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Events in Syracuse (No Jail!) / Your FEEDBACK.

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From: John Murtari (jmurtari@AKidsRight.Org)
Date: Sat Oct 11 2003 - 13:58:16 EDT

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Good People & People of Faith:

I just want to let you know what a beautiful day it is in upstate New
York!  So nice to be a free man -- able to see the sun and go where I
want.  Let me tell you all, it is a sharp contrast to where I was
Thursday afternoon.  Sitting in a stainless steel holding cell at the
top of the Federal Building, waiting to be taken out with handcuffs and
ankle bracelets, and walked through the halls to see a US Magistrate who
had promised me jail.

I guess by now you know there was a happy ending to Thursday. I walked
out of the Federal building a free man at about 5 PM, talking and joking
with the very same US Marshalls who had earlier held me in custody.
What a contrast.  What a great blessing it is just to be free; how my
experiences have taught me to appreciate that basic Civil Right.  It is
something I do not take for granted anymore.  Just to go outside and be
able to lookup at the sun -- wow, what a gift!

For those of you who are wondering how it all happened.  Let me fill in
a few details and I do appreciate your thoughts and prayers. I was also
able to finish answering almost all the email, the remainder of your
FEEDBACK is below.

What happened?
When I returned to the building, I was again arrested as soon as I
walked in and said I was there to "petition my Member of Congress for
Family Law reform."

The officers processed me differently and took all my property. They all
seemed to know today was going to be different.  I wasn't going to be
leaving...  One of the officers made a point in telling me, "John, you
are going to jail today..."

I was taken to a holding cell and waited alone for a few hours. The
Magistrate was busy with another matter.  Sometimes things are so
hectic, in the last few days I had been a buzz of activity trying to get
my affairs in order before a few weeks of "vacation."

The time in the cell was review and anxiety. LOTS & LOTS of anxiety.
Which jail would I be sent to?  How long would it be, the trial is the
23rd -- but I have tickets to see Domenic for the 30th.  Would the Judge
release me pending sentencing?  Would everything be okay with my mom at
home?  Could the guys at the office keep the business running okay while
I was gone -- would a technical problem sink the whole boat?  Was this
the start of the "big" jail time, I had lost track of the number of
pending charges -- being given consecutive sentences..... ouch!  Had I
done the best I could in getting people motivated? Doubtful. I'd really
hoped someone would be in the Federal Building plaza to offer a word of
support -- no one.  John, these are not "resume" faults, if you could
only do a better job of getting the word out, getting folks motivated,
it would be easier for a lot of people, less pain for you and
Dom... but, you do the best you can.  How much Faith do I really have?
What am I doing going to the building about once/month -- is it a hobby
like a newspaper story said.  Why aren't you there everyday?  Do it!

I spent most of the time praying. I'm a Catholic (some of you my be
familiar with the Rosary).  It is a repetitive prayer focusing on
different aspects of Christ's life.  Even with handcuffs on you can
still count -- I didn't do a good job with that either, kept losing
track.  But there are some of the "mysteries" which have special meaning
for me as a parent: The "Annunciation", knowing that you are going to
have a child.  The "Nativity", I was there when Dom was born, what a
special event.  And probably one that has special meaning, "The Finding
in the Temple".

Do you remember that incident in the life of Mary and Joseph.  They lost
their kid for a few days!  Imagine the recriminations/acceptance of what
had happened?  Imagine the joy of being reunited with your child -- how
we would all like to experience that one!

BUT -- you know the one feeling I did not have.  Regret for my action.
I had no doubt I was in the right place and for the right reason and
with the right motivation -- love for my child.

This was almost an anti-climax.  The moment the Magistrate came out he
said he had reviewed Federal Procedure and he didn't have the authority
to hold me pending trial.  Obviously, he knew that last week when he
made the threat from the bench.  But I was relieved....

There was not really much for me to say. I briefly told him I was
innocent of the charges.  The US Attorney tried to argue for detainment
(that my contempt for the Judge's order actually made me a threat to the
community).  But the Judge wasn't buying that.

