Northern California Record

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

California Sixth District Court of Appeal nullifies one-day marriage between conserved woman and guardian

By Angela Underwood | Jun 19, 2017

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SAN JOSE — A one-day marriage has been nullified between a conserved woman and her guardian.

The California Sixth District Court of Appeal ruled his one-day marriage between Marreon Gene Starks, a 53-year-old African-American man, and his conserved wife Beatrice P., an 83-year-old Caucasian woman, remain nullified regardless of his appeal. 

The differences in age and race were at the center of the couple’s controversial allegations of age and race discrimination against Santa Clara Conservatorship Judge Thomas Cain in 2013, when an Emergency Petition for Removal of Conservatorship was called by her son and conservator, Stephen P.

Four years later, Stark still argues his due process was violated when his marriage was nullified based on racial and age discrimination, which included Beatrice P. being barred from giving testimony at the 2014 hearing.

In the published opinion, the panel cited the 2012 testimony of Alzheimer’s specialist Dr. Jonathan Canick, who diagnosed Beatrice P. as “cognitively incapacitated and did not possess the sufficient cognitive abilities necessary to make a truly informed decision.” 

Starks, who worked for a home care service, was hired to care for Beatrice P. and her late husband, but he was relieved of his duties after the death of Beatrice P.'s husband. 

Beatrice P. informed her son she was in love with Starks. Her son then placed a restraining order to remove Starks from her home in 2012, Starks argued against her son and conservator "that he and Beatrice P. ‘both made the decision to go to Reno to get married,'” according to the opinion.

The husband for a day also argued that the trial court’s ruling to nullify his marriage to Beatrice P. was based on race and age discrimination in both psychiatrist and police reports. 

"He further argues, without citing any supporting evidence in the record, that conservator wanted to end Starks’ marriage to Beatrice P., not because it occurred so soon after his father’s death, but because conservator 'swore... that ‘[he’s] not having no n----- disrespect [his] father’s grave,’” according to the published opinion.

The Sixth District Court of Appeal said that "even if the conservator was motivated by improper ageism or racism (and we do not suggest that he was), there is certainly nothing in the record to support Starks’ supposition that the trial court was also motivated by such inappropriate biases.”

Starks argued that because Beatrice P. was barred from testifying, the trial court's decision to nullify his marriage was in error even though he was technically still married to another woman. 

"Calling her as a witness would have also allowed the trial court to 'assess her state and to see if she could coherently testify about things competently,'" according to the opinion. 

The panel of judges ruled that Starks had no legal standing to call a conserved person to testify. 

"[E]vidence shows that the trial court considered the testimony and evidence proffered at trial, by both sides, all of which Starks had the opportunity to challenge," the panel ruled, officially ending the one-day marriage. "There is nothing in the record to support Starks’ claims and we reject them."

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California 6th District Court of Appeal