“Never Fret For an Only Son, as the Idea of Failure Will Never Occur to Him”
Although these words are attributed to George Bernard Shaw, they could very well have been spoken by either parent of Martin Alberto Garza…. Martin was the pride and joy of two extremely loving, intelligent and Christian minded parents and one sister… He was acculturated into small town life near the Mexican border… where hard work, a strong faith and love of community was far richer than dollars and cents. He had personal aspirations beyond Imperial Valley but also wanted to pay it forward. Martin had a Plan A and a Plan B for the future… And then one dark night in January 2013, those plans came to a halt by forces beyond his control. As an attendee at a party, he suddenly and viciously became the victim of a stabbing and homicide… forever silenced in the prime of life by a gang member.
Football was part of the fabric of his life… He spent many hours on the field practicing….and in death a vigil was held in the very same place. His coach instilled the importance of hard work, achieving goals, attaining maturity and rising above petty complaints. Coach uttered the phrase, “Put Your Purse Down, Son” often and it became a meaningful slogan for an entire community. In fact, it was emblazoned on Martin’s jacket….as well as part of the Mothers – Men Against Gangs Coalition logo.
This personal story is set apart, not by the act of gang violence, or homicide. This story stands alone for the incredible faith, proactivity versus reactivity and wonderful accomplishments put forth in just five short months. Yes… there are moments of grief and tears and yet… no revenge, no bitterness by the Garza family. They are God’s children and they know what to do. Rather, they got busy on behalf of Marin’s memory, embraced by an entire community!
- Introduction to our guest; Yulil Alonso-Garza Founder of MAG and mother of Martin Alberto Garza
- Prevalence of gang culture;
- An outline of the case…in the wrong place at the wrong time;
- Martin Alberto Garza described in the context of his town and the county;
- A mother’s choice justice versus revenge…
- Organizing an event to memorialize Martin;
- Setting the tone for a community;
- An arrest;
- A giving community contrasted in a “water tower town” versus a metropolitan area;
- The highest unemployment in the nation…and the most generous…
- “Ignoring our surroundings for the sake of our children”- One mother’s perspective;
- “You must believe in yourselves;”
- Vision Boards with Jack Canfield: http://jackcanfield.com/product-category/vision-board-collections/
- A story about near drop outs thinking differently… the vision of the cap and gown;
- Martin’s routine and the “ticket to take him somewhere”… Sports and business administration;
- Preparation, preparation, preparation…
- Plan B… Teaching Math;
- Talking about Mothers Against Gangs… What’s the long range plan?
- A discussion of deterrence as the focus of MAG;
- A misperception – Changing the name to include men;
- The beginnings of activities memorializing Martin and ramping up…
- The process of non-profit status…taking off quickly due to the need;
- Ladyjustice listing accomplishments thus far..;
- The importance of proactivity versus reactivity and unifying without negativity;
- Yulil on the philosophy on Jack Canfield;
- Contact Information and acceptance of donations:
Mothers Against Gangs Coalition
P.O. Box 1639, Brawley, California 92227;
- Website… the beginnings;
- Yulil’s dream….. a center in the future… Working two jobs or in the fields…;
- Yulil’s lack of aware ness of victim services and needing to know their rights;
- In the midst of being proactive, Yulil never realized that she and her family also are victims (survivors);
- Grounded in Faith… and a Sunday routine;
- Embracing Catholicism and preparing for grief;
- Grief and two Mother’s Days;
- Differing perspectives… staying or leaving the Imperial Valley;
- A son’s dream for his Mom….building a school; Working outside of the box;
- GO BIG OR GO HOME….
- Rosie Lopez a true friend and Upward Bound professional to Imperial Valley;
- A parting message from Yulil; Contact: 760-791-9125 for collaboration on similar projects.
Questions, Questions, Questions…
- What is the significance of faith in this story?
- Where was the vigil held and why?
- What was the progress of the investigation?
- What is it like to be a part of the community in Imperial Valley California?
- Recognizing the influence of gangs…What has Yulil accomplished individually as a teacher with gang members?
- What are vision boards and how does Yulil use them to assist students to take a different path than gang life?
- What was Martin’s legacy concerning sports?
- What was Martin’s “Plan A “educational plan?
- Yulil’s decision asking, “What are we going to do now”?
- What is the meaning of the acronym MAG?
- How did MAG evolve?
- What is the true composition of gangs?
- Why was it important for Yulil to form a coalition versus a single organization?
- How is MAG Coalition promoted?
- What types of victim services were provided?
- How are other family members coping?
- Is more prosperity coming to Imperial Valley or does everyone want to leave?
- A life lesson…Can a mother or town shield their children from violence?
Mothers-Men Against Gangs
Mary Ellen Bruneau has suffered an all too common circumstance that wreaks havoc on the mind, body and soul…. and reportedly she has come out the other side of disaster. The epidemic of intimate partner violence does not discriminate…does not occur only in the poorest of the poor, those of lesser academic standing, minority populations or in the big cities…
Some people have such tragedy in their lives…It’s bound to lend itself to skepticism at times and wondering how people can live through such atrocities…. However, at Shattered Lives, it is not our job to judge. It’s our job to tell their story as presented and let the audience digest the details for themselves. In any case…all personal stories teach us valuable lessons.
In a study of Domestic Violence Outcomes (2004)
Effectiveness of Hotline, Advocacy, Counseling, and Shelter Services for Victims of Domestic Violence: A Statewide Evaluation: University of Illinois at Chicago:
They follow important variables were ranked according to services provided. *** Note the lack of safety plans and explanation of intimate partner violence in a larger context below….
JOURNAL OF INTERPERSONAL VIOLENCE / July 2004
Outcome Measures, Number of Items, Item Anchors, Sample Items, and Number
- Support 1 = never, 5 = always; Ranking = 2 “I have someone I can turn to for helpful advice about a problem”
- Self-efficacy 1 = never, 5 = always; Ranking = 3 I trust my ability to solve difficult problems.”
- Coping skill 1 = never, 5 = always; Ranking =3 “I have ways to help myself when I feel troubled.”
- Goal setting 1 = never, 5 = always; Ranking = 3 “I was an active participant in setting goals with my counselor(s).”