The trial date was kept at the 23rd and the Judge also told me he was
going to assign counsel from the Federal Public Defender's office. I was
released.  Whew!

Let's not be distracted
Now, there are a lot of legal "things" that will happen between now and
the trial.  I will do the best I can (with my counsel) to fight the
charges and probably resubmit a motion that another Magistrate do the
trial.  But let's not lose track of the goal...

We need more people involved, the focus is getting a meeting with
Senator Clinton.  Your help is invaluable.  Many people have suggested
more publicity, letter writing, etc.....  Listen.  You are welcome to
help.  You do not need my permission and if you want to try to
coordinate something, just let me know -- give me a call at the office
(it is even TOLL FREE, 877-635-1968,x-211 OR jmurtari@AKidsRight.Org).

My biggest "wish" (and our group's goal) is getting more people to
"petition."  As many people have mentioned, it is always easier once
other people are there -- no one likes to be first at a party!  We have
a "sign-up" form at the web site, http://www.AKidsRight.Org/actionc_syr
-- it will be changed to offer "conditional' participation, i.e. I'm
willing to walk in petition if TWO/THREE/FOUR/FIVE other parents are
ready to join me.  What do you think about that?  If we get that number
of folks, we contact you.

Again, many thanks for your thoughts and prayers!  Please, check the
messages out below.  Especially the one from Tim Himes below -- he says
it so well, the jumble of emotions we all go through as parents...

John Murtari (enjoying the weekend!)

Your FEEDBACK - to events in Syracuse.
There was a LOT of feedback generated to the last message regarding the
ongoing NonViolent Action in Syracuse, see:

What follows below is the rest of the feedback.  Everyone who wrote got
a reply.  In the messages below, lines prefaced by ">" are your
thoughts. I replied to everyone, in a few of the messages below, part of
my replies are included between your text.


> There MUST be other things we can do.
> Ideas:

> Create videos and finance them to show in every state and nationwide.
> Public access too??

> Start litigation against the state and the government.  A class-action
> lawsuit.

> Legislation.
> Contact other leaders to push for family law reform.

> Get noticed.

Great ideas, just give me your okay and we can send a message out to
members on the list.  Just a little time from you could help coordinate
such an effort!

--- "Chuck DeHart"  (Air Force Academy Grad, '78)

> Question 1: You should already know this one from the Blue Zoo. I will
> never forget the quote from Robert E. Lee. Likewise, there is no such
> thing as a moral obligation to anybody but my creator. From that, my
> obligations flow to personal integrity, family, community, and lastly
> my government.

Boy, that is a good one.  It really puts it all in one line!

> Question 2: Recommend you find a lawyer. You're efforts will come to
> more quickly if you don't "muck around" in the world of judicial
> The most recent advice I heard (for kids approached by police fishing for
> in public) is to ask the officer if he is ordering you to answer the
> (and have a witness!). Sounds to me like they began a search based upon
> recognizing you.

> Question 3: Same, contact a lawyer.

Yes, the only problem is $$$.  Take out a second mortgage for me and
send me about 20K will you!  Actually, the Judge just assigned me a
public defender -- we'll see what happens.

> Question 4: I believe if you are under oath you have an obligation by
> law to tell the truth. A lawyer could guide you to whether or not you
> really broke the law. The court is supposed to be a neutral process
> for justice and I don't believe that turning the other cheek has
> anything to do with how you respond.

> Be nice. Don't blame these folks. Assume compassion and maybe others
> will do the same for you.

> More important than any action you take is to keep faith in your
> Creator and in your son. Keep focus on your goals and don't be tempted
> to focus on anger toward the system. It will eat you up, spit you out
> and bring bitterness.

> I put 1:30 Thursday on my calendar to pray for you.

--- (Edward Kruk)

> >1. Do you have a moral obligation to obey an order that is not "valid."?




> >2.  On Wednesday the officers arrested me before I even did anything. I
> >might have gone upstairs, had an emergency call on my cell phone and left
> >day. The "stay away" order prohibits certain actions -- do you arrest me
> >when I say I am there to "petition"?


