Marin DA, Judge Aggravating Defendant's Disability?
Legal Abuse Syndrome Diagnosis Ignored.
DA charged with Corruption, Perjury & Destruction of Evidence.
by Phil Graff © 2000 >
Carol Mardeusz, of Novato, appeared Feb 15 in Judge Terrence Boren's Marin
County court, to respond to charges of "attempted felony child abduction,"
brought by Marin deputy DA Kelly Vieira. But according to papers filed by
Mardeusz, the charges are false, and the case brings into question the
professional competence and ethics of Mz. Vieira, DA Paula Kamena's office,
and the court's unlawful procedures.
Four years ago, Mardeusz's then five-year old daughter was forcibly taken
from her by armed officers who handed the child, screaming, to her biological
father, Leo Magers, of Rohnert Park. Since then, Mardeusz has been denied all
contact with her child. She has been stymied by a long series of court
appearances, delays, in camera (secret) proceedings, and what she asserts are flawed procedures, destruction of evidence, perjury, false documents, and
tampering with official court records.
This protracted litigation has taken its toll, and Mardeusz has suffered
economically, emotionally, and physically. Family therapist Karin Huffer, author of the book, Legal Abuse Syndrome, suggests that Mardeusz is a victim
of a court system which is more susceptible to exploitation by ".unscrupulous
attorneys, white collar criminals, and abusers of authority" than to appeals
Deputy DA Kelly Vieira's charge of "attempted felony child abduction" makes
it sound as if Mardeusz is a hardened criminal, but the record argues
differently. Vieira's charge is based on a single incident. Mardeusz was a
court-ordered custodial parent who followed proper procedures to the letter.
Accompanied by an on-duty police officer, she attempted to re-establish
custody by presenting her papers to her daughter's school principal. Instead
of complying with the court order, the principal called Magers and his
attorney, Catherine Conner of Santa Rosa. They refused to honor Mardeusz's
court orders and she left without her child. This is what deputy DA Vieira
calls "attempted felony child abduction."
"With more serious matters begging for the DA's time and attention," ask
court observers, "why is Kelly Vieira prosecuting what appears to be a
non-crime so zealously?" Questions to Vieira are met with hostility. She
would not comment on the case, though she is often seen smirking in court,
usually when Mardeusz, who is representing herself, attempts to make a point
to Judge Boren. Is Vieira covering up her own role in obstructing justice in
the Magers investigation, as suggested by court filings?
After spending her life's savings on attorneys, costs and constant court
appearances, Mardeusz has lost her job and become fearful of a system which
seems bent on destroying her. She has been diagnosed with Legal Abuse
Syndrome. According to author Huffer, this is a form of battlefield fatigue,
or shell shock. It is a condition brought on by a system which, instead of
protecting this woman and her child, has operated to persecute the mother,
and place her child in what affidavits indicate is an abusive situation.
During two of her appearances, Mardeusz collapsed in court, breaking out in
red welts and having trouble breathing. She was taken to the emergency room
of Marin General Hospital. On another occasion, she collapsed in the parking
lot, enroute to court. Despite this evidence of real disability, Judge Boren
and DA Vieira have ignored Mardeusz's disability and have failed to comply
with the accommodations recommended by therapists.
In one egregious demonstration of judicial arrogance and indifference, Judge
Boren issued a warrant for Mardeusz's arrest while knowing she was at the
hospital! Marin County officers took her from the emergency room before she
could have medication prescribed. She was handcuffed to a wheelchair, placed in a van, and taken to jail, where she was denied even an aspirin because, she says, ".they said it hadn't been prescribed." Says author Huffer, "If humane methods are used in a courtroom, no one gets sick. [But the]
strongest person is brought to his knees by these judicial actions."
Improper legal procedures have put Mardeusz under severe emotional and
physical stress for over 4 years, while she's tried to protect her daughter
and herself from mental and physical abuse. During this time, concerned
mother Mardeusz has been denied contact with her daughter, now age nine.
That, according to most experts, is severe abuse in and of itself, even without protracted legal proceedings.
The accommodations required by Mardeusz's legal abuse disability are that she have a trusted (non-attorney) advisor in court; that the proceedings be
video-taped; and that she have at least 48 hrs to review the proceedings
before making decisions. Judge Boren has not allowed the video or review
time, though he has allowed a counsellor in court. The two occasions when
Mardeusz physically collapsed in front of him have not softened his ruling,
which defies the Americans with Disabilities Act.
"It is against Federal Law for a judge to refuse reasonable accommodations,"
says Huffer. "We have judges practicing medicine without a license from the
bench in these cases. The adversarial, untruthful gameplaying has gotten so
out of hand in the courts that a person with an invisible disability, i.e.
attention deficit disorder, anxiety disorder, hearing disorder etc. is hard
put to receive due process. What despots these judges are who will abuse
innocent disabled people! If you are in a wheelchair, you generally are
accommodated in the courtroom. If your disability is not glaring and part of
your accommodations include the time and language for you to understand and effectively cope with the proceedings, you are often severely punished by the court."
Affidavits attest that Mardeusz and her daughters have been threatened by Leo Magers. Government documents show that Magers illegally obtained a passport for Mardeusz's daughter in an altered name. Evidence suggests witnesses have lied to the Grand Jury, and that DA Vieira knew they lied. The Marin County DA's office, instead of attempting to protect the child, has committed its resources in a suspiciously overzealous effort to convict the mother of a crime she didn't commit. Why?
Citizens pay for judges and courts to assure justice for all. When public
officials squander their time and use public resources in pursuit of what has
all the appearances of a personal vendetta or cover-up, they not only fail in
their duties to one person, they corrupt the system for all. It's time for public scrutiny of the DA's office and the Marin courts.
Coast Writers Syndicate