Louisa waits: Sentencing POSTPONED Again, Defense prepares a leniency filing!


Sentencing POSTPONED Again
From 1/27 – To 2/24 -To  3/23
Justice delayed is Justice denied

Help get Justice for Louisa

URGENT- the squeaky wheel gets the oil! I’m Louisa’s Mom and I need your help. Here are three things you can do to help! What would you do if this were your daughter?  You too would not stop or give up reaching out – looking for JUSTICE. Neither will I – if you have not already done so – please help- we still have time to get hundreds more letters out. It has come to my attention the Defense is asking for leniency! The sentencing has already been postponed twice now they need another postponement because the defense attorney needs time to files a motion for leniency for George. George plead guilty to all 10 counts against his Lawyers wishes and now his lawyer is trying to get him the best possible outcome—but his client has already told the sorry story to the judge.

Can you hear me now? His high priced attorney is begging for LENIENCY on behalf of his client who plead guilty to 10 counts including 2 counts of attempted murder – on which left my daughter missing half of her head, half a brain and almost no life at all!

Come see pictures of my daughter – who is going to show her leniency and replace her missing skull, eye, jaw, right half of her brain and memory? Who will give her the ability to sit, stand walk and eat? Who will give her any kind of life back? Leniency for poor George?

THIS is not a case of retribution it is a case of accountability! Justice demands George is held accountable for his actions! No leniency!

Now we also have time to ask for leniency – but not for George! Updates to her story are available please follow the enclosed links. While there please leave comments and find information on how you can help with fair sentencing.  We are urging concerned citizens to write to the judge requesting George Hartwig be sentenced to the full extent of the law.

1- We need hi visibility and we hope we can get it at the newspaper contact  http://www.northjersey.com/news big-time! The higher the interest in this cases the better the chances we will get results of fair sentences, He came to kill me: Don’t think for one moment he didn’t succeed. at the record, direct readers to the family blog where they can find updated pictures of Louisa and her condition now!

2- PLEASE We need hi visibility and we hope we can get it on the internet –  blog about it -or leave comments on our blog, tweet  it and by all means spread the word on Facebook..  Please come  https://freemenow.wordpress.com/2012/01/13/victim-impact-statement-let-me-be-the-face-of-dv-reform/#comments and leave your comments – leave a record of your concern for posterity.

3- It is URGENT our Comments and letter to the judge are respectful and support of  consecutive sentencing rather than the plea deal offered by the prosecutor and rejected by the defendant in lieu of lesser sentence because George says “He was very intoxicated”.

One sample letter below. Other samples and copies of your letters will be appreciated in the comments section at Louisa’s Blog:

The Honorable Liliana S. DeAvila-Silebi
Judge of the Justice Court of Bergen County New Jersey
10 Main Street
Hackensack, New Jersey 07601

Case# 09-06-1226-I, New Jersey vs. George Hartwig Sentencing scheduled for March 23, 2012

Dear Judge Liliana DeAvila-Silebi,

I am writing as a concerned citizen interested in fair and equal justice for women, about the case of George Hartwig and his violence against his wife, Denise Richardson, and his sister-in-law, Louisa Rodas. This case, as you well know, is one of the most tragic accounts of domestic violence in recent memory. I have followed this case closely since these crimes were committed by George Hartwig in December of 2008.

It is apparent to me, and to most women alive today, that the law does not adequately protect women from abusers known and unknown, and that the convention in law is to allow for lesser sentences when a man abuses a person, especially a woman or child, that he knows and has a relationship with. This seems completely upside down to me. A man who perpetrates violence against a woman with whom he has a relationship–whatever that relationship–should receive a harsher, not a lesser sentence. Women should, without question, expect that the men in their lives will at the very least do them no physical harm.

George Hartwig has a long history of criminal activity, including domestic violence and drug/alcohol charges. If the law had done its job when it released him after he had bashed in the skull of his wife to secure her pain medications for himself, Louisa might still be the functioning, smiling woman she was before George Hartwig shot her. The law will have to live with that black stain up it, but it can take action to correct this wrong.

I am writing to ask you to sentence George Hartwig to the maximum sentences that are allowed for the 10 crimes he’s been charged with, and that you order these sentences to be served consecutively. Doing this will send a powerful message to the women of today that the law will have their backs when they are victims of a crime at the hands of a loved one. It will also serve as a powerful message to the men in your community that violence against women they are supposed to love and cherish will not be tolerated by the society in which they live. You have the power to deliver this message, to stop giving this man more chances to harm more women, including Betty Jean Kling, whose life will be in danger if he is ever released. I urge you to do the right thing and deliver this message in the form of your sentence upon George Hartwig.