Ouch. I have to say I've gotten to know all the Federal Police officers
and building security all pretty well.  They are a good bunch of guys
and they have a job to do.  I know they don't enjoy doing it and they
treat me with every courtesy.  I wouldn't expect them to disobey an
order from the US Attorney's office -- this is not really their fight.
Not as much as it should other parents?

You see the messages from parents on the list. Angry over how their
rights were violated -- but how much are they willing to "sacrifice" for
those rights?

> >3. Can a Federal Magistrate hold you in jail pending a trial as a form of
> >immediate punishment?


Well, in this case it seems my appearance did cause him to "review"
Federal Procedure again and he realized he did not have the authority.
Which he obviously knew before...  We have some great freedoms in this
nation, but yes, they slip away when we no longer believe in them
ourselves or think they are "free."

> >5. Your predictions?


I quite agree with your last paragraph.  I do it because it is something
I have to do.  The moment a few more people join in we will have the
start of real Civil Rights Movement for Family Law reform.


> Go John, we with less courage solute you. For taking a stand for
> children and father's rights. Mother's needed a father to have the
> child. that seems to me to be 50/50 on the making of the child. John
> be like Daniel if you find yourself in bondage from the wicked in the
> world. The wicked can fight we but they can't fight the loving in our
> hearts that we have for our seed...

--- "Don"

> The court system allowed sole custody to a sex abuser . Believing a
> daughter that was put in drug rehab twice by me . Her mother promised
> her a car and no drug rehab and where ever she wanted to live and at
> the present time she resides at a 42 year old boyfriends house . My
> contempt petition was thrown out with out even being heard . This
> system sucks .

> I feel this was done so no one will admit a mistake by cps and the
> county . Need of advice Do I push for my lawsuit or do I push for
> appeal . I am going literally crazy , nuts , uncontrollable , Piss on
> the laws do I run with my boys I have already tried to deal with this
> in court only to lose my fatherly rights . This lady is so sick she
> had sex in the same bed as my boys and the courts will do nothing
> about it . I need help before I comment myself to being insane . DON

Sorry I didn't have time to answer earlier...  VERY sorry to hear about
all that.  The "system" just doesn't work...

Don, I also know you are a man of Faith. Do not lose that.  I first lost
part of Dom in the divorce, then I lost the rest of him when he
relocated to Colorado, not to mention the six months I did for back
child support.  I have seen him go through so much pain and at times
felt so many prayers unanswered.  But I always had to remember one
thing, "God knows and God sees and God can act at any time..."

God is our loving Father, and having Dom helped me really think about
that.  If the God of the Universe loves me as much as I love Dom ...
what am I warred about?  If we believe that our soul lives forever ...
what are a few years?  If we lose track of that, we can fall into

I had your same feelings and the anger -- but keep that Faith!  Maybe
you want to go back and read the books of Samuel. Remember King David,
he had every reason in the world to kill Saul -- but he did not do it.
He kept his faith and things took care of themselves.

--- Ron Pfitzner <>

> I won't go over old ground, but I would like to address some of your
> questions.  When you ask "Do you have a moral obligation to obey an
> order that is not "valid"?", the answer obviously is no.  The problem
> of course is who gets to decide what is valid.  If you feel that the
> judge has overstepped his bounds, then of course you have every right
> to challenge him.  Just remember, though, that ultimately it is the
> judicial system itself that determines the validity of the law (as
> long as it is not contrary to natural or revealed law), whether you
> agree with their interpretation or not.  That bears directly on the
> second and third questions as well.  As far as question number four
> and your "innocence", that too will ultimately be determined by the
> courts.

> The bottom line is that the police and the judge are going to do
> exactly what they said they will do and short of having top notch
> legal representation, you will be spending quite a bit of time in
> jail.  At this point it is no longer a question of what is "fair" or
> "right".  That will be determined only after a long and arduous
> process.  While in the end you may indeed prevail against these
> charges, I still don't see how this in any way would 1) reform family
> law or 2) redress the wrongs that have been done to you and Dom.

