Saying that Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi deserved no special treatment in his domestic violence case, a judge refused Thursday to modify the protective order barring him from seeing his wife or son — a decision Mirkarimi later called “disproportionately cruel.”
Attorneys for Mirkarimi and his wife, Eliana Lopez, asked Judge Susan Breall to alter a stay-away order prohibiting Mirkarimi from contacting Lopez or the couple’s 2-year-old son, Theo, or visiting his home for the duration of his criminal case.
Mirkarimi, 50, is charged with domestic violence battery, child endangerment and dissuading a witness, all misdemeanors, for an alleged Dec. 31 incident in which he bruised his 36-year-old wife’s arm while Theo was present.
Prosecutor Elizabeth Aguilar-Tarchi objected to modifying the order and introduced new information that she said was from an Oct. 19 email from Lopez to her neighbor Ivory Madison. Aguilar-Tarchi quoted Lopez as expressing concern about Theo vomiting, being left in a car and not being fed when she left him with Mirkarimi to take a trip to Los Angeles. In the email, Lopez said Mirkarimi spent “just two hours with Theo” and called it “a nightmare.”
However, Lopez’s attorney, Cheryl Wallace, said, “My client has never indicated she was afraid of her
Mirkarimi’s new attorney, Lidia Stiglich, who was hired Wednesday, said, “Mr. Mirkarimi is devastated at being separated from his son.” She said Theo was at “a very delicate age” and was “very affected from being apart from his dad.”
Stiglich also noted that Mirkarimi had voluntarily counseling.
“He loves his wife, he loves his family,” Stiglich said. “And we’re all looking forward to getting this issue behind us.”
The prosecutor said an allegation that Mirkarimi tried to dissuade his wife from going to police after Dec. 31 was particularly serious.
“We’re not in the 1950s where things are hidden or brushed under the rug, or are called ‘a family matter,’” Aguilar-Tarchi said, referencing an earlier public statement by Mirkarimi about the case.
The judge said there had been no changed circumstances since she imposed the protective order last week, and that Mirkarimi’s case would be held to the same standard as other domestic violence cases.
“I know that Sheriff Mirkarimi would not want to have any special treatment just because he’s the sheriff,” Breall said. She suggested Mirkarimi petition a family court for supervised visitation.
“I’m incredibly disappointed, to say the least,” Mirkarimi said outside court. “This has been enormously crushing, the fact that I haven’t been able to see my family, be with my wife or be with my son. This is disproportionately cruel and I will continue to commit to fight this.”
A trial is scheduled for Feb. 24.