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Syracuse News Release


Syracuse, NY (Hanley Federal Building) - Last Monday, Jan 7th, Syracuse City Judge Higgins dismissed three pending charges against John Murtari, a member of a National Parent's group seeking Family Law reform. Murtari had been arrested while quietly walking outside the offices of Senators Schumer and Clinton in the Syracuse Federal Building. On Tuesday, he again returned to the building and was again arrested and arraigned by City Judge Rosenthal - this time for disorderly conduct. He plans on returning again on Monday, Jan 14th at 2pm, to continue efforts to "petition the government." The Group is attempting to call attention to the failure of the Senators to respond to their previous petitions for Congressional Hearings into the need for National Family Law reform and potentially a Family Rights Act.

This matter is developing a large legal history, with over 15 prior charges being dismissed related to the same activity. Murtari has no criminal record. The most recent arrest called his conduct both "threatening and tumultuous", but he and his attorney are confidant that the testimony of numerous eye witnesses and also building surveillance will show quite to the otherwise.

Members of AKidsRight.Org had visited the building several times in the past and presented petitions for a Family Rights Act at the offices of Congressman James Walsh, Senator Charles Schumer, and newly elected Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. Their petitions took the form of pictures of their children, with a message asking for restoration of their Civil Right to be a parent. Some have traveled from as far as Ohio.

Mr. Murtari, a native of Lyons, New York and a former Air Force pilot and Academy graduate is a local coordinator for the group. He is the President of a small Internet startup company located in Baldwinsville, NY. After about 15 prior arrests occurring last year for similar activity, all charges were dismissed, and his right to peacefully petition inside the building was recognized. Murtari has been defended by Mr. Charles Keller, an attorney in charge of the Criminal Division of Hiscock Legal Aid. Mr. Keller has made strong arguments that this unique activity is Constitutionally protected.

This was described as the use of NonViolent Action to demonstrate their willingness to make sacrifice our of their love for family. A spokesperson for the group expressed frustration that even after several letters and meetings earlier this year with Senate staff members, there has been little progress to acknowledge their plight and the need for Federal protection of parents and families. They have not even received one written reply. In contrast to the bitterness and anger which is normally associated with protest efforts and family issues -- these people plan a positive attitude. The spokesperson was careful to note they were NOT going there to condemn the Legislators as a "bad people" or as someone who doesn't care about family or children's issues; however, as a natural part of the political process they plan to show their concern over the issue and to increase their sensitivity to their cause.

They are hoping for Congressional Hearings into Family Law reform so that the many parents affected by the present patchwork of laws across the nation will have a chance to tell their stories. AKidsRight.Org, made up of both mother and fathers, wants to see strong protection to the parent/child bond. Recognition of their right to an equal relationship with their children, and the protection of a Jury when that relationship is threatened by either divorce, separation, or the action of child protective services. They first see Federal Civil Rights action and failing that, Congressional action to amend the US Constitution to formally recognize this right.

For more information: contact: John Murtari, a group coordinator, at (office: 315-635-1968,x-211)(cell: 315-372-4830) OR Yvonne Cook, Public Relations, at: 219-341-1925. Background information at the web site: http://www.AKidsRIght.Org/