> I know that you have spent quite a bit of time in thought and prayer
> trying to do what is "right".  I know that you are a man of tremendous
> integrity and courage.  I also know that it has never been your
> intention to do this alone.  Since you asked for advice, here it is:
> If anyone shows up to support you, you will know that you are indeed
> making progress and that they will carry on in your absence.  On the
> other hand, if no one else shows, knowing what is at stake, then maybe
> the Big Man is trying to tell you that, for now at least, this is the
> wrong way to go.

> However this works out, you'll be in our thoughts and prayers.  Good
> Luck!

Oh, I don't know if I had told you....  But when Dom was here this
summer he told me that Mom was thinking of moving again in the Fall.
Guess the two locations -- Hawaii or Alaska!  That really put the scare
in both of us.  The Court order does not give her any authority to move
again, but I know she could and what was I going to do after the fact?
She also knew no Judge would force her to move back.  I told Dom I would
visit him no matter where he was - but obviously expenses double/triple.

Luckily, the move didn't happen.  It is funny, now I am thankful that he
is out west!  Ron, I could lose contact at any time with Dom in the
present system.  I don't have any rights...

--- Richard Eichinger <>

> I have a few answers to your questions.  You may have a moral
> obligation to disobey the rules but I feel that it is not the way to
> make progress ... at least, not at this moment in history.  Nonviolent
> action was successful when folks realized that people were being
> harmed.

Have you actually read any of the books on Gandhi and King and what they
did that we have at the site?

> Most people don't know the violative nature of family court; they are
> complacent.  It's like saying, "Hitler wasn't a threat to me, I am an
> Arian, not a Jew".  Right now, most don't know the oppressive actions
> of the family courts or the damage it's doing to civilization.  The
> judge in Alabama with his 10 commandment monument was defeated, mostly
> for disobeying the law (he wouldn't abide by a court order, his appeal
> to the US Supremes fell short).  And now, his case is diverted into a
> battle to preserve his position on the bench, rather than defend the
> 1st amendment right to freedom of religion.

> You are side-tracked into preserving your 1st amendment right to free
> speech and to petition your government. I will face a judge on
> November 4th and I will assert rights that supercede the rights
> enumerated in all the state's Bills of Rights.  I will tell him about
> my fundamental right to parent.  A precious right that government
> cannot make any law to infringe.  I want to stay focused.  I think
> that it's as much a personal pursuit as it is a public expression of
> my love for my 3 children.  I understand that you are not likely to
> take my advice, but a well placed petition for equal parenting of
> Domenic in a Federal Court (based upon the fact that you have recently
> discovered your precious right to parent and are willing to assert
> that right now), would do you and many others a great deal of good.

It may have gotten lost in the noise, but I already did that. Made those
arguments all the way to the US Supreme Court (but they weren't

--- "Timothy Himes" <>

> I have never been in the military nor have i ever had to truly face a
> life threatening situation... well, nothing like being ordered or
> volunteering for a mission knowing that i could very well not come
> back from.

> A for my faith, i would like to address this. You are right. I have
> little or no faith in God. I do pray, but i am NOT a religious man,
> and yet i am not Athiest either.... when i pray, i pray to what i call
> the god of love, light, and mercy. To me, this is GOD.

> .... and you are right again... There are most likely a number of
> things that i could very well do to truly stand up and fight for what
> i believe and fight for my rights to my daughter. I do honestly know
> and feel that i DID NOT FIGHT AS HARD AS I COULD HAVE, perhaps not
> even near as hard as i SHOULD have.... But i do NOT want my daughter
> to suffer at all. At this point in time, just to one day have her know
> that i exist... to me, that it itself will be a win.

> I am constantly having dreams, nightmares, and day dreams about her,
> and about what happened. In these, i will not lie to you. I am an
> EXTREMELY violent person when i think of this... in my mind.  I cannot
> and will not give in to the thoughts that i have because not only are
> they wrong in nature, but these thoughts could very well hurt my
> daughter in ways that i simply am not willing to do.... To me, that
> woman that i knew, that woman that i shared my bed with nightly, that
> woman that i loved so much.... is dead. She was a lie. I morn the
> memory of what it once fealt like...  my child, my daughter, the
> product of that union.... i love so very very much.

