UPDATE: The Sacramento Bee has published an investigative report about the questions surrounding this incident: click here.
The California Highway Patrol has issued a press release announcing a fatal traffic incident involving controversial Sacramento County Judge Matthew Gary:
On November 2, 2015, at 8:05 am, Margaret Bengs-McReynolds (66) of Carmichael was riding a bicycle eastbound Fair Oaks Blvd., south of Kenneth Ave., and crossing the roadway from the west curb. Matthew Gary of Sacramento was driving a 2014 Toyota Tundra southbound Fair Oaks Blvd., south of Kenneth Ave. at a speed less than 35 mph.
Bengs-McReynolds failed to clear the traffic lane by lane and as she reached the two-way left turn lane, she was struck by the front of the Toyota Tundra. Bengs-McReynolds was knocked to the ground and struck her head. She was transported to Mercy San Juan Hospital where she succumbed to her injuries on November 4, 2015. Bengs-McReynolds was not wearing a helmet. Mr. Gary was wearing his seat belt and did not sustain any injuries as a result of this collision.A court employee whistleblower and several family court watchdogs have questioned the CHP account of the incident and suggest the press release may reflect a whitewash because of Gary's status as a superior court judge.
"I'm not saying he deliberately ran over this woman, but knowing his personality and history of anger management problems, it is feasible that this tragedy occurred because he refused to yield to a cyclist who had the right-of-way," said a court watchdog who spoke on the condition of anonymity.Last year, the CHP was accused of providing preferential treatment to California judges by allowing Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye to abuse a state law authorizing the chief justice to request the CHP provide chauffeured transportation and security service to high court judges. A court employee whistleblower also was skeptical of how the CHP reported details of the traffic death involving Gary:
"The CHP report does not give Gary's birthdate or age. In fact, they are very silent about who Matthew Gary is," the employee said. "How could the CHP possibly know that Gary was driving less than 35 mph? How do they know he was wearing his seat belt? If really driving at a speed less than 35 mph, you would think you would see a cyclist and be able to stop before hitting her," the employee added.Gary has a documented history of anger management issues and retaliation against unrepresented "pro per" litigants who the judge perceives as questioning his authority. In one case, a 57-year-old disabled pro per was assaulted and arrested by courtroom bailiffs on Gary's orders.
Two outside, independent judges who subsequently reviewed the incident determined Gary was at fault, dismissed the criminal charges against the pro per, and ordered Gary removed from the case.
The judge has a track record of embroilment and using demonstrably illegal "no contact" child custody and visitation orders to punish unrepresented, pro per parents, depriving them of having contact with their own children. In a disproportionate number of cases, the parents also are indigent and disabled.
Gary also has displayed intemperate conduct against coworkers. In 2012, Presiding Judge Laurie Earl removed Gary from a position as supervising family court judge for undisclosed misconduct. The successor to the post, Judge Jamie Roman, resigned several months later due to harassment by Gary, who was disgruntled at losing the title and authority, according to a court employee.
Court watchdogs assert that Gary has helped facilitate and conceal an alleged racketeering organization involving judge-attorney collusion that operates in the family law division of the court. Despite years of documented lawbreaking, abuse of authority, and unethical conduct, Gary has never been held accountable by the Commission on Judicial Performance and CJP Director Victoria Henley. In 2014, Henley was paid $194,000.
For a list of news articles about Judge Matthew Gary published by Sacramento Family Court News, click here.