Friday, February 05, 2010

Women Lie Narrative Overwhelms Man's Admission Of Violence Costs Young Boy His Life

From the Hi Desert Star:

TWIN PEAKS — Sunday’s murder-suicide was the culmination of months of threats and online and text rants from Stephen Garcia to Katie Tagle of Yucca Valley and her family. [...]

At that hearing, on Jan. 12, Tagle went before Judge David Mazurek in the Joshua Tree courthouse to show cause for a restraining order.

“…On Dec. 31, we were doing our exchange, and he proposed to me, and I said no. He got angry and stole my phone and pushed me down. I made a police report about that,” Tagle told the judge, according to a transcript.

Garcia told the judge the report was “falsely made up.”

Mazurek denied Tagle the restraining order.

“If I grant the restraining order, how do you think that’s going to help with respect to you two being able to raise Wyatt together or work together to make sure Wyatt grows up happy and healthy?” the judge asked, according to the transcripts.

“He would have both of us still,” Tagle responded.

Asked about an e-mail in which he confessed to hitting Tagle, Garcia told the judge he had slapped her during a fight, but it was Tagle’s fault for “pushing and pushing and pushing until she could get something from me.”

Tagle pointed out she was nine months pregnant when Garcia hit her.

“I kind of get an idea of what’s going on,” Mazurek said.

He denied the restraining order, saying, “I don’t think that Mr. Garcia poses a threat to Ms. Tagle.” Mazurek went on to suggest Tagle might have ulterior motives for alleging domestic violence.

“I get concerned when there’s a pending child custody and visitation issue and in between that, one party or the other claims that there’s some violence in between. It raises the court’s eyebrows because based on my experience, it’s a way for one party to try to gain an advantage over the other,” he said, according to the transcripts.
If this boy hadn't been murdered then this case likely would have been added to Judge David Mazurek's perceived experience with one party (the mother) trying to gain an advantage over the other in a custody dispute. Then it too could be used to rationalize disregarding testimony which was truthful and accepting testimony which was false.

Judge Mazurek had a man who confessed to committing an act of violence in an email and who then repeated that confession to him directly and yet that judge still couldn't see this woman's allegation as even possibly true. All he could see was his stereotypes about those who report violence when there is a pending child custody issue.

This judge had a man who claimed that the allegations were falsely made up confess to violence and that judge couldn't see any reason to criticize that man for his actions. The fact that violence can interfere with a mutual agreement on child custody and can lead to a dispute doesn't seem to be even a possibility on Judge Mazurek's radar.

When the truth isn't viewed as a possibility that is bold-faced incompetence.

But the reported mishandling of this case continued. After this hearing Stephen Garcia sent Katie Tagle a text message telling her to check her email where she found an email sent anonymously which contained a story with 2 endings which she correctly viewed as a threat to her son's life if she didn't do what this man demanded.

The deputy who responded to her 911 call is to be commended for seeing this as a serious matter and working to get her an emergency restraining order. But the judge who reviewed this emergency order, Judge Robert Lemkau refused to uphold it and ordered this woman to immediately give her son to a man who had threatened indirectly that he would murder that boy.
Transcripts from that hearing are not yet available, but family and friends who were in the court that day with Tagle said the judge appeared not to have read the evidence she presented, including the “Necessary Evil” story and the emergency restraining order obtained by a sheriff’s deputy.

“Just from the very beginning, he didn’t want to listen,” said Rick Tagle, who was in the courtroom. “He started out by saying, ‘One of you is lying and I think it’s you,’ and pointing at Katie. ”The judge also allegedly warned Tagle there would be consequences for lying.
Stephen Garcia didn't immediately murder their son but these false accusations from 2 judges caused this concerned mother to stop fighting the system which had clearly sided with her abuser. She was likely afraid that if she continued to tell the truth that her son would be taken from her permanently.

In the end that's what these judges actions did. These 2 ruling took this innocent child from his mother forever and ended any chance this innocent child had of growing up happy and healthy or in growing up at all.

Both of these judges should be immediately blocked from hearing any cases where abuse is alleged pending the completion of ethics reviews and review of all their domestic violence cases. If the reported bias in evaluating the evidence or failing to evaluate the evidence is confirmed then both these judges should be removed from the bench. If either of them are also attorneys they should face ethics reviews by their state bar associations.

This case shows clearly that lives can be at stake when judges make their decision based on bias rather than evidence.


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posted by Marcella Chester @ 9:46 AM   9 comments links to this post


At February 05, 2010 3:37 PM, Blogger Le Femme said...

Thank you for posting this miscarriage of justice and bringing awareness to it. I totally agree that the judges should be held culpable for the result of their decisions. They shouldn't be allowed to practice ever, ever again.

At February 05, 2010 10:29 PM, Blogger Rj said...

Great write up. As you know, this isn't the first time...there was Amy Leichtenburg's boys in Illinois and their suicidal father with pages of violent history, and there was Dawn Axsom of Arizona, who tried for an r.o. even several days before her death. These judges don't care, Marcella. They don't give a rats ass. Evidence? Who cares about evidence when they have opinions. Discipline? Who is going to discipline them, the foxes guarding the henhouse? When there are outcomes like this, it is clear, removal from such cases should be immediate. There is no accountability. Death is imminent.

