John Murtari - Passive
Resistance Against the Tyranny of Divorce Courts
Date: 2006/08/15 Tue PM 12:14:42 CDT
Many Thanks - Message from John in Jail
Good People & People of Faith,
This message contains info on:
1. Many Thanks - Message from John in Jail
2. Contact John in Jail
3. How you can help - Contact the media and public officials.
1. Many Thanks - Message from John in Jail
My sincere appreciation for what so many have done on my behalf. I am
very, very grateful! It's no exaggeration to say you made a huge
difference in my future quality of life. Now that I feel a bit better
let me share some thoughts. (Full history at
We are mothers and fathers that want our human right to raise and
nurture our own kids to be recognized and protected. We decide what
is in our "child's best interest." We are good, average, and poor
parents -- but always growing with our kids. We are FIT & EQUAL until
a criminal court finds us guilty of being a demonstrated threat to
our kids. A unanimous verdict from a jury of our peers -- parents.
Don't try this at home
Let's consider this a unique event in response to gross and repeated
injustice. Some have called it a foolish act. There can be a fine
line between bravery and stupidity. I get very close to that border
and hope to avoid future visits!
I went into this a very healthy person, 5'8" and 155 pounds. Last
week I was down to 127 pounds and have had vital signs that varied
from almost normal, to very low blood pressure, to a weak and
irregular pulse, to a resting heart rate of over 120 as the
dehydration became severe. My blood sugar dropped to as low as 43,
but then actually climbed back to the 80s. The Doctors told me the
body was tapping reserves of muscle. I was blessed with a good set of
internal organs and they were degrading in text book order!
Where things are now
They started feeding me with a Nasal/Gastric tube on the 10th day
(last Thursday). Today is Sunday (Aug. 13th) and I'm on a regular
feeding routine. Three times a day with 2 cans of Carnation Instant
Breakfast (250 ml/each).
You can still eat with a NG tube and the Doc recommended I take some
juice/milk via mouth also. They still bring me a full tray of regular
food, but I do not eat any of that. The tube is annoying, sleeping is
difficult, and it hurts with every swallow.
For a while it seemed to be a game of 'chicken' with jail staff.
Doctors told me there would be no intervention unless there was a
medical emergency. All I could think of was kidney failure, heart
failure, or loss of consciousness. I was scared, but how could I back
NonViolent Action (http://www.AKidsRight.Org/civil.htm), Faith, Love,
and Personal Sacrifice. I was confronted by everything I had said to
many of you, to myself, my friends, and most of all to my son,
All I could do was pray and hope for good things and place more trust
in the loving God I say I believe in.
Your actions turned the tide. The rally on Wednesday, the newspaper
stories on Thursday morning and a schedulled in-jail press interview
-- made good things happen. Again, I am so grateful!
Out of Sync
Most people were so great and positive in their messages. They talked
about "Our Goal" and the great love they have for their kids.
But some people still preferred to send a nasty message and gripe
about the Judge, or show their disgust for lawyers, or the anger they
have towards women or men.
Can we leave that behind? It is not needed and only hurts us more.
There may be a court date next week. A chance for freedom or more of
the same. Again, please accept my thanks!
Our long range goal is still to arrange a meeting with Senator Clinton
and with mothers and fathers hurt by the Nation's different Family Law
2. Contact John in Jail
John's current mailing address is:
555 South State Street
Syracuse, NY 13202
for any changes to this address.
3. How you can help - contact the media and public officials.
We have contact information for various public officials below.
Please write them and let them know you care about this. John can also
use financial help with his Legal Defense, that info also follows.
The MESSAGE should not be one of anger, but merely to say to them, We
love our children. We have been denied our rights. We need
Congressional hearings into reform.
Please ask the Federal and County Prosecutors to examine what is
If you have ideas for publicity or other actions in support, please
Terri Stoddard (PR Person):
Kevin Purdy (Webmaster):
To ask Judge Hedges to reduce Murtari's sentence, call or write:
Judge Bryan Hedges
Onondaga County Family Court
401 Montgomery Street
Syracuse, NY 13202
To make monetary donations:
Donations to Murtari's legal fund:
Mr. Charles Keller Esq.
