July 30, 2005
Dear Judge DiBianco & Mr. Southwick,
I must write to express a great and heart felt thanks from my family and myself. You did not withhold the compassion it was within your power to give. It was possible for Domenic and I to spend a very nice summer vacation together, an entire six weeks. At your convenience I am ready for trial on the pending matter. I will be submitting a pretrial motion in the next few days.
It may seem hard to understand why I would write and send pictures, but you must understand the great turmoil I was in after our discussion of a trial date on May 18th. It truly seemed possible this vacation period could be lost. It happened to me 5 years ago.
The trial was June 28th and I already had plane tickets to pickup Domenic for our summer vacation on July 13th. It was for a ‘support violation’ and I can remember asking my Lawyer, “Is there any chance that Judge Klim could actually throw me in jail and destroy the vacation?” He told me he didn’t think so. I certainly wasn’t the typical ‘dead beat’. I was spending a lot of money on my son, involved in his life, and trying to cope with relocation and a support level based on twice my actual income…
It all didn’t matter. Even at the end when it seemed clear I would be jailed, my Lawyer pleaded to wait for the sentence to start until after the vacation period. It didn’t matter. The Judge told me I “needed a wakeup call regarding my responsibilities as a parent….” Because he gave me a ‘conditional’ sentence (come up with $25,000 and get out of jail), I did not get ‘good’ time. I served the whole six months – till three days after Christmas, Dec. 28. I can also remember writing the Court in November and asking that I be given ‘good’ time consideration since I did not have the money. That I was scheduled to have Domenic for Christmas Vacation and it would be a chance for us to be together as family – my former spouse and the Judge opposed the motion.
I tried to keep from being bitter about the whole thing – but it was difficult to understand. It made clear for me how warped and destructive the present system is – to make good people act this way.
Many thanks! I also thought I would share with you some photographs. Dom and I visited Air Force buddies and their families who I went to pilot training with. They all live in the Washington DC area (three of them are Airline Captains). We seem them every year and it’s a great time for Domenic, he likes to visit the Air & Space Museum. We also got to be towed behind a power boat (Dom loved that), and I treated everyone to some ‘home made pasta’ – which was hung up before cooking.
Dom loves animals, we have out rabbit ‘Taro’ which we keep all the time at our house. He lives in the basement and it toilet trained. This year Dom wanted chickens. I knew I couldn’t keep then for a long time, but a local farmer who runs a supply store told me he would sell me six chicks – and then would take them back to his farm when I couldn’t keep them. They were only 3 days old when we got them and we raised them for six weeks. Dom gave them all names – and I was surprised how affectionate some of them came to be. They would see us and fly up to perch on how head/shoulders.
We went to a local air show and they had my old airplane, the T-37 on display. Dom got to see the cockpit of Dad’s Jet. We got to launch some model rockets with friends, another hobby. It was hot while he was here and Dom enjoyed swimming in a creek near our house where I used to swim when I was a kid. The water was green, but no crowd and easy to get to.
We celebrated my Mom’s 89th Birthday. I was most thankful for her. With each summer I am never sure if there will be another – I am so glad we were all able to have this one together.
Another thing we do every year is visit Mt. Saviour Monastery, near Elmira. They are Benedictine Monks and sheep herders and it is a very quite place. The Brothers like Domenic and we get to stay in a guest house and eat ‘silently’ with the community. About two days is all the peace & quiet Domenic can stand!
Although I have no pictures, Dom and I also made about a hundred ham & cheese sandwiches for the Oxford Street homeless shelter in Syracuse. We brought them peaches and gallons of orange juice. It was a chance to ‘give back’ in appreciation for the good times we had. \
When we drove into Syracuse we stopped by the Federal Building and we talked about what had happened and also discussed future plans. He will soon be 13 years old, going into 7th grade next year – and I’m glad we can talk more easily about my activity and that he understands.
All in all, it was just a wonderful time. Dom understands I can’t give him a date when we can see him in the fall because of my activity for reform. It was very, very sad saying goodbye at the end – I flew with him back to Colorado. He wishes to spend more time here and I wish it wasn’t such a struggle to make that happen.
Thank you for not withholding the compassion it was within your power to give. I certainly wish I could show my appreciation by ‘stopping.’ I know there may be some difficult proceedings ahead and potentially some serious jail time. I regret that. I am also confident things will work out for the best in the end and that Senator Clinton will come to Syracuse to talk with parents. It will be worth the sacrifice. Thank You.