NonViolence Works – Officials Stymied by Parent?


Syracuse, New York (Dec 1, 1999) – There was a strange scene at the Onondaga County Court House. At 2 PM, John Murtari, carrying a small sign over his head with a picture of his son Domenic and the message, “I LOVE DOM”, was allowed to silently walk through the corridors of the Court House for almost two hours. For a while he was followed by a procession of Sheriff’s Deputies, but then the word seemed to go out to just leave him alone as long as he did not interfere with Court operations.

Today, December 2nd – Murtari plans on returning to the Court House at 2PM to continue his silent vigil. The other members of his group (Kids-Right.Org) are a bit confused over yesterdays response by officials and will be watching what happens today with some interest.

Mr. John Murtari, a resident of Baldwinsville (and a native of Lyons, NY), is a former Air Force Pilot and Academy Graduate who says he’s going “on strike” for the sake of his 6 year old child, Domenic.  On both Nov 17th and Nov 22nd Murtari had entered the Court House in a similar manner and was quickly arrested by deputies. City Court Judge Jeffrey R. Merrill is handling the matter and appears reluctant to either hold Murtari in custody or issue an order blocking him from the building. In brief consultation with his “assigned Counsel” Murtari was told there may not be any laws which prohibit his quiet form of protest.

Mr. Murtari always refuses bail or voluntary release, planning to remain imprisoned until an investigation into his case  can restore him as an equal parent in his child’s life. “My son and I have a warm and wonderful relationship — the long distance good byes and the counting of days till the next visit was just too much for us to bear. I never had a good answer when he’d ask, ‘Daddy, why can’t I be with you more?’ — it is an awful situation.”  Murtari had spent three weeks in Jail during a similar protest in February of this year.  He expects this stay could last years.

“It is unfortunate that busy public officials only seem to respond after tragic violence … then investigations are opened and procedures are reviewed.  I reject violence, but believe non violent action may have the same good result — I hope it is not too long a wait for Domenic and I.”

Mr. Murtari is the founder of a web site,, recognized as a Human Rights groups by the editors of Yahoo.Com. Made up of both mothers & fathers, they would  like to see investigative and reform action at both the State and Federal levels.  They have proposed legislation in terms of a Federal Family Rights Act of 1999 and 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 web site highlights the philosophy and experience of both Mahatma Gandhi 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 Non-Violent Action.

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More info is available at:

For more information check the web site,, or contact: (their are video clips of the last protest available).

Murtari’s office can be reaches at 315-635-1968 (x-211)