Murtari Trial Moved Up / Case Law Request

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From: John Murtari (jmurtari@AKidsRight.Org)
Date: Tue Mar 04 2008 - 17:37:34 EST

Good People and People of Faith,

    This is a personal message about some recent events and some 
thoughts I would like to share. It's being written from my jail cell on 
Sunday night, to go out in the mail Monday, and hopefully typed and 
turned into a list message Wednesday! Click here 
<> for a detailed history.


    On Saturday I received legal mail from the Federal District Court 
Clerk. It was a brief notice that my new trial date would be March 18th 
at 0930. It was quite a surprise!

    As many of you know a few weeks ago I wrote a letter 
<> to Federal Magistrate 
Peebles. I wanted to have my trial date moved up to the 19th so that 
Domenic and I could have Spring Break / Easter together. It was quickly 
denied. It appears the trial date change was initiated by a schedule 
conflict for my attorney / adviser assigned by the court. I'd like to 
express my sincere thanks to those of you who wrote the Judge and US 
Attorney, for your prayers, and for God's help.

    Last week we sent a message regarding trial event planning. We have 
updated the plan <> 
for the new trial date. It would certainly be great to see some of you 
there in person!

    Teri Stoddard is in the process of moving expects an interruption in 
her Internet service. Kevin Purdy has agreed to fill in for her until 
she gets settled in. You can email Kevin at


    I don't have a lot of time to get ready and I'm not going to 
complain to the judge since I wanted the accelerated trial date. The 
jail "law library" is limited.

    During my last trial I was found not guilty on two of the four 
charges when a member of the group sent me a Federal case abstract from 
the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that said, "no reasonable person could 
presume that writing with chalk would damage a sidewalk."

    You can see what I'm being charged with here, criminal contempt for 
disobeying his order 
<> to not write with 
chalk on the Federal Plaza. For further background, please read the 
letter and motion I submitted, which is still pending, requesting 
dismissal. It has details on the points below.

    * The matter is being tried as a "petty offense." What is the
      maximum penalty?
    * How bad does a jail law library have to be in supporting case
      searches to justify a dismissal?
    * In a finding of "criminal contempt," is there any defense if the
      behavior is motivated by strong moral conviction?
    * Validity of a judicial order that "creates" a new crime. e.g.
      Federal / GSA regulations only  prohibit "damaging" government
      property -- can it be extended to include chalk?
    * Do the quiet actions of one person in a "traditional public forum"
      located on GSA property require a permit? The Syracuse Federal
      Plaza has been the site of many protests in the past and is also
      used for music festivals.

    Time is limited. The trial scheduling order calls for legal 
submissions by March 13. You can reply with an email message and link to 
the case details. If possible, I would really appreciate just having the 
case details printed and mailed to me. (Please include your return 
address in your letter. The jail sometimes tears off return address labels.)

John Murtari
P.O. Box 143
Jamesville, NY 13078

A Kid's Right to Both Parents!
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