Judge says Mirkarimi can't Skype with wife

May 25, 2012 6:30:10 PM PDT
Suspended San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi had another setback in court Friday morning. A judge has refused to modify a stay-away order issued after Mirkarimi's domestic violence incident with his wife Eliana Lopez.

It was supposed to be a routine court hearing to see how Mirkarimi is complying with the requirements of his probation after he pleaded guilty to a false imprisonment charge in March. But in a surprise move during the hearing, his attorney asked the judge to modify his stay-away order so that Mirkarimi could at least have phone conversations with his wife.

Mirkarimi Skypes with his 2-year-old son Theo regularly. He'd like to do the same with his wife, who's now back in her native Venezuela. Mirkarimi hasn't spoken to her in more than four months because of the stay-away order.

Friday in court, his lawyer argued unsuccessfully to modify the restraining order and allow him to speak by phone with his wife.

The impetus for his request was the exclusive ABC7 News I-Team interview by Dan Noyes. He spoke to Lopez in Venezuela earlier this week.

Mirkarimi called the interview enlightening.

"It showed, I think, what a family is going through 5,000 miles apart," Mirkarimi said.

Mirkarimi's lawyer, Lidia Stiglich, said in court, there were pressing personal matters between the two.

"As you know and your viewers know, they have a lot of talk about and a lot to work out," Stiglich said.

Among them: their future together.

When asked about that in Noyes' interview, Lopez said, "Maybe I will get divorced with Ross, but I'm very close with him in this fight; this is about justice."

Mirkarimi believes there's only one reason why prosecutors object to the phone conversations.

"It's political and they're trying to do whatever they can to break me by undermining the integrity of my family," he said.

Prosecutors say if there's any change in the restraining order, they would first want Lopez to appear in court under oath, requesting that the order be lifted.

"Forcing our family to have to pay $3,000, to fly back here and be in person, just to have phone contact? This is a choking strategy," Mirkarimi said.

The judge also struck down Mirkarimi's lawyer's suggestion that the prosecutors speak to Lopez using Skype. The district attorney's office says, by law, a victim of a crime of abuse has to appear in court before a stay away order can be lifted.


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