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Judge Declines Eliana Lopez Request to Bar Video in Mirkarimi Trial; Jury Selection Begins

| February 29, 2012
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Laird Harrison is at the Ross Mirkarimi trial today and reports the following:

Judge Garrett Wong dismissed a motion by the lawyer for Ross Mirkarimi’s wife, Eliana Lopez, to bar video of her on the night of his alleged attack as evidence in the trial. The video shows a bruise on Lopez’s arm, which prosecutors say she suffered in a fight with her husband on New Year’s Eve.

Eliana Lopez in court, Jan 26 (Mina Kim/KQED)

Mirkarimi has been charged on one misdemeanor count each of domestic violence battery, child endangerment, and dissuading a witness from testifying.

Lopez’s attorney, Paula Canny, argued that the video, recorded by Lopez’s neighbor Ivory Madison on the night of the incident, falls under attorney-client privilege, since Lopez thought Madison was an attorney. In Lopez’s birthplace of Venezuela, Canny said, lawyers can practice upon graduation from law school. Madison never passed the California bar.

But Judge Garrett Wong struck the motion down on the grounds that Lopez does not have standing in the case since she is not the defendant, and due to lack of evidence that Lopez thought Madison was an attorney.

Lopez’s attorney also filed a motion to sanction the prosecution over releasing photos taken from the video of Lopez’s bruise, images that wound up being disseminated by the media. The release of the photos was an attempt to intimidate and coerce Eliana Lopez into testifying, Canny asserted. The judge again ruled she had no standing to make that argument.

Judge Wong had previously struck down a request by Ross Mirkarimi to have the video excluded on the grounds that it’s hearsay.

Jury selection begins this afternoon. There will be a very large pool of over 100 potential jurors.

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Category: Criminal Justice, News, San Francisco

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