Federal Trial for petitioning Senator Clinton for Reform
This page contains summary info on the prosecution of John Murtari in Federal Court for the Northern District of New York, Syracuse, New York. The first trial was held on Tuesday, October 29th, 2002, Hanley Federal Building. The next trial is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 7th. For background on why the trial occurred and what is happening now as events continue, check here. The info below represents excerpts.
Most current information will be at the top. Two earlier series of incidents are also summarized below. Last updated: 06/11/08
11/7/03 - John Murtari will go on trial at 10 am on Friday, Nov. 7th, at the US Court House for the Northern District of New York, Hanley Federal Building, Syracuse. He has been appointed counsel. You are welcome to attend. The US Attorneys office filed the following complaint (page 1, page 2, page 3, page 4).
10/15/03 - John receives a copy of a letter from the Federal Public Defender's office to Magistrate DiBianco. They appear to decline the assignment (Page 1, Page 2) for reasons related to when John had earlier asked his counsel be removed for cause (see 1/21/03, below). John wrote a reply letter.
9/22/03 - John's attorney files an appeal to the Second Circuit.
8/25/03 - John receives a copy of a letter from the US Attorney's office to Magistrate DiBianco. It is the first notification he has received that his appeal was denied by local US District Judge Mordue. (Page 1, Page 2)
4/14/03 - The US Magistrate Judge who has been presiding over the Federal prosecution of John for his activites issues a couple of orders in response to motion's filed below. Read the decisions (Decision 1, page 1, page 2 , page 3; Decision 2, page 1, page 2, page 3) In summary he stays final decisions until US District Judge Mordue issues a decision on the pending appeal of his earlier trial.
1/22/03 - There was an appearance in Federal Court over John's request to have a new attorney assigned and time to file motions prior to a Contempt hearing. The Judge removed his present attorney, but did not assign other counsel. The date for the Contempt hearing was adjourned without date and motions must be submitted by February 12th. Action on the pending charges is awaiting detailed complaints from the US Attorney's office.
1/19/03 - A hearing on the Contempt is scheduled for Jan 28th. As always we would like to get more people involved in the effort.
1/15/03 - John has a couple of appearances this week in front of Federal Magistrate DiBiano. The most important of which is regarding potentially being held in contempt for violating the Judges order regarding conduct in the Hanley Federal Building. Below is a summary of documents (you can click on the link to see the actual document). :
12/16/02 - John gets a copy of a stay away order from the Judge. You can read page1 and page 2. You can read some of John's earlier comments on the trial results here. He hopes his attorney will be able to do "something" before December 30th, but there may not be time. His plans are still the same.
11/27/02 - The Judge issues his decision in the case. Guilty on counts 3 & 4. An appeal has been noticed and will first be heard by a local District Judge. It is schedule to be heard in mid January.
11/22/02 - John was sentenced to 10 days in jail by US Magistrate Judge DiBianco in the Syracuse Courthouse for the Northern District of New York. On his release John plans on resuming the effort on December 30th.
10/31/02 - John's attorney submits a pre-sentencing letter to the Court.
10/29/02 - Federal Trial Results - guilty & NOT guilty as charged - Today, in US District Court, Magistrate Judge Gustav DiBianco found John Murtari both guilty and NOT guilty as charged in the government's 4 count complaint. If you find this confusing, so was the trial. At the conclusion attorneys for both sides were trying to understand what the ruling meant. [We should have a transcript of the ruling in a few days at the web site. If you wish to read the original complaint and activity leading up to this trial, please see below. A News Release was sent out to local media.
John plans on returning to the building next Monday, Nov 4th, at 1pm. More details as we can get them posted at the site, http://www.AKidsRight.Org/actionc_syr, Your participation is welcome!
We should all note -- other than Mary Jo Marceau-Hawthorne (our PR person and also a witness at the trial), there were no other parents in attendance. John was very, very relieved at the outcome -- he had been prepared to begin a jail sentence today.
10/17/02 - Another front
page story appears in the Baldwinsville Messenger, covering a major suburb of the city
of Syracuse. It does a nice job of explaining our groups goals. (NOTE: the story says John is a "fighter pilot", that is
not the case, he was an Air Force Instructor Pilot.)
10/14/02 - A front page story appears in the Times of Wayne County, another regional paper. The writer does an excellent job of covering the group and it's methods.
