Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi regained the right to see his 2-year-old son in family court today, overcoming a protective order that a judge had issued after domestic-violence charges were filed against him last month.
According to an agreement between Mirkarimi and his wife and alleged abuse victim, Eliana Lopez, Mirkarimi will be able to see his son without supervision for two hours daily and up to six hours on the weekend. Mirkarimi said he planned to see the boy, Theo, today.
"I can't tell you how excited and gratified I am. This has been a tortuous process," Mirkarimi said on the steps of the civil courthouse on McAllister Street today, appearing to choke back tears before a throng of reporters. Holding aloft a small toy fire engine he said he planned to give to Theo, Mirkarimi added, "I'm just so hungry to see my son. I'm going to gobble him up."
READ THE VISITATION ORDER.
Superior Court Judge Susan Breall issued an order barring Mirkarimi from seeing his wife and son on Jan. 19, when the newly elected sheriff pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor charges of battery, child endangerment, and dissuading a witness. Prosecutors assert that Mirkarimi left a bruise on his wife's arm during an argument that turned physical on New Year's Eve, a claim that has been buttressed by an ex-girlfriend, Christina Flores, who has come forward to say that she was abused by the sheriff in similar fashion.
Lopez, while she initially complained about the abuse to a neighbor in a videotaped interview and in text messages, has since denied that Mirkarimi physically hurt her. She said today she was "extremely happy" with the decision of Family Law Judge Ronald Albers to modify Breall's in order to allow Mirkarimi to see Theo.
Mirkarimi is still barred from making contact with Lopez according to the terms of the protective order, said her attorney, Paula Canny.
Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Aguilar-Tarchi appeared in the gallery at the hearing, apparently hoping to address the judge. After Albers modified the protective order, however, he left the courtroom without acknowledging her as she called out, "Your honor, your honor -- excuse me, your honor!"
Aguilar-Tarchi refused to comment after the hearing ended. Canny called her actions unusual and "just wrong," saying that a prosecutor should not get involved in family court.
"Never before in my career have I seen a deputy district attorney attempt to intervene in a family-law proceeding," Canny said.
According to Albers' visitation order, "Transportation to and from the visits are to be arranged by Ms. Patricia Forsyth or Jeremy Forsyth who will be available for the duration of the visit." It is unclear how closely the Forsyths will interact with Mirkarimi and Theo, or what it means to be "available."
Canny described the pair as "family friends," while Mirkarimi said after the hearing that they are "family." Superior Court spokeswoman Ann Donlan confirmed that the Forsyths are not employees or officers of the court.
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