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Ocean County NJ — 2009, it “spiraled out of control,” 2008, “a perfect storm of DV”, but $86 mil still for “NJ Public Law & Safety” 2007-2009

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(More on the dangers of love and romance in New Jersey, and in faulty misplacement of trust in law enforcement, prosecution, and public safety entitites:)


This wide-ranging post comes from asking more “why?” on the Frisco/Zindell murder-suicide and a third article on the topic is enclosed, along with my usual comments, conclusions, and wide-ranging observations.  WHY did the court release Frank Frisco without paying his past-due support, if this was the  basis of holding him?  Who has a copy of that order?  Within 5 hours, he had his revenge; seems to me the authorities knew this man.  Ocean County has a low homicide rate, and a major one happened like it (same result — let out, killed the girlfriend) in only January 2008.   Likelihood or no likelihood, sad or not, just FYI — I haven’t heard of a witness to the killing(s), and I haven’t heard WHY he was released.  Have you?  If so, please comment and send a link.  
Although this incident wasn’t entirely a “family court” matter — this couple had no children together — the man did.
Keep in mind also — statements are made, but what weight to give them, in context.  Is there evidence?  Was there a witness?
Also, seeing this, I decided to add another website page (in process), showing prior decisions in prior cases that went south.  The bottom line, of course, is be strong, think smart, and stay alive.  We are entirely too passive and dependent in this society, which mindset “exports” the basic aspects of life (of which self-defense and self-defense smarts) is one.  When the system fails, we try to fix the system.  Endlessly.
(Now THAT’s a market niche . . . . . )  Better, know thyself, know they friends, know the landscape and help each other.

 

BUT FIRST, A FEW SERIOUS WORDS — and this is not a help site, but I feel it’s important:


  • A 30 year old woman (sorry, I care less about the man that killed her… and himself) in NJ who had a real track record of success behind her, a passion to serve, smarts — but not enough of the right kind, here — and hope, a desire for a family — and her own family was down a father, recently, she also didn’t have brothers in sisters.  She was working in a Department of NJ that dealt with children and families.  
  • This young lady was smart enough to say “no” to following through with the marriage, but somehow neither she nor all the surrounding experts had “SURVIVAL” attitude to realize how severe a “SURVIVAL” situation she was in.  There was SOME realization, but not enough follow-through to keep her alive.  
  • Below is a link to US Army training manual, 1992.  I just looked it up.  yes, it’s about wilderness survival, but Chapters 1 & 2 count.  You want to learn how to “survive”??  Learn from the principles here — because clearly all the lethality indicators, domestic violence indicators, and millions of $$ to “prevent violence against women” are not reliable to save women’s lives, and men’s and children’s.  They may and I bet DO help, but are they reliable enough to stake one’s life on?  Would you stake someone else’s life on them?  How about children’s?  In this case, speaking up and trusting someone else to handle it proved fatal!  Would you stake your life on these, then?   $86 million of help to NJ, or not?
  • I’d say, no.  
  • I am preaching to myself also in this matter, because I am having diffficulty with “indecision” in some issues here also.  I recommend, though, overall, being 150% safe if possible, and then you’re also a better person for it.  PART of 150% safe is knowing one’s teammates.  Ms. Zindells’ teammates loved her, cared about her, warned her, and helped, her, but did not save her.  Nor did she save herself.  I can’t say I would in her situation (and am probably her by the grace of God only, as well), BUT – — perhaps we can learn what NOT to do for the next 53 women, in this state alone, that have similar situations to deal with.
  • This isn’t even current, but it has some common sense in it.  Not “expert theory.”  But hey, Boy Scout motto, “Be Prepared,” right?

 

U.S. Army Survival Manual FM 21-76 (link)


June 1992

 

I attached Chapter 1 — Intro & a few excerpts.  There’s a Chapter 2 – psychology, also.

 

S U R V I V A L

 

S — SIZE UP YOUR SITUATIONS

U – USE ALL YOUR SENSES – UNDUE HASTE MAKES WASTE

R –  REMEMBER WHERE YOU ARE

V –  VANQUISH FEAR AND PANIC

I –  IMPROVISE

V – VALUE LIFE!

A – ACT LIKE THE NATIVES

L – LIVE  BY YOUR WITS, BUT FOR NOW LEARN BASIC SKILLS.

 

(SOME EXCERPTS & COMMENTS)

S – Size Up the Situation 

If you are in a combat situation, find a place where you can conceal 

yourself from the enemy.

 

 

OK — this was not a domestic dispute, it had just suddenly changed to, literally, a “combat situation,” although this may not have been immediately evident. . . . . When she confronted this man and said NO, when his hopes and intensity had been so high on YES, her entire terrain immediately changed.  Her teammates needed to really “see” this, but fact is, most of our society is NOT structured this way.  It is structured with top-heavy government doing the dirty work (alas, alas, when they fail, each time, and back to expecting them to do it right next time).  Groups who attempt to not rely on this are castigated and sometimes outcast, in various areas of government expertise (I’m thinking about schooling, among others). . . .  

 

 

Remember, security takes priority. Use your senses of hearing, smell, and sight to get a feel for the battlefield. What 

is the enemy doing? Advancing? Holding in place? Retreating?

 

{{Boy, THOSE are not terms you hear so often in domestic violence counseling or treatment, or issuing of restraining orders, right?}}

 

You will have to consider what is developing on the battlefield when you make 

your survival plan. 

 

Size Up Your Surroundings 

Determine the pattern of the area. Get a feel for what is going on 

around you. Every environment, whether forest, jungle, or desert, has 

a rhythm or pattern. This rhythm or pattern includes animal and bird 

noises and movements and insect sounds. It may also include enemy 

traffic and civilian movements. 

