by Mina Kim and Jon Brooks
Judge Susan Breall has denied Ross Mirkarimi’s request that the judge lift an order barring him from contact with his wife and two-year-old son.
After the hearing, Mirkarimi told reporters the decision was “disproportionately cruel.” He also said being away from his family was “enormously crushing.”
Mirkarimi’s wife, Eliana Lopez, left the courtroom without comment.
In explaining her decision, the judge said she didn’t understand why Mirkarimi’s lawyers hadn’t pursued modification of her stay-way order in family court. The judge said it wasn’t the role of criminal courts to adjudicate the issue.
Mirkarimi was represented today by a new lawyer, Berkeley defense attorney Lidia Stiglich, who replaced attorney Robert Waggener on the case.
When arguing Mirkarimi’s case, Stiglich asked the judge to at least approve supervised visits between him and his two-year-old son Theo if she wouldn’t revoke the entire order. Stiglich argued that circumstances had changed since the judge issued that order on Jan 20, noting that Mirkarimi had attended three counseling sessions and that Lopez had been to see a victim’s witness advocate, so was fully aware of her options. The lawyer also alluded to a Child Protective Services’ report that she said noted Theo had been very affected by separation from his father.
In appealing to the judge to maintain the restrictions on Mirkarimi, Aguilar-Tarchi read aloud from a Jan 2 email in which Lopez said, “I realize how serious it is to protect Theo and myself. I just would like to run away.”
At Stiglich’s request, Judge Breall then adjourned the court to read the CPS evaluation, even though Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Aguilar-Tarchi argued it was irrelevant. Whatever was in the report, however, obviously didn’t sway Breall the way that Mirkarimi’s team had hoped.
After the hearing, Mirkarimi’s attorney told KQED via email that they would be petitioning the family court for unsupervised visits with Theo.
On a side note: Local blogger Michael Petrelis was outside the courtroom holding a “Resign, Ross, Resign” sign. A handful of Mirkarimi supporters were also gathered on the steps of the court before the hearing.