Justice Not Tempered with Mercy (or intelligence) in Marin County Courts.

EMT team rescues woman from courtroom, rushes her to emergency room.  Judge Verna Adams orders hospitalized woman back in court same afternoon.  DA Vieira commits criminal act.  Public Defender asks for sanctions.
Observation & Opinion, by Phil Graf, bureau chief, 
Coast Writers Syndicate © 2000
[email protected]

San Rafael, Marin County, California, 6/09/00
  - Carol Mardeusz had been having trouble with stress symptoms most of the morning in Judge Verna Adams' court. After lunch, while waiting for a 1:30PM hearing, she collapsed with irregular pulse, elevated blood pressure, numbness in arms & legs and other stress symptoms. By 1:50, an EMT team had rushed her from the civic center to Marin General's emergency room. 

Mardeusz, of Novato, is the mother whose 5-year old daughter, Haleigh, was
ripped from her arms by Rohnert Park police, acting on behalf of Leo Magers,
an admitted drug/alcohol abuser previously arrested on charges of child
molestation. That was nearly five years ago, and the little girl has been under the control and influence of Magers ever since, totally without contact with her mother or any of the Mardeusz family.

Deputy DA Kelly Vieira, acting with supervisor (now DA) Paula Kamena, failed
to prosecute Magers at the time, and ordered evidence destroyed - an unusual
and highly questionable act, according to Dr. F. Uloa, who was ordered to turn over his files to Novato PD officer Brett Gripe.

Vieira is now prosecuting Haleigh's mother, Carol Mardeusz, for "attempted
child abduction" and "perjury." Those charges stem from Mardeusz's attempt to enforce a valid custodial order. Valid paperwork, however, has not seemed to impress Vieira or the Marin court system, where, according to vocal critics
involved in the "broom march" recall movement, civil rights are ignored, the
law is routinely trampled, and false, even non-existent orders are religiously executed by unquestioning automatons who either lack intelligence or fear to question their masters in the judiciary.

Judge Verna Adams, in closed session, denied Mardeusz's motion for
accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act. ADA advisor Ron
Mazzaferro complained that Adams did not base her decision on qualified
medical advice, and would not accept information and evidence which Mardeusz attempted to provide. Judge Adams did not offer any evidence of her qualifications to second-guess the medical professionals who made the ADA diagnosis, nor does it appear that she or any judge has the right to override an ADA diagnosis without following proper procedures.

Legal or commonsense limitations did not seem to concern Judge Adams, who was described as "passive-aggressive" by some observers. All morning, she appeared to be practicing law from the bench, essentially arguing the DA's
case for her, and making rulings without citing valid reasoning or evidence.
Adams even stated that she had instructed the court reporter not to record
Mardeusz's "interruptions." According to ADA advisor and legal researcher Ron Mazzaferro, such "interruptions" are "legally required timely objections."
The effect of the order, he said, was to prevent the record from fairly
representing Marduesz's comments. Mardeusz, who had been a court reporter for 18 years, said that when one person over talked another in court, it was
simply routine to ask for clarification, if needed. She had never been asked
by any judge to avoid recording comments in her transcripts.

The effect of Adam's demeanor and rulings, combined with the ominous presence of Leo Magers, the man who has kept Haleigh Mardeusz away from her mother for nearly five years, and who had threatened to kill mother and child, was taking a toll on Mardeusz. She began having symptoms of stress and physical impairment. She asked for bathroom breaks, twice, citing that she was not feeling well, and had only one kidney. Judge Adams grudgingly allowed her "5 minutes." Observers noted that a woman who was apparently a hireling of the judge or the DA followed Mardeusz out of the courtroom. In the face of this unrelenting legal abuse and bias, and aware of her deteriorating physical condition, Mardeusz told the judge she would like to retain an attorney.

Judge Adams has been consistent in recommending that Mardeusz have an
attorney, as have all the judges who have heard her case. Adams, however,
while acknowledging Mardeusz's right to counsel, refused a recess or
postponement to allow Mardeusz to meet with an attorney, and continued ruling on motions - even though she'd been challenged, and had no legal standing to do so.

Judge Adams ordered a break for lunch, and from about 12:30 to 1:00, I
observed Carol Mardeusz progressively continuing into a stress attack. It was
no fake. Remember, this is a woman who is being threatened with jail for the
"crime" of telling the truth and trying to protect her daughter - a woman who
has not been allowed to see or talk to her own daughter for nearly five years!

