By Luke Thomas
February 8, 2012
A family law judge today modified a court order to grant embattled Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi the immediate right to visit with his two-year-old son.
“I get to see my son,” a relieved and jubilant Mirkarimi told reporters following the court hearing. “I can’t tell you how excited and grateful I am. This has been a torturous process.”
Mirkarimi said the first thing he will say to his son when he sees him will be, “I love you.”
The modified court order, signed by Superior Court Judge Ronald Albers, provides Mirkarimi and son, Theo, with up to two-hours per day and up to six-hours on weekend days to spend unsupervised visits together. Exact times, locations and transportation for the visits are to be arranged by Patricia Forsyth and her son, Jeremy Forsyth, the order stipulates. The Forsyths are friends of Mirkarimi and his wife, Eliana Lopez.
“I just want to say I am extremely happy that Theo is going to see his daddy,” an equally joyful but tearful Lopez told reporters following the hearing.
Mirkarimi was ordered separated from his family January 13 following his arrest and the filing of three criminal misdemeanor charges stemming from an alleged domestic violence incident involving Mirkarimi and Lopez on New Year’s Eve. The couple deny any wrongdoing and believe there is a political element to the prosecution.
The stay away order remains in effect for Mirkarimi and Lopez until there is a resolution in Mirkarimi’s criminal trial, set to begin February 24. He is charged with domestic violence, dissuading a witness and child endangerment.
In a surprise turn of events, the chief prosecutor in Mirkarimi’s criminal trial – Assistant District Attorney Liz Aguilar-Tarchi – attended the family court hearing and attempted to speak to the court. Judge Albers refused her request.
“Never before in my career have I seen a deputy district attorney attempt to intervene in a family law court proceeding,” said Lopez’ criminal defense attorney Paula Canny, referring to Aguilar-Tarchi’s attendance. “Even as an observer, it would have been unusual. To attempt to intercede is just shocking.”
A spokesperson for the District Attorney’s office said Aguilar-Tarchi attended the hearing to ensure the couple remain separated.