 

There is definitely a pattern to the “field” of domestic violence, expert talk about it, and prosecutor, etc. responses to it. That “pattern” is that women are still getting killed when they leave, or going homeless.  Another “pattern” is that men leaving one wife need a 2nd one either to live, or to justify the first failure OR (case in point) for money, not just a warm bed or a companion.  The pattern IS that there was probably more than one side to the story of why he left that bitch, the mother of his kids.  . . . Right now, this issue has come up with the home my children are in.  The woman there is intently sure that I’m still the culprit, but has also acknowledged that her “man” (father of our children) wasn’t what he put himself out as, and, what’s more apparently targeted her for a certain function in his life.  At least, that was one conversation.    


 

Size Up Your Physical Condition 

The pressure of the battle you were in or the trauma of being in a 

survival situation may have caused you to overlook wounds you received. 

Check your wounds and give yourself first aid. Take care to prevent 

further bodily harm. For instance, in any climate, drink plenty of water 

to prevent dehydration. If you are in a cold or wet climate, put on 

additional clothing to prevent hypothermia. 

 

Size Up Your Equipment 

Perhaps in the heat of battle, you lost or damaged some of your 

equipment. Check to see what equipment you have and what condition 

it is in. 

 

The “equipment” of this situation, for Ms. Zindell included:  restraining order, courts, prosecutors, friends (for safety) car, and so forth.  The “equipment” included many things, suddenly needed, that a normal life otherwise wouldn’t need.  Like — I still wonder how much warning she was given about this person’s release, and whether she actually got it and became poperly alarmed enough.

 

 

Now that you have sized up your situation, surroundings, physical condition,

and equipment, you are ready to make your survival plan. In doing 

so, keep in mind your basic physical needs—water, food, and shelter. 

 

{{Guess what:  in this situation, job wasn’t a basic physical need, priority wise.  She was smart, and let go of the house, but . . .. . }}

 

U – Use All Your Senses, Undue Haste Makes Waste 

You may make a wrong move when you react quickly without thinking 

or planning. That move may result in your capture or death. Don’t move 

just for the sake of taking action. Consider all aspects of your situation 

(size up your situation) before you make a decision and a move. If you 

act in haste, you may forget or lose some of your equipment. In your 

haste you may also become disoriented so that you don’t know which 

way to go. Plan your moves. Be ready to move out quickly without 

endangering yourself if the enemy is near you. Use all your senses 

to evaluate the situation. Note sounds andtemperature changes. Be observant. 

VANQUISH FEAR AND PANIC

The greatest enemies in a combat survival and evasion situation are 

fear and panic. If uncontrolled, they can destroy your ability to make an 

intelligent decision. They may cause you to react to your feelings and 

imagination rather than to your situation. They can drain your energy 

and thereby cause other negative emotions. Previous survival and 

evasion training and self-confidence will enable you to vanquish fear 

and panic. 

{{AND THE REST YOU CAN READ ON THE SITE, OR FIND ELSEWHERE.  BUT  KNOW THAT IT’S FIRST AN ATTITUDE, AND SECOND TRAINING TO UNDERSTAND PRINCIPLES, AND PRACTICE THEM.  THIS WOULD REQUIRE HELP.}}

A woman ending a romantic relationship of some depth — particularly if the reasons doing so relate to safety or fear- / violence — is in a changed landscape, and needs to recognize this quickly and act appropriately.  Note:  The institutions involved do not encourage this attitude, and it’s challenging, after the isolation of perhaps the relationship, to then understand a different way of thinking while it is ending and until the danger is past.  It took me a long time to realize the difference in urgency between the groups I sought help from (their concern:  funding, grants — it’s a bottom line;  mine:  justice, safety — its my bottom line).

Back to my regularly scheduled post. . . . 

 

  • You can’t judge a rolling stone by its cover:  Best to ask for ID. . . . .  This dangerous, middle-aged loiterer without ID (or the mike) was picked up by two young policemen in the NJ shore area last Saturday, so they took precautionary measures:

Saturday August 15, 2009, 8:08 AM

 

http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2009/08/bob_dylan_stopped_by_long_bran.html

The police officer drove up to Dylan, who was wearing a blue jacket, and asked him his name. According to Woolley, the following exchange ensued:

“What is your name, sir?” the officer asked.

“Bob Dylan,” Dylan said.

“OK, what are you doing here?” the officer asked.

“I’m on tour,” the singer replied.

A second officer, also in his 20s, responded to assist the first officer. He, too, apparently was unfamiliar with Dylan, Woolley said.

The officers asked Dylan for identification.

This incident ended without incident and, presumably the concert afterwards.   The Times, they are indeed a-changin’.

 

  • A young bank robber (Ocean County) last April was caught and imprisoned, as was the girlfriend who enabled it.  They were put in jail and kept there a while:

 

Ocean County man is sentenced for robbing bank Print E-mail
Ocean County man is sentenced for robbing bank while girlfriend waited with kids 
by The Associated Press 
Saturday April 04, 2009, 11:42 AM       

An Ocean County man will spend at least the next nine years in prison for robbing a bank last year while his girlfriend waited outside with her two young children. 

A state Superior Court judge in Ocean County has sentenced Jason Conway to 11 years for robbing a Bank of America branch in Brick. The 32-year-old Conway will have to serve at least 85 percent of the sentence. 

Prosecutors said Conway went in to rob the bank while girlfriend Jessica Faulkenberry waited outside with her two children and a change of clothing for Conway. 

Police dogs eventually tracked Conway to the apartment where the couple lived. 

Faulkenberry, who is 23, was sentenced to three years in prison after she pleaded guilty to two counts of child endangerment

 

Which goes to show, prosecution can happen, and crime often requires some enablement, somewhere along the line.  

