Murtari arrest details & why life in jail?

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From: John Murtari (
Date: Sat Feb 06 2010 - 16:53:48 EST

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Good People & People of Faith,

This message has a few more details on my arrest last Wednesday
(Jan. 27) and some thoughts on being in jail.  It was written on
Feb. 3rd and mailed from the jail.  Hopefully you'll see it during the

Sorry for the delay.  I had to wait to get some writing material.  I
usually try to call, but they don't make it easy or cheap.  I could
complain about a lot of things in jail.  What do you think about that?
Ever thought about "Prisoner Rights," don't they deserve to be treated
with dignity, respect & compassion?

You probably haven't thought about it much.  Most of you have never
been in jail -- why should you even care?  Who has time?

Oh, this is supposed to be about "Family Rights."  Do we see the
analogy?  The way you feel about "Prisoner Rights" is how a lot of
people feel about "Family Rights."  They don't understand, haven't
been through it, and they rely on first impression & bias -- because
it hasn't happened to them!  The same with segregation -- how do we
change people's feelings?  NonViolent Action,

Trespassing/Chalk Arrest Details
Last Wednesday (Jan. 27) I decided to move my chalk writing from the
County Courthouse to an older, adjacent building that used to be the

There was a County Board of Supervisors meeting that morning and I
planned to leave a message on the wall and then quietly picket on the
sidewalk.  A lot of people usually attend the meetings.

I had written about half of my "MR. OAKS -- HELP FAMILY RIGHTS"
message when someone yelled, "stop what you're doing!"  I was
surprised to see it was the Wayne County Sheriff, Mr. Barry Virts.  He
also attends the meetings.

He approached me, told me he respected the goal of my message, but
that I couldn't write on the building -- walking around would be okay.

I explained to him that I had done this before, that it wasn't a
problem, and that I'd be happy to clean it up after the meeting was
over.  I told him I would continue and he went into the building.

I finished the writing and started my quiet picket.  Just saying hello
to people as they arrived and holding my small placard with pictures
of parents & children.  For more background/photos see:

After the meeting started I was approached by a Sheriff's Deputy.  He
told me I couldn't walk outside the building and if I didn't leave he
would arrest me for trespass.  He said it was County property & I
didn't have a valid reason to be there.

I told him it was public property and I was there to petition my
Assemblyman, Mr. Oaks, for reform.  He told me I should go to his
office.  When I refused to leave he put the handcuffs on me and
arrested me for trespass.

While I was sitting in his Patrol Car they added charges for "making
graffiti" and carrying "graffiti instruments" -- chalk.  I was
arraigned by Lyons Village Justice Forgione and he set a $1000.00 cash

My next Court date is Wednesday, Feb. 10, in Lyons at 0830, anyone is
welcome to attend.  The prisoners sit in front, so if you give me a
nod, I'll be able to see you.

You are welcome to write me at the jail.  I always send a reply to any
letter -- it's nice to hear from people.  Please also include your
return address in your letter.  My assigned Counsel, Mr. Andrew
Correia, is hopeful I should be released on the 10th.

Your greatest help would be to contact these officials.  Let them know
you care.  Many Thanks!

You can contact Assemblyman Oaks by:
phone: 315-946-5166
write: Assemblyman Robert Oaks, 10 Leach Road, Lyons, NY 14489

You are also welcome to call/write these officials:
* DA Richard Healey , Hall of Justice, Suite 202, Lyons, NY 14489
(Phone: 315-946-5905 / Fax: 315-946-5911)

* Village Justice Nicholas Forgione, 79 William St., Lyons, NY 14489
(Phone: 315-946-4565)

I always appreciate letters, my jail address:
John Murtari, P.O. Box 477, Lyons, NY 14489

Thoughts on Jail
This is just my 7th day in jail.  It's noisy, cold, hard to sleep, not
a lot of privacy -- and I'm constipated!  But you get used to it.

Why should I volunteer for this?  Why would I ask other parents to
join me in similar efforts -- because history says it works.  I've
seen it work in changing the attitudes of people who haven't been
through it!

Remember seeing this prayer: "Almighty and ever living God hear our
prayer for justice and give me the courage & faith needed to meet the
challenges of reform.  Help all people recognize the Right of Parents
to be secure & treated equally in their opportunity to love their
children.  Inspire us with your divine love, not only for our
children, but for all our brothers & sisters."

Anger or some desire to make a "screaming statement" won't help you
once you get here.  You've got to have faith and the love to want to
help others and accept the personal sacrifice.  I barely get through
it at times and don't feel I'm strong in faith and certainly not the
courageous type.

But I've always loved my family and tried to carry myself with
dignity.  After what happened in Family Court, my self respect & the
pain I watched my son go through pushed me towards NonViolent Action.

As Group Coordinator I can't call on people to take actions I haven't
done myself; also, it would be great to see a positive political step
happen as a result.  That would certainly get others involved &
actions by groups of parents would be very effective.

It is not about them.  Change is within our grasp -- we just need the
courage & faith to take action.
John Murtari
Coordinator AKidsRight.Org
jmurtari@AKidsRight.Org A Kid's Right to BOTH parents"
(315) 944-0999(x-211) http://www.AKidsRight.Org/ 


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