> No John, i am not walking the halls in peaceful action and protest
> against the laws, and no i have not truly fought "peacefully" against
> these laws, nor for reform of these laws... and i am just a
> bystander...  SO... the honesty that i feel it necessary for me to
> accept.. the TRUTH that i see and feel and have come to know...  .. Is
> that i did not fight as hard as i should have... and it pains me each
> and every single day and night...  John, i let the system or laws beat
> me. I allowed them to do what they did without more than a small
> battle, that i lost.  But i did fight. I did try... i just did not try
> hard enough. THAT is what i do truly and honestly believe...

> .... and lastly... the reason i did NOT fight that hard... is because i am
> terrified deep down of what that battle will do to me and to my daughter
> if she is anything like me at all... all i want for her is the best... i
> will find her one day...

> .. Because i stood on the edge of that building in downtown... because i
> stood right there and i knew that all i had to do was jump..... and i did
> this... and i know that i am a survivor and that is ALL that kept me from
> taking that leap.. knowing that no matter what you believe, NO GOD OR
> OR DEVIL OR DEMON is going reach out with some glowing hand from the sky
> catch you. I knew then as i know now that as you said, i am only flesh and
> bone and as such i can be broken. Part of me died when i lost that case,
> when i paid that lawyer the money to fight for me, when that judge looked
> me in the eyes and i KNEW...  part of me died when i got drunk a couple
> nights before the trial... and i just KNEW that i was going to lose her
> that she was going to be taken away from me ... i never even saw her
> birth............... that can never be recoverred.

> ... Anyhow, i hope and pray the best for you and in your efforts. I will
> continue to read these messages that you send out, and i hope that ..
> maybe.. i can truly learn something from them... maybe.. i will find that
> "confidance" that you spoke of.... and maybe.. somewhere down the road,
> and your efforts may very well be the key my being able to .... to be with
> my daughter.. to be with Lynn.

> ... John, i thank you and i back you in all of your efforts. And please..
> next time that you get a chance... just never forget to hold your son and
> just tell him how much you love him... just tell him... words are so
> powerful... and so is being able to hold your mother and father...
> Mine are dead John. My mother died when i was eleven and my father died in
> 99'......

> Take care, and may the god that you truly believe and have faith in... may
> he bless you and your child.

> Good luck Mr. Murtari

Thanks for the reply.  Please don't give people in the military "too"
much credit.  No matter how dangerous the mission every soldier always
thinks, "I'm going to make it."  They are ready to sacrifice, but it is
not a certainty -- that is very hard.

I can also relate to your anger, believe me.  It was overwhelming at
times, the injustice, the pain I continue to see my son go through of
separation, the indignity of it all.  Most people accept/forget it with
time.  You meet someone else, have a child, time does heal some
wounds....  There are some that sink into bitterness, they rankle
anytime they see another parent with a child, it eats away at them and
becomes a source of life long regret...

I think I could have gone down that path, I could not forget my son or
accept what had happened.  Ever since I started my NonViolent Actions
(and this is quite surprising, even to me), almost all that anger has
faded (I won't say all).  By risking jail, I have set myself free.  I am
taking action now, I am doing something. It may cost me my livelihood
and involve a lot of "pain" -- but when I am in my 80's with failing
vision and health, using a walker to get around a little space.  I will
be able to look back and say "I swung the bat", I did my duty to my
child.  Even if it all doesn't work and not a single law changes --
there is one little boy who is going to know by actions (not by words),
how much his father loved him.  That is a good thing.

Faith is a tricky thing, I have many doubts.  I might recommend the
Meditations of Marcus Aurelius (the Roman Emperor) on stoicism.  You
may find a common cord there....