 

  • Child sexual abusers (sometimes) are kept in prison even too long, on the basis of their danger to society:

Supreme Court to review sex offender law

The top court agrees to assess a law that lets the US government indefinitely detain sex offenders even after they have served their sentences.

By Warren Richey | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

from the June 22, 2009 edition WASHINGTON – The US Supreme Court has agreed to decide the constitutionality of a law that allows the federal government to indefinitely detain a person deemed “sexually dangerous,” even after that person has finished serving a full prison sentence.

The issue arises in the case of a man who has been confined to a North Carolina federal prison for more than two years after completing his three-year sentence for receiving child pornography. The man, Graydon Earl Comstock, has no firm release date.   (When it comes to child safety in particular)  {{WHO WAS DISTRIBUTING IN THAT CASE?}}

The provision in question was passed as part of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006. It authorizes the attorney general to seek the court-ordered, open-ended civil commitment of any “sexually dangerous person” already in US custody.

The measure is controversial in part because it relies on anticipation of future dangerousness to society, rather than actual or planned violations of law.

Although this is being appealed, someone decided to keep the person in jail, just as they decided to check out Bob Dylan.

 

  • However, the buff, stalking Frank Frisco with a criminal record was released, to allegedly commit murder & suicide.  So much for nearly 20 years of lethality assessments from experts.  5 hours later, she were both dead, making him a murderer.  He then hung himself.    Was it the mental hospital time?  The indignation of being arrested for a crime?  The distraught rebuffed suitor?  The debt?  The inability to handle loss?  

  • Who knows, but it WAS someone letting this man out of jail before that woman was truly safe.  

Go figure…  

 

Now let’s have an honest talk about expecting protection from public officials or actions, after reading this editorial (not article) on the same murder/suicide that happened 5 hours after he was released, obviously hopping mad on a few accounts:  marriage cancelled, thievery being caught (he’d stolen from his fiance), public humiliation at last-minute cancellation of the marriage, probably anger at child support arrears, and being caught at THAT, plus being called on his behavior in public.  He had been twice rejected (or failed) in marriage and was apparently not about to “get some” in the home front, and in short, the guy had been confronted on his behavior.  I also read (elsewhere) that Ocean County employment was 6.2% last year, and 10% this year.  Who knows what the terms of his divorce were?  But this does not appear to be the type of guy who is going to go too long without a woman companion (judging by the overlap between EX and NEW).  

 

[Same murder/suicide, Toms River, editorial]:  Tighter Restraints Needed on Domestic Violence:  app.com editorial


A police-officer friend of Letizia Zindell says she “did everything right” in abiding by the rules of the permanent restraining order she had against her ex-fiance. Each time he violated it, she called the police and he was arrested. That didn’t stop him from getting out of jail on obscenely low bail and killing her. . . . 

 

STOP!  Correction!  Was it a jailbreak or was he let out on obscenely low bail?  I read, he made bail and was then kept longer due to child support arrears, and then “inexplicably” — and until I see a court document or minutes of a hearing or decision, I don’t have the explanation) he was released.  This required an order, and someone following an order.  I also haven’t seen or heard how or when this woman was notified of his release. 

 

Earlier last year [2008], Ocean County Prosecutor Marlene Lynch Ford vowed to change the way domestic violence cases were handled in Ocean County after a Stafford woman was stabbed to death by her ex-boyfriend two hours after he was released from jail when charges against him for a domestic violence incident were downgraded. One assistant prosecutor called the events leading up to the murder a “perfect storm of domestic violence.” Sadly, Zindell’s murder shows perfect storms aren’t rarities.

 

In other words — it not being their lives, their families at stake — the prosecutor reframed the truth back then, too, diverting the discussion away from system failures to the generic term “domestic violence.  This does not appear to have stemmed the flow of federal funds to stop exactly this type of event (see subject line, see resources at end of this post).


The similarities in the two cases are striking. Bruce Burgess, who killed Tesha Lightsey on Jan. 8, 2008, was arrested on consecutive days for domestic violence disturbances. He was released from jail five days later, after the Prosecutor’s Office decided not to pursue an indictment on charges that he threatened her. Frisco, who was arrested repeatedly and phoned and e-mailed Zindell after his restraining order was made permanent, also was released after five days. He met bail on domestic violence charges the Friday he was arrested, but was held in jail until Wednesday because he owed more than $25,000 in back child support. Inexplicably, he was released without paying any of it.

When Lightsey was killed last year, concerns were raised that the brief jail time for domestic violence offenses was looked upon by the justice system as a “cooling off” period. In the Lightsey and Zindell cases, those five days were more likely a time of festering emotions – emotions that culminated in two deaths only hours after the attackers were released.

State Sen. Robert Singer, R-Ocean, sits on the Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee. He should work with the county Prosecutor’s Office and state law enforcement groups to develop legislation aimed at better protecting victims of domestic violence from their abusers.

Zindell did everything right. It wasn’t enough to save her life. The laws need to be changed to prevent others from suffering a similar fate.

 

No, Zindell did not do everything right.  First of all, she had everything going for her, was still relatively young (maybe not in shore culture, but she was!) and went picked the wrong man — or let him pick her.  Why become involved with an older man, an ex-wife, 3 boys and debt?  What was the prior history with relationships — was he the first significant one?

She lacked information to realize who this man was, and apparently didn’t run a criminal background check on the guy before he moved in.  She was still young (relatively) and perhaps didn’t realize what this guy had at stake in “winning,” and like a lot of 2nd women is taken in, thinking the difficulties perhaps must have been that first “bitch” woman treated him wrong  Of course I have no idea of Ms. Zindell thought this, but I’ve seen it plenty.  There are vulnerabilities.

