By Guy Ashley, Marin Independent Journal 5/17/00

Marin District Attorney Paula Kamena urged Marin voters yesterday not to sign a petition calling for her ouster at the polls.

"Please do not sign this capricious petition," she said. "If sufficient voters do sign, an election, costing over $500,000, must be held."

Kamena's words came in a written response filed yesterday to a recall campaign launched last week.

Citizens angry over child-custody decisions in the Marin courts are seeking to recall Kamena. They accuse her of "acting in a criminal conspiracy" by prosecuting a Novato woman who allegedly tried to take custody of her daughter despite a court order granting custody of the girl to her father.

The petition also cites Kamena's decision not to prosecute two Marin County supervisors, Annette Rose and John Kress, who both admitted earlier this year that they violated county policy by making personal purchases on their county credit cards. Rose and Kress were cleared by Kamena of criminal wrongdoing.

In her response, Kamena notes that the Novato woman, Carol Mardeusz, was indicted by a criminal grand jury on charges of perjury and trying to take unlawful custody of her daughter. The girl was placed in the custody of her father by a Sonoma County court despite assertions by Mardeusz that the girl was subject to abuse outside her care.

Kamena also notes that the courts in Sonoma County, where the custody decision was made, declared Mardeusz to be a "vexatious litigant" in 1996 "because of her repeated filing of unmeritorious motions and her use of frivolous legal tactics involving the same child."

Kamena, who scored a runaway election victory two years ago, is the fourth Marin elected official to be targeted in a recall movement by citizens who decry what they say are a series of illogical and improper child-custody decisions.

Three Superior Court judges - Michael Dufficy, Lynn Duryee and Terrence Boren - were named on recall petitions filed last month.

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