I thank you for taking the time to consider my appeal and the appeals of others who are interested in seeking fair and equal justice for  women who suffer domestic violence.

Sincerely,

Advertisements

Louisa’s Law :To Reduce DV by Prevention, Services and Accountability

BettyJean Downing Kling

In the US, nearly 4 women are killed daily at the hands of their domestic partner, a woman is raped every few* minutes; a woman is battered every few* seconds. Every year, violence in the home and the community devastates the lives of millions of women. Perpetrators of violence against women are rarely held fully accountable for their acts. When women do challenge their abusers, it can often only be accomplished by long and humiliating court battles with little sympathy from authorities or the media. Violence against women is so deeply embedded in society that it often fails to garner public censure and outrage; instead the sentences are often nonexistent. It’s time to stop slapping the hands of perpetrators of violence against women. It’s time to send the message of zero tolerance. And It’s time to create specific sentences for VAW. Women must feel safer to file complaints and testify against their perpetrators and violators must take committing violence against women as the serious crime it is. * Statistics need to be updated to 2012

Louisa’s Law is proposed to honor my daughter, Louisa Richardson Rodas, who was caring for her dying sister Denise Richardson on the day she was shot in the head and permanently disabled by George Hartwig, Denise’s abusive husband.  Had the following proposed measures been in place on December 15, 2008, my daughter Louisa would not be lying in a nursing home, unable to sit or stand, unable to communicate, unable to eat or drink, unable to raise her children or recognize them. 

George Hartwig had viciously bludgeoned his dying wife Denise in the head with a hammer months earlier. He pled guilty to an attack on a dying woman for her pain medication as a result of drug abuse yet he was denied treatment. He was a repeat offender yet he was set free without bail and released without a restraining order. The only protection Denise had was her family taking turns to protect her. It was Louisa’s turn when George Hartwig returned with a shotgun and callously blew the right side of her head off.

Proposed Draft of Louisa’s law

Louisa’s Law seeks to require significant, effective sentences and strictly enforce VAW laws to reduce violence against women, using a three pronged approach of Prevention, Services and Accountability.

a)      Speedy trials because of the risk of repeat violence perpetrated while free on bail and incarceration during sentencing period;

b)      Enter an automatic and enforceable order of protection with a minimum term of ten years;

c)       Violators who were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the violation against a woman or who have any drug-related offenses within three years of the violence incident must enter a rehabilitation program and/or be tested periodically for continued drug or alcohol abuse;

d)      A GPS monitor should be installed if the violator is released from police custody using a system with victim notification;

e)   Full cash bail and full cash surety bonding must be implemented with domestic violence screening as part of the bonding process.  For repeat offenders or violators of restraining orders, offenders are not given the opportunity for bail but should remain incarcerated pending trial because of the documented risk of death to the victim and victim’s family members upon release of repeat offenders and those who have violated restraining orders; 

f)   Violator must enter an approved batter/anger management program with monitoring;

g)   Require a compliance conference before the judge for accountability;

h)   Sentences must be served rather than suspended so that the victims and their families are safe.

i)  Require judges to consider a variety of aggravating factors to ensure safety and punishment consistent with the risks for repeat violence, death, and permanent disability associated with VAW;

J.) Pro bono legal services are provided to the victim to advise her of her rights and direct her for help and services.

K.) Establishing a Nationwide Domestic Violence Registry for use by law enforcement and the public to promote instant access to existing orders of protection and residence of convicted abusers because of the risk of repeat violence.

 

 

 

 

Join our Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/MajorityUnited and register to be a part of the TMU WOMEN coalition that will advance Louisa’s Law , to reduce DV by prevention, services and demanding accountability. In this way we will change the way Justice is meeted out to abusers and reduce injustice  toward their  victims women, children and male intimate partners as well.

TMU is a non partisan group seeking equitable JUSTICE for All!

George Hartwig admits to firing shotgun into sister-in-law’s face

 I need support. My son-in -law George Hartwig,  bludgeoned his estranged wife, my dying daughter Denise Richardson in the head before she died of cancer then returned  and shot my other daughter Louisa Richardson Rodas  nearly killing her. He tried to kill my son but the gun jammed before he was taken down by my grandson and subdued until the police came.

