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Monday, July 20, 2015

Does America Believe in Second Chances for the Mentally Ill?

Does America Believe in Second Chances for the Mentally Ill?

After over 10 years of waiting to see about an expungement of my criminal record, my lawyer has determined that I can not get an expungement for a website I erected in 2004 assuming a false identity while off of my medications. Although I have served over 256 days in Morris Correctional Facility, earned my Masters degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University, continue to do charitable work within the community and won numerous awards for my documentaries, the courts have concluded that I can not seek expungement. This will have and continues to hold me back seeking gainful employment anywhere I apply. Should a person with a mental illness be given a second chance? Are we still so blind as to hold against an individual through the justice system a fair reevaluation of their rights and chances to start anew? It appears to me that I'm not being given a second chance but now having to harbor a record for my acts while my illness overcame me. The courts have decided that there is no chance to expunge my record and for this I will have to suffer for the rest of my life the dishonorable record of committing an act that had no real consequence towards the so called victims I offended by erecting a fictitious website. I have served for my crimes and paid my debt to society but the state still feels that I should not get a chance to have a second chance and will not allow the record to be cleared. I will continue my struggle to get cleared and carry on with my filmmaking endeavors for public exhibition but without due note that I will always be considered a felon in the eyes of the law. Is this fair America and do we believe in second chances for the mentally ill? Although I continue to be monitored by state mental health agencies and subscribe to my medicational treatments, the State and Justice Vincent Salem Atto believe that I should not get a second chance and remove my record after over 10 years of smooth sailing and productive living. What's your opinion? Not all mental health patience are murderers and gun carrying lunatics. Many of us just want to be productive again within the community. The system seems to carry severe contradictions about allowing us to regain and work towards a second chance. Your thoughts when you have a moment and thanks for reading.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

An apparent small accidental apartment fire burned it's way through Randolph, New Jersey tonight as over 15 engine companies arrived on the scene with EMT, police and firemen support. Cause of the blaze appeared to be a small plastic fire in the dwelling. No locals were hurt as emergency rescue workers arrived on the scene to eliminate danger. Many residents in the small apartment complex community say they haven't had this much excitement since the wandering and removal of a black bear with her cub over 3 years ago. No other emergencies have been reported this evening.

Monday, July 13, 2015

A Message to the Judicial System About Mental Health From A Mental Health Patient and System Victim

As my expungement hearing draws closer to being heard once again by the Superior Courts here in New Jersey and as I prepare to rehash the horror and mental discomfort of this entire debacle I have had to endure with the system and the courts over senseless actions I conducted over the internet while off my medication, I ask the courts especially Judge Vincent Salem Atto of the Morris County Judicial system one question. What have you done lately for the Judiciary and the legal system to better help you learn and understand mental health issues and the plight of more than hundreds of thousands of my brothers and sisters that lie dormant in mental hospitals not just here in New Jersey but around the country? What have you done to propagate better understanding of mental health issues especially those suffering from mania and depression? Have you made any strides to learn firsthand what it is like to suffer from a mental health handicap? If so and you even care to educate yourselves instead of choosing to be ignorant then bravo...accolades and commendations but if you have done nothing and have chosen to only hear about our plights through other people's testimony instead of learning and exploring the issue yourself first hand like Councilman Cody perhaps by visiting Greystone Psychiatric Hospital and others like it, I hope and pray that what I have had to endure through this entire judicial process has helped educate and teach those who are ignorant about mental health issues that we are NOT Elephant Men, John Merricks and people clutching in a corner to be treated like animals....We are "human beings" and I hope and pray one day that all Justices and Police Officers have been taught mandatory self awareness about those suffering from a mental affliction.  If none of this has been accomplished to this day, all of the pain and suffering I have endured will have gone in vain. I only pray that as the symbol of taking down the confederate flag has marked a new era of love and understanding, that our legal system and the process have come to some better understanding of what mental health issues and the suffering and pain we endure has helped us all to better realize, that this is an issue that isn't going away to be hidden behind the walls of a mental health unit. This is real...This is now...This is part of our American fabric and shame on anyone who turns a blind eye and chooses to be ignorant. G-d bless America...