Update on case in Hawaii…


From AngelGroup.org:


Update on Maria Styke-Marquez’s hearing

Written by AngelGroup | David & Goliath Blog | 23 November 2010

Maria Styke-Marquez, a domestic violence survivor on Maui, lost custody of her two-and-a-half-year-old daughter in September 2010 in contradiction of Hawaii State Statute 571-46(9), to the man who killed her 4-month-old unborn baby, put her in the hospital, and served 40 days in jail for the violence he used against her.

Judge Keith Tanaka gave full physical/legal custody of a 2-1/2-year-old little girl to this convicted DV perpetrator, despite Maria being an appropriate and protective parent to their daughter. The last visitation pick-up/drop-off between Maria and her ex on Friday, 11/19/10, resulted with yet another Criminal Contempt charge against him for his use of intimidation and harassment against her, something that has directly contributed to a decline in Maria’s health.

Maria tried to file a Continuance before court began for medical reasons, but Second Circuit Court Clerk, Wilma, would not allow Maria to file her document with the court.  When Maria went upstairs to the courtroom and presented her Continuance and a hospital doctor’s medical note to Judge Tanaka, he DENIED her request because she didn’t file these before the hearing. He said that he would not look at an Ex Parte motion for Continuance until it had been served on the opposing counsel – HOWEVER – without being noticed, the opposing counsel (Mimi DeJardins) then served Maria with an Ex Parte motion that had already been granted by Judge Tanaka saying that her perpetrator’s parents could testify in today’s hearing by Skype or phone conference!

The Ex Parte motion Judge Tanaka had signed, directly contradicted the previous testimony of the perpetrator’s parents. In the parent’s first testimony, they had money and resources to more than adequately provide for their grand-daughter, but in this Ex Parte, they’re too poor to appear before the court.

Overwrought with stress and anxiety from the prospect of PERMANENTLY losing her daughter – because today’s hearing was about the perpetrator asking permission to permanently leave the state for Minnesota with the little girl – Maria was in the hospital briefly this weekend where she was told she absolutely HAS to steer clear of situations that will cause her any form of stress; Judge Tanaka ruled to go forward regardless. Shortly into the hearing, Maria’s compromised medical state got the best of her and she was taken away BY AMBULANCE from the courthouse after courthouse security called EMTs to respond to Maria’s condition.

When the EMTs arrived to render assistance to Maria, (3) sheriff’s officers were seen talking to the perpetrator’s attorney (Mimi) and another unknown man. The (3) sheriff’s officers were overheard sharing confidential medical information about Maria with Mimi and the unidentified male, itself a violation of law. My DV Survivor Advocate at the scene got the sheriff officers’ names and said the outcome of the hearing is not presently known, but that after Maria was taken away, the hearing resumed and continued for another 20 minutes before Mimi, the unidentified man and the perpetrator quickly left the courthouse; Maria is now at the hospital where medical staff are working to stabilize her condition.

Does ANY of this sound like “justice”, a correct application of laws or even human decency?


“It is not enough to be compassionate. You must ACT.”

~ Tenzin Gyatso (1992, the 14th Dalai Lama)

Press Release: Judge Breaking The Law – Protective Mother Needs Help


 For update posted November 25, 2010, click here.

Hawaii’s statutory law forbids perpetrators of Domestic Violence to have custody, but it appears Maui’s Judge Tanaka feels he’s above the law; giving custody to an abuser. He’s poised to order relocation to another state, as he’s done in other cases.


Hawaii’s Judge Tanaka Breaking The Law – Giving Baby To Abuser

PRLog (Press Release)Nov 21, 2010 – Wailuku, MAUI – At 8:00am on Monday, November 22, 2010, domestic violence survivor, Maria Styke-Marquez, will be walking into Judge Keith Tanaka’s Second Circuit courtroom where, according to documents filed by the perpetrator’s attorney, Mimi DeJardins, the judge will grant her abuser’s request to permanently relocate to Minnesota with the former couple’s 2 1/2 year-old daughter, removing her not only from the island of her birth, but from access to her mother.

The child’s father, Bruce Anthony Sotelo Jr., was convicted and held in jail for beating a pregnant Ms. Styke-Marquez so severely in 2007 that the 4 month-old baby she was carrying died as a result of the attack that left Ms. Styke-Marquez with a concussion, broken ribs, cracked teeth, a split lip and contusions all over her body.

According to Hawaii State Statute 571-46(9) perpetrators of family violence are not candidates for either joint or sole custody of their children, yet in September 2010, Judge Tanaka inexplicably reversed his initial ruling that granted Ms. Styke-Marquez full physical/legal custody of their daughter and in contradiction of the statute, gave full physical/legal custody of the little girl to the man who put her mother in the hospital.

The case has caught the attention of several state lawmakers such as House Human Services Chair, Representative John Mizuno (Kalihi) and Domestic Violence Survivor Advocate, Dara Carlin, who said she is absolutely outraged by the situation. “Domestic violence victims flee their abusers in full faith that the system will protect them and their children from further abuse and trauma once they’ve fled and laws have been put firmly in-place to ensure this. That a family court judge can choose to disregard and override a state statute that protects those at-risk is simply unconscionable” Ms. Carlin states.

Research shows that 70% of batterers who request custody receive it, leading to 58,000 children per year who are forced to live with their identified abusers.[1] Batterers are over 6 times more likely to sexually abuse their children.[2]

[1] http://www.leadershipcouncil.org
[2] Bancroft, Lundy and Silverman, Jay, The Batterer as Parent, Sage Publications, 2002

Financially devastated from the litigation her abuser has put her through, Ms. Styke-Marquez, unable to afford an attorney, will walk into the courtroom alone to face her abuser (who as recently as November 19th has a criminal contempt charge lodged against him), his attorney (who is also a Per Diem judge) and a judge who has already ruled against her and state statute. “My last and only hope to save my daughter is to call public attention to what’s going on and I’m not the only one this is happening to – I know so many other domestic violence survivors who have lost custody of their children to their perpetrators as well which only tells me that this is no small problem. I’m a protective parent, not a perfect one, and never tried to keep our daughter from her father so I can’t understand how this is being allowed to happen” says Ms. Styke-Marquez.

Contact: Dara Carlin at breaking-the-silence@hotmail.com or on Oahu at 218-3457.

AngelGroup is spearheaded by people who’ve experienced or observed the corruption in Hawaii’s legal system, family courts, & social services. We’re resolved to change the legal landscape, achieving long-term change and potential correction for individual cases. Read more at http://www.angelgroup.org