- Information 1 = never, 5 = always Ranking = 3 “Counseling has given me new ways of looking at abuse”
- Non-judgment 1 = strongly disagree, 5 = strongly agree Ranking = 3 “My counselor(s) listened respectfully and took me seriously.”
- Safety Plan 1 = strongly disagree, 5 = strongly agree Ranking = 1 “My counselor(s) helped me develop a Safety plan”.
- Personal is Political 1 = strongly disagree, 5 = strongly agree Ranking =1 “My counselor(s) explained that domestic violence is not only a personal problem but also a social problem”
- Respect 1 = strongly disagree, 5 = strongly agree Ranking = 4 “Staff respected my racial/ethnic identity.”
We can only speculate and hope against hope that the data would be better as of 2013
To follow Mary Ellen’s story, beginning in rural Vermont,
- Introduction to our guest;
- Delilah relating information on Susan Murphy Milano’s legacy:
- :http://documenttheabuse.com/ http://www.amazon.com/Times-Up-Abusive-Stalking-Relationships/dp/1608443604;
- http://imaginepublicity.com/2012/07/04/apple-ieaa-launch/ Apple App for Evidentiary abuse Affidavit;
- Ladyjustice on the importance of sharing stories and “If I can save but one life…”
- Mary Ellen: “Abusers are very, very good at manipulating….”
- A single parent’s priority ;
- The fourth wife… a ten year gap…
- Delilah: This is a warning to check into the backgrounds of people with whom you are dating;
- The red flags….an accusation… starting with a newspaper article;
- Bi-polar disorder and intimate partner violence explained;
- A 24-pack of beer “provocateur requests “ and a machete;
- A speeding truck, thrown out by the perp and being run-over by another car…
- A coma and Rehabilitation therapy;
- Domestic violence incarceration “overnight” and DUI….
- Dealing with alcohol alone and not the abuse…
- Vermont and the gun culture…
- Delilah asks if this was “the last straw” and what resources were provided?
- Lack of counselors specializing in domestic violence;
- Mary Ellen goes back to school to figure out “what made her husband tick”….
- A trial and error safety plan…
- Ladyjustice asks Delilah what other considerations do victims need to be considering including SMM’s book: “Moving Out, Moving On”
- Mary Ellen escape and luring her back to the marriage home….” The honeymoon period”
- Restraining orders, texting and harassing…after the accident;
- Getting an apartment and looking for a job…
- “Making my own way”…and getting myself-esteem back”
- A battered women’s shelter…”Helping to a point…”
- Delilah questions accuracy of single women being turned down without children in Vermont;
- A fixture at the State House trying to change DV laws…
- Running for Governor and the aftermath…
- The importance of voting and being invested in the DV issue;
- Divorce papers in the mail…
- Forgiving for what he did versus his actions…
- My life is so much better now…even before marriage…
- A book about domestic violence…and Henry Lee Institute
- Mary Ellen’s main message- Be Safe….. One Step at a time…
- Contact Information: email@example.com 802- 279-6944.
Questions you may have….
- What was Mary Ellen’s background before her life with domestic violence?
- Was Mary Ellen looking for marriage fulfillment? (The courtship)
- When did things get bad and what was the progression?
- What are the consequences of alcohol and bipolar disorder?
- What was the pinnacle of escalation regarding the truck episode?
- What happened to her husband after the truck episode?
- What is the level of training of the police in Vermont regarding IPV?
- What is the story regarding entrance to a women’s shelter?
- What did Mary Ellen’s safety plan” consist of?
- Why did Mary Ellen go to her parent’s house to seek refuge?
- In addition to personal possessions- money and cell phone, what are the other things a victim needs to do?
- During the probation period, what did Mary Ellen do?
- What resources were available after she began working again?
- What happened legislatively after her horrific episode?
- What was the final chapter with her husband from November 2012 to January 2013?
- What was involved in Mary Ellen’s forgiveness?
“The comments expressed on this website or on the broadcasts of Shattered Lives do not necessary reflect the opinions or beliefs of the hosts, producers, or other guests.”
Life Interrupted…The Toll of Intimate Partner Violence
The Recovery Prayer from Narcotics Anonymous:
“We cannot change the nature of the addict or addiction. We can help to change the old lie “Once an addict, always an addict,” by striving to make recovery more available. God, help us to remember this difference.”
Such is the personal mission of Melissa Cote… to change the old lie…. For she has proven beyond any stretch of the imagination that indeed, “A leopard can change her spots.” She can thrive and assist others in their struggle…thereby helping herself to stay on the clean and sober track.
“Life is about the choices that you make…. Taking the easy way out is never the right way.” Melissa Cote
Melissa came from a good family…. She was provided with love and all of the creature comforts offered in a “normal childhood”. Despite this…she plunged into the depths of darkness and deprivation. She cared not for herself or others….choosing instead to chase the illusive drug… escalating out of control …ultimately leading to incarceration. Fifteen years later and many lessons learned, with the respect of the Pardons Board in Connecticut, Melissa has a college degree and forges on asking for a helping hand…a chance to meet her future goals… NOT a hand out.
Ladyjustice and Delilah spent a revealing hour on “Shattered Lives” learning about Melissa’s inspiring and incredible journey back.
To listen to the podcast, CLICK HERE
- Introduction to guest:
- Delilah on People who aren’t well known have the most touching stories… We can relate better…
- Melissa “If I can help one person…one teenager…..”
- The cold hard facts of the beginnings of drug abuse…
- The blame game…and a special anniversary…
- Delilah asks about how to recognize when you’re addicted?
- The flu times100….and Melissa’s “gateway drug;”
- The frontal lobe and teenager’s ability in making decisions;
- The reasons for drugs…. “the long haired boys” and not being the most popular;
- The beginnings of recovery…and a soul mate hiding alcoholism ;
- A father and daughter’s relationship;
- Drug Addiction and use of IV’s…. Intervention questions;
- Arrests catching up to me…. and going cold turkey in prison;
- Differences in treatment in men versus women’s prison;
- A discussion withdrawal and how it manifests;
- Ladyjustice asks Delilah her perspective as a mother in such a situations…and other factors involved;
- Life on the streets prior to incarceration….
