Monday, March 15, 2010

Judge faces reelection battle

This case has generated controversy:
VICTORVILLE, Calif. (AP) Katie Tagle pleaded with the judge that her ex-boyfriend had threatened to kill their 9-month-old son and himself if the couple did not reconcile. She wanted the judge to revoke the boyfriend's custody of the baby with a restraining order.

"I'm going to deny it ma'am," San Bernardino Superior Court Judge Robert Lemkau said. "My suspicion is that you're lying."

Ten days later, Stephen Garcia shot and killed the baby before turning the gun on himself. ...

Nonetheless, he stands by his decision "based on the evidence before me."

"If you are a homicidal, suicidal psychopath, you are not going to be persuaded by a restraining order," the judge said. "It's not like I released a psychopath onto the street he was already on the street."
I am going to defend the judge here. Restraining orders do not prevent murder.

The only way to stop a homicidal, suicidal psychopath is throw him in jail indefinitely or to spend millions of dollars on a team of Secret Service agents. We cannot jail men based on just a suspicion about an anonymous email.

Millions of these orders are granted every year. Most of them are bogus. Some of them do prevent harassment, stalking, and other annoyances. They do not prevent murder. And yet it is cases like this which are used to justify a lot of the orders, because judges are asked to be overly cautious and issue the order.

I listened to a radio talk show discuss this issue.

One woman called and said that she and her husband sometimes have fight about various domestic issues, such as carrying out the garbage, and she often calls the cops. But she complained that the cops are patronizing towards her, and don't take her seriously. I guess that her point was that the authorities do not always listen to a woman's domestic complaints.

Other callers blamed the mom for having a baby with such an unstable man, or for not
kidnapping the baby and refusing visitation. I don't think that we have enough info to blame her, but I suspect that there are measures that she could have taken that would have worked better than relying on a judge. The judge can do very little in a case like this.

A caller identified himself as a Monterey divorce lawyer and judge, and explained how the court is swamped with bogus restraining order requests. He said that the order would not have done any good, and evidence justified rejecting the order. But at the end of the call, the host asked him whether he would have issued the order as a judge. He said that he would have, because he wants to always err on the side of caution.

The host said that he did not think that judges should have to face re-election, because judges have to make gutsy decisions that can be unpopular.


Dan Brewington said...

If I had a judge that ruled by the evidence presented, I would have a life with my children. Unfortunately, my ex wife was one of the many people who lied about the other spouse being dangerous.

Anonymous said...

True a TRO may not have prevented the deaths of father and son; what would it have hurt? Garcia's feelings? Judge Lemkau heard an Order to Show Cause for my daughter. He was disrespectful and humiliated her.Previously, she obtained a TRO against her ex for brandishing a gun while intoxicated. Court ordered him to turn in his guns to a licensed gun dealer or a law enforcement agency and have outpatient alcohol treatment, attend three AA meetings a week and bring proof to the Court. He ignored the court order and did nothing. The matter was brought before 2 judges. They did nothing. The order was never enforced. Signatures of Judge Lemkau, defendant and his attorney are on the Judgement for Dissolution of Marriage. Petitioner and her attorney did not sign the document. Protocol is that all parties sign before the judge signs. This was the reason petitioner went back to court and Lemkau wouldn't listen or look at evidence. In the meantime, other agencies will not accept the judgment because it is unsigned by petitioner. The documents are fraudulent and need to be corrected. In the court file there are two judgments date stamped by the clerk, signed by Lemkau and another judge unkown to petitioner. Her signature is not on either one. CA Family Code says the same judge should hear the case until it's final. Three different judges heard this case and a fourth unknown to petitioner signed the judgment. The clerk should not have accepted the documents without petitioner's and her attorney's signature. San Bernardino Superior Courts do not follow Rules of Court, CA Family Law Codes or enforce the orders they make. The only difference that I can see is petitioner and family are poor and have no influence in San Bernardino County while defendant's family has wealth, influence and power. We need the U. S. Justice Dept. to investigate San Bernardino County Superior Courts. My experience tells me that judges here are biased, disrespectful, corrupt and incompetent.
I'd like to contact others who have
experienced misconduct by judges.

George said...

You are not concerned about Garcia's feelings, but you complain about someone else being disrespectful to your daughter. Do you want court orders to force people to be respectful?

Anonymous said...

I see your point... but what I don't see is you writing anything about feeling badly that this little baby was killed & that the mother knew her ex- was going to do it.

What a horror & a tragedy for this poor mother. My heart grieves for her.