Jurors added to pool for SF Sheriff Mirkarimi case

(KGO)
March 6, 2012 8:14:11 PM PST
Picking a jury for San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi's domestic violence trial is turning into quite a challenge.

On Tuesday, the judge ordered dozens more people to join what has been a shrinking pool of jurors. They started out with a pool of 300 prospective jurors. Nearly 200 of them have been dismissed either for hardship reasons like work or childcare issues, or their answers on the jury questionnaire appear to show bias for or against San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi.

Another panel of prospective jurors has been summoned to the courthouse Wednesday. "It's become absolutely clear that San Franciscans are invested in the outcome. It's personal to them. It's their sheriff. It's their city. And, that makes sense. That issue really gives us some pause as to whether or not he can get a fair trial here," Mirkarimi's attorney Lidia Stiglich said.

Stiglich filed a motion Monday to move the trial to another county. Prosecutors indicated Tuesday that they have not decided yet how to respond. "We'll look at it carefully as we would with any motion. Hopefully, before the end of the week, but I can't guarantee," Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Aguilar Tarchi said.

That is just one of the motions delaying the start of the trial. Others target what prosecutors call the crux of their case, the video of Mirkarimi's wife Eliana Lopez with her bruised arm. Both Lopez's attorney and Mirkarimi's attorney are asking for the tape to be tossed. Prosecutors want a quick decision and if not, they are asking that the trial be put on hold until the issue is resolved.

ABC7 legal analyst Dean Johnson believes all the attention and resources being spent on this case are way over the top. "And, the fact that the defendant is somebody who's well known shouldn't be allowed to turn this thing into something that's being treated almost like a capital case or a homicide case," he says.

On Friday, Judge Garret Wong will hear more pre-trial sparring over whether an expert on domestic violence will be allowed as a prosecution witness.


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