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John Murtari arrested in act of Civil Disobedience.


Syracuse, New York (Feb 19, 1999) - Mr. John Murtari, a resident of Baldwinsville, NY and a native of Lyons, NY, was arrested today by Onondaga County Sheriff's deputies at a local Sheriff's substation. In a nonviolent act of Civil Disobedience, Mr. Murtari, went to the substation and requested he be arrested as a "prisoner of conscience". The arrest was made after he refused an order to leave the substation. He took this action to protest not only his specific treatment by the Family Law system in the State of New York, but to also call attention nationwide to a frightening disregard for the rights of parents and children in custody proceedings.

Mr. Murtari has refused bail or voluntary release, planning to remain imprisoned, until an investigation of his case is undertaken by legislators. He asks Assemblyman Michael Bragman (State Assembly Majority Leader), State Senator John DeFrancesco, Congressman James Walsh, and US Senator James Schumer to lead such action.

Mr. Murtari is the founder of a web site,, recognized as a Human Rights groups within Yahoo.Com, which is dedicated to making positive changes to the system. This group would also like to see investigative and reform action at both the State and Federal levels. They believe committee hearings into custody proceedings would give shocking testimony from parents unjustly deprived of meaningful contact with their children.  The solution his group recommends to this would involve giving the parent/child relationship the same Constitutional protections offered most criminals -- the Jury.

The goal is recognition of the right to regular parental contact with children.  Anyone seeking to challenge this would need to convince a jury beyond a reasonable doubt the parent was unfit for contact. A high burden of proof.  The web site highlights the philosophy and experience of both Mahatma Ghandi and Martin Luther King, two great practitioners of Civil Disobedience, who both practiced a style which involved respect and love for your opponent, while demonstrating your own belief through personal nonviolent action. The site also documents personal cases in a "Hall of Shame", and also shows Court actions taken.

After being involved in a custody dispute, and exercising his right to appeal as far as the United States Supreme Court -- Murtari was devastated and shocked by the rejection of all his legal attempts, the failure of legislators to take effective action in response to his letters, and most recently the relocation of his son, Domenic, to San Diego, California.   This culminated in his recent arrest.

Murtari is a former Air Force Pilot and Cum Laude graduate of the Air Force Academy. He has a Masters in Computer Science from Syracuse University and is the president of the Software Workshop, a small Internet company he founded in 1995. He has a long record of volunteer work with both the elderly and homeless in the Syracuse area, along with involvement in local politics.

For more information check the web site,, or contact:


Update (Feb 20, 1996) - Click here for media coverage of John's arrest.