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  • dave.mortimer
    A judge who has things right Posted on Sat, Aug. 30, 2003 Maning sentenced for hiding woman s daughters By Claire Booth CONTRA COSTA TIMES MARTINEZ - Florencio
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 31, 2003
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      A judge who has things right

      Posted on Sat, Aug. 30, 2003  

      Maning sentenced for hiding woman's daughters
      By Claire Booth
      CONTRA COSTA TIMES

      MARTINEZ - Florencio Maning Jr., the man convicted of helping a mother
      hide her two children from their father after she abducted them, was
      sentenced Friday to nine years and four months in prison.

      Maning led a San Jose child-custody advocacy group that assisted Kelli
      Nunez with legal paperwork before she took her girls, then 4 and 6, from
      their
      Lafayette day care center April 26, 2002, in violation of a court
      custody
      order.

      Nunez left them with the advocacy group for six months before members
      turned the children over to authorities.

      After a trial in June, jurors found that Maning helped move the children

      among the members and controlled their whereabouts.

      He was convicted of two counts each of child abduction and child custody

      deprivation and one count of conspiracy to commit contempt of court.

      Because Maning had a prior felony conviction that counted as a strike
      under
      the state's three-strikes law, the sentences for his current convictions
      could be doubled.

      Contra Costa Superior Court Judge Mary Ann O'Malley chose to do so,
      saying that Maning caused the Nunez girls "great emotional injury."

      "I can't imagine what the two little girls had to go through," she said.

      The girls were in the legal custody of their father, Danny Nunez, when
      Kelli
      Nunez took them from their day care center. The two adults had divorced
      in
      1999 and began a bitter custody dispute over the girls.

      Kelli Nunez turned the children over to Maning's advocacy group. She
      then
      refused to divulge their whereabouts to a family law judge. She was
      cited for contempt of court and sent to jail, where she sat for the six
      months the girls remained with the group.

      In November 2002, group members learned that Maning was a convicted
      child molester.

      Members turned over the children to authorities. The girls, who were not

      physically hurt during their abduction, now live with their father.

      "I wish we never had to be here in the first place," Danny Nunez said
      after the sentencing. During the hearing, he made an emotional plea for
      O'Malley to sentence Maning to the maximum prison term allowed.

      She came close. The maximum Maning could have received was 11 years and
      four months, said deputy district attorney Kirk Andrus.

      Both Maning and Kelli Nunez, who also was convicted in the case,
      maintained that they thought the girls were abused while in their
      father's care.

      Maning reiterated that Friday.

      "I did know where the kids were -- not all the time," he said. "I would
      not turn them in because I firmly believed they were abused."

      Before his sentencing, Maning asked O'Malley if he could act as his own
      attorney for the sentencing and have time to prepare additional legal
      filings. O'Malley ruled that he should have made the request in advance
      of the sentencing and declined to delay the proceeding.


      -----------------------------------------------------------------
      Claire Booth covers courts. Reach her at 925-228-6177 or
      cbooth@.... 


      =================================

      I have met Judge O'Malley personally, and found her to be a fair and
      dedicated jurist.  She was just recently elevated to the Family Court
      Bench in this county, and I have high hopes for her.

      Best,

      Bob

      Robert A. Fink, M. D., President
      California Parents United, Inc.
      24 Oak Creek Road
      El Sobrante, California  94803-3506

      Dedicated to Joint and Equal Parenting

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