10/10/02 - In a related matter John appears in City Court regarding his attorney's motion to dismiss 7 pending trespass charges. Judge Young dismisses 5, he does not dismiss the first one (for July 29th), and wants to hear another motion on the last charge (which occurred to late to be included). Another motion date of November 7th is set, at that time a trial date will be set for the remaining charge.
10/09/02 - Everyone appears in Federal Court at
2PM. The prosecutor delivers a revised complaint (page one,
page two, page three). The
primary difference is the word "loitering" added to one of the counts.
John's attorney will submit a motion to have the charges dismissed by Oct 17th, and a
government response will be made by the 24th. The trial is scheduled to start at 2PM
on October 30 and may continue into a second day.
10/08/02 - A new's release is sent out to local media and follow up phone call contact is made. John had interviews with three different regional papers and stories should run in the next week.
10/04/02 - After a phone conference the trial start date is delayed and motions will be heard on October 9th instead. The time will be 2pm. You are welcome to attend.
7/29/02 - John Murtari, Mary Jo Marceau-Hawthorne (Macedon, NY), Chris Ranney (Binghamton, NY), and Rich Eichinger (Ft. Wayne Indiana) entered the Federal Building at app 2 PM and went to Senator Clinton's offices on the 14th floor. Mary Jo, Chris, & Rich presented some letters and had a brief conversation with Kathy Calhoun, the Senator's Regional Representative. John remained in the hallway carrying a card of pictures as he has done in the past.
He was arrested by Federal Police officers for failing to obey building signs regarding "demonstrations" (see ticket here), and when he expressed a desire to return to the 14th floor after being "ticketed" the Syracuse City Police were called and he was charged by them with Trespass (a "violation") and brought to the Justice Center. A news release was sent out describing the event.
The following series occurred in Winter/Spring 2002. It resulted in all charges being dismissed. Click here for complete day-by-day details.
3/20/02 - The pending charges against John Murtari for Disorderly Conduct and Failure to Obey a Federal Officer were dismissed today. John appeared in front of U.S. District Judge Peoples in the Syracuse Courthouse for the Northern District of New York. (The matter was originally to be heard by a Magistrate, but none were available at the time.)
2/1/02 - John received two "Notices to Appear" in front of a Federal Magistrate regarding the incident January 8th. He was accused of "Disorderly Conduct" and "Failure to Obey Officer." (Copy here) He is to appear on February 20th at 0930 AM at the Federal Courthouse in Syracuse.
1/8/02 - John was involved in a rather complicated arrest today, Jan. 8th at the Federal Building. Two Federal Police officers watched him quietly carry his sign with children's pictures and then arrested him for loitering and causing a disturbance. These were Federal charges. The City Police were then called and after approximately one hour of discussion, they arrested John for disorderly conduct for refusing to leave the building
Fall 2001 - The group returns to the Federal Building to continue the effort. John is allowed to walk on some days, stopped on others, with no real pattern.
The following series occurred in Spring/Summer 2000. John was able to talk in the building for extended periods. It resulted in all charges being dismissed. Click here for complete day-by-day details.
6/21/2000 - John appears at the U.S.
Courthouse. Things are not very busy, the magistrate is not even present in
the Courtroom. An assistant US Attorney, Mr. Michael Olmstead sits down with
John to discuss resolution. John explains to him that all the local charges were
dismissed. That he plans on returning to the building in September to "exercise his
right of free speech" and to also "petition his congressional
representatives" by continuing his peaceful walk.
6/15/2000 - John received 6 Federal Appearance Tickets in the mail. These were all issued in December regarding his activity at the Federal Building (before he was finally allowed to do it). He is charged with: "unwarranted loitering", "unauthorized loitering"(3), "prohibited protesting", and "failure to comply with officer." View one of the tickets. He will not pay the fine and hopes that in light of what happened at the local level the charges will also be dismissed. His Court Date for arraignment is June 21, at 9:30. U.S. Courthouse for the Northern District of New York.
Mar - Apr 2000 - On March 2nd, John returned to the building and was allowed to walk for two hours with no trouble from building staff. For a period of over a month, John returns to the building every day and walks for two hours outside the offices of various members of Congress (see schedule here). During this times some meetings are arranged with the staff's of Congressman Walsh and Senator Schumer.
Jan - Feb 2000 - John Murtari makes repeated returns to the Syracuse Federal Building in an attempt to petition his members of Congress for reform by quietly carrying a picture of children outside their offices. There are a series of arrests with both State and Federal charges made. All the State and Federal charges are dismissed.