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Your FEEDBACK & Charges Dismissed in US District Court

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Date: Wed Mar 20 2002 - 11:21:49 EST

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Good People & People of Faith,

This message contains:

1. Your FEEDBACK -- Letter to Senator Clinton / from Senator Kerry
2. Your FEEDBACK -- Discipline of Lent
3. Murtari Update - Charges dismissed in US District Court

1. Your FEEDBACK -- Letter to Senator Clinton
Some very good feedback on this message, see original at:

----- John Miller  --  (

[A third-party Presidential Candidate who is concerned with reform, and
will take the time to visit Senator Clinton's Washington office in person.
Many thanks!]

> I got the copy of the letter from Richard Eichinger,
> so I called the phone number for her office, talked with Timothy Perry,
> who put me through to April Springfield's message-o-matic, where I left
> a short intro to me and my connection to you, with concerns expressed.
> Got all that?
> So the humble ball from my court is rolling, and will gain speed when I
> arrive in the Big Town in person. Can't wait!
> Let me know if there are new specifics that I can help address up there
> - or down there for you...

------ William Spence ---

> > I don't even understand the thinking that says you MUST get along with
> > your ex in order for the kids to continue a positive relationship with
> > both their parents.  If you got along in the 1st place you might still
>This is all too often an `excuse' to eliminate one parent, and even an
>incentive to intensified conflict for the parent who stands to `win' if
>the court decides conflict proscribes joint custody.    It's widely
>recognized as a `proper' way for courts to rule, and known as the
>Goldstein-Freud-Solnit doctrine.   What's really needed is a legal and
>social norm that instead recognizes a parental duty---on a par with
>feeding, sheltering, educating, etc., a child---to respect and
>facilitate a child's relationship with the other parent---regardless of
>other aspects of the inter-parental `relationship'.
> >  ...
> > alone, that the state must show, beyond a reasonable doubt, with a
> > preponderance of evidence that there is a compelling state interest to
> > remove a child from his or her parent.  To achieve such a violation of
>For a termination of parental rights in dependency court, the standard
>of proof is ``clear and convincing evidence''; it's much stronger than
>``preponderance of evidence'' (applying in most civil cases), although
>weaker than ``beyond a reasonable doubt'' (for capital/`life' criminal
>situations).   I think the `clear' standard should apply in all family
>court custody actions: indeed, termination of parental rights should be
>the _only_ process by which a parent can be disenfranchised.
> > rights, every citizen has the protections described in the 14th
> > amendment.  You must not be deprived of life, liberty or property
> > without due process.  That requires the state to bring the accused to
> > trial with a jury if they request one.  The accused is innocent until 
>Actually, although the 7th Amendment requires juries in federal civil
>cases, it's never been `incorporated' to apply to states.
>It might be interesting---as an alternative to suggesting `federal
>family law'---to ask Congress to amend the Federal Judiciary Act to
>require federal courts to review state family court orders when a
>federal question---most notably 14th Amendment issues---is involved.
>At present they refuse on the grounds of the `domestic relations
>abstention': an historical, pre-civil war, precedent by which state
>courts are deferred to absolutely on matters of ``divorce, alimony, and
>child custody''.   It seems to have engendered the perverse notion that
>family courts are exempt from respecting `federal', fundamental rights
>and liberties.

------ William Spence ---  (another thoughtful message)

 John F. Kerry, US Senator, Massachusetts has written:
"Determinations of parental rights and child custody arrangements are
made on a case-by-case basis through state court proceedings (except
in rare circumstances in which Federal law and Federal courts might be
implicated).  Under this system, in accordance with the requirements
of the Constitution, we entrust the courts with responsibility to
ensure that the best interests of our children are served.
For complex historical, and Constitutional reasons, each state makes
its own laws concerning child custody matters. While it might be more
consistent to have Federal legislation similar to that which you
advocate through the Family Rights Act, there are many Constitutional
considerations which could stymie the enactment and enforcement of
such legislation by the Federal government."

> The federal courts have for 80-some years now recognized very
> strong, fundamental parental rights protected by the Constitution;
> they have also recognized equally critical, basic rights for
> children, which the state is burdened to enforce.

> The domestic relations abstention doctrine is not constitutional;
> it's stare decisis: precedent, in fact in large measure based on
> dubious readings of archaic English ecclesiastical and equity court
> procedure.  The foundational case came down from the Taney Court
> (shortly after Dred Scott) at a time---prior to the Civil War and
> the 14th Amendment---when the thinking about fundamental rights and
> the structure of the federal-state legal relationship was vastly
> different than it is today.