He pleaded guilty yesterday to 8 counts and threw himself on the mercy of the court asking for a minimal sentence based on his incapacited condition of drug induced actions. Instead of consecutive sentences of 60 + years he wants 20  which will have him out in about 12 years.  My daughter will serve about 40 – she is permanently in solitary confinement having lost half of her head from the shotgun blast. She remains completely healthy except she cannot sit, stand, speak, see, eat, or recognize her own children. She will live a long life of nothing! Why should he get less? He has had a long life of creating misery for everyone who has ever come in his path.

Please consider how you might help by wring a short respectful letter to the judge regarding plea deals and how women pay the ultimate price for lower that full sentencing. We urge significant and effective sentences, we must eliminate or reduce plea deals and strictly enforce laws for Violence against Women. We ask she do so in this case as George is a repeat offender and his pleas are just another con job on the court.

The Judge Liliana DeAvila-Silebi is a fair jurist, please send respectful letters of support for full and consecutive sentencing regardless of the prosecutors request for 30 years in return for a plea deal. The defendant has always wanted to plead guilty and was not in need of a plea deal ! He did not accept the conditions of the plea deal therefore it is not incumbamt on this Judge to give him the 30 years – she can and should give him consecutive sentencing.

http://www.northjersey.com/news/HARTWIG.html Comments would be appreciated in support of full and consecutive sentencing.

HELP! Got a minute and 42 cents?

All you’ve got to do is copy this letter sign your name to it and send it- that’s all- maybe a few million of them will help move along the legislation proposed that will help us get new laws that will better protect women by applying new standards violence against women is a hate crime – a new law I hope we will call Louisa’s Law!

Write your own or copy the letter below sent by my friend Barbara. Be sure to tune in to hear Patricia Eddington and Marcia Pappas Monday 3/23 Live 10 PM or download the show later http://www.blogtalkradio.com/FreeMeNow

BettyJean

I wrote to Governor Paterson, NY state Representatives, and NY Newsday.

Will also send to all MSM media.  Anyone else?

Good Luck tonight,

Barbara

On Saturday Mar 21, 2009 NYers awoke to yet another murder of a woman by her Intimate Partner.

Yet another woman, Joanna Bird, murdered in her home. Yet another woman with a worthless piece of paper called “a stay away order of protection” Yet another would be murderer Leonardo Valdez -Cruz defying the worthless piece of paper stay away order three times.

Yet another investigation into how did this happen? The Nassau County Police Dept. is looking into “If there was a time we could have locked him (Leonardo) up but didn’t, but at this point I don’t know that thats true”

This question after a break in, a lie in wait, a kidnapping involving a gun, a strangling and a promise to kill Joanna on Jan 25, 2009.

A missed opportunity to lock him up and save her life because the laws that pertain to Domestic Violence in NY required Joanna to testify against Leonardo. The woman who is terrorized and threatened, the woman who is the victim of a felony is required to give testimony against her perpetrator in order to prosecute him. The laws in NY protect the abuser not the abused victim of the felony crime. Leonardo and thousand like him are free to do as promised, murder her.

Yet again the laws of a civil society that promise to protect and serve ALL its citizens failed this woman and fail to protect thousands of women everyday.

So Joanna Bird becomes yet another statistic a woman murdered by her intimate partner.

  • 55 percent of all women murdered in NY are murdered by their partners.
  • 75 percent of all women who are murdered in NY are murdered in their homes.
  • 20 percent have the worthless piece of paper stay away protection.
  • 100 percent of these women murdered/ massacred/ assassinated were sacrificed because of laws that did not protect them. Laws that require them to testify against their terrorist. Laws that view them as collateral damage in a dispute.

In 1962 the state of NY transferred domestic violence out of its criminal courts and into its family courts. Making a felony assault a dispute, or a “simple assault”. But 50 percent of these “simple assaults” result in physical injuries that are as, or more serious than 90 percent of rapes,, robberies and aggravated assaults.

“Simple assaults” are no accidents they are deliberate, premeditated acts of violence and frequently they occur over and over until the women is murdered.

Please join NY Assembly member Patricia Eddington who is introducing a bill that will require authorities to first apply the standards of a “hate crime” to offenses of domestic violence before seeking a lesser charge under the penal code.

Statistics and the current laws clearly state, A women in NY is safer with strangers and more protected on the street than she is in her own home with her “loved one”.

Change the laws that allow yet another woman to be murdered because yet another murderer was given the chance to follow through on yet another promise to kill her.