I can understand her not wanting to give up a  good career and move out of state.  But this ended up with loss of life (so much for job first).   She possibly (been there, done that) was thinking that sending a clear message would be heard by this person.  She thought the police would do the right thing, the prosecutors would do the right thing, and being probably involved in her job, wasn’t paying close attention to the statistics, the “DV” stuff that someone who’s gone through it might.  I cannot say of course anything about what wa sin the mind, but the fact is, the responsibility to protect DOES lie with the individual, and one of THE most dangerous things any woman could do (or attitudes to adopt) is to think that anything less than full safety and full protection is acceptable.  She did not have children by this man (which changes dynamics).   She didn’t have sufficient people around her urgently enough (or trusting them if they were urgent) to know a good one from a bad one based on behaviors, or past behaviors.   

 

Even so, Ocean County screwed up, and doesn’t seem very apologetic about it.  Judge accordingly, if this is a situation of someone you care about, or yourself.  Assumptions are not bliss, facts are.  

 

Let’s read this account — there are a few points where more vigilance might have saved a life — do you know or see what they were?  Do you see how the vulnerability?  The following is the most complete article I’ve seen yet, giving more of her background, more details on the arrest record (although NOTHING on why he was released!), and who she packed up and was moving out.

http://beta.app.com/article/20090814/NEWS/90815005/1401/news05

 

. . . . 

She was an only child.

She was a young superstar with a  big heart, obviously, and dedicated in social service and helping others (like this dude, too).

Her father had died, after approving the marriage to this man (DAD, where was YOUR head at?)

A male friend left her alone after she packed some things to move out.  DID SHE KNOW HE”D BEEN RELEASED?  REALLY?

Although someone posted bail for the theft, bad checks and restraining order charges, the court ordered him held on outstanding child support of $25,870.36, officials said. The court then released him Wednesday without the payment. {{THAT”S WHAT TO INVESTIGATE!}} On Wednesday at 5:10 p.m., Zindell learned he was being released, authorities said.  {{This is hearsay, at least to us.  Where’s the proof?}}

That evening, she and a male friend went to her Lafayette Avenue home and she packed some of her things. They parted about 10 p.m. — ((And that was the last fatal mistake.  Better to “book it” with the clothes on her back — and out of the area, FAST, NOW — then think later.  #2 — if her friends knew, why was she ever left alone, especially being so popular?  A woman’s life was at risk — surely someone could have taken her in, or a shelter….  )) the last time she was seen alive, police said.

 

Now, about that NJ $86 million for public safety and law  . . . . . 

 

WIKIPEDIA:

 

The New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety is a governmental agency in the U.S. state of New Jersey that focuses on protection of the lives and property of New Jersey residents and visitors. The department operates under the supervision of the New Jersey Attorney General. The department is are responsible for safeguarding “civil and consumer rights, promoting highway traffic safety, maintaining public confidence in the alcoholic beverage, gaming and racing industries and providing legal services and counsel to other state agencies.”[1]

 

Notice:  public confidence in (several income-producing industries in NJ) and providing legal services and counsel — not to individuals, but to state agencies.  Atlantic City (Southern Jersey, where this crime occurred) is a center of these industries.  

(The NJ Attorney General is an office, per wikipedia, that goes back to 1704, pre-U.S., and is too colorful to deal with here, although I note that in recent years, a Latina Attorney General, “Farber” was forced to resign over driving and traffic ticket and alleged ethical violations but in the larger context, well, she wasn’t Republican….. . .Despite the traffic record / behaviors, she sounds like an amazing person, having come from Cuba at age 16 to later become Attorney General of NJ!   

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zulima_Farber 

NJ.Gov Offfice of Attorney General Bio

However, my interest in this department comes from the amount of federal funds it is receiving under prevention of Violence Against Women, including “formula grants” to prevent violence against women.  I want to know why Frisco was given a low bail.

 

This department prosecutes public corruption as in (this just in Aug. 14th):

Morris County Sheriff’s Officer Pleads Guilty to Extortion for Demanding Money from Inmate for Special Treatment in Jail

TRENTON – Attorney General Anne Milgram announced that a suspended Morris County sheriff’s officer pleaded guilty today to demanding $60,000 from an inmate in the county jail in return for giving him special treatment.

According to Criminal Justice Director Deborah L. Gramiccioni, Lee C. Maimone, 43, of Mount Olive, pleaded guilty to second-degree theft by extortion before Superior Court Judge John B. Dangler in Morris County. Under the plea agreement, the state will recommend that Maimone be sentenced to five years in state prison. The state required him to forfeit his job as a sheriff’s officer and be permanently barred from public employment in New Jersey.

In pleading guilty, Maimone admitted that he demanded that an inmate in the Morris County Jail pay him $60,000 in return for favorable treatment. Maimone admitted that he offered to provide favorable testimony or information about the inmate in disciplinary matters in the jail if he was paid, but threatened to withhold such information if he did not receive the money. Maimone admitted that he accepted $2,000 as partial payment of the money from an undercover New Jersey State Police detective posing as the inmate’s girlfriend.

Maimone has been suspended without pay from his job with the Morris County Sheriff’s Office since Feb. 26, when he was charged by criminal complaint.

Maimone was charged as a result of an investigation by the New Jersey State Police Official Corruption Unit, the Division of Criminal Justice and the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office. The Morris County Sheriff’s Office assisted in the investigation.

Kind of makes you think, eh? Why wasn’t Frisco’s behind in jail?  Another article I reviewed showed that WITHIN about 5 hours of his release, he had killed Ms. Zindell.  Ms. Zindell was staying with “friends” however, he had been at a rehearsal dinner, and likely knew who some of her friends were.  See donnasavage.com — Victim Safety Plan.  

