Loving Parent volunteers for Jail to focus attention on need for reform.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, July 31st, 2006
Syracuse, NY (Onondaga County Courthouse) – John Murtari, a resident of Lyons, NY, was sentenced to a six month jail sentence by Family Court Judge Bryan Hedges at the Jamesville Correctional Facility. Murtari turned down an offer of probation in accepting the jail sentence. He will be starting his sentence on July 31st. Hedges found him in willful violation of a support order involving his son. Murtari, a coordinator for an Internet based Parent’s group, AKidsRight.Org, strongly disagrees with the finding and in a prior statement (below) sought to explain how much he loves his child. He was forced to choose between emotional support for his child, or just paying money and having limited contact.
He has begun his campaign of 'non-cooperation' with an unjust jail sentence by lying down and not voluntarily eating or drinking while in captivity. He is demanding that jail officials keep him hydrated via IV and fed via feeding tube if necessary. Members of the group are contacting Federal legislators Sen. Hillary Clinton and Congressman James Walsh regarding the matter along with other local officials.
The Group’s web site highlights the NonViolent philosophy and practice Martin Luther King used to break the grip of segregation. It hopes a similar attitude will help bring reform and also healing to parents who are often involved in bitter child custody disputes with each other or social services. If the nation can observe loving mothers and fathers making personal sacrifice to call attention to their unjust separation from their children – positive reform can happen.
Mr. Murtari, a native of Lyons, New York and a former Air Force pilot and Academy graduate is a local coordinator for the group. He is the President of a small Internet company located in Baldwinsville, NY. In contrast to the bitterness and anger which is normally associated with protest efforts and family issues -- Murtari plans a positive attitude. The Group is hoping for Congressional Hearings into Family Law reform so that group members affected by the present patchwork of laws across the nation will have a chance to tell their stories.
They want passage of a Federal Family Rights Act to recognize and protect the parent/child bond. It would presume Fit & Equal parents and require a criminal conviction proving demonstrated harm to the child, with jury protection, before that bond can be broken by any official.
$60,000 dollars behind - what about that!?
Well, it's easier than you think. Just imagine an initial support level based on twice your income. Imagine your five year old child then being relocated to the other coast and being given 'visitation.' Now, add a former spouse that blocks phone contact. Between airline tickets, accommodations, rental car & expenses -- each 'visit' is almost $1000.
Include three times a year when your child is home with you, but you fly with them back & forth -- three sets of tickets, about another $1000. Pretty soon you are talking real money! But what about your needy child? Aren't shoes & food more important than plane tickets? Suppose your former spouse's family are almost millionaires -- your kid doesn't want for material things, just you.
Lastly, repeatedly file for support modifications, but have them thrown out of Court because the local 'officials' know you and don't want to change anything. Be assigned a public defender (Mr. William Bartholomae) who tells you, "John, just pay the money -- you'll see your son when he's 18."
I've actually spent about $60,000 in support of my child on much less actual income -- but it doesn't count at all? For complete details and legal documents see below. I only know one thing of 'empirical' evidence to support my decision. My son is 13 now, living on the other side of the Country with a former spouse who sought to alienate us. We just completed an enjoyable six week summer vacation and he wishes he could be with me more.
In the last 7 years I have flown out there 4 times a year for visits, and 2 times a year to pick him up for vacations here. How many of those could I have traded away -- and not lost our relationship? I did not want to find out. You?
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