Mirkarimi wants neighbor's video tossed

San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, right, and his wife Eliana Lopez walk away after speaking to reporters at City Hall in San Francisco, Friday, Jan. 13, 2012. A prosecutor says he has charged San Francisco's newly sworn-in sheriff with misdemeanors, including domestic violence, related to a New Year's Eve incident with his wife. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
February 22, 2012 8:38:53 PM PST
Attorneys representing San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi are making some legal maneuvers. He goes on trial Friday on charges of domestic violence against his wife.

"We're just setting up for pretrial for back here on the 24th," Mirkarimi said Wednesday.

With the trial proceedings set to begin on Friday, the defense is beginning to reveal its strategy. Mirkarimi's lawyer filed a motion Wednesday, asking a judge to exclude statements his wife Eliana Lopez made to her neighbor Ivory Madison about an alleged domestic violence incident on New Year's Eve.

Attorney Lidia Stiglich says the conversation is legally considered hearsay.

"The thing is, the evidence they're trying to introduce is out of court statements, they're hearsay, you need foundation for that; if they're bringing out of court statements in, there's no way for me to cross examine," Stiglich said.

Stiglich's motion also argues that a videotape Madison made of a bruise on Lopez's arm should also be inadmissible because it was only supposed to be used if Lopez found herself in a custody battle with Mirkarimi over their 2-year-old son.

Lopez's lawyer Paula Canny also wants that videotape tossed, but she cites another reason: she says even though Madison is not a practicing attorney, Lopez assumed she was because Madison's website biography says she was trained as an attorney, was editor-in-chief of her law review and interned at the California Supreme Court.

"And anybody who speaks to a trained attorney about a matter that might involve litigation would be under the impression that communication was confidential and privileged," Canny said.

If the defense strategies are successful, that could gut the prosecution's case. Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Aguillar Tarchi would not comment, but District Attorney George Gascon says they'll let the court make a legal decision on the motions.

"We don't want to speculate because we believe those key pieces of evidence, based on our understanding of the case, are admissible evidence, so I think what has to occur as a first thing is the defense needs their file motions and they need to follow the proper legal procedure and we will respond," Gascon said.

The prosecution has filed motions to have evidence admitted from what they say is a second incident of domestic violence involving Mirkarimi and his wife, as well as testimony from an ex-girlfriend.

Mirkarimi has pleaded not guilty to the domestic violence charges.


Load Comments