Barbara Budd

Wantagh, NY

http://www.pumapac.org

Violence against Women is a Hate crime

Please join us Monday Night 3/23/09 10 pm EST
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/FreeMeNow
Call-in Number: (347) 838-8011

Join US : NYS Assemblywoman  Patricia Eddington , Marcia Pappas and I will discuss proposed legislation making violence against women a hate crime.

Cross Posted – http://www.campaignforgenderequality.org/breaking_the_silence

Submitted by pat on Sun, 03/01/2009 – 18:55

“Turning a person into a thing is almost always the first step in justifying violence against that person.”

– Jean Kilbourne, lecturer and keynote speaker focusing on violence, women, and the media.

Chris Brown’s brutal beating of Rihanna reignited talk about domestic violence in this country. That is a good thing! We need to have more honest conversations about this epidemic. The statistics shed some light on the severity of this problem:

Battering is the single most common cause of injury to women in the United States, more common than car accidents, mugging and rape combined. Much to the misconception of many, victims of domestic violence come from all races, classes and ethnic backgrounds. Of all women murdered in the U.S.—an average of three a day—about one-third were killed by an intimate partner. According to the National Organization for Women, women experience about 4.8 million intimate partner-related physical assaults and rapes every year.

I found this recent article by Megan Twohey and Bonnie Miller Rubin disturbing. According to them, 1 in 10 teens suffer from dating violence, yet their reaction to Rihanna’s beating is that she deserved it. What is the answer to this gross misconception? Education. According to Twohey and Rubin:

“In recent years, some schools and youth organizations have started educating teens about the dangers of dating violence. Rhode Island and Virginia have adopted laws requiring such instruction in the public schools. But most states, including Illinois, don’t have such a mandate and education on the topic remains in short supply, experts say. Two of three new programs created by the federal Violence Against Women Act in 2005 to address teen dating violence were never funded.”

Not only are we not doing enough to educate youth about domestic violence, but the media (a prime source of information for today’s youth) doesn’t give domestic violence its due coverage. We barely heard anything about the woman in New York who was recently beheaded by her husband after she had filed for a divorce. Where is the outrage? I know it’s not a pretty story, but if we don’t talk about domestic violence, and, more importantly, learn about its roots and causes, we will never eliminate it.

What makes domestic violence and other forms of violence against women so prevalent? What makes men feel they can have power and control over women? The answers to these questions are abundant and complicated, but recently I came across two videos that shed some light:

This one speaks to advertising and the effects it has on women and the value of women.

This one talks about the media and how men learn to treat women.

Campaign for Gender Equality is a non-profit 501c3 organization focused on raising public awareness of the benefits of gender equality, regardless of age, race, class or sexual orientation, through education and advocacy.

We have partnered with Professor Bettina Aptheker, head of Women’s Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz, to promote her “Introduction to Feminisms” course now available in a 17 set DVD. In her DVD titled “Domestic Violence: Strategies for Prevention and Resistance” Aptheker says, “Violence against Women is the magnification of the historical unequal power relations which have lead the domination over and discrimination of women by men to the prevention of women’s full advancement.” Order “Introduction to Feminisms” on DVD.

Battery, whether emotional or physical, is about power and control. From Aptheker’s DVD, here are just some examples of the different types of domestic violence.

  • Emotional – putting her down, making her feel bad about herself, calling her names, making her think that she is crazy.
  • Economic – trying to keep her from getting or keeping a job, making her ask for money, giving her an allowance, or taking her money.
  • Sexual – making her do things against her will, physically attacking the sexual parts of her body, and treating her like a sex object.
  • Using children – using the children to give messages and using visitation as a way to harass.
  • Threats – making and/or carrying out threats to do something physically or emotionally, threatening to take the children, and threats to commit suicide.
  • Using male privilege – treating her like a servant, making all the big decisions, acting like the master of the house
  • Intimidation – putting her in fear by using looks, actions, gestures, loud voices, smashing things, destroying her property.
  • Isolation – controlling what she does, who she sees and talks to, and where she goes.

Perhaps many readers do not experience these confinements, but a great many women in our own country still live this way. These patterns of domestic abuse and domestic violence are all about power and control. To stop the epidemic of violence against women that exists in this country we must break the silence. We must put adequate funding into educating the next generation of girls and boys about violence against women and its root causes. We must have honest conversations about domestic violence and pressure the media to change its portrayal of women as objects.

