Judge allows bruise video in Mirkarimi trial

February 27, 2012 9:37:47 PM PST
The domestic violence case against San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi got stronger for the prosecution Monday. A judge ruled that video and still pictures of his wife's bruised arm are admissible as evidence.

The photos represent a huge victory for the prosecution and a blow for the defense. They were taken from a videotape that jurors will now see in the domestic violence trail against Mirkarimi.

"This was a central piece to this case; this, in our opinion, is very compelling evidence," San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon said.

In the pictures, Mirkarimi's wife Eliana Lopez is showing her neighbor a bruise on her arm, which she says was caused by her husband.

The defense tried two tactics to have the tape tossed: One motion called for dismissing the entire case on the grounds that the photos are pre-trial publicity that will make a fair trial impossible. The second argued that the taped conversation between Lopez and her neighbor Ivory Madison took place the day after the alleged incident and was created as evidence in a potential divorce and custody case.

But Judge Garrett Wong viewed the tape over weekend and said Monday, "The evidence shows this is a woman who is still crying and visibly upset the next day...there is no hint of contrivance or being scripted, or staged."

"We're looking at that legal avenues are available to us but for the most part it's just going to be quicker to go to trial," Mirkarimi's attorney Lidia Stiglich said.

The judge must still decide whether to include the testimony of a former Mirkarimi girlfriend. Christina Flores says years ago Mirkarimi abused her. Prosecutors say her testimony establishes a pattern of behavior; the defense is fighting that.

"People trying to boot drop in other individuals to talk about separate incidents of, with dubious credibility, and of dubious relevance to this case," Stiglich said.

Stiglich says she has not decided whether to put Mirkarimi on the stand.

Legal analyst Dean Johnson says there are risks.

"Mirkarimi getting on the stand is a very risky proposition, if he is believed, that means he has to testify that his wife wasn't being truthful and that these bruises are the result of something other than domestic violence," Johnson said.


Load Comments