DA & Judge abuse authority - put stricken mother at risk  As the EMT team rushed Mardeusz to emergency, deputy DA's Vieira and Coutreau were busily doing all they could to further undermine Mardeusz's ability to defend herself, by getting her tossed in jail. Vieira and Judge Adams were aware that Doctor Theresa Black had written the court to advise that Mardeusz should not be subjected to continuous legal proceedings. They knew that Mardeusz has been diagnosed with a type of stress which requires reasonable accommodations: not over-scheduling court appearances, having a camcorder in the courtroom, and allowing time for Mardeusz to review the
proceedings. None of these accommodations have been allowed.

Demonstrating the level of compassion and humanity for which the DA's office has become famous, they asked for an arrest warrant because Mardeusz had missed her 1:30 p.m. appearance by virtue of being in the care of an EMT team.

I am not making this up! DA's Coutreau and Vieira, having observed 6 EMT's
take Mardeusz out of the building in a gurney, demanded an arrest warrant! 

Judge Adams hesitated, ever so slightly. She had seen Mardeusz in court,
before she collapsed in the hall. Adams was well aware that the EMT team had
taken Mardeusz to emergency. In an unrelated case, heard earlier, the
defendant had not shown up, nor been in contact with her attorney or the
court. Judge Adams put that matter over, and did not issue a warrant or set
bail, saying "It sounds to me like [defendant] has an emergency which she has
to deal with." 

In contrast, with no consideration for the possible condition of the collapsed Mardeusz; with callous disregard for the processes or opinions of medical professionals; and ignoring the presence of commute traffic between Marin General and the Civic Center, Judge Adams commanded that Mardeusz
re-appear in court that same afternoon at 4:00 PM. She issued a bench warrant
for Mardeusz, to be issued if she did not appear. Mardeusz has been called to
court over 40 times, and has never missed a court appearance, except for
medical reasons. As if to emphasize her bias against this defendant, Adams
set bail at $50,000! There are drug dealers and muggers who get lesser bail!
By her order, issued at about 2:20 PM, Judge Adams forced Mardeusz to come
back to court at 4:00 PM, not allowing enough time for her to be adequately
seen at Marin General. There was no telephone or radio contact with the
hospital. When she learned what had happened, Mardeusz left emergency, over the doctor's objections. The DA sent a woman to serve the warrant for her to appear, and that person didn't show at the hospital until it would've been
too late for Mardeusz to get back to court in time, if that had been her
first knowledge that, unbelievably, she had been rescheduled for the same

Mardeusz's supporters got there ahead of the DA's process server, knowing
she'd be jailed if she didn't appear. They got her out of emergency, & back
to court in time, though she could barely walk, even with help.

DA's criminal act - Public Defender asks for Sanctions

An unidentified woman, apparently one of the DA's hirelings, entered the
courtroom with papers which were not inside an envelope. She gave them to
DA's Vieira and Coutreau, who read them. ADA counselor Mazzaferro loudly and strenuously objected, asking, "Do you have her confidential medical records? That is illegal! Turn them over, or I'll make a citizen's arrest!" At that
point, the judge & bailiffs came in. After reading and commenting on
Mardeusz's confidential medical records, the DA's gave them over to Judge

In court, Mardeusz was semi-collapsed at the table, unable to keep her head
up. She wasn't hearing well, and could only mumble replies. Judge Adams asked her if she had a medical excuse for being absent at the 1:30 hearing. Sandra Sgorbati, a registered nurse who had volunteered to attend Mardeusz,
attempted to explain the condition of her stricken patient. In a further
travesty on humanity, Judge Adams asked RN Sgorbati for her license.

Public Defender Jay Ruskin had been present to announce that Mardeusz was
eligible for a court appointed attorney, but that because of a confidential
conflict of interest, an outside attorney would need to be appointed. Observing the DA's actions, Ruskin said that despite his limited role, he was moved to object to the DA's illegal act, and asked the judge to reserve sanctions for the illegal acquisition and reading of confidential medical records.

Judge Verna Adams, addressing the collapsed Carol Mardeusz, who could not
hear or see her, recalled the bench warrant, and set aside the bail. Then she
said, "I hope you feel better, Ms. Mardeusz." 

Leo Magers, the self confessed cocaine user, alleged child molester, and the
man who threatened to kill Mardeusz ".and her two brats" had done his job.
His presence is one of the triggers which helps set up Mardeusz for these
attacks, and the DA knows exactly what they are doing when they (apparently)
bring him in. It seemed clear that the whole process was geared to put 
Mardeusz in jail, cost her money, and possibly create enough additional
stress to land her in the hospital. - or the grave. Judge Adams and the DA's
team exhibited all the common sense and compassion of a clump of dirt.

