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Stole some jeans - YOUR RIGHTS / Clinton Status / Colorado Jury Proposal

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Date: Thu Feb 07 2002 - 09:43:04 EST

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Good People:

1. Stole some jeans -- here are YOUR RIGHTS!
2. Current Status with Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.
3. Letters written to Senator Clinton - what you said.
4. Bill for Jury in Family Law introduced in Colorado - more info?
5. Underwhelming response for Mother's Day/ Father's Day.

1. Stole some jeans -- here are YOUR RIGHTS!
John Murtari would like to pass on the following little 'anecdote'
about rights.  He was recently in Syracuse City Court waiting to be
heard on a motion regarding his recent arrests. The Judge was also
hearing a lot of other criminal matters and in in many cases they are
settled by a "plea bargain" without the need for trial.

In this case the person had been arrested for shoplifting several
pairs of jeans from a local mall. It appeared the proof was
overwhelming and the person was going to enter into a plea bargain.
BUT -- before the Judge would allow her to plead guilty, the following
formula was recited to the accused (and many others that day):

Do you understand that by entering into this agreement you are waiving
your right to:
a) Have an attorney represent you if you cannot afford one.
b) Have a trial before me and a Jury (if you desire) on this matter.
c) Have the District Attorney prove their case against you beyond
   a reasonable doubt.
d) Testify (if you desire) and also cross examine all witnesses who 
   may testify against you.

Imagine that!  All those protections over a few pair of jeans (must
have been designer jeans!). How many of us were denied most of these
rights when our relationship with our own children was at stake?

This may have been a City Court in New York State, but I think we all
recognize these rights as ones which are protected by the Constitution
of the United States.  We certainly feel this is a right "preserved to the people",
but if we have to -- the Constitution can be amended, as it has in the past, by

2. Current Status with Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton
will it be different this time?  Because we have the 'catalyst' of
NonViolent Action. We have at least one parent willing to risk jail to
make sure you get a straight answer -- and that will make a very big
difference as her staff reads your letters! While our elected
officials (public servants) don't have to agree with you -- you
certainly have a right to know their position on the issues and as
a group we have the "right" to attempt to influence them. 

Last Thursday, January 31st, John Murtari did get a return call from
Aprill Springfield, a legislative aid for Senator Clinton who is
looking into our request for National Reform.  She asked John to FAX
down a summary of items, which he did the next day -- to see a copy of
that letter just go to: http://www.AKidsRight.Org/clinton_notes.htm
(Her office phone and fax number are there)

While we hope for the urgent action this matter deserves -- it may
be put on the "back burner."  A recent member wrote in with:

"I wish you the best in dealing with "Hillary". Many folks out here
feel her only objective is to be elected President of the U.S. and
she'll not be cooperative in anything not directly related to this

We also agree and this is how our system is suppose to work. WE need
to make it in her best interest. What is her worst nightmare?  A
peaceful group of mothers and fathers being jailed outside her offices
simply because she is failing to respond to their reasonable requests
for action...that they want their rights to be a parent protected.

We have ALL letters written below.  Can you believe that so far only
TWO people have contacted her office?  Do you really expect her to
respond in a better manner than most of us probably would in her
position? "Just two people wrote, what's the big deal?"  If you have
written, or do write in the future -- please let us know! Don't
hesitate because you are not from New York State, Senator Clinton is
obviously a national figure regarding family issues and we are all
"lobbying" for members of her constituency, a big group -- parents and

3. Letters written to Senator Clinton
We submit the following copies of personal letters sent to Senator 
Clinton's office for your review:

------ From Alex,

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton
c/o Aprill Springfield, Legislative Aide
476 Russell Office Building
Washington, DC  20510                           January 29, 2002

Dear Ms. Springfield, 

I have been informed that you are Senator Clinton's aide who has been
assigned to field information sent in by citizens on the subject of
proposed changes in the family courts system.