- The male benefitting from Melissa’s activities;
- Melissa’s horror and fear for her daughter in the future;
- Leaving the man ….at loose ends for a year…
- “Arrest is a gift”…..
- The journey of prison…
- Melissa’s recovery program described and her will…
- “Forcing me to grow up-“a wonderful experience;”
- Parental response and “tough love”;
- Sneakin’ around… typical teenage behavior;
- The intersection of Parole with Ladyjustice and Pardons with Melissa;
- Doing the work to apply for Pardons and “putting it off;”
- Social work, and juvenile just as special interests;
- “The pardons process was made for me”…
- Misdemeanor crimes… not on her record….
- Discussion of her personal hearing… so unique and awesome!
- Minimum versus maximum….going above and beyond;
- Recommendation from her arresting officer – A FIRST!
- Mellissa’s daughter’s and her recommendation letter to the Pardon’s Board…
- Wonderful feedback from Pardon’s officer and feeling “so scared”;
- Starting a two-year degree…seven years later- Drug & Alcohol Counseling;
- Mental health and behavioral health cuts in Connecticut effecting Melissa’s future;
- “When you really want something….you have to make time…”
- Welcoming Melissa back …
- Delilah asks Melissa about what her advice would be bringing up little girls and the inappropriate forces in our culture etc…
- Guilty conscience….
- Appealing to colleges and employers:
- Contact Info: Melissaxina@yahoo.com: Tel: 860-798-1780;
Questions, Questions, Questions…
- How do drugs become all powerful?
- Does “just say no” work?
- What’s the difference regarding different types of addictions- Cocaine and heroin?
- Did Melissa’s childhood “Drive her to drugs”…or were there other factors?
- What factors come into play in high school and fitting in;
- Does being in recovery have an impact on other family members needing help?
- What types of intervention are most helpful when you are addicted?
- Detoxing… the dangers involved in withdrawal of different types of drugs?
- In 2013 is the pervasiveness of drugs or the good upbringing key factors?
- How does guilt play a factor?
- What was Melissa’s relationship with law enforcement then and now?
- What is “Assessments” in prison?
- What is that “One last chance?”
- How do you become eligible for Pardons?
- What are the realities of employment and the type of crimes committed?
- What are the different types of pardons and who are they designed for?
- What is the process of getting references?
- How does Melissa use her experience as a teaching tool?
- What’s it like to be on the other side of drug and alcohol as a professional?
- Did Melissa have to let go of her former peer group after recovery?
- What coping strategies are effective for Melissa to resist the temptations of drug today?
“IT’S NEVER COME UP BEFORE”
WHAT HAS TRANSPIRED IN 32 YEARS?
WARNING! Just because something is documented on paper…does not necessarily mean that it will be attended to, embraced philosophically or implemented correctly or incorrectly…
Such is the case with Federal Constitutional Rights and state’s rights passed in nearly all 50 states for victims of violent crime. Thirty two years ago, with few crime victims’ rights and very limited victim services, the awareness began after President Ronald Reagan was shot in an assassination attempt, and realized there was no system to care for crime victims. National Crime Victims’ Rights Week was created. In 1982, the President’s Task Force on Victims of Crime produced a Final Report and 68 recommendations that provided the foundation for victims’ rights and services in years to come; Office for Victims of Crime within the U.S. Department of Justice established in 1983.
The focus was treating victims with dignity and respect, implement their rights under law, and educate the public about the impact of to improve our nation’s law enforcement, criminal justice and community response to offenses that, previously, were considered merely “family matters.” Without the vision and leadership of President Reagan, there would be NO:
- National Minimum Drinking Age Act, which provided strong incentives to states to raise their minimum drinking age to 21 – the national law today.
- National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that was established by President Reagan in 1984.
- Victim/witness programs within all U.S. Attorneys’ offices, and within the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
- National Child Safety Partnership with 26 member organizations to enhance private sector efforts to
- promote child safety and public awareness of child abuse;
- Greatly needed public attention and funding to victims of crime in Indian Country.
State of Connecticut Constitution Article XXIX – Rights of Victims of Crime
- In all criminal prosecutions, a victim, as the general assembly may define by law, shall have the following rights:
- The right to be treated with fairness and respect throughout the criminal justice process;
- The right to timely disposition of the case following arrest of the accused, provided no right of the accused is abridged;
- The right to be reasonably protected from the accused throughout the criminal justice process;
- The right to notification of court proceedings;
- The right to attend the trial and all other court proceedings the accused has the right to attend, unless such person is to testify and the court determines that such person’s testimony would be materially affected if such person hears other testimony;
- The right to communicate with the prosecution;
- The right to object to or support any plea agreement entered into by the accused and the prosecution and to make a statement to the court prior to the acceptance by the court of the plea of guilty or nolo contendere by the accused (i.e. A plea made by the defendant in a criminal action that is substantially but not technically an admission of guilt and subjects the defendant to punishment but permits denial of the alleged facts in other proceedings.);
- The right to make a statement to the court at sentencing;
- The right to restitution which shall be enforceable in the same manner as any other cause of action or as otherwise provided by law;
- The right to information about the arrest, conviction, sentence, imprisonment and release of the accused.
This information would lead one to believe that these rights are well known to the law enforcement community, judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys parole board officials and all crime victim advocates….Ladyjustice is here to say… if they know the information…they are NOT being put into practice. What have all of these people been doing for 32 years? As we learned this week, it appears quantitatively and qualitatively… next to nothing… Government judicial agencies have procedures to guide them. The State of Connecticut has reams of Freedom of Information regulations which prisoners have access to… In fact, our state serves as the model with the distinction of the most complex, “bend over backwards” body in the nation re FOI.
We learned that any documents within a prisoner’s file (or information re the crime victim’s family) housed at the pardons and parole facility or DOC is in fact public information. Rather, some information is “protected” if it is sent to the Office of Victim Services.
Ladyjustice’s family was forced to endure the prisoner’s right to apply for parole, regardless of the heinousness of his felonious crimes and appear before the Board of Pardons and Parole with two to four weeks notice maximum …. Notification is still a blur …[Refer to “Shattered Lives” episode “Parole Hearings – A Prisoner’s Gift, A Crime Victim’s Nightmare” http://donnagore.com/2013/04/14/parole-hearings-a-prisoners-gift-a-crime-victims-nightmare/
Summary of Events Before the Hearing
OMG! Welcome to my Nightmare… What do we do now?
