointed to her arm and said, "This happened yesterday, um, the end of 2011, and this is the second time this is happening. And I tell Ross I want to work on the marriage, we need help, I have been telling him we need help, and I am going to use this just in case he wants to take Theo away from me. Because he did, he said that, that he's very powerful, and he can, he can do it," according to the filing.
Madison told police that Lopez only made the video to be used in case the couple divorced and had
to go through custody proceedings, Stiglich wrote.
Bay City News