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The Marin County district attorney’s office says a motion to recuse DA Paula Kamena from a case involving two Mill Valley residents who were indicted on theft and bad-check charges is “innuendo stated as fact.” San Francisco solo Christopher Martin, who represents Ronald Freeman and his wife, Jacalyn Lee, filed 772 pages of exhibits that allege three primary conflicts: the DA’s purported relationship to a complaining witness, a friendship between Kamena and Freeman’s ex-wife, and Freeman’s role in the 2001 recall campaign against Kamena. Martin said each of the issues alone might not be enough to prove a conflict, but their cumulative effect is significant. “These allegations are pure fantasy and speculation,” said Deputy DA Judith Brown, who wrote the office’s terse response. “Zero plus zero plus zero still equals zero.” In fact, Kamena didn’t even think the allegations were serious enough to warrant her personal response. “The argument we make is simply that the defendant hasn’t met his burden to show that [a conflict] is there, so why should she have to file a declaration? We argue he hasn’t done that,” said Deputy DA John Alden, the prosecutor on the case against Freeman and his wife. The two defendants — who were indicted in March by a Marin County grand jury — are in custody on charges of writing bad checks, grand theft, and residential and commercial burglary. In his motion, Martin argues that there is “corruption in the Marin County court system and defendant, as a political activist and whistle-blower, is at grave risk at the hands of the government officials he opposes.” To bolster his position, the attorney cites a private investigation from a research organization in 2000 that, he said, showed evidence of rampant conflicts throughout the courts, including illegal business dealings between judges and attorneys and shows of favoritism. In the trio of primary conflict charges, Martin points to a special relationship between the DA’s office and the complaining witness against Freeman — Marin defense attorney Michael Marowitz. Martin says Marowitz is in charge of business development for the Marin County Bar Association and is active in the same social and legal circles as Kamena. But the DA says special treatment for Marowitz would be counterintuitive. “The fact that Marowitz is a criminal defense attorney does not put him in any special stead with the [DA]‘s office. In fact, in that capacity, Marowitz is an adversary in relations to the district attorney’s office,” the DA’s response read. Martin also argued that Kamena and Freeman’s ex-wife, Sami Mason, a Sausalito attorney, used to work together in the probation department, attended Golden Gate University School of Law together and are still friends. This relationship is a focal point of the recusal motion, and Martin said he was surprised the DA didn’t file a declaration in her defense. “If she filed a declaration maintaining she wasn’t friends with [Freeman's ex-wife], it wouldn’t be truthful,” Martin explained. “They were friends. And the best way to avoid that is not filing a declaration.” But Deputy DA Brown said records clearly show the two did not attend law school together. The State Bar’s Web site lists Mason as a Golden Gate graduate, but Kamena as a San Francisco Law School graduate. And the fact that they once worked together proves nothing, Brown said. “Just because you work with someone doesn’t mean that you’re fast friends with them,” she said. Martin also argues that Freeman’s predicament is retaliation by Kamena for his role in the recall campaign. Many of the charges Freeman faces were indeed filed after the recall efforts began, but according to the DA’s written response, some charges were filed in 1999. That was before the recall campaign had filed its paperwork with the Marin County elections department. From the beginning, Freeman has tried to get the case moved out of Marin. He has fired numerous defense lawyers, and Martin was assigned to him when Judge James Ritchie decided to appoint an attorney from outside Marin County. Freeman and Martin tried to get Ritchie — and the rest of Marin’s judiciary — recused, but lost that motion when Contra Costa County Superior Court Judge Peter Spinetta ruled in March that Ritchie did not have a conflict. The conflict hearing is set for June 20 in front of Judge Ritchie; trial for the couple is set for July 8.

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