Judge Robert Lemkau

Lemkau says he made right decision based on facts
May 15, 2010 9:21 PM
Tomoya Shimura

VICTORVILLE • Judge Robert Lemkau recently defended his unpopular ruling to deny Katie Tagle’s plea to keep the father away from their son, and his peers are supporting his claim.

The Victorville Superior Court judge upheld a pre-existing custody agreement in December when Tagle warned him that her estranged boyfriend, Stephen Garcia, was threatening to kill their son. Lemkau told Tagle, “My suspicion is that you’re lying.”

Garcia shot and killed the 9-month-old son and himself just 10 days after the hearing, and Lemkau later apologized to Tagle for his comment.

But in his recent interview with the Daily Press, Lemkau emphasized that he made the right decision based on evidence. He said what’s important is not what was said in court that day, but what he did.

“I think I made the correct decision based upon the facts available to me at the time,” Lemkau said. “Obviously, none of us have a crystal ball. One cannot determine what will occur in the future, at least not a judge.”

Tagle submitted two e-mails labeled “Necessary Evil” sent by “John Hancock” that told a lengthy story of a father who killed himself and his son after his girlfriend left him. Garcia denied that he wrote them, and Lemkau told the Daily Press he could not independently determine the source of the e-mails.

“The two e-mails were unsubstantiated, uncorroborated,” Lemkau said. “And therefore I felt there was insufficient evidence to justify granting the temporary restraining order.”

In the hearing, Lemkau denied restraining order requests from both Tagle and Garcia. And the judge kept a pre-existing custody agreement in full force and effect, which allowed Garcia to take the child.

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