 

OR, announced August 5, 09 (2007 crimes)

Hillside Police Officer Pleads Guilty to Stealing Funds from Homelessness Prevention Program

TRENTON – Attorney General Anne Milgram announced that a Hillside police officer pleaded guilty today to stealing funds from the Homelessness Prevention Program administered by the state Department of Community Affairs.

According to Criminal Justice Director Deborah L. Gramiccioni, Vitor “Victor” Pedreiras, 32, of Hillside, pleaded guilty to third-degree theft by deception before Superior Court Judge Robert Billmeier in Mercer County. The charge was contained in an Aug. 14, 2007 state grand jury indictment.

Now, this was the tip of the iceberg, apparently in stealing from the “Homelessness Prevention Program (HPP) by Dept. of Community Affairs (“DCA”) — read on:

Judge Billmeier scheduled sentencing for Oct. 29. The state will recommend a sentence of 364 days in county jail as a condition of a term of probation. The judge today signed an order removing Pedreiras from his job as a police officer and permanently barring him from public employment. He had been suspended by the police department since the indictment was returned.

In pleading guilty, Pedreiras admitted that he falsely submitted – and assisted his girlfriend in falsely submitting – four fraudulent applications for grants totaling $14,963 under the Homelessness Prevention Program. Pedreiras’ girlfriend, Joana Pereira, 27, of Newark, formerly known as Joana Rodrigues, pleaded guilty on Feb. 21, 2007 to charges of third-degree theft by deception. Under their plea agreements, Pedreiras and Pereira are required to pay restitution to the Department of Community Affairs of $14,963.

Pereira, a landlord, admitted she submitted the four fraudulent HPP applications with one of her tenants, Tashime Mitchell, 35, of Irvington, who shared the proceeds with her. Three applications listed Joana Pereira as landlord and listed as tenant either Mitchell, a relative of Mitchell, or a fictitious person. The fourth listed Vitor Pedreiras as landlord and a relative of his as the tenant. Pereira is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Billmeier on Sept. 3.

The false applications were submitted to Robin Wheeler-Hicks. Wheeler-Hicks, 50, of Elizabeth, who was formerly the DCA-Union County senior field representative who had responsibility for processing HPP cases in the county, pleaded guilty in March 2006 to stealing more than $866,000 from the Homelessness Prevention Program.

Let’s run this one by again:  The “senior field representative responsible for processing these cases in the county, stole more than $866,000 from Homeless People who the program existed to serve! 

She is also scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Billmeier on Sept. 3. The state will recommend that she be sentenced to seven years in state prison.

The Homelessness Prevention Program (HPP) provides grants to eligible individuals and families who, through no fault of their own, are in jeopardy of becoming homeless. It provides money to pay rent to keep a family in a current home, and provides applicants with two months rent and security deposit for a new residence if they have been forced out of their home.

Guess what — were this my state, this would refer to me.  I do not feel responsible for any of the crimes committed against me, for failing to report them, and failing to avoid becoming a target of them.  Nevertheless, there is this other system, called “family law” which does not fully recognize criminal behavior as criminal.  A major organization and conferencer, publisher, writer, and (some of us have recently learned) co-recipient of grants to STUDY domestic violence, has itself stated, in its own “about us” history, that it wishes to de-emphasize the “old-fashioned” terminology in criminal law in favor of, well, more behavioral terminology.  The systems of grants affects this.  

Pause for Homespun wisdom:

Public service does indeed attract public servants, as a field.  Fields of public service which entail a lot of authority over others’ lives also attract people who really LIKE a lot of authority over other people’s lives.  AND, grant streams attract both public servants, who wish to help the intended recipients of those grants, AND people of criminal intent (or act least actions) who realize they can DIVERT such funds for themselves, relatives, girlfriends/boyfriends, and so forth.  This goes up to judge level and attorney level, and at some point, one has to understand and accept that human nature throughout society runs the gamut from bad to good.  The assumption that all in certain programs are “good” is simply naive.  And all too common.  

 

I found out about this AFCC after years of criminal behavior towards my daughters and me, and one other relative, resulting in chronic poverty from chronic employment loss, underemployment, related distresses (including PTSD, which was gone, and returned in a certain year), and returning to an “at-risk” situation I wasn’t in beforehand:

WHO IS AFCC (briefly, organization website):

What is AFCC?

AFCC is the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts – an interdisciplinary and international association of professionals dedicated to the resolution of family conflict.**  

{{NOTE:  THIS DOES NOT SAY “LAW” OR ENSURING JUSTICE.  Though many court professionals are AFCC members, law and order are not — not even on the mission statement — of this organization. }}  {{i.e., They are a self-appointed, evangelistic in nature organization on a mission to heal families.  That’s fine, but that’s not what the legal process is about, which is ensuring due process and a just decision based on the facts in evidence.}}

 

**Quick Glossary/jargon primer:  Remember last post, when (at bottom), I mentioned that the word “abuse” is a downgrading (minimization) of the word “violence” when referring to “domestic violence”???  Well the word “conflict” is a further downgrading of the same word.  Even though “family conflict” {which attributes mutual responsibility} gets people killed, the truth is, People kill People, not abstract nouns!   In the purpose of government and “unalienable rights” the FIRST one of them is “Life.”  After that, Liberty and pursuit of happiness.  So the rule is, FIRST, protect LIFE.   That’s what government exists for, at least a modicum of protection of human life, both male and female, young and old. 

(Seems to me Ms. Zindell fell in the cracks somewhere between first and second marriages, and a host of agencies well funded to protect her, and education public, and others, about what to do in these situations, PLUS even more agencies funded to “promote healthy marriages” (nationwide) AND another agency to collect child support on behalf of Mr. Frisco’s 3 (now fatherless) boys – – and this might be partly why.  