The question remains, WHERE is Haleigh Mardeusz-Magers?  WHY is the DA
protecting Leo Magers and persecuting Carol Mardeusz? How, in good
conscience, could any judge who claims an ounce of compassion or a fragment of common sense, not order the appearance of this little girl in court?

This biased, abusive, coercive treatment of mother and daughter is
outrageous. Where are the protective officers and agencies who are sworn to
defend the defenseless, and protect the innocent? Haleigh and her mom have
been separated for too long. It's high time for someone to take action to rescue Haleigh and reunite her with her mother. Even if all the allegations of sexual abuse regarding the father cannot be substantiated (not a conclusion suggested by the evidence), it is still unconscionable for mother and daughter to be severed from one another.

The Broom Marchers of the recall movement are right. There needs to be a
clean sweep in this corrupt, arrogant DA's office and the courts. Marin
residents need to rise up in righteous indignation, for what can be done to
one, can be done to all

Coast Writers Syndicate
707 823-9059 Sources available upon request.



Judge Sutro appoints Serra law firm in Mardeusz case
Observation & Opinion, by Phil Graf, bureau chief, 
Coast Writers Syndicate © 2000

San Rafael, 6/14/00 (CWS) - Over the objections of deputy district attorney
Girard Coutreau, Judge John Sutro appointed Nedra Ruiz, of the Tony Serra law firm (San Francisco), to represent Carol Mardeusz, the mother who to date,
has single-handedly battled the Marin court system for over a year and more
than 40 court appearances. Mardeusz, whose ordeal led her to fire her public defender and disqualify nearly every Marin judge in her fight to preserve her rights and freedom, was eager to accept the help of the well-known Serra firm. Ruiz, who has over 25 years experience, commented, "This case will be won. Whether as a dismissal on the procedures, which are seriously flawed, or in front of a jury, this case will be won. Carol Mardeusz is innocent, and she should never have been charged. These charges and procedures seem to indicate that there is something else behind all this."

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) advisor Ron Mazzaferro commented on the discernible improvement in the atmosphere of the entire court, as Ruiz rose to champion the beleaguered mother of two daughters, who has not been allowed to see, telephone or write to her younger daughter, Haleigh for over 5 years, from the time she was 5 to the present. No one else in the Mardeusz family has seen Haleigh, but passport records indicate that her biological father, Leo Magers, took her out of the U.S. on several occasions. On one trip to Switzerland, Magers changed the child's name, after being denied the name
change by U.S, officials. Yet officials in both Marin and Sonoma have done
nothing to assess the welfare of the child and reassure her maternal relatives.

Judge Sutro ordered that Mardeusz not file any papers, except through Ruiz, a
ruling which raised a chuckle from observers. The Mardeusz file is thicker
than most murder cases - though few have actually seen the file, which has
been kept under tight control by the court system.

DA Paula Kamena's office has refused throughout, to comment on the unusual
case, where the defendant was never properly arraigned, was kept from seeing her own file by a succession of judges, and has been harassed by a series of unnecessary warrants for her arrest - including one arrest which dragged her, untreated from Marin General Emergency Room.

Arrest warrants are only needed when a defendant is a flight risk. The only
times Mardeusz has not appeared in court have been those times when she was in the hospital, due to the traumatic stress brought on by concern about her daughter, coupled with the unrelenting attack of deputy DA Kelly Vieira and District Attorney Paula Kamena, who are believed to have repeatedly
manipulated evidence, files, grand jurors, and even judges, as surrogates to
place Mardeusz under severe mental, emotional and physical pressure. 

Even some court clerks and bailiffs have shown prejudice toward Mardeusz.
Supervising Sergeant D. Frey was observed on June 9, interfering with the
duties of Sandra Sgorbati, a registered nurse who was attending to Mardeusz
prior to her being taken in a gurney out of the civic center by an EMT team. Frey also manhandled Sgorbati, causing bruises on her arm. Sgorbati has not filed charges, but declared that she might do so.

"Sgt. Frey interfered with my duties to my patient, and was very rough and
rude. He was not only prejudiced and unprofessional, he put Carol at added
risk. This is unforgivable. I don't think people like that belong in a position of authority in a public place like the court system, where officers are supposed to be supportive and have some public relations skills."

Frey was also observed and overheard attempting to get EMT personnel to make derogatory statements about Mardeusz's condition. He was heard reporting to deputy DA Vieira, "Sorry, Kelly, I couldn't get what you wanted."

Marduesz's  next appearance is June 26, when the balance of her motions will be heard by Judge Verna Adams, assuming she has not recused herself or been disqualified for prejudice prior to that date.

© 2000, Coast Writers Syndicate
707 823-9059 Sources available upon request.