Tiger attack victim's family hires defense attorney from dog-mauling case

The family of a 17-year-old San Jose boy fatally mauled by a tiger at the San Francisco Zoo on Christmas Day has hired high-profile defense attorney Michael Cardoza, a representative with Cardoza's law office confirmed today.

Cardoza, a former Alameda County prosecutor who maintains an office in Walnut Creek, is representing the family of Carlos Sousa Jr., who was killed by a 350-pound Siberian tiger that escaped from her grotto.

Two of Sousa's friends, San Jose brothers Amritpal Dhaliwal, 19, and Kulbir Dhaliwal, 23, were injured during the attack.

Cardoza, who provides legal analysis for several national TV and radio outlets, also represented Sharon Smith, the domestic partner of Dianne Whipple, in the San Francisco fatal dog mauling case, and assisted defense attorney Mark Geragos in the Scott Peterson murder trial.

Geragos has been hired to represent the Dhaliwals.

Both the city of San Francisco and the zoo could be named in lawsuits from both families.

On Wednesday, a Santa Clara County Superior Court judge will preside over a hearing to determine whether the San Francisco city attorney's office will be allowed to inspect the Dhaliwals' cell phones and car for possible evidence, allegedly pointing to alcohol and/or drug use, according to the city attorney's office.

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