Things just keep getting rephrased and reframed.  Or, correctly phrased, and framed, but when a situation develops, the right actions — the safety actions — don’t happen.  When lives are at stake, mistakes are unacceptable.  Just as when housing (above) is at stake, racketeering, and stealing funds from the program to prevent homelessness by a program employee is not acceptable, either.  And that time, got caught.  . . . . . .

So back to AFCC (and yes, this DOES relate)…..

               AFCC members are:

Judges Lawyers
Mediators Psychologists
Researchers Academics
Counselors Court Commissioners
Custody Evaluators Parenting Coordinators
Court Administrators Social Workers
Parent Educators Financial Planners

[[What about “parents” ?? Are they invited/welcomed/recruited, too??]]

 

{{As such, these professionals, about whom many litigants are blissfully (til their decisions are handed down) unaware, are participating in an organization which has a mission to transform society and use the legal venue for behavioral science purposes.  This, it has done.}}

That’s a whole lot of people dedicated to addressing family conflict.  (And a whole lot of livelihoods.  If this issue of family conflict were actually fixed, or drastically reduced, what would these people then do for a living?).   Incidentally, the term “court commissioners” is where the child support appears to come in, at least in my state. This also seems (to me) to show a certain conflict of interest.  Do you see the category “parents” in there?  While many of these, naturally ARE themselves parents, one has to wonder how the parents themselves, the litigants, are going to be able to financially sustain the burden of all those professions.

The good news is, they don’t.  See federal grants to states.  

The bad news is, the federal government still gets its money from taxes.  And when AFCC professionals faced with a divided interest between AFCC goals and US Constitution goals, they are as likely as you or I to say, what’s in it for me, where’s the money, and go with those they know better and have longer-term social and professional relationships with.  In other words, it’s an ethical issue.

They push through policies without clearing it with the American public.  This is an “in loco parentis” situation, and wrong.

 

Maybe these conflict of interest, or diversion of tax funds (by artificially prolonging court cases, and referring jobs to cohorts) is just a sporadic exception, and not really significant.

Kind of like domestic violence.  I mean, abuse.  I mean family conflict.  I mean a domestic dispute.   Like that one that erupted recently at a California toll plaza.  Oops, excuse me, the 2nd article said it was a cold-blooded setup, not a hot-blooded distraught person.. . . . . .  Maybe it’s not that common. . . . . 

 

OK, CONTEXT:  AFCC wishes to downgrade the use of criminal language in family conflict contexts:

 

The [Family Court] Review began to establish itself as a significant publication, having grown in size and scope and served as a harbinger of things to come for family courts worldwide.  The September 1970 issue featured an article titled, “The Modern Family Rescue Team—Judge, Lawyer and Behavioral Scientist,” by Andrew S. Watson, M.D. (M.D., not “J.D.” !!) . . .

 In that same [1970] issue, Jack Bradford and Jean Brindley, marriage counselors from the Third Judicial Circuit in Detroit, wrote about group orientation and group intake processes, a precursor to the parent education programs that would proliferate so dramatically two decades later.

In 1975, Review Editor Meyer Elkin editorialized on the language of family law:

Why do we continue to use the language of criminal law in family law? Is it primarily tradition that causes us to continue to use the old words in family law? ..We need to develop new words…Family law is entering a new period.  There is now present an opportunity [sic] for introducing new practices and procedures—and words that will represent the combined expertise of both law and the behavioral sciences . . . 

No thank you.  The law has a form of reason in it, and procedures and safeguards.  The behavioral sciences are a created industry with a humanistic view, and in the hands of people with religious zeal to transform society — well the history of religion has its own bloody footprints.  No thank you.  I’ll go for sound reasoning and truth, every time — factual truth.  As did this prosecution team which caught a county employee for a homeless program stealing money from the homeless it was intended to serve!

. . .

who, after all, are equally concerned and have similar goals {{false!}} regarding the strengthening of the family. {{false!  The law is about due process and justice, for individual torts (civil) and crimes (penal codes)}}.   Let us now start the search for the words.

AFCC members and courts continued to lead the way in developing new services throughout the 1970s.  In 1973, the Los Angeles Conciliation Court began a pilot program to mediate custody and visitation disputes.  ((When criminal violence and life-threatening or injury-causing behavior has already occurred, it does not comprise the situation “disputes” and calling it that is a falsehood, and intentional twisting of meaning for a desired purpose)).

 

Back to:  Hillside [NJ] Police Officer Pleads Guilty to Stealing Funds from Homelessness Prevention Program, in context of NJ Dept. of Public Law & Safety, and their $86 million to save people like Zindell and Frisco, and the others listed in my last post, state of NJ, 1998-2008, one newspaper’s accounts only, excerpts only:

Mitchell and Renita Livingston, 35, of Hillside, previously pleaded guilty to assisting Wheeler-Hicks in submitting numerous false HPP applications. Mitchell pleaded guilty to bribery and was sentenced on Nov. 3, 2006 to five years in prison. Livingston pleaded guilty to conspiracy and was sentenced on Dec. 15, 2006 to three years in prison. Mitchell was ordered to pay $29,000 in restitution, and Livingston, $10,500.

The charges resulted from an investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice and New Jersey State Police. Nine other defendants have pleaded guilty, including two former DCA employees who received probation and four corporations. All of the defendants were required to pay restitution to DCA.

HAVE they?  Are the other defendants in jail?  If so, why are the former DCA employees on probation and not in jail.  Are the four corporations still doing business, and where can the NJ public be told who they are?

The Department of Community Affairs (DCA) alerted the Division of Criminal Justice when program officials uncovered questionable applications and transactions involving the Homelessness Prevention Program in Union County. The DCA provided administrative resources and investigative assistance to the Division of Criminal Justice and State Police throughout the investigation.

