[AKidsRight.Org] Tomorrow - Start of 6 months in jail OR start of something new?

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From: John Murtari (jmurtari@akidsright.org)
Date: Sun Jul 30 2006 - 20:33:57 EDT

Good People & People of Faith,

Tomorrow, at about 4 PM, I'll report to the Jamesville Correctional
Facility (near Syracuse, NY) for a six month sentence for what the
system says is a 'willful failure to support my child.'  If you are
new to this and need the background, please check

Tomorrow I'll tell the system:

  "No, I won't answer any processing questions."
  "No, I won't walk with you or go where you say -- you'll have 
       to drag me."
  "No, I won't eat your food or drink your water -- you'll have
       to keep me hydrated via IV, and feed me via tube."
  "No, I'm not doing this to protest jail conditions or the
       treatment of prisoners.  I'm doing this because I do not
       belong here and an unjust system sent me here."
  "No, nothing you can do will change this until I am released
       from jail and have my freedom again."
  "No, I don't want to hurt myself."

  "Yes, I will talk with you and treat you with courtesy and respect."
  "Yes, I will tell you how very, very much I love my son."
  "Yes, I'm doing this because I should not be a prisoner.
   I should not be in jail.  My most basic rights are being
  "Yes, I wish to make myself a burden if I'm kept a prisoner."
  "Yes, I know this will make your job a burden. I'm sorry.
   But I'm not the reason this is happening.  The system isn't
   working....basic family rights are not protected"

I'll tell you I am a bit anxious about what is going to happen.  How
far will I have to go?  How much sacrifice will be required?  Have I
done all the preparation necessary to get ready?

Many thanks to the kind words of support many of you have sent in.
Especially to Teri Stoddard, our PR person, teri@AKidsRight.Org, and
Kevin Purdy, who will be handling my email, contact@AKidsRight.Org.
Also for the good advice of Jane Spies, Lark5000@aol.com .

How to help
The system will want to 'bury' me and minimize any outside effect of
what I am about to do.  Teri and Kevin have volunteered to help in a
special way and do what they can.  Your participation with them is
welcome.  Check this link for how to help by contacting officials and
the media: http://www.AKidsRight.Org/support_jm_contact.htm

Visits at Jail
If you live in the Syracuse area I would welcome you to visit me
at the Jamesville Correctional Facility.(http://www.ongov.net/Correction)
Because of my planned noncooperation, my ability to communicate with
the outside will be very limited.  Having people visit and talk to me
is the best way to get the word out and also let jail officials know
people are interested.  I will enter on Monday, it would be great to
see people Tuesday or Wednesday!

An inmate is allowed two visits/week, with a maximum of two
people/visit.  The hours are posted at their web site. To make sure no
limits are exceeded, please contact Kelly Button (kbutton@thebook.com,
877-635-1968,x-215) to let him know your plans.  He can let you know
what visit times are available.

Effective? - Faith, Love & Personal Sacrifice - No 'nastiness'
If you reread what I said above, nothing bad.  If you read my letter
to the Judge below, nothing bad.  I talk about how much I love my son
and care for him. So how do I make my point?  Where is the
forcefulness in the message?  Doesn't it help make our point if we
punch someone in the face?  No. Can't we at least call them bad names,
denigrate them as we have been treated?  No.

My planned action.  What I am going to do.  What I am ready to
sacrifice.  Our actions, our voluntary sacrifices, are the EXCLAMATION
POINT to what we say.  We can change hearts that way.

How can a person act that way? We have talked about the historical
basis for NonViolent Action as most recently practiced by Gandhi and
King -- Faith in a loving God. http://www.AKidsRight.Org/civil.htm

I pretty confident we are going to see a good result.  You?

Dear Judge Hedges,                              July 28, 2006

I was recently sentenced to six months on the basis of a child support
violation. Jail is to begin on July 31st and I hope the term can be
reduced or eliminated. I write hoping unnecessary expenses and
workload can be avoided and to ease meaningless suffering on my part
and for my child.

If you have time our group's website has a complete chronology of this
matter, including copies of transcripts and most
documents. http://www.AKidsRight.Org/support_jm.htm 

A review should show the proper venue for this matter should be Wayne
County. I believe an intentional effort was made to mislead the Court
regarding my living address.

I pleaded with everyone and had no relief. I did phone testimony in a
last minute arrangement while taking care of my ill mother in our
home. She died two weeks later.  Most importantly, it will show how
strongly I hold the duties of family. I gave up an Air Force Pilot
career to help with my folks (I'm an only child). In the last five
months of my mom's life I sacrificed work to stay at home full time
and care for her with the help of Hospice staff. Above all I love my
son Domenic, very, very much -- and he loves me.

My work decisions allow me to maximize my time with my son. Even with
only a brief visit that closeness was visible to the Probation officer
who submitted his report.

We each make our own family choices. These were my decisions. I like
to think I'm respected in my local community and my church. A
well-formed conscience is a valuable guide to morality and I have
always tried to do the right thing. I have made numerous good faith
efforts to try to get support resolved both through modifications and
directly with my former spouse. All my efforts have been either
ignored or rebuffed.

I am not a criminal. I am not selfish. I'm simply a parent who loves
his child and wants to do what is best for him. I have done nothing
that deserves jail. I can most heartily assure you that if I had the
money, I would pay it -- it is not worth all this time & struggle.

I'm sure you care about children and families, as do most people that
currently practice in the courts. This is not a people problem. We
have many good people in the courts. The family law system has too few
checks & balances to govern itself. Because I run a business, the
system plays the law of averages and assumes I'm hiding money without
any real proof. That is not justice. But the primary goal of my reform
effort is not about money and child support.

How can 'due process' rights be preserved without clear legal
protection or recognition of my human right to be considered a fit &
equal parent to my child? Before we take a person's freedom, we have a
strong presumption of innocence, a right to counsel, and the
protection of a jury. The same should apply to interference with the
parent/child bond.  Real proof and unbiased jurors to decide. We need
a Federal Family Rights Act.

Many think a letter such as this is a waste of time. I do not. I have
to try in hope that a lot of pain to my son and I can be
avoided. Pending jail has already adversely affected my business and
six months or sixty months will not (and should not) change my
behavior -- I love and support my child. I had wonderful parents and I
want to pass that on to Domenic. I am not just an ATM machine and
money alone is not support.  

As a moral individual, a former member of our armed forces, and a
parent who cares about his family -- I am at a loss at how to further
respond to such an unjust sentence of jail. In 2000, this happened to
me and I lost a summer vacation with my son. I was a model prisoner
and just "went along."

This year I was fortunate to have my vacation with my son. We were
both very afraid it might not happen. I'm approaching my 50th birthday
and it is silly and an indignity to live under the threat of being
thrown in jail for six months any time a petition is filed by my
former spouse. I also must act with the confidence of my convictions.

Once I report to the jail I will not cooperate with any processing or
orders. I will not be rude or resist, but just remain passive. I will
not eat or drink voluntarily. I expect them to use medical means like
an IV to keep me hydrated and fed. This is NOT a hunger strike.

My only fair response to such an unjust sentence is to maximize the
amount of effort that must be used to hold me captive as a prisoner. I
am not unfamiliar with jail and I know how they may react -- it will
be an uncomfortable experience for all involved.  Judge, I hope it is
not necessary, but I have no other recourse and the reform effort may
gain some valuable national publicity from this effort. I hope to have
many good parents on the outside acting in support of my actions.

I hope and pray this can all be avoided. You said you were ready to
retire and were not influenced by politics. You said your only options
were 'jail' or 'probation' -- I hope you can find the third way.

Respectfully yours,
John Murtari

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