Ross Mirkarimi Loses Fight to Lift Restraining Order, More Texts from His Wife Revealed

Categories: Law & Order
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Mirkarimi's wife told neighbor about potential child-neglect episode in which son was left in the car and not fed. Mirkarimi has gone to three counseling sessions.

A Superior Court judge refused to lift a restraining order Thursday preventing Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi from seeing his wife, Eliana Lopez, and 2-year-old son until Mikarimi seeks batterer's treatment. 

The decision comes despite a Child Protective Services investigation that indicated his son, Theo, had not suffered any abuse other than the ill effects of separation from his father, according to Mirkarimi's new attorney, Lidia Stiglich. The order was imposed in San Francisco Superior Court last week after Mirkarimi pleaded no guilty charges of domestic abuse, child endangerment, and dissuading a witness

Judge Susan Breall said that the sheriff could file an expedited petition for supervision of his child in family court. 

"I know that Sheriff Mirkarimi would not want any special treatment because he's the sheriff," Breall said, drawing a smirk from the otherwise grim-faced Mirkarimi. "The practice of the court is to not modify a stay away order until [the defendant] seeks batterer's therapy -- not just private psychological counseling." 

To help bolster her case, prosecutor Liz Aguilar-Tarchi read yet another text which Lopez allegedly wrote to her neighbor, Ivory Madison, on Jan. 2: "I agree with everything. I realize how serious it is and must be smart to protect Theo and myself ... I just want to run away." 

Aguilar-Tarchi said the District Attorney's Office had already requested that Child Protective Services visit Theo based on the Dec. 31 argument as well as a previous message Lopez had allegedly written Madison on Oct. 19 describing a possible child-neglect incident, when Theo was "not being fed, vomiting, being left in a car," Aguilar-Tarchi said. 

The prosecutor referenced an October e-mail from Lopez to Madison that stated Lopez feared leaving Theo alone with Mirkarimi, because the previous week she found Theo "all wet, shoes, socks, pants, diaper" after leaving him alone with Mirkarimi for two hours. 

Aguilar-Tarchi read the e-mail in court: "On Monday I travel to L.A. very worry about Theo because the last week when I was traveling just for a day and Ross spent just two hours with Theo was a nightmare. I found Theo all wet, shoes, socks, pants, diaper." 

A CPS investigator visited the child on Jan. 21, and observed that Theo's needs were being met, according to Stiglich. She argued that the CPS report -- a confidential five-page document reviewed by the judge -- found that any allegations of emotional abuse were "unfounded," and the only trauma Theo is suffering is from being separated from his father. 

Yet Aguilar-Tarchi fought back, saying that the order was important given the fact that Mirkirimi has been charged with dissuading a witness -- his wife. Aguilar-Tarchi referenced quotes from Lopez that were in the police affidavit, which stated Mikarimi became scared when Lopez threatened to tell people about the New Year's Eve argument. She also mentioned the existence of evidence that Lopez believed Mirkarimi had taken her and Theo on a trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium to isolate Lopez from people, and hinder her from telling anyone about the argument.

After the hearing, Lopez left the courtroom, crying, with an entourage of supporters and sheriff's deputies shepherding her down the hall away from the pack of media cameras. Mikarimi left the courtroom next, stopping outside to give a short statement to the press. 

"It's enormously crushing, the fact I haven't been able to see my family, be with my wife, or be with my son," the sheriff said. "This is disproportionately cruel, and I'll continue to fight this. But like I've said since moment one, the only way I can is to let this process unfold, and to do so, I think it's important."

As Mirkarimi made his way down the hall hounded by cameras, local blogger Michael Petrelis called out:  "Resign, Ross!"  while a District 5 supporter yelled, "No, Ross, stay here!"

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6 comments
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jccourt
jccourt

"After the hearing, Lopez left the courtroom, crying"This woman is devastated, she never asked the authorities for help, she stated that she is not afraid of her husband, this court and this system is destroying this family.

Just imagine the headline, if it had been the defendant who made his wife cry like this. 

bsaunders
bsaunders

All these comments about "destroying a family", suggest that a family where people are in danger is good enough, as long as it fits the on-paper, conventional configuration. It is not.

BarryEisenberg
BarryEisenberg

This judge...She refuses to lift or even modify her stay away order until Ross goes for "batterer's therapy". Isn't that some kind of prejudgement of his case? A catch-22? An outrageous attempt to manipulate the defendant?

She kindly refers Ross to try petitioning Family Court as another avenue for him to get to see his wife and child.That sounds like a runaround to me. Family Court? Been there, done that. It's not a place you want to be. 

My guess is Judge Breall took an easy out today since she'll be off the case in a month. Why depart from the cosy so-called customary court procedures, whatever the facts? That is very inhumane of her. 

In case anyone wants to discuss real "tyranny", this is a high profile example. If such trauma is inflicted on families as a matter of course something's terribly wrong with the system.  

jccourt
jccourt

"this is a high profile example. If such trauma is inflicted on families as a matter of course something's terribly wrong with the system."

Well said Barry.

Oaklander
Oaklander

Barry it's pretty obvious your own bias and experience with family court (for whatever reason) is tainting your view. I think the opposite is true - this judge has acted with prudence in order to check the wife and child.  Clearly, the man has anger and control issues.  The situation needs to decompress, so it can be investigated.  His behavior got him into this mess.  If it is falsr and/or not view as dangerous to his spouse or child, it will be resolved.  None of this would be happening if he did not act in the manner he did.  The neighbor, a political supporter of Ross, shared concern about the situation. And just maybe the judge and the prosecution know things you do not know.

Save your outrage.

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