San Francisco News

Judge says video can be used in Mirkarimi hearings

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A judge is going to allow video of San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi's wife showing the injuries she suffered at his hands to be used in an administrative hearing on misconduct charges against him.

The video is a very critical element in the Mayor Ed Lee's argument before the ethics commission. Judge Garrett Wong granted release of the tape saying the court has every right and authority to make this kind of ruling because it was a court that signed the warrant which enabled police to seize the video.

The centerpiece of the court ruling is a 45-second videotape taken by Mirkarimi's neighbor Ivory Madison when Eliana Lopez came to her home after the New Year's Eve altercation. It shows what appears to be a bruise on her arm which was caused by Mirkarimi. Lawyers for both Mirkarimi and Lopez have asked Judge Wong not to release the tape. Among the main arguments is that the video was never entered in court as evidence since there was no trial.

Mirkarimi pleaded guilty in March to a count of misdemeanor false imprisonment. He was initially charged with domestic violence. Lopez's lawyer Paula Canny argued Tuesday that the video was privileged and that authorities have an obligation to protect Lopez who is a victim in the case. She told the judge if the video was released to the ethics commission, it would surely go viral on the internet which would violate her privacy rights.

The city attorney argued that the court had the authority over the video since it was seized by police who obtained a warrant from the courts. There was also no objection from the district attorney, the police department, or Ivory Madison who owns the video.

Both attorneys spoke to reporters after the judge granted the video's release. "They don't want to protect Eliana," Canny said. "They don't want to protect her rights. They're so out of their minds to get Ross Mirkarimi that they don't care who they step on."

"It's our intention that this video is appropriate evidence to use at the ethics commission proceedings and to put into the record that they're supposed to develop and forward to the board of supervisors," said City Deputy Attorney Peter Keith.

Canny says she is appealing the judge's decision. She is going to file a writ, a motion to stop the release, before the court of appeals. For now, Mayor Lee has won a big victory.

(Copyright ©2014 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.)

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Tags:
ross mirkarimi, ed lee, crime, san francisco news, vic lee
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