It’s been awfully quiet on this website.
Though I added a blog category “Follow the Story in Real Time,” as you can see, I haven’t been able to follow Jon Fontaine’s story in real time. The prison staff at Mid-State Correctional Facility made sure of that. So did Rochester Parole Officer Martin Buonanno, by putting me on Jon’s no-contact list. And the New York State Parole Board blindly approved it.
So, they’re being sued.
[I will post court docs and the head-spinning correspondence with prison staff and parole. You’ll enjoy the comedic element. Stay tuned]
Court papers were filed on December 6. The case is on track to be argued on January 5, 2018, in Albany County.
The story goes like this: I wrote a book about Jon Fontaine, a criminal. A Jacket off the Gorge is currently on submission to publishers. Events depicted in my book are also detailed in Jon’s lawsuits against prison staff. Staff is well aware of the book, its contents, and subsequent blogs on my website which expose problems in the penal system. In an unpredictable and stunning move, prior to Jon’s release, prison staff added my name to a document that states he would not be allowed to communicate with me upon release (without the permission of his parole officer). Through a shocking (almost laughable) chain of correspondence, Mid-State staffers refused to remove my name, stated they had no why it was there, or how it got there.
Upon release, parole officer Buonanno arbitrarily denied Jon the right to communicate with me, and by that act, denied me the right to communicate with Jon (thereby violating my constitutional rights).
Jon had called me the day before his release and asked if I would call his parole officer to seek permission to have contact with him. I would not.
Here’s the thing about constitutional rights: You’re born with them. They are absolute. You don’t need permission; and certainly not from some Shmoe with a low-level state job.
I refused to ask permission. Buonanno is a stranger to me. He does not get to make decisions for me. Now, the parole board is being taken to court for violating my rights, and you—the taxpayer—have to pay for it. You have to pay to ensure my constitutional freedoms remain intact.
It’s what happens when citizens get state jobs, a taste of power, and knowlege that red tape will insulate them from having to answer to their abuses of power.
What a waste of your money.
Also published on Medium.