Receipt of Notification by phone and a form letter… a million questions came to mind… Ladyjustice was put on hold many times, as the assigned advocate appeared to be unsure of the answers; Research, research, research In order to prepare, you want to find out details of the inmate’s former crimes and activities, via judicial internet sources. KEEP ASKING QUESTIONS up the chain of command until you receive satisfactory answers and know your rights (Above) Accountability! WHY?? In the considerable intervening years of incarceration, laws may have chained, memories fade “facts” are really “half truths” etc…
The Reality (Advice) If you get stonewalled and cannot get adequate information, it is vital that you secure the services of an experienced advocate and/or attorney who specializes in crime victim rights. Such a person can truly represent your interests, as “the system” is heavily weighted toward the perpetrator. In our personal experience, you do not have to have a million dollars to get adequate assistance; terms are often workable and reasonable, as the focus is on justice and not attorney-advocate’s fees. If all they discuss is money, look for someone else!
What we learned that was new:
The nature and seriousness of the crimes while incarcerated and activities of associates (Attempted murder of correction officers, causing a riot , car theft , the number of “tickets” infractions over the years makes one realize how much in the dark the victim’s family really is)…without an intermediary.
Questions that will typically NOT be answered up front: (Even when you are the legal family representative to be notified) Examples: The number and type of programs the perpetrator has completed; Will his family be attending the hearing or the other families which he murdered/harmed? Is he in good health? Does he have family/community support and an “Exit plan”? If released, in what town will he be residing? May I have protection?
WHY NO answers when you are worried and scared when so much is at stake? Sometimes…it’s due to the DOC Commissioner’s philosophy on prisoner confidentiality; or… It’s never been done or asked before!
What Else To Do In Preparation…. Ladyjustice needed help to organize and relay questions to the correct sources as her mind was “scrambled eggs” during the week following notification. If your intermediary cannot obtain all of the answers, formulate a written list that can be presented with your victim impact statement for presentation. There are no guarantees that they will be addressed…but you have to try…
Incredulously, even basic “creature comforts” were not even considered; Perhaps it was an oversight…perhaps it was a function of the geographic location being substandard. But…we realized that it was a function of “It’s Never Come Up Before…” WHAT???
Examples that applied to us: Location of convenient parking? Accessibility for those who are disabled (as a result of the crime or otherwise); prior notification of the building layout, availability of water, tissues, personal escorts from parking to the building, physical comfort of the waiting and hearing rooms; juxtaposition of the prisoner, hearing officers and family.
Ladyjustice with her physical disability had to park and walk three blocks to the building as adequate parking was not available; A relative had to find quarters and leave to feed a parking meter as there was no parking lot designated for family members. One small packet of tissue was placed in the hearing room and passed from person to person; Bring your own water….
Examples of More Substantive Questions Submitted in Writing By Ladyjustice (Still Waiting)
- Why was he eligible for good time when he attempted to kill correction officers? Was any good time forfeited?
- Is he earning a salary currently? Can his salary be designated to a crime victim compensation fund?
- Can you make available videotaping resources for elderly family members or those who are not up to appearing in person in the future?
- Why can’t crime victim families receive more advanced notice (as compared to the prisoner’s preparation)?
- How will future changes in good time policies impact this inmate? How has this prisoner been occupying his time for 26 years?
- If this prisoner is released to the community, what type of protection will be offered to our family?
The Importance of Photos of Your Loved One:
The parole board has the benefit of a thick file containing the prisoner’s history and activities. They do not have a true picture of the victim, other than the circumstances of the crime. We need to make them come alive for hearing officers and perhaps the perpetrator. As they say, “A picture is worth a thousand words….” And it did truly help in this case… Note: Businesses such as Kinkos-Fed-Ex does wonders with photos needed for such purposes- lightweight, mounted on foam board with easels and reasonably priced. As we could not get clarification on the size of photos allowed, four sizes were made for about $20.00. They were placed strategically – One facing the parole board members and the other facing the TV monitor – the perpetrator and his family.
We could not come with twelve family members with the expectation that all could make a statement. Rather we presented the information as some family will speak, and others are there for support. The board has the ability to “say no” to family regarding “Too many “speaking at the hearing…even 32 years… Incredible! [The legislature sits for hours at public hearings allowing “ordinary citizens to speak on the record].
A Numbers Game…
Quite by accident, Ladyjustice learned that the usual three hearing officers presiding nearly was going to be two as “one dropped out” causing a potential tie when deciding the outcome, forcing the family to return yet again on another day, forsake vacation days from work and more emotional turmoil.
Ladyjustice could not believe that this was not brought to our attention immediately and INSISTED that a third person be located [with more encouragement and input from Atty. Cruz].As it turns out the third person may have voted for release….. but 2 to 1 is better than 1 to 1.
The perpetrator will be in attendance …sort of…. via videotape. It was learned that as a means of saving transportation costs, he would attend via videotape…as well as his family from another location. Ladyjustice feels that this was a mixed blessing as it would feel even more uncomfortable to sit in the same room with the murderer. It was surreal…. We were “watching TV”a very real “reality TV;”
The Key Concern-The Key Accomplishment:
All crime victims have the constitutional right to be reasonably protected. The perpetrator had an extensive and escalating track record of violent behavior. In fact, the Pardons and Parole Board’s website quotes a major study conducted indicating that such escalation is a strong predictor of further violence in the future.
“History is a strong predictor of future behavior – a pattern of early onset of crime, multiple incarcerations, prior breaches, and criminal versatility is all related to increased likelihood of future crime. Offenders whose crimes increase in severity are of increased concern.”
We were unable to ascertain if the murderer has access to the internet directly or indirectly via “prison pen pal sites” and friends on the outside. Given that this man is extremely dangerous, expressed no true remorse or had no knowledge or interest in the family he severely impacted, we all felt our family and the community was at high risk should he learn our identities. At this juncture, Michelle Cruz, Esquire and former State Constitutional Victim Advocate shone on our behalf…along with the clear objections of Ladyjustice and selected other family members.
