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MARRYING A LIAR NOT ENOUGH FRAUD FOR AN ANNULMENT When Tiburon psychiatrist Ann Marie Meagher married Malekpour Maleki in 1999, she thought he was a millionaire with expertise in real estate and finance. He wasn’t, and Meagher � who had between $1 million and $1.5 million in assets, as well as an expensive home � soon began to suspect Maleki had married her for her money. After lengthy trial proceedings, she succeeded in getting an annulment early last year. But on July 18, San Francisco’s First District Court of Appeal reversed the trial court, saying that an annulment based on fraud can only be granted “in an extreme case where the particular fraud goes to the very essence of the marriage relation.” In a decision authored by Justice Ignazio Ruvolo, the court held that annulments based on fraud “are generally granted only in cases where the fraud related in some way to the sexual or procreative aspects of marriage.” Ruvolo cited cases in which annulments had been upheld where a spouse concealed no interest in sex after marriage, a wife got pregnant by another man, a spouse was sterile or had continued an intimate relationship with a third person. Meagher cited no authority, Ruvolo wrote, “for the proposition that annulment can be granted based on fraud or misrepresentation.” Justices Paul Haerle and James Lambden concurred. The ruling is In re Marriage of Meagher and Maleki, 05 C.D.O.S. 6277. � Mike McKee WAS BALCO CASE WORTH THE EFFORT? When Northern District U.S. Attorney Kevin Ryan announced the BALCO steroid conspiracy indictments last year, he said, “The use of steroids sends exactly the wrong message to America’s youth.” What’s the message now that three of four defendants have agreed to plead guilty and serve only meager terms in prison or on probation? So far, Ryan is taking hits from editorial pages and others for being too soft, and he’s responded by complaining about the leniency of drug laws. “Congress needs to give us stronger sentencing guidelines,” Ryan told the Associated Press. “Maybe this case is something they can look to as to how the guidelines apply in a major steroid distribution case.” He also said that the most that lead defendant Victor Conte could have received had prosecutors taken the matter to trial was about a year in prison. That has some people wondering why the case was indicted in the first place, something the U.S. Attorney’s Office declined to comment on. One of Conte’s defense attorneys, Mary McNamara of San Francisco’s Swanson, McNamara & Haller, believes criticism of the plea deal is misplaced. “What we’ve agreed on is squarely in line with the sentencing guidelines,” she said in an interview. “I think people believed there was a great deal more steroids and money-laundering.” She described the drugs recovered in the case as trace amounts and pointed out that the money-laundering charge involved a check for only $2,100. “Were it not for the fact that this is a celebrity case, nobody would be raising complaints about it,” McNamara said. She believes public outcry is out of proportion because the case involves athletes and “any case including sports touches a deep emotional chord in the American psyche.” &# 151 Jeff Chorney GOOD SHOW IN PROP 77 ARGUMENTS Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Gail Ohanesian, who granted a writ request from Attorney General Bill Lockyer yanking Proposition 77 from the Nov. 8 ballot, expressed praise for the attorneys who argued the case for nearly three hours in her courtroom. The parties, she noted, had been “very adept” at framing their arguments. Especially well spun were arguments by Daniel Kolkey, a Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher partner representing Prop 77 proponents Edward “Ted” Costa, Sidney Novaresi, Arthur Laffer and Jimmie Johnson. Lockyer’s writ request asked for decertification of the redistricting proposal based on evidence that proponents circulated a different version of the measure than was originally reviewed and approved for the ballot. In court papers, Kolkey argued that constitutional and statutory election law provisions requiring submission of a “copy” of a ballot measure to the attorney general’s office didn’t necessarily mean an “exact” copy. Kolkey also drew a distinction between how the word “copy” is defined in the Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary and how it is defined in Blacks Law Dictionary. “� it’s not clear that the term ‘copy’ as used in the [state] Constitution means that failure to present a ‘exact copy’ is a failure to substantially copy within the dictates of the Constitution,” Kolkey insisted in court documents. &# 151 Jill Duman

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