The Delian Magistrate, Maraud Adrestia DenRoastu, aka MAD, violated the Law with Impunity.
Note: Adrestia is from Classic Greek Mythology – “She who cannot be escaped.” Goddess of revolt and just retribution. The Greeks and Romans identified her with Nemesis.
There are examples of abuse of judicial discretion, but this ain’t it. This action by the magistrate wasn’t discretionary, it was forbidden by Statute. It was abuse of power and malfeasance by a public official.
What did I have to lose, indeed?
In this story, this series of incidents with the law and courts marks the seismic shift from only one antagonist, to include a vastly more formidable antagonist, the System. In a way Narciss was only the catalyst, making the way for me, the protagonist, to face off with the fearsome and impenetrable dragon, which heretofore I had considered a servant to society through the Social Contract and Rules of Law, and in fact I had been a loyal and subservient part of the system itself, which had turned against me. As Knarley said, the pasture bull doesn’t distinguish a vegan from a steak lover, and will gore either with equal zeal.
The issue is that the Magistrate is not a separate tribunal of the District Court. Alaska Statute AS 22.15.120 defines specific duties and authority (jurisdiction) of the District Court, the District Judge, and the Magistrate. Alaska Statute places specific limitations upon the authority of the Magistrate. The Magistrate exceeded her statutory authority.
The Magistrate was constrained by statutory law from holding this particular hearing for long term protection. The criminal charges had been dismissed so there was no crime, and none being prosecuted. In order to effect the Long Term Protection Order the Court must “Find” that a crime involving domestic violence had been committed. If the purpose of the hearing was not about determining whether a crime had been committed, then there was no point in the hearing at all, since the petition had to be dismissed if the preponderance of the evidence did not support the court finding a crime. So, a person representing the State of Alaska, Magistrate Maraud DenRoastu, held the hearing, in effect a trial, to consider evidence as to whether a crime had been committed, having no authority to do so. “Power Taken” is what Gloria Steinem would say. It’s what I call abuse of power, with impunity.
Four years later, during the spring of 2011, when visiting Delian for a fishing trip, I stopped by the magistrate’s office and had a friendly chat with Maraud DenRoastu. The conversation was cordial, and polite. There was no point in being otherwise. I was actually interviewing her, to clear up some things for this narrative. I asked her things like when she planned to retire, and about her cabin at Erection Inlet; just general puff conversation, to lighten up. She said she had been doing a lot of work on her cabin, so it would be ready to live in when she retired.
Then, I explained that I was writing a book about my experience during the marriage and living in Delian, and about the court experiences too. I said I would like to ask her some questions.
She said, “Sure, go ahead, ask, but I hope you don’t finish the book before I retire.” At the time, I hadn’t decided to publish, and I didn’t tell her it was a narrative therapy.
I started with the question most important to me. “In your present opinion, do you think I abused Narciss.”
“No, I don’t believe you did.”
That was her flat answer, unqualified, and it was a relief to me even though it was too late to fix the damage. I could have dwelled there and continued but I saw no further point … it was the past and I wanted to remain pleasant.
I asked her to remind me of how many times she had been married. She replied, “five times.” Then she sincerely said, “Now I’m married to Jesus.” I asked, “Does that make it five or six times?” She said, “Six”.
Maraud then went on and discussed each marriage in some detail. The main thing I took away from that conversation was that Maraud said they were all abusive – to her that is, except Jesus. I wondered about that, then asked her how she was getting along with Jesus. She said, “Well, when he talks back to me, he’s sweet.” I wanted to ask more, but decided it best to move away from that topic.
Among the things we didn’t discuss but I already knew was the large divorce settlements she attained from each marriage, the businesses awarded and that she had trashed each one from poor management.
I asked if her man-friend from Delian abused her before they broke up. She said, “He was mean to me, but I probably deserved it.”
I wanted to hear it in her own words so I asked, “What would have been the consequence, as far as a criminal record, had you decided favorably on Narciss’ petition for long term protection?”
“That’s why they call this court misdemeanorville.”
In other words, I understood that to mean that the Magistrate’s findings would have affirmed the crime of fourth degree assault, which is a class A misdemeanor. That means that I would have a criminal record, simply from her decision relating from the petition for long term protection, which is a civil proceeding. This is rather significant, especially when considering what happened later.
At that time I hadn’t yet figured out Alaska Statute, the law, relating to the authorizations and constraints on the powers of the magistrate’s office. But clearly she thought she was authorized by statute. I think not.
Another significant and surprising aspect of the pleasant interview with Maraud DenRoastu was that she told me, “Your attorney didn’t do you any favors, and actually harmed your case. I was predisposed to dismiss the petition anyway, regardless of representation. I would have done the right thing based on my judgment of what the facts were and what mattered in the case.”
That was a stretch beyond my capabilities to believe and that’s what I told her right then. I said to her, “It is my opinion the petition was dismissed only because you had no other choice, the facts and evidence being so lop-sided in favor of the dismissal, despite your profound desire for it to be otherwise.”
The pleasantness was over, and so was the interview.