Att: Murtari Legal Defense
9416 Carousel Center Drive
Syracuse, New York 13290
Donations of $100 for press releases:
Call Teri Stoddard at 877-635-1968 ex. 212.
Kids-Right Support c/o Software Workshop Inc.
Att: Media Fund
55 E. Genesee Street
Baldwinsville, NY 13027
To contact public officials on Murtari's behalf:
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (up for election this year)
James M. Hanley Federal Building 100 South Clinton Street P.O. Box 7378
Syracuse, NY 13261-7378
Phone: 315-448-0470, Fax: 315-448-0476
Congressman James Walsh (up for election this year)
James M. Hanley Federal Building 100 South Clinton Street P.O. Box 7306
Syracuse, NY 13261-7306
Phone: 315-423-5657, Fax: 315-423-5669
US Attorney Glenn Suddaby
P.O. Box 7198 100 South Clinton Street Syracuse, NY 13261-7198
Phone: 315-448-0672, Fax: 315-448-0689
Onondaga County DA Bill Fitzpatrick
(John already sent Mr. Fitzpatrick a sworn complaint about
attorney misconduct and perjury -- check
http://www.AKidsRight.Org/support_jm.htm, for details on April
505 S. Salina Street Syracuse, NY 13202
To contact the media:
WHEC TV (NBC) -
Main Number: 585-546-5670
News Hot Line: 585-232-1010,
WHAM TV (ABC) -
Newsroom Hotline: 585-334-8743,
News Fax: 585-334-8719
WROC TV (CBS) - News Tip Line: 585-224-8888,
WUHF (FOX) - News Hotline: (585) 262-FOX1
News Fax: (585) 232-3005
WIXT/WSYR (ABC 9) - Your stories:
WSTM (NBC 3/UPN 6) -
News Tips Line: 315-426-TIPS
WTVH (CBS 5) -
Main number: 315-425-5555
NEWS 10 NOW (24 Hour Local News) -
News Tips Line 1-866-4NEWS10
News Fax Line 1-866-634-4270
WCNY (PBS 24) -
Main number: 315-453-2424
Post Standard - City Paper 315-470-0011
Court news: Jim O'Hara, 315-470-2260,
Times of Wayne County - Local Paper (weekly)
Finger Lakes Times - Local Paper (daily)
Lyons Reporter: Jim Miller
NY Law Journal (Newspaper) 212-779-9200
Newsletter mailing list
McManus Column, 101UsesForBabyWipes
August 17, 2006
by Teri Stoddard
John Murtari update:
The last couple of days have been terribly hard on John Murtari. The
feeding tube is wearing his throat raw. He told his cousin Cheryl who
visited him in jail, that it hurts so much he tries to keep himself from
swallowing. He hasn't been able to sleep, except for Tuesday night when
they removed the tube for fear of perforation. It was due to be reinserted
John told Cheryl that he could feel his muscles changing shape as his body
drew from them to stay alive. "I could see the weight loss in his face,"
she said, "and he was hoarse." "It breaks my heart," she continued, "John
is a really great dad. It never should have gotten to this point."
She said, "He wants to thank everyone who cares about this cause. It's
wonderful how so many people who've never met John are working together on
this." And she added, "A man like him couldn't need it more. He has so
little, and so little family."
I'd like to thank
Mike McManus for his column on shared parenting and joint
custody: The Need for Shared Parenting...
...for his column, and more, including
my interview on 101UsesForBabyWipes
... click here...
The Heritage Foundation held a symposium on welfare reform yesterday.
Speakers included Wade Horn, Eloise Anderson, and Ron Haskins. I asked
about the hijacking of the IV-D Child Support Enforcement system, and then I
asked Horn a more general question about programs like child support and
children protection that were created under welfare and not addressed in
Then, in the final question of the day, Mike McManus of Marriage Savers
asked Horn point blank if he favored joint custody. When Horn responded
that he could not answer, McManus asked again. Horn ducked it again.
