Judge Takes Arguments Under Submission, No Ruling Yet on Evidence in Tiger Civil Case

Santa Clara Superior Court Hearing Involves Evidence in Potential Civil Litigation; Unrelated to SFPD’s Reported Criminal Investigation

SAN FRANCISCO (Jan. 16, 2008)-At a hearing in Santa Clara County Superior Court this morning, Judge Socrates Manoukian took arguments under submission and declined to issue a decision as to whether City Attorney and zoo investigators will be allowed to inspect evidence belonging to Amritpal and Kulbir Dhaliwal, who survived a Christmas Day tiger attack at the San Francisco Zoo. Judge Manoukian gave no indication as to how he is inclined to rule in the matter.

Lawyers from City Attorney Dennis Herrera’s office and the San Francisco Zoological Society are seeking a court order that would allow their investigators to inspect Dhaliwal brothers’ cell phones and automobile prior to their release. These remain in the custody of the San Francisco Police following an emergency order issued on Jan. 8 to secure the evidence pending the court’s ruling on the merits of the petition. Mark Geragos, attorney for the Dhaliwal brothers, is opposing the motion by the City and zoo.

Today’s court hearing in San Jose involves the discovery of evidence in what is likely to be a civil litigation matter. It does not involve the reported criminal investigation by the San Francisco Police Department, and it is uncertain whether or how the civil matter will be effected by the San Francisco Chronicle’s report that San Francisco Superior Court Judge Richard Kramer approved a police request yesterday to search the Dhaliwals’ phones and car as part of its criminal investigation. The City Attorney’s Office is unable to confirm or dispute the accuracy of the Chronicle’s report.

Herrera’s civil discovery matter is entitled, City and County of San Francisco, Petitioners, Santa Clara County Superior Court Case No. 108 CV 102 852.