The usual method was to enter the hearing room, be required to enter your name on the record, read your impact statement quickly, Hearing officers go into executive session by deciding in a few minutes” shake your hand and …Thank you very much, Goodbye” In fact, thiswasnot to take place. Atty. Cruz and Ladyjustice saw to it by negotiating with the Administrator –Executive Director that our rights had to be considered and we must not be forced to provide our names…. CHANGE BEGINS NOW! An initial compromise was to say our relationship – “widow, eldest child of…” etc. with the caveat that we will have to enter your names on the website.”
NO! Objection, Objection! With more back and forth, back and forth and checking with the Chairman of the Parole Board – (a former police captain in a major city) we would be designated as “Victim #1, #2. ## etc.” Whew!
The incredible part of this scenario was that the victim advocates stated in a matter of fact manner, “This has never come up before” … in 32 years….. Advocates have apparently failed to adequately prepare victims and failed to ensure their safety by statute for all this time…as it has never come up….. WHAT??? Ladyjustice is still trying to process this one day later…. Had we not been pioneers…and made them “sit up and pat attention” before entering the hearing room, LJ shudders to think about the consequences.
Ladyjustice must reiterate that each family member within a unit deals with this situation differently. They are all different in personality, coping styles and tolerance levels. That being said, the majority of members…. “Wanted in over and let’s forget the details.” Ladyjustice and their legal representative were of the mindset…“We need to know everything in order to be prepared”. We were ready and able to take charge….
And we did!
Highlights and Lowlights of the Hearing
Just as in her Impact statement, Ladyjustice began by “painting a picture of “Images that Will Never Leave.”
The same method will be effective here…
Uncomfortable chairs in a small room lined up against the wall; A big screen TV facing the parole board.
The chairman skillfully “running the show” making the perpetrator accountable for his incredible testimony.
“It was an accident. “ (Shooting the victim 4 to 5 times” using a revolver, pulling the trigger each time;
The second murder….” I take responsibility… but I was in New York when it happened. I helped clean it up.”
Why did you kill the victim?
“It was stupid” (Ladyjustice- Like crossing the street without looking?)
Witnessing my nearly 80 yea old mother have the strength and fortitude to give a moving statement and then put her face in her hands and cry uncontrollably;
Witnessing other family members break down and re-gain composure to deliver very impressive accounts regarding how the loss had affected each of them;
Witnessing my Mother “crane her neck” to see if there was any hint of reaction from the perpetrator – several
times… There was NONE!
After “executive session” was over hearing denial of parole…until 2018 – five years from now (yet another chance) because of the heinousness of his crimes AND the true impact of our statements!
Hearing Michelle Cruz, thank us for allowing her to be part of the hearing and assisting us.
No…we owe you a debt of gratitude, Michelle!
Law offices of Michelle S. Cruz:
860 415 6529 (MLAW) AttyMichelleSCruz@yahoo.com
Duane Bowers, Trauma Specialist, assists clients and victims of violent crime navigate the world of traumatic events . As a seasoned professional working with family members experiencing a myriad of losses, he perhaps has seen it all as a licensed professional counselor, an on scene first responder trainer and professor.
However, his keen instincts, descriptive communication style, and his ability to put situations in perspective, assist people on the road to healing. Providing reassurance, comfort and practical recommendations are crucial to achieving a “new normal “ when faced with the number of small town and yet nationwide events that have plagued our nation in recent months, creating an impact similar to the domino effect.
How do we make sense of it all? And better yet…. What value and importance do we assign it to our lives? As Ladyjustice and Delilah learned in this hour of “Shattered Lives”, how we deal with these traumatic events has everything to do with our own brand of spirituality. Whether we “sink to the depths” or are able to remain buoyant and move on with life without being paralyzed by fear and confined to a restrictive lifestyle is up to us.
Duane guides us in defining our own spirituality and assessing value placed on each violent occurrence… Safe in this knowledge, we will hopefully be equipped for tomorrow and the next day and the next….
To Listen to this Podcast, CLICK HERE
- Introduction to our guest:
- Discussion of the differences between spirituality, religion and
- What value we give to traumatic events?
- De-realization versus De-personalization responses;
- What does it mean “not to fit in the world” anymore?
- What is the composition of a person’s spirituality?
- Discussion of accidental versus intentional;
- Delilah and Duane – Different perspectives – Collective fear…or “Thank God they’ve got this under control”?
- Only two ways of looking at the future….
- The constant ,instant news factor… Media 24/7;
- More information, More control and how it affects crime victims…
- Ladyjustice shares a need for control during the conviction of her father’s murderer;
- Preparation versus spiritual incorporation explained….
- How does your world view help or hinder?
- Discussions of Ladyjustice’s favorite term…“Post traumatic growth”
- The parents of Newtown going to Washington – an example;
- Delilah on society wanting instantaneous change…and how do we gaintrust in humanity again?
- Making change – What is your world view –part of the solution versus a problem;
- Ladyjustice asks about proactivity and taking responsibility;
- Duane’s message re vigilance and those on the extremes;
- Spirituality comes from us…. We create it ;
- Discussion of What is it that we expect from our God? Asking, not getting-“Failure” versus giving us the resilience…
- “Seeing the news” or seeing impressions; “How we think about the news”
- Ladyjustice asks if there are generational differences in coping with mass tragedies?
- Ladyjustice asks about fluidity and your spirituality….
- Fear versus hope entwined with one’s spirituality;
- Mr. Roger’s Quote- a wonderful perspective;
- Crowd control; a military state and .how much people will tolerate…
- The essence of spirituality-: Allowing a future providing hope, lots of possibilities and strength….
Questions you may be wondering about?
- How do we deal with successive tragedies on a mass scale?
- What’s the relationship between spirituality, de-realization and de-personalization?
- Two traumatic situations close in time- Texas and Boston… Are the reactions similar Why-why-not?
- What part does fear play in spirituality?
- Is media responsible in their reporting of these events?
- How is putting things in order related to spirituality and our sense of control?
- Can we experience post –traumatic growth from these events? How?
- What role does activism play in our personal growth?
- What’s the larger perspective in terms of trusting?
- How do we balance complacency versus the other extreme of hyper-vigilance?
- What can people do as a result of the Boston event?
- Does or Should God give us everything we ask for…Why-Why Not?
