Ross Mirkarimi to Skip Monday's Court Hearing - NBC Bay Area

Ross Mirkarimi to Skip Monday's Court Hearing

The San Francisco Sheriff is not required to be present when arguments are made.



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    San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi leaves the family court on McAllister Street in San Francisco on Feb. 3, 2012.

    San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, who is facing domestic violence charges, will not be required to appear in court Monday when prosecutors and his defense attorneys will present motions before a trial judge.

    Mirkarimi, 50, 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 was in court Friday morning when Judge Garrett Wong was assigned the case and again Friday afternoon when Wong was presented with several new motions filed by both the prosecution and defense.

    Actual trial proceedings will not begin until Monday, when Wong requested the lawyers return at 10 a.m. to present their cases. Mirkarimi's attorney Lidia Stiglich requested that Mirkarimi's presence at Monday's hearing be waived. Wong granted that waiver.

    Wong said that he would not order a jury panel for Monday. Jury selection is likely to begin on Tuesday, and it is expected that a questionnaire will be used to systematically and uniformly select jurors.

    Wong, who has not had a chance to review documents since the case was assigned to him Friday morning, will have to consider a motion filed by 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.
    One of those statements was made in a 45-second video recorded by Madison on Jan. 1.

    A spokesman for the district attorney's office said that the defense motion was expected.

    "We are not surprised or concerned with any of the motions filed by the defense," Assistant District Attorney Omid Talai said Friday. "We are confident the law supports us in this area and the video will be admitted into evidence.

    The defense had argued that Lopez's statements were inadmissible because they lacked trustworthiness and because Lopez had had time to reflect before making the utterances to her neighbors, as opposed to making them spontaneously.

    To ensure that the video remains part of the evidence, the district attorney's office filed a response motion Friday afternoon with the court saying Lopez was under duress when she was filmed while speaking with Madison.