--- "winddancer" <>

> Dear John, I was knocked down when I read " I have to say that I began
> to feel like I was in Family Court and we were moving toward a
> predetermined outcome."  gosh, the words family court and
> predetermined have been the basis of my vocabulary for the last 2
> years since my disturbed son was abducted, held from medical care.

> My rights to parent were terminated by the well rehearsed words of the
> abusive, obsessed parent to the sheriff, police, principal of son's
> school, called to enforce my rights by law & our son's rights to
> health, whats "in the best interests of the child"---yet not by the
> court, not according to my custody papers, not by any evidence of
> violence, law breaking, craziness, inadequacy as a parent, my rights
> are terminated by false authority issues that allow a manipulator to
> empower these official looking people to make their own
> decisions(which happen to mimic the manipulator, who then recites the
> person's name and statements as if they were his own authoritarian
> opinion, to further his deprivation of the other parent; ) above the
> law and violate you.  This abuse has been allowed by the courts for a
> total of 17 twisted years on me---17 years of being denied the most
> obvious rights and put through the most humiliation and pain that they
> themselves would be appalled at happening to them. Yet somehow I
> deserve it.  Based on nothing but allowed parental alienation,
> bullying, manipulations, and greedy lawyers.  a crooked system to pull
> an OJ---that is, get away with murder.  And it is. The murder and
> violation of all your dreams, hopes, hard work, finances, your kids
> ditto, security, balance, health, education, the right to grow up in
> the love of 2 parents modeling cooperation for the sake of the child,
> instead of the murder of one and conditional love and manipulation of
> the other.

        VERY sorry to hear about that. So many people just don't
believe this type of stuff goes on everyday.  Even friends will
secretly look at you and think "I wonder what is wrong..."

> ... What can you do when you hire at great expense, the kind of
> professional suggested by PAS specialists, but that man fails to do
> his job, in fact, can't spot the most obvious signs of what he is
> supposed to be good at, instead, against court order, pressured by the
> other attorney(by now I didn't have one), puts out a totally
> incorrect, opinionated , public report?  Diagnosis you(not ordered to
> and not done conventionally), states the hearsay, not fact proven by
> research, of the manipulating parent, and , in effect, instead of
> helping the son, has given the offending parent and crooked lawyer
> another tool to abuse you?  I was labeled violent with children!!
> based on....?  I have mentored,24 yrs., taught, taught home school,
> nursed retarded, taught special education, licensed day care 14 yrs.,
> hospiced; he said I was severely mentally ill and in need of
> psychotropic drugs.  Again, based on?  He said my son should continue
> to live with the obsessed, abusive parent when he had been home
> already 9 months.  This man psychoanalyzed me when the order said the
> parents were not to be and no test was administered. The slander was
> sent everywhere to prove I am unfit and deserve to have my rights
> violated, included our son's doctor, who received a thick envelope
> detailing gross falsehoods., and demanding to have the only say in the
> medical care or the "insurance will be cancelled".

Yes, the "psych" evals are the most amazing things!  They can put
anything they want down on paper.  Sessions are rarely recorded on tape
for peer review, few people could even afford to hire a second opinion.
It is amazing, you don't have to have any facts at all.

> In other words, our son will suffer because he is not the most
> important thing: abusing me is. everywhere, getting a frivolous court
> order that you can't leave town at closing of escrow, getting support
> reduced to 0 & out of back support of thousands by declaring mentally
> ill son "emancipated" after throwing him out on the streets ,
> unmedicated, cancels insurance, & keeping him from school?  And
> threatening that if I file for support, I will be stuck with all of
> his attorney fees, .... Yet what?  I cannot do my own papers. There is
> no reps. here.  I can't afford one. Yet what do I do to straighten out
> something?

> Hang in there John, and best of luck.  something has got to give one
> day, lots of parents in this boat and hopefully something might be
> made better by our efforts, R.W.


                                       John Murtari
Coordinator                            AKidsRight.Org
jmurtari@AKidsRight.Org                "A Kids Right to TWO parents"
Toll Free (877) 635-1968(x-211)        http://www.AKidsRight.Org/

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