Sacramento Family Court Judge Conducts Improper Investigation, Forensic Analysis on Allegedly Drunken Signature - Ruling Gets Reversed
|Judge Matthew Gary's decision in the Seaton case was overturned on appeal.|
The order issued by Gary nullified the 17-year marriage of Patricia and Jeffrey Seaton on the ground that Patricia was married to another man at the time of her marriage to Jeffrey. Gary also denied Patricia's claim that she was a de facto, or putative spouse. The rulings stripped Patricia of all property, support, attorney fees/costs and other rights associated with a marriage or domestic partnership. Gary's order awarded Jeffrey all assets and property that, had the marriage been valid, would have been community property. According to the judge, the lengthy marriage was void - as if it never happened.
The 3rd District disagrees: To continue reading, click Read more >> below:
|Judge Matthew Gary's evangelical background |
appeared to play a role in his decision in Seaton.
The Third District Court of Appeal overturned the ruling on the grounds that the legal reasoning Gary used to justify the order was incorrect. For the legal basis of his order, Gary used superfluous dicta from a 2004 Nevada Supreme Court decision, and misapplied the law applicable to personal jurisdiction. The reviewing court wrote that Gary's reliance on the idea that a void marriage never existed was a long-abandoned "legal fiction" in both California and Nevada.
"For more than 17 years, Jeffrey believed his marriage to Patricia was valid and he wanted his marriage to Patricia to be valid. Although we do not condone Patricia's conduct, controlling law compels the conclusion that her marriage to Jeffrey was valid," 3rd District Justice Louis Mauro wrote.
Judge Personally Conducts Forensic Analysis On 25-Year Old Signature
|Patricia Seaton admitted she |
was buzzed at her 1988 nuptials.
Abandoning Judicial Role To Investigate Facts Of Case Violates Code of Judicial Ethics
|Judge Matthew Gary may be subject to discipline by the Commission on Judicial Performance for his investigation into the facts of the Seaton case. |
Source: California Judicial Conduct Handbook
Judge Matthew Gary is paid $169,289 per year.