San Francisco Examiner

Marin recall adds DA

Parents targeting family-law judges for child custody choices lengthen list

Scott Winokur

San Francisco Examiner
May 13, 2000


The district attorney of Marin County, Paula Kamena, has been added to a group of local judges targeted for recall next April by Marin parents angered by adverse decisions in hotly disputed child custody matters.

A recall petition filed with the county registrar Thursday cited the case of Novato parent Carol Mardeusz, whose daughter was taken from her by authorities in 1995.

In the petition, Kamena is accused of "acting in a criminal conspiracy" with her own prosecutors in the 1999 indictment of Mardeusz on charges of attempted child abduction and perjury.

Kamena issued a statement in response saying that Mardeusz had a history of "vexatious" litigation in Sonoma County.

"I absolutely refuse to be intimidated from prosecuting a case by the threat of the power of political process," the statement said.

Mardeusz, 43, said she is a court reporter who has been unable to work because of post-traumatic stress disorder. She said she fell ill in 1995 after losing custody of her daughter, Haleigh, then 5.

She said she allowed the petitioners to use her case "because of the egregious acts Paula Kamena committed against me through her office."

In late April, recall petitions were filed by parents who lost in family law cases against Marin County Superior Court Judges Michael Dufficy, Terrence Boren and Lynn Duryee, all of whom have presided over controversial domestic relations matters.

All denied misconduct.

The petition targeting Kamena also accused her of failing to prosecute members of the Marin County Board of Supervisors in connection with allegedly improper use of county credit cards.

In her statement, Kamena reiterated the position she took in March, when she cleared the officials, Annette Ross and John Kress.

"Poor business practices of the county permitted repayment of charges made for personal use," Kamena said, adding that there had been no criminal intent.

©2000 San Francisco Examiner