Appeals court overturns Solano jurist’s child custody ruling

By From page A5 | August 15, 2014

FAIRFIELD — The California Court of Appeal on Thursday overturned a child custody ruling made by family law judge Garry T. Ichikawa that had ordered a father get joint custody of two children in spite of his long history of violence and the five previous restraining orders the mother had obtained against him.

Chauncey P. Banks asked Ichikawa in January 2013 to order shared custody, claiming his ex-wife had violated the terms of a 2011 restraining order she obtained against him and that she had made false accusations against him. Ichikawa ordered joint custody for the children, which included spending every weekend with Banks at his Suisun City home.

Banks has a local history of eight arrests by police, including an arrest for battery on a spouse and three domestic violence arrests, two of them felonies, according to court records.

The Court of Appeal reversed Ichikawa’s custody order, saying he mistakenly ignored the most-recent restraining order. The Court of Appeal noted the mother’s original restraining order included details of Banks allegedly punching, strangling, kicking and stomping his estranged wife.

The Court of Appeal ruling disagreed with Ichikawa on a separate point: The ruling states that appellate court’s review of the evidence revealed nothing to support Banks’ claims that his ex-wife had made false accusations to get full custody.

Reach Jess Sullivan at 427-6919 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jsullivandr.

Jess Sullivan

Jess has covered the criminal justice system in Solano County for several years. He was an embedded reporter in Iraq in 2003.

Discussion | 11 comments

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  • ThemisAugust 15, 2014 - 5:26 am

    Congratulations to the attorney who took Ichikawa to task with an appeal. His misogonistic rulings endanger DV victims and children when he ignores evidence of lengthy criminal histories of violent crimes placing children in harms way by ordering children to spend time with violent career criminals unsupervised to "punish" a parent for bad choices. Most litigants in Solano County can't afford to appeal their cases and bad judges count on that. Appeals won't stop the all too frequent poor decisions in Solano County that endanger innocent children who have the misfortune of being the child of a parent they did not choose. If we can't count on a judge/DA to protect a child they need to go.

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  • Blame the judges!August 15, 2014 - 8:21 am

    I had this same judge recently. On visitation and dv. He also ignored my evidence of the father having an extensive violent record for abuse towards me. He's a difficult and at times rude judge. He sided with him because well all too often the perpatrator is calm amd collected and the victim is scared, angry and frustrated and the lack of help the courts offer. He made a poor choice in my case and now instead of ordering a stay away I see the father in exchanges which is exactly what I asked against. This judge also ignored the concerns our child had and expressed to the mediator he ordered us to pay for. They didn't take anything the child (12yo) asked for. This judge sucks.

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  • chrisSeptember 05, 2014 - 3:35 pm

    contact the Family Violence Appellate Project. They along with The Dentons law group handled my appeal pro-bono.

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  • BSAugust 15, 2014 - 9:34 am

    Was the DCA being sarcastic when they said he "mistakingly ignored". Isn't that an oxymoron. How is it a mistake if you ignored it!!

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  • clancyAugust 15, 2014 - 9:47 am

    Let's all remember this judges name. Too many recent killings of innocent children by violent ex spouses in the news for the nonsense from this judge!

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  • Susan DeverAugust 15, 2014 - 2:04 pm

    How could a judge ignore this man's past history and think it was ok to give him any custody of his children.

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  • K.August 15, 2014 - 2:39 pm

    Unfortunately this kind of thing happens all of the time. The father just simply commits perjury, and whether violent or not get what they wish. If you are that child you live in terror, and pray that your"father" does not try to take you away from safety to kill you. These family courts do not even bother to check for violence, and a criminal record. Kudos to this judge for making things right, and saving lives.

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  • truth'nAugust 15, 2014 - 4:35 pm

    This is very common in Solano County. The judges, like this one, show up for the money, not to do justice. Women of Solano County have been the victims of bad judges for a long time, as have the children. ***Ichikawa is another Judge we need to remove from the bench***

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  • chrisSeptember 04, 2014 - 11:28 pm

    It is the Family Violence Appellate Project with The Dentons law group who took this case pro bono. I made contact with them after searching for help after such an unbelievable decision. They are based in the Bay Area. I encourage the community to support the FVAP as well as local domestic violence agencies. There is a place to begin.. http://solanocounty.com/depts/fvp/contact.asp

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  • ESeptember 05, 2014 - 12:30 am

    I have a child with the person as well. I had judge Cynda Unger and she ignored all the facts about his abusive ways, neglecting his plethera of children and the many DV R/O . Lets not forget how he is now under investigation for welfare fraud. Im in the process of doing the same with my case. These judges have lost their minds. You know its bad when he admits to putting his hands on me and the judge turns and awards him 50% custody when by california law if you've had any domestic violence restraining orders within a 5 year period, youre NOT to have any custody

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  • Karen McGheeSeptember 11, 2014 - 10:16 am

    I had this same judge in 2012, he ignored the other party's abusive behavior, I doubt he even read my file. Let's clean up Solano county get rid of bad judges,

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