 

In other words, although fully 5 DCA employees were corrupt, we got lucky and the DCA self-reported this corruption.  Maybe it was a few good eggs.  Maybe it was enough good eggs afraid of being associated with the bad eggs.  This is why I MUCH prefer the, let’s have the citizens go get accountability for programs involved in our lives — ourselves — rather than hope some appointed, funded experts are doing it.  This isn’t Disneyland, and our minds shouldn’t be living there.  Maybe Disney has something to do with why public minds went one way, while criminal minds, the other, I don’t know.  

NJ, admittedly, has its hands full with “real” crimes, as opposed to domestic family disputes — drugs, gangs, and so forth, as was (coincidentally, same day as this article on the homeless program embezzlements) announced earlier this month:

Governor Corzine Announces Dramatic Decline in Homicides in Camden City

as Statewide Violence Reduction Initiative Nets More than 980 Arrests in 14 Months

Homicides in Camden this year down 46 percent

GOVERNOR’S STRATEGY FOR SAFE STREETS AND NEIGHBORHOODS (MAP SHOWS NJ HOMICIDES BY COUNTY)

Governor Corzine and Attorney General Milgram Announce Dramatic Decline in Homicides in New Jersey as Statewide Violence Reduction Initiative Nets More than 4,200 Arrests in 14 Months
New CrimeTrack program unveiled

 

Yet there was funding to help this situation coming to NJ, per the OAG website.   I had some trouble with select, copy, paste, and encourage viewers to check the URL instead:  I just saw several that related to violence against women, that’s all:

 

  • STOP Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)

The STOP Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Grant Program provides the State Office of Victim-Witness Advocacy (SOVWA) a formula grant allocation under the Violence Against Women Act, authorized for funding in the 1994 Crime Bill. Federal rules allow 10% of the total VAWA award to be used to administer the grant program. The balance of the funding must be allocated as follows: 25% to law enforcement, 25% to prosecution, 30% to victims services, 15% discretionary and 5% to courts. Pursuant to new federal regulations, in 2003 the Division of Criminal Justice and SOVWA formed a statewide VAWA Advisory Committee to develop a Three-Year Implementation Plan, approved by the Office of Violence Against Women, to ensure continuation of services, opportunities for program expansions and introduction of new program

 

 

  • VOCA Victim Assistance Program
 

The Office of Victims of Crime (OVC) provides the State Office of Victim-Witness Advocacy (SOVWA) formula allocations under the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) Victim Assistance Grant Program. SOVWA awards these funds to subgrantees who provide direct services to crime victims. VOCA guidelines allow for up to 5% of each year’s grant to be used to administer the Program. State grantees also have the option of retaining up to 1% of each year’s grant for conducting statewide and/or regional trainings for victim services staff. VOCA enumerates the types of direct services eligible for funding under this grant program. A minimum allocation of 10% must be awarded to subgrantees providing direct services to crime victims in each of the four categories: sexual assault, domestic violence, child abuse, and underserved populations as victims with disabilities, language barriers, living in isolated locations and homicide survivors (as determined by the state grantee). This allocation requirement may be waived if the state grantee can document to OVC that a category of crime victims is currently receiving a significant amount of financial assistance from the state or other funding sources, a smaller amount of financial assistance or no assistance is needed or crime rates have diminished for the particular type of crime. VOCA funds are awarded to each of the 21 County Prosecutors’ Offices of Victim-Witness Advocacy, SANE/SART programs and DCJ programs (NJ VINE, Bias Crimes, Victim Services). SOVWA also provides direct funding to non-profit victim services agencies through the competitive Notice of Availability of Funds (NOAF).

 

 

  • NJ Victim Assistance Grant Program

The federal Office for Victims of Crime provides the State Office of Victim Witness Advocacy (SOVWA) formula allocations under the VOCA Victim Assistance grant program. These funds are used by the SOVWA to provide direct services to crime victims. The Victims of Crime Act enumerates the kinds of services that are eligible for funding under this grant program. Funds from this program are awarded to the county offices of Victim Witness Advocacy in each of the 21 county Prosecutors’ offices. Additionally, the SOVWA also provides direct funding to victim services agencies through the competitive Notice of Availability of Funds (NOAF) process.

 

Were there not program initiatives to help Ms. Zindell make a healthier marital choice?  I mean this is definitely a going concern:  
Healthy Marriages and Promoting Responsible Fatherhood.  Here are the current grantees, nationwide, under both categories (BUT- – one program#, making it a little hard to differentiate fatherhood programs from abstinence programs, from what-nots.   

NJ’s only recent “current” grants — although this is only relative to the website above) Fatherhood program was:

 

5 New Jersey Department of Corrections Trenton NJ $334,366

Maybe that might take a little consideration — are we missing something, between the Steven Stosny’s Compassion Boot Camp philosophy, as expressed through court-ordered batterer’s treatment programs run by Catholic Charities, and going into prisons to teach fatherhood, but somehow, something missed Mr. Frisco in the mix.  I guess choice still exists…

 

I think it possibly likely that Ms. Zindell did not see herself as a victim of domestic violence, although it’s clear she took protective measures.  She was living with, but not married to this man.  The amount of resources by county, available in NJ, is almost stunning:

http://www.state.nj.us/dca/divisions/dow/resources/countyresourcesdv.html

However the only reference in OCEAN county is to Catholic Charities. Even so. . . . one needs the vocabulary and understanding to take action.  In looking at these NJ departments, there are some for “Children and Families” and for “Human Services” but none that actually SAY  “Women” on them.  There is a Victim Services department.  Typically, we do not exist as a gender, only as a family function, too often (I say).  There are no children without women’s participation.  And yet, we don’t have an identity.  “Children” do.  “Families” do.  Interesting.

http://www.state.nj.us/nj/gov/deptserv/

 

 

 

 

Some funding that went to NJ Public Law and Safety — straight to the government, per a site “USASPENDING.GOV”

(use with caution, but it’s at least  an indicator).

