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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 above.

What's next? 

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 the argument).