Appellate Division Results on Trial by Jury for Custody
by John Murtari
On April 3rd, 1998, I made my oral argument at the Appellate
Division, 4th Judicial Department, in Rochester, New York. This page contains links to
help explain what happened, and what is planned for the future. I apologize for the volume
of links presented here, but there is a lot of information. For a little background
(and a picture), please read part of my story, my plans for the
future are also below.
A very brief summary as to Appellate
procedure in New York. A copy of a press release that was
sent to local/network TV and also newspapers.
A summary of what happened when the
Appeal was argued on April 3rd.
The actual decision, April 29, 1998, which affirmed the judgment of the
lower court. It was two page (Page one and page two) To reach your own decision, just download the briefs
It was very frustrating to read their decision, an
experience I'm sure many of you are familiar with! My little son Domenic keeps
asking, "Daddy, when can I spend more time with you?" The answer will be,
as it has always been, "Well, we just have to keep praying Dom." It is so
easy to become bitter and hate filled, but I firmly reject violence against people or
the system, or the desire to "vent" my feelings about some of the people
involved in this process. The ideals of Civil Disobedience
are clear, and both Gandhi and Martin
Luther King, showed there's is a road based on faith. I have already spent a week in Jail, it is depressing to think about spending
considerably more time in Jail (and time away from Domenic) as part of potential
sit-in's to help bring public attention to what has happened here.
This experience, has shown me again how very important a JURY is in these
matters. The presumption should be equal relationships with the children --
and you need to convince a jury, beyond a reasonable doubt, if you want
otherwise! Parents and Children need the same Constitutional protections the common
criminal already receives.
I am sure those FIVE Appellate Judges were trying to do a good
job -- but I honestly was sure that only ONE of them seemed to have a working knowledge of
the facts. They are busy, overworked -- but I was still surprised to see them take
no "official" notice of the misrepresenations made by my wife's attorney (and
which the presiding Justice, Judge Pine, acknowledged during