Letter to a Judge: Behind $90,000 in support and wants to drive?!

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From: John Murtari (jmurtari@AKidsRight.org)
Date: Sun Sep 21 2008 - 18:51:29 EDT

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Good People & People of Faith,

[ A recent letter sent from a Parent to a Village Justice. A parent
with a suspended license and at last 'computer report' -- $90,000
behind in child support!  The Town of Lyons is small, about 5000
people, in upstate New York. This is a REAL letter.]

                                                34 Franklin St.
                                                Lyons, NY 14489
                                                September 17, 2008
Judge Nicholas Forgione
Village Justice
79 William St.
Lyons, NY 14489

Dear Judge Forgione, DA Healey and other officials:

I was surprised by a DMV letter stating my license would be suspended
on Sep 20th for an unpaid fine (it already is).  It told me I would be
a 'Scofflaw' (a person who flouts the law) if I didn't pay.  What
really surprised me is that after a recent Village Court session I had
attended regarding a neighbor's dog, a Lyons Police Officer stopped
me, told me about the suspension letter, and said I should take care
of it. I hope this letter helps.

I hope you and the DA's office recall the Trial I had back in the fall
of 2005 when I was stopped by a Trooper for a bad turn signal and then
cited for Aggravated Unlicensed Operation.  I sent you and the DA a
letter and sworn affidavit admitting to driving on over a hundred
other occasions in those few months. It was during 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.

I've driven hundreds of more times since then and was stopped late at
night a few months ago in Macedon while I was driving my son home from
the Airport.  I didn't even have a bad turn signal. It was a slow
night and the officer just ran my plates and pulled me over.  As the
DA knows that case is still pending with another appearance on Oct 7th
which I will have to drive to.

I have nothing to hide in my own hometown and certainly nothing I am
ashamed of.  The Police Chief in Lyons may not know my situation and
hopefully this letter will help explain it to him and make it clearer
to others who are in a better position to change the laws.

I will talk a lot about child support and family in this letter and
nothing about driving.  That is the great problem in this whole matter
there is nothing wrong with my driving ability, but I can't defend
myself without challenging the reason my license was suspended back
Child Support (over $90,000 with interest!).

How can it happen?  Imagine a support level based on twice your actual
income for the last 12 years.  Imagine your child being moved to the
other side of the country and a former spouse who wants to alienate
you. Imagine all the travel expenses to see your child and realize
they ARE NOT COUNTED as support.  Imagine a very wealthy former spouse
your child is not needy, but they want you very much and you love

Imagine repeated attempts to get things changed, but you are rebuffed,
the courts are too busy.  Imagine the best legal advice you get from a
Family Court assigned counsel is, "John, just pay the money, you'll
see your son when he's 18." It is a terrible system.  If you have time
my website has a complete chronology of my 'child support' history,
including copies of transcripts and most
documents. http://www.AKidsRight.Org/support_jm.htm

It shows 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).  My work
decisions allow me to maximize my time with my son. Above all I love
my son Domenic, very, very much and he loves me.  He is now a young
man, 15 years old, and we are fortunate to have a close relationship
to both our benefits.

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 can most heartily
assure you that if I had the money, I would pay it it is not worth all
this time & struggle.

I know many of you personally and you know my family. 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

   That is not justice. But the primary goal of any reform effort can
   not be about money and child support.

   How can "due process" rights be preserved without 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.

I love and support my child. I had wonderful parents and I want to
pass that on to Domenic.  While I certainly believe that "no one is
above law"; I hope we also agree that "no one's human dignity is
beneath the law." I've include the letter from DMV.  

As I told you the day of the trial, I will pay no fine and be a
willing participant to my own punishment.  If you wish to sentence me
to some jail time as 'payment' to finally resolve this that decision
is yours. The County can take care of me.  Respectfully yours,

                                        John Murtari 

CC: DA Richard Healey , Hall of Justice, Suite 202, Lyons, NY  14489
CC: Lyons Police Chief Michael Donalty, 72 William St, Lyons, NY 14489
CC: Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, 100 S. Clinton St., Syracuse, NY 13261
CC: Senator Charles Schumer, 100 S. Clinton St., Syracuse, NY 13261
CC: Assemblyman Robert Oaks, 10 Leach Road, Lyons, NY 14489

P.S. I forgot it was me!  This election season is a perfect time for us
to achieve some national attention.  I'm still looking for parents
willing to join me outside the offices of Senator Clinton in October,
http://www.AKidsRight.Org/clinton -- it would be great if similar
effort could be focused on the Presidential candidates. 

Best regards!
                                       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/
A Kid's Right to Both Parents!
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