As a man who finds himself caught up in what I find to be a rather
draconian structure of proceedings resulting from a divorce, let me
add my pleas for a complete review of how we in this country handle
such matters. For the record, let me state that I am what is normally
considered a solid citizen and a good parent, and because I know that
men are automatically presumed to have been abusers, I wish to state
that I have never been accused of such behavior, and would object
strenuously to anyone who ever did abuse another human being, in
marital situations or otherwise.

We have in place a monstrous structure, however, which not only seems
to criminalize parents of both genders, but does not do justice to the
best interests of children, nor to the families which produced those
children, at the times when the emotional well-being and financial
stabilities of the families are under the greatest stress.

Instead, the so-called "family" courts, and the state-run agencies
which collect and distribute child and spousal support, and the
lawyers, create and profit from perpetuating antagonism between the
parties for the benefit of these entities, and to the detriment of
families. Surely, we can develop and implement a better system than
the one we currently have, which was created to reduce welfare rolls,
reduce female poverty after divorce, and in response to the inflated
media hype about "deadbeat dads".

I sincerely hope Senator Clinton will take the time to learn about the
anguish and turmoil millions of American citizens face each day as
children are separated from one parent or another, and help in the
struggle to heal a tremendous problem facing the future of the family
in these United States. Without exaggeration, this issue is very
important to our future, and to our strength as a nation.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if I may be of assistance in
providing sources of information for Senator Clinton's edification and
enlightenment on this issue. Thank you very much for your attention to
this matter.


Alex Washington, Jr.
Instructor of Fine arts
The Hill School
Pottstown, PA 19464
Tel: (610) 970-9732

-------- from Joanne Rudman

I used the electronic form to send my letter to Hillary.  I could not
even blind copy myself because it goes directly to the person.

Basically I told her that I read about her lack of response from your
web site and that it was shameful for such a "leading" state to be so
obsolete when it comes to the rights of fathers in the family courts!
I will send a letter every month until I get a response.  It took
about 10 tries to get an answer from Washington when I was living in
Pittsburgh, PA.  Now I am living in Washington and trying to do
something here to change all that.  Our Governor, Gary Locke, is the
first oriental to become governor and is more interested in making
public appearances.  I even wrote to his wife, (a sarcastic letter)
hoping to get some response from him.  Well, it took a while.  Still,
they do nothing....

Joanne Rudman

4. Bill for Jury in Family Law introduced in Colorado.
We got alerts on the following Bill from several different mailing
lists -- but could not find the actual text?  Does anyone have the web
address where the actual text of the bill is available? It may have a
lot in common with the Family Rights Act we would like to see passed
by Congress, http://www.AKidsRight.Org/act.htm, and help us improve
our wording.

---- Sent to us by Mike Sandifer

House Bill 1275 was introduced [by Representative Mark Cloer] Friday
in the Colorado State Legislature in the wake of recent shootings.

The Bill is titled the "Parent's Right Act" and it will require a jury
trial before any parent can be denied access to their child or be
declared unfit. This will strip much of the power from the corrupt
Dept.  of Human Services and Judges.  But there is much opposition to
the Bill, especially from the Governor.  But it is an election year,
so politicians are known to do flip flops during this time.

I wish you the best in dealing with "Hillary". Many folks out here
feel her only objective is to be elected President of the U.S. and
she'll not be cooperative in anything not directly related to this

5. Underwhelming response for Mother's Day/ Father's Day.
In last weeks message we asked people to "vote" at the web site.  We
were trying to get an estimate of the number of people who would like
to get involved with visiting Members of Congress; in their offices, in
Washington, associated with Mother's Day and Father's day.  The poll
is at: http://www.AKidsRight.Org/legislat.htm

This group reaches almost 2000 people, and we have logged a total of 4
votes (and two of those were test votes from the staff!).  Please, if
you have the time -- let us know how you feel about participating.

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