- How do we determine what fits my world view and value system?
- How do people with rigid beliefs cope with trauma?
Spirituality and Trauma: What’s the Relationship?
*To purchase photography by Sherry Vance refer to her collection. http://sherry-vance.artistwebsites.com/index.html
This writer has a million examples of liberty and justice compiled over a long period of time. My blog is a microcosm of such examples written about over a year’s time. Ladyjustice will provide a short list of such examples below, focusing in on the Liberty and Justice part, in hopes that others may be interested in reading more….
LIBERTY: Bengali women are now able to escape human trafficking since their pre-teen years by learning job skills and making handicrafts to earn real wages versus the degradation of the sex trade.
JUSTICE: Pobitra, a job training program and Pokritee, a product design and development company, are giving women courage and the tools to escape this destructive way of life! Ten Thousand Villages, a fair trade retailer working with 138 artisans in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East showcase these brave entrepreneurs!
LIBERTY: Daniel Hernandez, Jr, a former Upward Bound student had the fortitude and courage to act quickly to save the life of Representative Gabrielle Giffords during the murderous rampage in Arizona.
JUSTICE: Representative Giffords survives and continues to make progress in her recovery (In fact, a new book written by her husband and she will be published soon). Ladyjustice has a special place in her heart for the Daniel Hernandez Jr’s of the world and the Upward Bound Program in Imperial Valley California (the poorest county in the U.S.) LJ showcased this very program.
LIBERTY: As the hearts and minds of our nation were torn apart after the terrorist attacks of 9-11, one group took on the President and Congress, demanding action when they initially chose not to investigate.
Justice: Mary Fetchet, Founder of Voices of 9-11 provides comfort, support and advocacy to many, many victims and continues to lead the charge for lasting change!
Liberty: A dignified woman and former social worker from Connecticut became a violent crime victim in an instant, 22 years ago when her son, on the brink of marriage was murdered so tragically and totally unprovoked by a narcissistic killer who spent years and years on the lamb, hidden by his wealthy family.
Justice: After 22 years… using local, state and international resources, Addie Carone finally got a piece justice after Adam Zach, the perpetrator, was located via a family member in Mexico where Zachs had taken on a new identity, married and had children and a business. Zachs is now incarcerated for the first time in his adult life…. as well as his father for adding and abetting a fugitive.
Liberty: Crime Victims are held hostage their entire lives by the personal violence experienced and any successive violence, as it often opens up the wounds. One of the best ways to deal with this is to attempt become healthier by advocating for others in the name of their lost loved one. Case in point: The Melanie Ilene Rieger Memorial Conference against Violence.
Justice: Sam and Wanda’s daughter Melanie was a nurturing person and had aspirations of being a social work. Melanie’s ex-boyfriend had other tragic plans for her… plans of intimate partner homicide. See Ladyjustice’s tribute to their 15th conference in her memory, this past spring.
Thank you for the opportunity to share!
With the help of all advocates collectively, may we continue to see more examples of justice obtained rather than justice denied!
An open wound that never quite heals…. Submerged memories…Unimaginable loss…. ‘Life altering changes, broken hearts, minds and souls…. Such is the make-up of a person who has been visited by violent crime…
When such a victim puts their trust in the system that is supposed to help them achieve a new normal and a new start at healing, we believe because we are vulnerable, we have no reference point for this series of events… Our “rudder in life” has been irreparably damaged. To believe the experts at our greatest point of vulnerability and grief…. Is to dance with the devil…. Sometimes…years down the road we learn the true realities concerning what the criminal justice system doles out… Such a reality is being thrust upon Ladyjustice’s family.
To be able to comprehend and navigate such a process is difficult at best when the phone call and/or form letter arrives. It is invaluable to have the services of a skilled victim advocate, prosecutor, and crime victim rolled into one. This person is Michelle Cruz. She knows from whence she speaks… She doesn’t just speak…. she feels a victim’s pain.
During this episode of “Shattered Lives,” Delilah takes over the reigns to interview Ladyjustice and Michelle about this very personal topic…
To listen to the Podcast: CLICK HERE
• Introduction to guests and topic by Delilah;
• Introduction to the background of the murder and Ladyjustice’s decision to become an advocate for her family and other crime victims;
• An outline of the circumstances…
• Delilah asks what is the normal process when someone goes through once a victim is notified?
• Michelle explains the process and the fact that parole hearing are public?
• Why does he get parole now? I thought he wasn’t getting out…
• Delilah brings up the point that victims may not know how or what questions to ask or know how to get the proper information;
• “The bandaid’s ripped off … it’s not really 50 years served …it’s 26 years;
• Questions elicited in the process of brainstorming …different for every family;
• Can a family’s wishes be videotaped for the future…particularly with elderly family members who may not be around for every five year interval;
• Ladyjustice’s feelings regarding the perpetrator’s responsibility at the parole hearing…
• Information is power… the process does not have to be as horrific as you think….
• Creating new ground…thinking out of the box …educating the parole board and future victims;
• Policy matters and short notice to the victim;
• Ladyjustice’s information regarding what “lifer’s” typically do… to apply or not to apply for parole;
• The Connecticut Parole system… If you happen to be a victim whose offender’s hearing is in prison clearance is needed…How would a family know? The notification falls short…
• Where is the balance in the system… a discussion about victim -centered system versus otherwise… verbiage versus tangible rights…
• The Constitutional Rights of Victims..;
• Factors that come into play…. Limited staffing, lack of knowledge of parole hearings, being emotionally overwhelmed; transportation, safety issues etc.
• Michelle’s offer to send her e-mails to respond to questions and explain the process; Contact Info: 860 415 6529 (MLAW) AttyMichelleSCruz@yahoo.com
• BOTTOM LINE: Keep asking questions and locate the right person to advocate and explain the process until you understand!
• “We told the victim this… we had this conversation (“i.e. Don’t ask anymore questions…We’re busy”
• Explaining the legal concept of “joinder”…extraordinary circumstance in this case… That’s why we’re in the law books!;
• Explaining concurrent versus consecutive sentences…
• The old goodtime credit… receiving good time up front; If you don’t behave, good time SHOULD be forfeited;
• New crimes committed while in prison…to be served consecutive AFTER he gets parole
• What is good time anyway… back in the day versus good time currently?
