Mirkarimi prosecutor experienced in domestic cases

January 19, 2012 7:56:37 PM PST
Liz Aguilar-Tarchi, the assistant district attorney assigned to San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi's case, is a seasoned veteran. She has literally written the book on domestic violence prosecutions.

"She knows the issues and the dynamics, the complexities around domestic violence and she's also very sensitive to victims needs," Institute on Domestic Violence spokesperson Beckie Masaki said.

Masaki is an advocate for survivors of domestic violence. She has worked closely with Aguilar-Tarchi.

"She always took the time to explain the legal processes to victims, to make sure that they felt supported and that their needs were met," Masaki said.

Aguilar-Tarchi has served as the managing attorney for the Domestic Violence Unit under two district attorneys.

She's also been on the frontlines of some of the highest profile cases in San Francisco.

In 2008, Aguilar-Tarchi won a conviction against William Corpuz, who killed his wife Marisa during a time when he was getting counseling for domestic violence.

In 2000, she prosecuted perhaps the biggest domestic violence case in recent San Francisco history. She won a conviction against Tari Ramirez, who murdered Claire Tempongko, a 28 year old Filipina in front of her two young children.

"It took six years to find the assailant; Liz was able to keep the case together, keep all the witnesses together, and had a very positive outcome," San Francisco Domestic Violence Consortium spokesperson Beverly Upton said.

Aguilar-Tarchi created a special reporting system that's now used by San Francisco police for all cases involving domestic abuse.

"She continued to train police officers and lawyers throughout that period and maintained a presence in the domestic violence community," former San Francisco Chief Assistant District Attorney Russ Giuntini said. Giuntini served as the chief assistant district attorney when she headed the domestic violence unit.

Giuntini says the seasoned prosecutor is a perfect fit to prosecute the Mirkarimi case.

"You've got the reluctant witness, the recanting witness and she's navigated all of that and manages to give the victims their dignity," Giuntini said.

"It's her passion, it's her attention to detail, her professionalism; I think she's second to none," Upton said.

Aguilar-Tarchi has been with the district attorney's office for 22 years. She holds the San Francisco record for the longest sentence in a case ? 100 years to life.