The bar chart represents the years this database covers:  2000 – 2009

Bar chart: info duplicated below as table

Federal dollars: $86,760,774
Total number of recipients: 4            

(actually, this is one recipient with

4 different versions of its name;

there is a common recipient ID number for this database that I used to search on).
Total number of transactions: 39

Categories of assistance (these are “program ID” numbers).

 

 

 

16.803 $29,754,315
 16.575: Crime Victim Assistance $19,037,000
 16.738: Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program $10,412,521
 16.588: Violence Against Women Formula Grants $9,335,840
 16.540: Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention_Allocation to States $3,176,040

 

 

 

Top 5 Known Congressional Districts where Recipients are Located Known Congressional District help link

 New Jersey 04 (Christopher H. Smith) $85,588,583

Top 10 Recipients

 New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safet $84,274,079
 State of New Jersey, Department of Law & Publ $2,263,250
 State of NJ, Dept. of Law & Public Safety $188,445
 State of New Jersey, Department of Law and Pu $35,000

Recipient Type

Government $86,760,774
Other $0
Nonprofits $0
Higher Education $0
For Profits $0
Individuals $0

 

 

This is all I can handle for today.  I just reviewed some of the scams caught by this agency.  I still think $86 million is a lot to account for, and wonder “what happened” in this incident.  However, by the time someone figures out, there will be more, and similar.  Take care of those closest to you and assume nothing.  

As to faith-based institutions, NJ at least caught these folks.  . . .  BUT — notice the fields they earned money in!

 

Pastors of Morris County Church to Reimburse Congregants for Misappropriated Donations

NEWARK – The pastors of a Randolph-based church who were accused of diverting congregation donations for their own personal use, including purchase of 78-foot schooner and a $1.6 million property in Mendham, have agreed to reimburse donors and immediately resign from the church’s board.

Additionally, a fiscal monitor will take control of the banking and financial accounts maintained by Church Alive, Inc., which also is known as Randolph Christian Church, Inc. The church is a non-profit corporation located at 791 Route 10 in Randolph.

Eric Simons and his wife, Marianne, who are pastor and assistant pastor of the church, and Philip DuPlessis, an assistant pastor at the church, also are barred for 10 years from serving on any financial board. DuPlessis’ wife, Sharon, is an assistant pastor at the church but she is not a respondent in this settlement.

“These church leaders asked for donations for the betterment of the congregation but in reality they misused these monies for their own personal gain,” Attorney General Anne Milgram said. “We remain vigilant in enforcing the state’s charities laws and we will continue to hold accountable those who attempt to cheat donors.”

Congregants were told their donations would be put into a Building Fund. Instead, the donations were comingled with other church funds that were solely controlled by the Simonses and DuPlessises. In addition to the schooner and property, they paid themselves “honorarium” totaling $150,000 and also spent $39,395 on “life-coaching” classes and a “life-coaching” license for Eric Simons. Simons operates a for-profit “life-coaching” business. The church itself holds the license.

<<GEE, sounds like National Fatherhood Initiative (same business!)>>


“These pastors violated the trust of donors, claiming the donations would fund a new building. Instead, by controlling the donated funds without any oversight, they spent lavishly on themselves. Donors need to be vigilant and check with our Charities Registration Unit before giving their hard-earned dollars to any charitable or non-profit group,” said David Szuchman, Consumer Affairs Director.

 

{{{DOES THIS ALSO APPLY TO OUR FEDERAl, STATE, COUNTY & LOCAL GOVERNMENTS GIVING TO CHARITABLE ORGANIZATIONS?}}

The church is required to appoint an official board within 30 days, under terms of the Consent Order with the state. The board is required to review the employment status of all church employees, including the Simonses and DuPlessises, as well as all financial records and report back to the Division of Consumer Affairs.

The board will determine the sales prospects for the Mendham property, which is located at 14 Kingsbrook Court. The Simonses currently reside there.

The DuPlessises are required to repay the church $125,000 and turn over title and registration to the schooner. Eric Simons and Philip DuPlessis each must repay $50,000, the honoraria which were used to purchase the schooner.

Eric Simons and Philip DuPlessis also must repay a total of $14,495 as reimbursement for “life-coaching”education. The state will be reimbursed $60,917 for its investigative and legal expenses.

Deputy Attorneys General Anna M. Lascurain, Chief, Securities Fraud Prosecution Section, and Isabella T. Stempler represented the state in this legal proceeding. Supervising investigator Larry Biondo led the investigative work.

An online directory of charitable organizations registered in New Jersey can be found atwww.state.nj.us/lps/ca/charity/chardir.htm. Consumers also can call the Charitable Registration Hotline at 973-504-6215. Religious organizations are exempt from having to register but they must comply with the state’s Charities and Non-Profit Corporation laws.

 

  

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  6. Running a background check can pull up everything in someones life. It is so crazy how much you really can see about someone before really getting to know them. I didn’t know that you cold see all the ranks they have been through in military, that was new to me. When I moved I ran a tenant screening and got to see everything about my new resident. Everyone should know how to do this.

    {{Good point. This URL appears to be for legimate businesses and/or landlords, and to cost $125/pop. Wish I’d run one pre-marriage! I have put it into the “URL” field (i.e., “henry” didn’t) to make sure readers can click on it.}}

    henry

    June 24, 2010 at 8:44 pm


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martinplaut

Journalist specialising in the Horn of Africa and Southern Africa

Let's Get Honest! Blog: Absolutely Uncommon Analysis of Family & Conciliation Courts' Operations, Practices, & History

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