 

Where’s Al Sharpten et al

Another Rant by: BettyJean Kling

Betcha if Chris Brown was white Sharpten and the rest of these black activists would be out in the streets and flooding the airwaves with plenty to say about how this man beat up this beautiful black girl – but since he’s a brother – it’s quite all right to beat Rihanna’s head in. When are our sisters of color going to wake up and realize they are being used when they are only protected from white abuse but ignored from abuse like this?

If this guy was white and Rihanna dropped the charges what outrage in the streets but again not a sound is heard for the black sister whose face was nearly unrecognizable—whose life was threatened! And had she been a white girl and had I wrote this same piece I’d be a racist! Al – you are a racist pig and all your double standard civil rights friends are racists pigs too and your men are brutal beasts and your women are worse victims than white women – because they don’t even know they are twice as victimized and then used as bait too boot!

Maybe this will wake them up!

Decision Expands Protection for Victims of Domestic Violence

Legal Momentum Applauds Supreme Court Decision in U.S. v. Hayes

February 24, 2009 – http://www.legalmomentum.org/news-room/decision-usvhayes.html

NEW YORK (Feb. 24, 2009) – Legal Momentum, the nation’s oldest legal advocacy organization dedicated to advancing the rights of women and girls, applauds the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling today in United States v. Hayes, a decision that will positively impact victims of domestic violence throughout the country. The Court expanded the reach of a 1996 amendment—the Lautenberg Amendment—to the federal Gun Control Act barring possession of guns by a person convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence crime. The Supreme Court’s decision guarantees that the Lautenberg Amendment is applied across the nation in fulfillment of its original purpose: to prevent known perpetrators of domestic violence from possessing firearms and to help keep victims safe.   

Irasema Garza, President of Legal Momentum, praised the decision: “The Supreme Court’s ruling will undoubtedly improve the safety of victims of domestic violence by keeping lethal weapons out of the hands of convicted perpetrators. We have seen time and again that guns and domestic violence are a lethal combination. By restricting offenders’ access to firearms, this decision helps to protect victims from attacks that could cost them their lives.”  

For a variety of reasons, most domestic violence perpetrators are charged and plead to or are convicted of misdemeanor offenses such as assault and battery.  Some states have generic misdemeanor assault and battery statutes, but other states have misdemeanor offenses specific to domestic violence.  

At issue in United States v. Hayes was whether the Lautenberg Amendment, which prohibits gun ownership by persons convicted of a “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence,” applies only to individuals who violate laws that specifically prohibit violence against family members, or if it also applies to anyone convicted of a violent misdemeanor that was, in fact, committed against a family member.  

In 1994, Randy Hayes plead guilty to a misdemeanor battery against his then-wife and mother of his child; ten years later, police responded to a call regarding domestic violence at his home, where they found a rifle and arrested and indicted him for violating the Lautenberg Amendment.  Hayes requested the federal district court to dismiss his indictment on the grounds that his prior conviction was not “a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence,” in that the law that he violated did not require a domestic relationship between the victim and the offender. The district court denied his motion to dismiss the indictment, and Hayes appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

In their 2007decision on United States v. Hayes, the Fourth Circuit agreed with Hayes’ argument, and ruled that the domestic relationship must indeed be a specific element of the prior offense in order to trigger the federal gun ban — effectively rendering the gun ban moot in the states that do not have misdemeanor laws specific to domestic violence.  

Reversing the Fourth Circuit’s ruling, the Supreme Court’s decision holds that the gun ban applies whenever the battered victim is in fact the spouse or other family relative of the offender. In the majority opinion, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote, “It suffices for the government to charge and prove a prior conviction that was, in fact, an offense committed… against a spouse or other domestic victim.” 

Legal Momentum joined the amicus (friend of the court) brief filed by the National Network to End Domestic Violence, arguing in favor of a natural reading of the Lautenberg Amendment that does not require a domestic relationship to be a specific element of the prior offense. The Supreme Court’s decision supports that interpretation and ensures that the 1996 amendment banning gun ownership for perpetrators of domestic violence applies in all 50 states, thereby improving safety for victims of domestic violence nationwide.

For more information or comment, please contact Erin Smith at 212.413.7516 or esmith@legalmomentum.org.

About Legal Momentum: Founded in 1970 as NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund, Legal Momentum is the nation’s oldest legal advocacy organization dedicated to advancing the rights of women and girls. Legal Momentum’s ambitious and wide-ranging legal program is known for its cutting-edge legal theories and as a source of expert assistance to other women’s rights attorneys and organizations. www.legalmomentum.org