WS>>The legacy of Janet Reno

carl william spitzer iv cwsiv_2nd at JUNO.COM
Tue Oct 3 18:56:03 MDT 2000


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          "Larry Lawson" <hitech at smithville.net>

          To the American people and their government The follow-
     ing  letter was written by the father of Bobby Fijnje, a  14
     year-old  boy who met up with Janet Reno's style  of  "child
     protection."  This  "Open  Letter to  the  American  People"
     documents his family's reaction when they heard with  disbe-
     lief that Janet Reno had been nominated to head the  Justice
     Department.  For more info about this case, see: Armbrister,
     T., JUSTICE GONE CRAZY, Reader's Digest, Jan.  1994, p.  33-
     40.

          To the American people and their government:

          It is with surprise, shock, dismay, and anger that  the
     Fijnje  family  learned of the nomination of Janet  Reno  as
     Attorney  General  of the United States of  America.   After
     reading  this  letter  I hope you will  understand  why  our
     family  feels  that way.  I would like to describe  how  Ms.
     Reno persecuted our family.

          After  serving the government in  Curacao,  Netherlands
     Antilles, for almost 25 years, we decided that it would be a
     good experience for our children Nanette and Bobby, Jr.,  to
     settle in Miami, Florida.

          We  bought  a  house there  and  the  children  entered
     school.   We  wanted to make our new  home  our  fatherland.
     When we arrived in Miami, Nanette was 8 and Bobby was 5.  In
     late 1981 we joined Old Cutler Presbyterian Church, in which
     the  whole family participated in almost all church  activi-
     ties.  I was honored to serve the church for three years  as
     deacon and three more years as an elder.  For eight years  I
     sang  in  the choir, while my wife Vivian joined  the  bible
     classes,  worked in the kitchen, and helped in  other  ways.
     The  kids went to Sunday-school classes, and when  the  time
     came,  they  became members of  the  congregation.   Neither
     Vivian nor I was ever called to school or church because  of
     any misbehavior of either of the children.  Nanette graduat-
     ed  from  high school and entered  Dade  Community  College.
     Bobby  was given an award as the best all-around student  of
     his class when he graduated from 6th grade.  But in the fall
     of 1988 dark clouds began to gather.

          We did not know what accusations were being made or who
     the accusers were.
          Imagine our shock when, on the morning of
          28  August 1989, I opened the door and  four  policemen
     identified  themselves and told me that they would  like  to
     talk to Bobby.  One of the four, Detective Martinez, told me
     that  although  they had no search warrant, they  wanted  to
     search Bobby's room for pornography.  I told them there  was
     no  need to get a warrant and that they could go  ahead  and
     search  the room.  We later learned that Detective  Martinez
     had  obtained  an arrest warrant for Bobby three  days  pre-
     viously,  but he told us that he had only come to  "talk  to
     him."  Two policemen turned Bobby's room upside down and  of
     course found no pornography because we have no such trash in
     our home.

          I  rode with Bobby, Detective Martinez, and  Lieutenant
     Forster  to the police station where Bobby was  interrogated
     from  noon until dinner time.  I was with him for the  first
     two  hours, but I was then told that I must leave  the  room
     because Detective Martinez wanted to talk to him alone.

          On the evening of 28 August 1989, two months after  his
     14th  birthday, Bobby was taken to the Dade Juvenile  Deten-
     tion Center.  He remained there until 4 May 1991 when he was
     released.   During  the  frequent  recesses  which  occurred
     throughout  the  preliminary hearings and trial,  Bobby  was
     held in solitary confinement in a holding cell at the court-
     house.  During Bobby's imprisonment, we twice asked for  him
     to  be released on bond, the second time in the care of  his
     aunt  and uncle (a retired Connecticut State  Supreme  Court
     judge), but this was refused because "Bobby was a threat  to
     the community" and because it was said that our family would
     flee the country. Bobby pleaded not guilty, and was tried as
     an  adult  on  the motion of the  Dade  County  prosecutor's
     office, headed by Ms.  Reno.

          The  pre-trial hearings finally began in  early  August
     1990 with Judge Norman Gerstein presiding.  Pre-trial  hear-
     ings lasted until the middle of January 1991, at which  time
     a  jury was selected.  Before and during the trial, we  were
     repeatedly urged to accept a plea-bargain and warned of  the
     dangers  Bobby faced in prison.  We were told that he  would
     have AIDS within a week after entering prison.  We were told
     what  a  horrible time he would have in  prison,  where  the
     jailers  are mere administrators and the prison is  actually
     ruled by the prisoners.  But we knew Bobby was innocent, and
     we refused to accept a plea bargain.

          During  the trial, not a single witness ever  testified
     that he or she had seen anything improper.  Over 800 members
     of  the  church stepped forward and offered  to  testify  on
     Bobby's  behalf.   At least 14 motions  for  mis-trial  were
     filed  by  Bobby's lawyers, Mr.  Mel Black  and  Mr.   Peter
     Miller.   Over  500 sidebar conferences were  held  in  this
     case,  which cost the taxpayers well over $3 million,  money
     that  could have been used to feed the poor, improve  public
     health,  or  shelter the many homeless people who  roam  the
     streets  of  Miami.  Instead, this money was  spent  on  the
     longest trial ever held in Dade County, all in an effort  to
     send an innocent boy to jail for life.

          On  the morning of 4 May 1991, the jury  advised  Judge
     Gerstein  that a verdict had been reached, but we waited  an
     hour and a half for that verdict to be read.  Judge Gerstein
     advised our lawyer that we must wait for Ms. Reno's arrival.
     She wanted to be present when the verdict was read.

          Bobby was acquitted on all counts.

          During  this  period, our family had  to  endure  daily
     attacks  and lies in the newspapers and on  television.   My
     wife and I were accused of being drug dealers and  ringlead-
     ers  in  a child pornography business.  Death  threats  were
     sent to us and left on our telephone answering machine.   In
     addition to local and county police departments, the FBI was

     also  called  in to investigate us.   Unmarked  police  cars
     cruised through our street, while a police helicopter with a
     searchlight flew overhead at night.
          Television  reporters knocked on every door and  window
     in  the house, but we refused to give interviews because  we
     believed that the media would not truthfully report them.

          Ms.   Janet Reno was the Dade County Prosecutor at  the
     time of the investigation and prosecution of our son, and as
     such  she must bear the primary responsibility for what  was
     done  to  him.  Is Ms.  Reno the right person  to  head  the
     United States Justice Department?  Is she really a  crusader
     against child abuse?  Is she aware the she abused my son  by
     her  actions and robbed him of one year, eight  months,  and
     one week of his life?

          I urge President Clinton and the American people to  be
     wary  of  giving her this high office.  Any one of  the  260
     million  Americans  might run the risk of  having  the  same
     thing happen to them as happened to our son.  If our efforts
     save even one innocent child from Bobby's fate, it will have
     been worth the trouble.  We pray that President Clinton will
     hear  the  lone voice of a family that has suffered  at  the
     hands of Ms.  Reno.

          In  spite  of  all the injustices done  to  our  family
     during this period, we wish the people of the United  States
     well.

          Sincerely, B.  Fijnje, Sr.
          The Netherlands

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