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Letter from Sen. John Kerry / Fallacies of Reform (State Issue) / NonViolent Action - Feb 12th, Syracuse.

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From: Webmaster (webmaster@AKidsRight.Org)
Date: Wed Feb 04 2004 - 11:08:31 EST

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Good People & People of Faith,

This message contains info on:
1. Letter from Sen. John Kerry - Thoughts on family law.
2. Fallacy of Reform #1 - It's a state issue!
3. NonViolent Action Feb 12th - Letter to US Magistrate.

1. Letter from Sen. John Kerry - His thoughts on family law.
The item below ran on our list a few years ago without a lot of interest.
Senator Kerry wrote one of the most 'thoughtful' responses our group has
received from Members of Congress. We keep a legislative section to our
web site, http://www.AKidsRight.Org/legislative.htm, which records
meetings we have had in the past.  We know there are VERY active
parental reform groups in Massachusetts and also North Carolina (we have
visited with the staff of Senator John Edwards also - you?).

Right now we have ONE person outside the offices of Senator Hillary R.
Clinton in Syracuse, New York. CAN YOU IMAGINE the national attention we
might get by a group of parents making a "mass" visit to the offices of
Senator Kerry and Senator Edwards and asking them to clarify their
positions on reform?  We need to show them we care.

[A few years ago Rich Eichinger & Yvonne Cook got the following response
from their visit to the offices of Senator John Kerry (Massachusetts). 
He appears uncomfortable with the mix of state laws, but recognizes that
change will be difficult. Obviously, our goal is to help our
representative see that it is worth the effort -- especially when they
could be the next President!]

Office of Senator John Kerry
November 2, 2001  [original at: http://www.AKidsRight.Org/kerry.htm]

Thank you for contacting me to share your concerns about family
rights. I strongly believe in the primacy of the parent-child bond and
deeply regret hearing of cases in which that bond has been jeopardized.

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.

Nevertheless, I recognize and appreciate the concern that you have
expressed for your children, and I assure you that I will continue to
fight on behalf of America's young people while on Capitol Hill.

Thank you for sharing your views and concerns with me. Please do not
hesitate to contact me again if I may be of service to you.

John F. Kerry 
United States Senator

2. Fallacy of Reform #1 - It's a state issue!
You know, we've spent so much time talking about what we want as a group
-- we will now be spending a few messages on highlighting ideas we
think are not helping our basic goal of Family Law reform.  We welcome
your FEEDBACK as we run these "fallacies" and we will share your
thoughts with members of the group -- especially disagreements!  Perhaps
defining what we find counter to our goals -- we will also better
explain our goals?

Why do we call these "fallacies?"  Because they potentially represent
ideas that simply do not add up in the overall reform effort.  They
represent ideas that are inconsistent with an integrated approach to
reform.  But of course, that all depends on your goal?

If you think Family Law is basically okay, that the present power given
to a combination of Judges and Social Workers to determine how fit you
are as a parent, and how much time you deserve as a parent is basically
correct -- and just needs a few tweaks as far as procedure -- then maybe
state government is the place.  Maybe change local procedure to get some
"mediators" involved, or perhaps some binding arbitration, or maybe a
committee of citizens to decide if you get 30% of the time with your
child or 65%.  Each case is so different!  

Maybe we just need to make those Social Workers who can take your kids
have just a few more classes and they'll do just fine?  After all, there
are so many families in the system, we don't have time to do everyone,
as long as we get it right 80% of the time -- we are doing great!  Maybe
parents in Alabama need more interference in their lives, where those
people in Montana want a little less interference?  Valid feelings.

Maybe some of you don't really think it's a state issue, but the effort
can grow from there.  It's a good first step toward organization and
taking things to the next level. This certainly has historical

If you like to use words like "human right" or "civil right" when talking
about the value of your relationship with your children -- that is NOT
something state government normally decides!  Many of us are seeking change
through the courts?  If your State's highest court ruled that child custody
matters are under the "particular" control of the Courts -- would you just
quit? If the US Supreme Court said the same thing -- quit?  OR, would you
still feel that "right" existed?

Each state has the ability to establish its own criminal code and
procedures, but is still required to remain within the
U.S. Constitution's guarantees of: a presumption of innocence, real
proof, and the protection of a Jury. There has been an explosion in well
intentioned Family Law produced in each state, but without the firm
guidance of our Constitution. The words "best interest of the child"
have been used to justify any state action. WE ARE NOT calling for MORE
FEDERAL INTERFERENCE, but less. The recognition of established
constitutional protections to protect families

We only ask the same principles used to protect liberty, also protect
the bond between parents and children (probably an even more valued
freedom) - the presumption of equal parenting, real proof, and the
protection of a Jury.

3. NonViolent Action Feb 12th - Letter to US Magistrate.
Below is some recent correspondence in the ongoing effort to arrange
a meeting with Senator Clinton.  For full detail see:

It is important to remember that this legal proceeding is not the
"focus" of our effort.  One can almost say that Senator Clinton's staff
is "justified" in ignoring a call for a meeting on this issue since it
only seems VERY important to one person?  NonViolent Action is one
positive means we can use to show how VERY important reform is.

January 30th, 2004
Honorable Gustav J. DiBianco 
US Magistrate Judge 
RE: United States v. Murtari 
P.O. Box 7396 
Syracuse, NY 13261-7396

Dear Judge DiBianco:

... I do plan on returning to the Federal Building on February 12th to
continue efforts to peacefully petition Senator Clinton for help in
Family Law reform. More attempts will occur after that one. I write this
letter in hope of avoiding unnecessary expense and valuable time both
you and Mr. Southwick have to spend on other matters. For my family I
would like to see these items brought to trial and sentence much
sooner. Having to serve a string of consecutive sentences is a hardship
I would like to avoid for my family if possible.

I would like to "suggest" both to the Court and the US Attorneys office
the following. For a while I had considered modifying my behavior to
'stand still' in the hall, but I will not do that. On February 12th I
will behave as I always have at the Federal Building when petitioning
the Senator. If the Federal Police can treat me in a similar manner to
the other arrests which occurred on the 14th floor, and the US Attorneys
office can charge me with similar counts as they had before - I am
willing to forgo assignment of counsel and calling witnesses for a

I assume there is some way for both sides to stipulate during
arraignment that the testimony and evidence in the prior matter is
sufficient - and you can just decide the matter of guilt or innocence in
chambers and I can return within a few days for sentencing? I do want to
make it clear that I am not pleading guilty or "no contest" to future
charges. I still believe I have been involved in no criminal conduct in
the building.

Included below are copies of some recent correspondence which may help
show why this effort is so important. I also want to thank the Court for
allowing me to have Christmas with Domenic. We all had a very nice time! 
Next week my mother and I fly out to see him for the weekend. It is his
birthday and he turns 11. Our next 'big vacation' is Spring Break, I
hope to have him here in New York from March 20-29th.

Respectfully yours,

John Murtari 635-1968, x-211 

Letter to Senator Clinton, from jail 
[ http://www.AKidsRight.Org/actionc_syr/clinton10.htm  ] 
E-Mail to Ms. Cheryl Dunlap  
[ http://www.AKidsRight.Org/actionc_syr/dunlap-clinton.htm ]

CC: Asst. US Attorney Richard Southwick, Esq. 
Hanley Federal Building, Room 900
100 S. Clinton Street
Syracuse, NY  13261

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