• You can write your name on a list and get goodtime credit;
• An example of when good time works well- getting a GED;
• An example when it isn’t effective… “The History of the Philippines” course;
• Counseling session…enough to rip the bandaid off but not enough to make them successful Another example..;
• Programs have the potential of being equally beneficial to crime victims AND prisoners…
• College courses as an example of being equitable…
• Victim Compensation…It’s available…. A 2 year limit in CT, 3 years in Mass; Other considerations for older cases…
• Is Ladyjustice’s case an unusual case? Lying to victims about sentencing… a mathematical calculation and changes over time;
• Earned risk reduction credits 60 days off per year…and the true case of 60 years for murder without good time- the perpetrator’s sentence is a lengthier more true sentence;
• Discussion of the nature of the prisoner’s crimes in prison…
It’s allowed in this public forum;
• Discussion of whether the parole board members really care about the victims…
• Twenty- six years is not enough…. How do victim’s summarize that length of time?
• Discussion of the importance of having a voice in the process…however you chose to do it- ways to participate;
• Delilah’s statement regarding the importance of this show and blog to assist others who may have to go through the process in the future;
• Ladyjustice’s closing statement and thank-yous;
Questions that may be elicited from this podcast:
• Despite being a knowledgeable advocate, why are there so many questions?
• What does notification really mean?
• If your offender committed a crime many years ago, are we notified?
• What types of questions and needs are important to the victims?
• What happens if other family members do not want the perpetrator to hear their victim impact statement?
• Why such short notice for victims?
• Balance and equity in the system- Where is it?
• Can we achieve equity in terms of the rights of the perpetrator versus the victim?;
• Does Michelle advise victims to hire an attorney to represent their interests?
• Defining terms – concurrent, consecutive, determinant sentencing versus indeterminant; the legal concept of “joinder”?
• When should joinder be used?
• ***How does someone receive GOOD TIME when they continue to commit crimes while still in prison?
• Are programs for prisoners helpful…or not?
• What are the factors that may contribute to victims not knowing about victim compensation?
• Promises, promises… What has been the most difficult part of Michelle’s role in her former position?
• How can a crime victim keep track of the offender’s sentence re parole eligibility date using the DOC website?
• Are victim’s allowed to know the nature of prisoner’s crimes in prison?
• What does the parole board expect of the crime victim’s role during the hearing?
• Why is it so important to be prepared…and what are the reasons for doing a victim impact statement?
• If the perpetrator has a short sentence is it worth it?
Law offices of Michelle S. Cruz:
Parole Hearings: A Prisoner’s Gift; A Crime Victim’s Nightmare…
Ladyjustice believes that the name Betty Broderick could be synonymous with snake venom. Dan, in turn, was a psychological manipulator and a philanderer. Betty exacted what she thought was the ultimate revenge… and received 32 years to life for second degree murder in the killings of her ex-husband ,Dan Broderick and his new wife Linda as they slept in their bedroom. Both used their children as pawns in a dangerous game of cat and mouse…. San Diego would never be the same…
The landscape of this case is so convoluted, so volatile, and so contentious that a blog would be pages and pages long to capture the story in its full scope. Rather, this author chooses to present a particular focus and “fascinating facts” to leave the reader hopefully wanting more… In addition, we will visit one authority on “the female narcissist.”
To begin with, Betty was not deprived in any material sense. She was the third of six children, whose father was a successful New York building contractor. Hired help was the standard in addition to private Catholic schools. Dan Broderick was the oldest of nine children, a Navy reared, strict Catholic family as well. Betty and Dan married in 1969.
Betty was very intelligent, but appeared to buy into the 1950-60’s housewife and mother fantasy, supporting her man. However, the sacrifice wasn’t worth the final outcome. So the story goes… Betty did everything a good Catholic wife should do. She climbed the social ladder with her husband’s occupational prominence as a physician and later a malpractice attorney with Betty working several jobs as the breadwinner prior to making his fortune.
Dan got bored and his eye wandered to a younger model. No one could have predicted the extent of Betty’s wrath. After 16 years of marriage, Betty was tossed aside. Dan continually lied to her regarding an affair, saying she was crazy…. Concerning his relationship with a newly hired assistant. She was told she was “old, fat, stupid and boring.” A suicide attempt… ‘Attempts at perfection to please her husband. Betty became that crazy person Dan told friends about…
Craziness…she rammed her car into his home, scrawled “God” on court documents where his name should appear, and left obscene phone messages for her 11 year old son to hear.
Support payments were hefty, after a four year ferocious court battle orchestrated by Dan, Betty was relentless in her harassment. Dan fined her $100 for every obscene word used. She was jailed and briefly committed to a mental hospital. Dan was the head of the San Diego Bar Association during their troubles, and consequently Betty had difficulty finding someone to represent her… in addition to her narcissistic personality and irrepressible anger.
Betty had four living children, one baby who died and three miscarriages with Dan. As horrible she was, Dan harassed Betty for years using his knowledge of the medical and the legal system to his best advantage.
Epstein credits refer to a California law encompassing the time period until a divorce is finalized. During that time, one of the spouses will pay all expenses incurred regarding community property. After the decree, the spouse who paid the expenses is allowed to request reimbursement for half of the monies spent, beginning at the date of separation. Reportedly, due to Dan’s legal ploys and delays, the judge took Dan’s word for the final accounting, with another $5,000 deducted at show cause hearings for use of bad language. Half of Dan’s pension -$240,000, could not be claimed until age 65. Her final award from her “multi-millionaire hubby” was less than $30,000.
Media accounts such as the “American Justice” program and the TV movie “A Woman Scorned” portray the destructive antics of Betty very heavily and paint Dan as “Mr. Clean.” However, it becomes perfectly clear that when actual videotapes are seen of the real Betty testifying, she appears self-centered and stark-raving mad…deflecting ALL responsibility toward her ex-husband. In truth, whether she was mentally ill or “crazy like a fox,” it was tit for tat with each spouse creating the toxic relationship. Dan even predicted his own murder…
BUT… What can be said about the Female Narcissist? Sam Vaknin, (author of Malignant Self Love: Narcissism Revisited provides comprehensive information on narcissism and the narcissist).writing and videotaping for the HealthyPlace: Trusted Mental Health Information on Gender and Narcissism , states that most narcissists are males (75%) with very few gender differences noted.
