Silenced Mamas

root - Posted on 17 September 2008

A prominent family Law judge in San Francisco Family Court rules consistently against mothers. A Mothers day Action entitled Justice fo Da Mamaz on Mothers Day is planned at 9:00 am May 12th at 400 McAllister street

A prominent family Law judge in San Francisco Family Court rules consistently against mothers. A Mothers day Action entitled Justice fo Da Mamaz on Mothers Day is planned at 9:00 am May 12th at 400 McAllister street


by Marlon Crump/PNN

We’re not just members of the bar
Here in Familawt,

We’re connoisseurs of the bizarre!
Best interests of the children is our watchword
We frown upon disparagement and blame
In short there’s simply not, a more congenial spot

For ending your relationship than here in Fam-i-lawt

(Sung to the tune of Camelot, written by David Fink.)

San Francisco Judge Marjorie Slabach was allegedly one of a group of judges who performed in this caricature of Camelot about family law. She played the part of a queen in the performance

"As an advocate for poor mothers and families in the court system, I was shocked to witness Judge Slabach's flagrant anti-mother and biased rulings," said Tiny, co-founder of POOR Magazine to a group of single mamas vigorously shaking their heads in agreement.

Tiny is just one of many poor single mamas who has witnessed the inappropriate, highly prejudiced behavior of Judge Marjorie A. Slabach in San Francisco's Unified Family Court Division. A Family Law Commissioner, Judge Slabach was appointed in 1997 to preside over family law cases, including child dependency and custody cases. Since then she has consistently ruled against mothers and mistreated them in court by belittling or verbally insulting them and, despite a number of complaints, she has been allowed to continue this inappropriate behavior.

POOR Magazine writer and co-founder of the F.A.M.I.L.Y. Project for the children of families struggling with poverty, Jewn Strohlin is a mother who has directly experienced the overt prejudice of Judge Slabach. Jewn was in court regarding a restraining order in the 2007. In one of the hearings, Judge Slabach said Jewn was a "vengeful glee" and told her she had been observing her "since she walked into the courtroom."

Judge Slabach also consistently ruled in favor of the party opposing Jewn although he failed to appear numerous times. "I found Judge Slabach to be very biased and partial to my case by her showing blatant favoritism to the opposing party," said Jewn. "She didn’t look at the pattern of [her ex-partner’s] behavior and she continued to let him manipulate the system."

Finally Jewn won her case after the opposing party failed once again to appear in court. Judge Slabach told her she "won by default."

Another fellow POOR Magazine writer, poverty scholar, and revolutionary poet, Kim Swan, (a.k.a Queenandi) experienced Judge Slabach's bias and prejudice in February of 2008 during a visitation hearing regarding Kim’s three-year old daughter and the daughter's father.

Kim arrived at the courthouse unaware that the court had decided to include a second hearing that day for her daughter’s father to challenge the petition of the restraining order that Kim filed against him three weeks prior.

Kim was very upset and shocked that she was never served with a notice for this second hearing and didn't have sufficient time to prepare for it. Kim attempted to explain to Judge Slabach the dangers of giving her daughter’s father visitation rights.

Kim told Judge Slabach that her daughter's father had been an irresponsible parent, who has brought their three-year-old daughter around unsavory people and places, and that he used to have heated disputes with her over very petty things, such as grocery bills, utility bills, and paying for a car seat.

Kim spoke of his violent episodes and of the time he had come to her job to harass her in front of staff. Kim asked the Judge to consider this man’s violent history and the people he exposed her children to. While Kim was speaking, she was interrupted with sarcasm by Judge Slabach, who said, "Why don't you show some mental stability and be quiet!"

When Kim tried to explain that her daughter was afraid of visiting with her father and always started crying and begged her mother not to go when it was visitation days Judge Slabach proceeded to belittle Kim and overtly ruled in the father's favor.

Another mother, like Kim and Jewn, who has dealt with Judge Slabach’s unjust rulings, is single mother Sandra Thompson. Sandra came to POOR Magazine for help in a number of legal situations, one of which was a restraining order against her ex-husband who had been extremely violent towards her during their marriage.

Sandra appeared before Judge Slabach, on December 11th, 2007. Sandra was accompanied by co-founder of POOR Magazine, Tiny a.k.a. Lisa Gray-Garcia, and staff POOR reporters, Bruce Allison, Joseph Bolden and Sam Drew.

In a similar instance to Kim Swan's situation, Sandra was anticipating finalizing her restraining order against her ex-spouse. As soon as Sandra's case was called, Judge Slabach "changed" the hearing into a child custody case. According to Tiny, Sandra's lawyer, Ronald P. St. Clair, did not talk with Sandra throughout the entire period before the hearing commenced.

In fact, St. Clair not only didn't meet with his client, but was actually interacting with the opposing side, and San Francisco Unified School District Attorney Vicki Trapalis, Despite her ex-husband's violent history, the ruling ordered by Slabach was for the father to have temporary custody of the child, as recommended by Trapalis.

Sandra was extremely shocked and devastated by this order of Judge Slabach that placed her seven-year-old son's life in danger. Sandra later learned that her lawyer, Trapalis and her ex-spouse had agreed to an ex-parte motion, which is filed without advanced notice to the opposing side and is decided by a judge without requiring all parties to be present. (Ex-parte motions are suppose to be sharply limited by the 5th and 14th Amendment of the U.S Constitution.)

A series of these motions were filed by Sandra’s ex-husband throughout 2006, He even forged her signature on April 3rd 2006, so that a stipulated request filed to the court, would be official, for Judge Marjorie A. Slabach to sit and act as a Judge Pro Tempore, (temporary) in a matter involving their seven year old son. Even more astounding, a court hearing minutes document claimed that Sandra was "present" at the April 3rd, 2006 hearing, although she soundly swears that she was not.

Judge Slabach ignored all of these crucial factors when ruling against Sandra and endangered her son's life.

"You're very biased and corrupt for putting my son's life in danger of an ex-abuser I want to motion, for you to recuse yourself as the judge in my custody case," Sandra said in a recent hearing.

Of course, Judge Slabach swiftly denied her request.

Justice Fo' Da Mamaz on Mothers Day!!! Join the welfareQUEENS, and Po' Mamaz in resistance at POOR Magazine/PoorNewsNetwork as they speak truth to the Criminal Injustice System.

For more information please call 415-863-6306 or email


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