At February 05, 2010 11:19 PM, Blogger Marcella Chester said...

RJ, Some judges don't care, but thankfully others do care and are competent at evaluating the evidence and are serious about doing their part to protect victims of domestic violence and those who have been told they will become victims.

Too often there is no accountability when judges are negligent and that needs to change.

At February 06, 2010 11:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a frightenly similiar story thanks to the SB county court system. My abusive ex still has joint custody of my son but I will NEVER let him see him alone again. The officer that came to the house granted me an emergency restraining order and advised me to get custody of my son, stating that he would NEVER leave his own children in my ex's house. But I was denied a restraining order from the judge for basically the same reason. Even though I came to court with a black eye and violent/threatening text messages; Because the judge said;"You two will need to work it out, It is whats best for the child." The only thing I could do was to put in the stipulation that all visit must be approved by me and supervised by people of my choosing, and since then I make damn sure to avoid the visitation. My ex- has a history of violence and drug/alcohol abuse, paranoid thoughts, schizophrenia/ depression. He burned down his mothers house just to get me to come over. Anyway, someone should investigate the SB county court system. Too many women are being discriminated against in favor of dead-beat dangerous dads!

At February 06, 2010 12:14 PM, Blogger Cathy said...


I am new to your blog but am over here from babycenter

this isnt the first time for this judge...

Man guilty on four counts for girlfriend’s beating
Assault took place in 2006 when woman tried to end relationship

May 30, 2007 - 8:47 AM
By RYAN ORR Staff Writer

VICTORVILLE — Peter James Battershell was found guilty on four out of five counts after beating his girlfriend to the point of going blind in one eye.

Battershell, 43, of Silver Lakes was found guilty of two counts of assault with a deadly weapon — not a firearm — likely to cause great bodily injury, one count of mayhem and one count of burglary. He could face 12 years in prison.

Battershell beat up Deborah Warmack of Silver Lakes in August 2006 after Warmack told him that she wanted to end their relationship.

Battershell attacked Warmack twice on the same night leaving her unconscious with five fractures around her left eye and a tread mark from his shoe on her face.

“We just hope that surgery might be able to restore some of her vision,” said Deputy District Attorney David Foy.

Superior Court Judge David Mazurek declared a mistrial on a fifth count of aggravated mayhem that brought with it a life sentence. The jury was split on the count 6-6.

“Didn’t seem like the jury was very optimistic on the fifth count,” Mazurek said.

Foy said he is unsure if he will retry Battershell for aggravated mayhem and will have to talk with Warmack before deciding. Warmack was not there for the verdict but has a right to give a victim impact statement at the sentencing on June 29.

Foy said Warmack is not very happy about losing her sight and if he were in her position he would make a statement.

Battershell has prior convictions of battery on a peace officer and drug possession. The convictions in the case involving Warmack make him threestrike candidate.

At February 06, 2010 2:43 PM, Anonymous m Andrea said...

Why does this judge even still have a courtroom? I bet you anything he gives women the maximum punishment and gives men the minimum, if not outright letting the men off scott free.

At February 07, 2010 3:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rj, I agree with the premise of your statement. And although I appreciate Marcella, your comments about the good ones, my concern is this: If there is the situation in existence that the public who is supposed to be protected by the justice system, has a lack of faith in it and a credible history of non support and in fact, damage out of its operations, then ought there to be a strict addressing of these men? My ex, abuser and rapist, IS a lawyer and holds a position of prominence in society. I have enough written documentation to prove much of what occurred in relationship with him. But it requires the listening on the part of anyone who cares, who wants to know, who is willing to examine and push the shroud of popularity, position, and propaganda out of the way in order to get at the truth. If they are worried about not being able to fill the judges chairs should they have to close their courtroom to the guilty parties, I expect this is a false fear. If they are willing to call a three strikes rule on dwi cases, or drug cases, then why not a three strikes rule on proven bad judgments on the part of judges which result in terrible outcomes? If the rules are put in place for the lower echelon, then let them apply to those who choose to view themselves in the upper echelon of the justice system. I firmly believe there can be put into effect a structure of what a badly run case looks like. When the public looses faith in those who are supposed to maintain order and insist on higher operating of citizenry, as well as protect those who do abide by conscience and rule, then the upper hand belongs to the lawless and as their numbers increase and the legal system bends to their will, we end up with a society that leaves much to be desired. The writing is on the wall and those who are responsible for changing the eventuality are not serving us well.

At April 13, 2010 7:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So what has happened with this Judge Mazurek? Has anyone heard what, if anything, has been done about this too-common miscarriage of justice?

At April 13, 2010 8:19 AM, Blogger Marcella Chester said...


So far I know there have been protests and calls for official conduct reviews, but I don't believe any sanctions have been made.

Judge Lemkau is up for reelection in June and at the time of the murder he was likely to run unopposed but now faces a challenger in what has become a high-profile race.


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