McManus, who is also a syndicated columnist, has just released a strong
column on shared parenting (below). He suggests: "Here is an issue that
should be taken to those running for governor of every state, and to those
running for the state legislature or state senate. Each reader [should] use
the column to make it a state political issue in as many jurisdictions as
possible." Sound like a good strategy.
The Heritage symposium can be viewed on the Heritage Foundation website and
is due to be broadcast on C-SPAN:
(See the ACFC flier out later today.)
August 16, 2006
Advance for August 19, 2006
The Need for Shared Parenting
by Mike McManus
John Murtari, 49, is sitting in a Syracuse jail for two weeks as I write,
and has refused to eat or drink to protest "gross and repeated injustice"
by the court system in a custody battle over access to his son, Domenic, 13.
From the state's perspective, he is a deadbeat dad, who owes $60,000 in
However, the initial support level was not based on his income, but the
$70,000 he once earned as a software engineer for a defense firm. When the
company filed false reports, he says he blew the whistle and was fired the
Though president of his own software firm, his earnings are half of what he
used to make. The first injustice is that his child support level was set
far too high. Second, the court allowed his wife to move to Colorado, in
spite of his protest. She's studying for a third college degree, which she
could have pursued in New York State. Why should any court allow a divorced
parent to move so far away that child visitation by the parent left behind
is almost impossible?
If Domenic visited him, John had to fly to Colorado, pick him up, bring him
back, and then return with him to Colorado. Three round trip tickets cost
$1,000 per visit. But the court would not allow him to deduct that from his
child support payments. That's a third injustice.
Fourth, he repeatedly filed for modifications of his child support level,
and was denied. He was assigned a public defender who told him, "John, just
pay the money. You'll see your son when he is 18."
John has been paying $50 a month, which is skimpy. However, he estimates he
has spent $60,000 in support of his son, but none of it counts in the
court's eyes. In the last seven years, he flew out four times a year for
visits, and picked him up for vacations in New York twice a year. "How many
of those could I have traded away - and not lost our relationship?" he
So he sits today in debtor's prison, to call attention to the plight of
divorced parents denied regular access to their children. John told me
before going to jail that he would not eat or drink and would force the
prison to keep him alive with a feeding tube. For ten days the jail refused
to do so. His weight dropped from 155 pounds to 127. His blood pressure fell
to a dangerous level.
Stories appeared in local newspapers, and a feeding tube was inserted. He
asserts, "This is not suicide wish or hunger strike. My goal is not to hurt
myself but to make them expend an uncomfortable amount of effort to keep me
There has to be a better answer and there is. It is called "shared
parenting," or "joint custody," which is granted in only 16 percent of
cases. According to a study by the American Psychological Association, "A
major advantage of joint custody may be its ability to address the high rate
of current father absence subsequent to divorce. Joint custody has been
correlated with increased father involvement."
Second, "Joint custody versus sole maternal custody was associated with
adolescent's positive adjustment. Several studies found that increased and
reliable visitation by the noncustodial parent (usually the father)
predicted positive adjustment of children."
Feminists oppose joint custody on grounds that child support will be
reduced. However, "the consensus of studies" found that "child support is
either increased" or not significantly different. A fourth benefit is that
there is "decreased re-litigation" with shared parenting, and less conflict
between spouses in general.
Thus, research proves what common sense would suggest. Shared parenting
results in greater father involvement, more financial support, less
litigation and happier children.
David Levy, an attorney who is President of the Children's Rights Council,
reports another great impact of joint custody. States with the greatest
amount of joint custody enjoyed a big drop in divorce rates. The six states
with the most joint custody are, in order, Montana, Kansas, Connecticut,
Idaho, Rhode Island, and Alaska. The states with the highest decline in
divorce in the 1990s were Alaska, Kansas, Connecticut, Illinois, Montana and
"If a parent knows that he or she will have to interact with the child's
other parent while the child is growing up, there is less incentive to
divorce," says Levy.
Here's a political issue for this political season.
Candidates for governor or state legislatures: why not fight for more joint
custody to support kids and lower divorce rates?