> I'm suggesting _only_ that the door be opened to allow scrutiny of
> state family statutory law from a constitutional perspective, and
> anticipate that much of it will be struck down if the parental and
> children's rights standards developed for adoption, education,
> juvenile justice, etc., are applied to custody cases.  The federal
> government does not legislate voting rules or the conduct of
> elections for national, state or local offices: but it
> does---through the Constitution and the US Code---insist on their
> consonance with certain basic human rights and values.

2. Your FEEDBACK -- Discipline of Lent

John Murtari's recent message got a lot of response,

An intro from John: "The Lent message got a lot of response --
definitely no gray area there... It seems the moment you talk about
religion, it so easy to be categorized as a "something." It makes it
difficult to talk about Faith -- on the other hand, if our Group's
model is NonViolent Action, that has a strong basis in Faith (and I
think a positive Faith).

At times I want to downplay the religion, but then maybe we are doing
ourselves (and our Faith in God) an injustice?  I don't have any doubt
that it will be people with a positive Faith that will be willing to
make the sacrifices involved to bring reform.  We need to bring those
people together..."

------ Jay N --


------ James Gleeson  ---

> May the Lord bless you today and always.  Thank you for such an
> encouraging message.  It blesses my heart to know that in the mist
> of all of our problem and suffering as non-custodial fathers, that
> there are still people out there that fully trust in the power of
> our Saviour.  I too, put my life in front of the Lord.  He is the
> one that has given me strength during these difficult times.  I
> don't know where I would be right now if it wasn't for the Loving
> care of my Heavenly Father.  To God be the glory!

------ Chuck  ---

> Beautiful sermon here.  Absolutely, it was some remnant of faith and
> knowledge of God, that I carried from my parents, that helped me
> through the most difficult times in my life.  Without which, I would
> probably have become just another memory and notch in the suicide
> statistics. The more I look at how to make a better world of
> domestic law for my children, how to protect them from what happened
> to me, the more I realize that prayer for them and faith in God is
> the best thing I can do. The path becomes clear through these means
> and we are all touched in different ways.

------ Rex Rutkowski ---

> Subject: Re: The Discipline of Lent:  How to Be on Top of Your Game
> Subject is ignored!!!!!!!!!!

------ Robert Hackley  ---

> People of Faith, Yes I am sure God Loves Everyone and there is a
> plan for everyone.  Therefore I see we, the ones who have been
> robbed, abused and our families destroyed by the SYSTEM are to take
> up the sling shot and a well selected stone and KILL the existing

> Apparently we haven't found the right stone.  Satan has and always
> had control of the earth since the fall of man.  Proof: Satan
> offered the whole world to Christ in the wilderness when Christ was
> at his weakest point.  The only workable stone to KILL this SYSTEM
> is to have a change of heart in those within the SYSTEM who are
> robbing us and destroying our families.  If we could outlaw, Pride,
> Greed and Ignorance and enforce these laws, things would be a lot
> different!

----- Marianne Parker  --

> Thank you for the timely words and Word.  May God richly bless you
> more and more and may you be open to receive his bounty and love.

---- Kathi Foster --

> Thanks, John, for this especially moving (and timely) letter.  Words
> that so many of us need to hear!  Easter's richest blessings to you
> in all your efforts!

3. Murtari Update - Charges dismissed in US District Court
(For background see http://www.AKidsRight.Org/actionb_syr)

The pending charges against John Murtari for Disorderly Conduct and
Failure to Obey a Federal Officer were dismissed today.  John appeared
in front of U.S. District Judge Peoples in the Syracuse Courthouse for
the Northern District of New York. (The matter was originally to be
heard by a Magistrate, but none were available at the time.)

Assistant US Attorney Southwick told the Judge that his office was
going to move to have the charges dismissed -- but that he wanted to
make some comments "for the record" first.  Mr. Southwick then
explained that he had done hours of investigation and research on the
matter. He described John's actions as a "protest", that he was
attempting to influence two US Senators in the building to support
some legislation.

He also made it very clear that John's actions were very peaceful,
quiet, and nonthreatening.  He had spoken with the Federal Officers
involved in the arrests and had also talked with GSA and Department of
Justice staff in Washington.  He acknowledged that there were some
clear "first amendment issues" involved, but that there was a permit
process and that "protests" were allowed outside the building. He had
been directed by Acting US Attorney Pavone to ask for dismissal of the
charges, but also said he thought the Government might have been able
to succeed in a prosecution. He wanted John to know their might be
prosecution in the future if the conduct was repeated ...

The Judge appeared to follow his presentation with some interest, but
before dismissing the charges asked again about the "Failure to Obey"
charge and whether there had been any physical confrontation... Mr.
Southwick said there was no type of violence at all, that John had
cooperated with the Police Officers, but had simply refused, when
ordered, to leave the building.  The Judge dismissed the charges.

Expect more on this in a latter message from John.

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