The primary role of the narcissist is to use everything around them for their narcissistic supply.
According to Vaknin, female narcissists focus on their physical appearance-flaunting their attributes and culturally determined role. He goes on to say that they… “Secure their narcissistic supply through their more traditional gender role via taking care of the home, children, suitable careers (“the wife of___”), their feminine traits and role in society. They depend so much on the opinions of others around them that, with time, they transform into ultrasensitive seismographs of public opinion, barometers of prevailing winds and guardians of conformity. Narcissists cannot afford to seriously alienate others in the process of reflecting their false self… The very proper and continuous functioning of their ego depends upon the goodwill and collaboration of their human environment.”
Some narcissists feel guilt and wish to be punished, playing out roles such as the “bad girl” (which fall within traditional expectations) as a means of getting attention. Female narcissists tend to resort to therapy and admit psychological problems. They also treat children as extensions of themselves and Mr. Vaknin believes that female version fights to maintain control and dependence in her children, because she has limited options compared to men. Male narcissists tend to view children as a nuisance…. It’s all about filling her insatiable narcissistic supply.
After reviewing many sources, Ladyjustice concludes that:
- Dan and Betty Broderick were their own worst enemies- both flawed at minimum and perhaps sociopathic at the other end of the spectrum;
- Given Dan’s selfishness, manipulation and role as a user of younger women, Betty could NEVER have resumed her self-defined trophy wife status. She was yesterday’s news in his life;
- Their four children were the saddest victims in this entire ordeal. Split 50-50 at Betty’s 2010 parole hearing, Betty used them as pawns, never caring about how the couple’s destructive behavior impacted them. NOR did she express any remorse even after 20 years of incarceration!
American Justice Excerpt: (recording of phone conversation with Betty and her 11 year old son. This is he real Betty …. Even Ladyjustice is shocked! http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=Is8vUAUDwZs&feature=endscreen
(***FAST FORWARD to 5 min, 40 seconds and play through 6 min, 24secs)
Her Final Fury
On February 15, 1903, toy store owner-inventor Morris Michtom placed two stuffed bears in his shop window, advertising them as Teddy bears. Previously, Michtom petitioned President Theodore Roosevelt for permission to use his nickname, Teddy. The president agreed and, before long, other toy manufacturers began turning out copies of Michtom’s stuffed bears, thus spawning a national childhood institution.
According to legend, naming the beloved Teddy Bear came from one of President Roosevelt’s famous big game hunting trips that lasted four days. In 1902 Roosevelt traveled to Mississippi to settle a boundary dispute between the states of Mississippi and Louisiana. Although he was an accomplished hunter, he failed to shoot a single bear during the trip, but he did manage to capture a small bear cub. They tied it to a tree so the President could shoot and claim it as his own, but Roosevelt refused, sparing the cub’s life.
Political cartoonist Clifford Berryman recorded the episode in a sketch entitled “Drawing the line in Mississippi” and published it to wide acclaim in The Washington Post. The sketch attracted so much national attention that the popular cartoonist hereafter included the appealing little bear character whenever he portrayed the President.
Catherine Pisacane’s story is very different… As the Founder of “Project Smile” in Hopedale, Massachusetts, the impetus for her non-profit was created from unimaginable tragedy…
“I read a newspaper article about three brothers in New Jersey who were starved by their adoptive parents. When the police arrived to remove the brothers from the house, an officer gave one of the children a small stuffed tiger that he had with him. The child clung to it during his entire time at the police station and refused to let it go. After reading about that, I wanted to start a program which would allow as many police officers as possible to have something to give to a hurting child. A stuffed animal may be small, but its significance is huge.” – Catherine Pisacane
Guest Co-host Kim Kolton and Ladyjustice spent an hour learning about this very laudable venture which assists children, seniors as well as first responders.
To listen to the podcast, CLICK HERE:
- Introductions: co-host and guest…
- Child neglect…a beginning…combined with a middle school contest;
- Keeping the overhead low….
- A mother figure versus emergency situation;
- Grants for neglected seniors who have dementia;
- The fruits of her rewards …during the holidays;
- Discussion of their relationship with the Department of Children and Families…
- Funding – where it comes from;
- Calling all beanie babies….;
- Getting the word out…;
- Student interns as volunteers;
- A heartwarming e-mail regarding a traumatized child in a car accident;
- Running a chapter is different from Catherine’s job;
- Information about drop off and donations by mail;
- “The fundraising never stops….”
- STUFFED ANIMALS ARE UNIVERSAL;
- The Virtual AID Drive-What it’s about? A way to fundraise…
- Catherine’s background and how it lent itself to Project Smile…
- A criminal justice degree… I don’t want to be held back;
- (A temporary pause in the action –technical difficulty…)
- The Boston Celtics recognition story….
- Discussion of the difficulties of fundraising;
- Details of Project Smile’s Fundraisers – a marriage and baby…
- A spring fashion show at Copley Place – April 25th…;
- www.smilingstiletto.com/ with a shoe walk off;
- The major goal of Project Smile and its status – 184 po0lice departments;
- Contact Info:www.projectsmile.org or Tel: 508-634-0203;
- The Financial Need is the greatest need from Aid Matrix with PayPal Option;
- Some Advice: If you have an Idea for a charity or business in YOUR neighborhood;
Questions elicited from this podcast:
- What was the incident that started “Project Smile?”
- How did the business grow?
- What is the real value of a teddy bear?
- How are the animals selected for distribution?
- What are the guidelines of donation for stuffed animals and toys?
- Why are webkin donations with computer game codes a good choice?
- How can one begin a new Chapter for Project Smile?
- What does Catherine’s job involve as a single person operation?
- If you don’t have items to donate, how can you still assist?
- What is the effect of the continued economic downturn, particularly in New England?
- What is the “Smiling Stiletto Shoe Club “?
- What’s the scoop on the Annual Charity Date Auction (40 Most Eligible First Responders)?
- What is the history of the formation of the Stiletto Shoe Club?
- How do first responder organizations sign on sign up to be a recipient?
- Which first responder organizations are eligible to be recipients?