Parents Demand California School Board Member Resign After Disclosure of “Confidential Marriage” To Murderer

The Fontana Unified School District board is not generally a hot bed of controversy, but it is the focus of a novel controversy after member Leticia Garcia revealed that she has a “confidential marriage” to a convicted murderer who was recently released. The existence of such confidential marriages is a surprise to most citizens, but not as much as the existence of a former convict husband for a recently elected board member who reportedly had said she was divorced.

There is certainly good reason to criticize an elected official who lies about any fact. She could have simply refused to discuss her marital status but according to some reports, she lied. However, she did not lie on any government form and this fact is entirely removed from any qualification from office. Moreover, it should not matter that she is married to an ex-con. Board members should be entitled to their private lives — an issue that we have repeatedly addressed with regard to teachers.

The state allows for confidential marriages, which allows couples to keep their marital status secret from everyone but the state. It is a curious provision. It is designed to keep confidential information on a marriage license from being made public. In California with a large number of celebrities, such protection is important. The form in Marin County specifically states “A confidential marriage license is not a public record. You may want a confidential marriage license if you are a celebrity, work in law enforcement or have another confidentiality issue. You will be asked to swear (or affirm) that the information you have provided is true and correct, that you are currently unmarried, that you have been living together, and that there is no legal objection to the marriage.” The form is below.

Other board members called on Leticia Garcia to step aside until the District Attorney’s Office Public Integrity Unit can investigate her.

Garcia, however, insists that her marriage to Jason Garcia is legal and not relevant to her office. She was elected to her four-year term on the board in November.

Marin County form: Confidential_Marriage_License_Application
Source; SB Sun

21 thoughts on “Parents Demand California School Board Member Resign After Disclosure of “Confidential Marriage” To Murderer”

  1. Wait — she married him while he was incarcerated as a juvenile? This is getting a lot more bizarre, or am I misunderstanding it? Of course, it’s still not relevant to her school board work.

  2. Another article indicates that her husband was convicted of being one of the shooters in a gang shooting when he was 16. As he was presumably in custody when they married, it appears she may have committed perjury in certifying that they were living together.

  3. Jeez, I wish my own marriage had been confidential — from my then husband!

    Wow, I had no idea this was possible. If only, if only…

  4. I don’t even care if she lied on a form.

    If the state makes confidential marriages legal, then the state has to assume, in our current culture, that people confidentially married will lie about it.

    It’s not much of a secret if people can badger you and have any expectation that if you don’t tell them the truth they can hold it against you.

  5. Maybe it’s just me, but I avoid picking a fight with someone whose spouse is a convicted murderer.

  6. So many questions. Did he kill on purpose? Was he robbing someone? Did he just walk downtown and slice a random stranger? How is his mood now? Does he like me?Would he consider killing again? What might move him to do so?

    But in the end, no question. It’s just not my business and has no bearing on her job. People need to get a grip.

  7. Originally, the confidential marriage provision was to encourage people who had been living together to get married. At the time, newspapers reported marriage licenses issued. It was also assumed that any unmarried couple living together would be pretending to be married, as anything else was unthinkable. As a result, an unmarried couple living together could not get married without exposing their secret. It is only available to people who certify that they have been living together “as spouses,” though no minimum time period is specified.

  8. Moar, I agree no legal issues to wrangle over. I also, however, understand the controversy.

    raff, people can marry whomever they want. I agree he did his time, and the fact that it occurred over 27 years ago definitely makes it less of an issue in my book. My point was that the person an elected official marries may have a bearing on his/her public image, judgment and character, and more importantly, may very well influence a voter to not vote for that particular person. There may have been a different result was this known prior to the election.

    DownEast, good point. But when you choose to run for an elected public office you subject yourself to the scrutiny of your private life and those you associate with. Fair or not, that is the nature of the beast.

  9. If Garcia’s private life is unsuitable to serve on the school board then perhaps the complaining parties wouldn’t object to an exhaustive background investigation of themselves, their spouse, children, parents and other relatives living or deceased.

  10. I guess for some people, you can only marry someone of a different gender and someone they like. If he paid his time, he has paid his debt to society. I am not troubled by a private marriage. If she didn’t lie about it during her campaign or on official documents, who cares?

  11. Since:

    1. California does allow for confidential marriages –

    -and-

    2. She didn’t lie on any of the needed forms –

    controversy will remain, but the legal issues are done. Short of a resignation, she is staying.

    Frankly, I don’t see the problem. She married a horrible human being, but the truth is that there are a lot of horrible human beings out there, and most of them end up married to someone.

  12. The real issue here is not the red herring of confidential marriage or the fact that she “lied” about it, but rather who she is married to. If it turned out she was married to a non-criminal celebrity, I doubt would be much of an issue if at all.

    But I think there is a valid concern here about her decision to marry a convicted murderer and not disclose it. Aside from the bad publicity, does this call into question her overall judgment as a board member? I think this is a valid concern for those on the board and in that community. I bet the details of her husband’s murder will be made public soon, and that may deepen the concern.

    An interesting issue that I struggle with. On the one hand, I agree with Frankly that there is a line of public/private. On the other, that line is blurred and often nonexistent when you choose to be a public official, and your private decisions are often relevant. As a Father, I think I would be upset if she was on the Board of the district my children were in.

  13. Forgive my densityt but I fail to see what problem is caused by her marital status. The man served his time and whether or not she was divorced is irrelevant.

  14. I don’t see how her marriage, confidential or not, affects her ability to act in the best interest of her district. People are way too willing to poke around private lives and use anything they find as an excuse.

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