To Those Preoccupied with Searching for My Criminal Record

I will save you the hassles of continually digging for dirt to discredit me with by publicly disclosing my, “criminal history.” As I have stated many times before, I live my life in the open and for good reason. There are those who seem to think they can discredit myself and/or Ohio Council for Fathers Rights by “digging up dirt” on me.

I will save you the money you would otherwise have to pay to secure a criminal background check on me by personally disclosing my “criminal history” for you on this Blog which is read worldwide.

Please allow me to start by saying I had never been arrested until after my divorce began. That said, I have been arrested thrice in my life, each time for offenses I did not commit.

At about the age of 37 I was physically arrested and charged with Disorderly Conduct, Resisting Arrest – Traffic, and a Safety Restraint violation one summer evening. Considering I was innocent of all the charges against me, I retained counsel. Concluding trial, I was guilty of “pleading out.”

What that means is on the advice of my attorney, I plead guilty to Disorderly Conduct against my own wishes. My attorney advised me that I was being offered a “plea bargain.” The prosecutor would agree to drop the Resisting Arrest Traffic charge as well as the Safety Restraint Violation Charge if I would agree to plead guilty to Disorderly Conduct, which is an “MM” or “minor misdemeanor” aka a “payout ticket.” How kind, drop two false charges if I will agree to plead guilty to a third false charge.

Now I understand why people regularly plead guilty to offenses whereby they maintain they are innocent of. Given that I was innocent of everything I was charged with, I wanted to fight the charges and go to trial. My attorney advised against it considering there are people who ignorantly believe that all police officers do not lie.

I suspect that the individual who is so interested in discovering my criminal history may be intellectually challenged in that respect and believe that all police officers are honest. That said, when one is fighting charges they are innocent of, it’s better to plead out despite your innocence rather than risk being tried and found guilty by an intellectually challenged jury.

Please understand that I am not accusing all police officers of being untruthful. However, the twenty something year old kid whose ego needed to be satisfied by arresting me that night four years ago lied repeatedly about me, and charged me with false offenses.

I was accused of being disorderly despite the fact that I spoke in a monotone voice, did not raise my voice, and responded with “yes sir, no sir, yes ma’am and no ma’am” to all questions asked of me. I asked the officer who cited me on at least five occasions to turn the cruiser’s camera on, but he declined to do so. In fact, Cincinnati Police Cruisers have cameras that are automatically activated with the lights and sirens. Ironically, on the night of my arrest the police claimed that the cameras in three different cruisers, “didn’t work” that particular evening, and therefore they could not provide the videotapes requested by the attorneys to assist in my defense at trial.

Why was I arrested? Well, I was told that I must sign a citation for an infraction (a seatbelt violation) that I was not guilty of. I always wear a seatbelt, have done so since the age of 16, and insist that my passengers do so as well. I ignorantly assumed that by signing the citation I would be admitting guilt. When I refused to sign the citation, a supervisor was called to the scene. Being in the wonderful mood she was in she matter-of-factly ordered me to sign the citation or go to jail. I refused to sign it for the aforementioned reasons and was eventually placed under physical arrest and taken to jail.

Anyone familiar with police procedures understands that an arrest entails a great deal of paperwork. Some police officers become agitated when forced to fill out mountains of paper. To reward the person who caused them the needless headache, a dishonest officer merely “adds false charges” out of anger to “punish” the person who inconvenienced them.

I’m not too familiar with criminal law, however it is my understanding from my attorney that the “Resisting Arrest – Traffic” charge was the result of my unwillingness to exit the vehicle. Once again, due to my ignorance I wasn’t aware that I was required by law to exit the vehicle after being instructed to do so. Therefore I politely informed one of the officers that since I had done nothing wrong, I would not exit the vehicle unless I was under arrest. Can you guess what he said next? “You’re under arrest.”

I promptly exited the vehicle. I then inquired as to why I wasn’t being handcuffed after being instructed to stand near the vehicle. The second officer (a very polite gentleman, the one who told me I was under arrest) proceeded to say that I wasn’t really under arrest, he merely said that so I’d exit the vehicle. However, as explained above I really was placed under arrest when I continued to refuse to sign a citation for not wearing the safety restraint that I was wearing when the driver was pulled over.

I was told numerous times by the supervisor that if I would simply sign the citation for the seatbelt violation, I could go home. Had I known it wouldn’t have been an admission of guilt to do so, I would have signed it. My “punishment” for not signing it were the false additional charges of “Resisting Arrest Traffic” and “Disorderly Conduct.”

Arrest number two was on a false allegation of domestic violence. Keep in mind that for a man to be arrested for domestic violence there need not be any evidence that the allegation is true. If a woman calls 911 and accuses a man of domestic violence, the police are required by law to arrest the alleged perpetrator. I was advised by a police officer prior to that occurrence to carry a tape recorder with me at all times.  That charged was dismissed.

Arrest number three occurred on January 9, 2008. A warrant for my arrest was signed by a Hamilton County Domestic Relations Judge because I was indigent and could not pay the court costs associated with my divorce. That arrest caused me to be terminated by my employer after the “Fugitive Warrant Unit” appeared at my workplace on two separate occasions to arrest me.

I must say that of all three arrests, the last one was the most interesting. Two days prior to my arrest, the Hamilton County Sheriff’s helicopter was hovering above my house one evening. That said, a man who did not identify himself was standing on my roof pointing a gun at me. Suffice it to say I didn’t appreciate it when a laser beam hit the wall to my left. I didn’t have my glasses on at the time, but could see the black outline of a gun.

One would think that given the murder rate in Cincinnati, the police would be better utilized if they were apprehending other “criminals.” However, I guess Sheriff Leis feels its appropriate to send his helicopter up at the taxpayers expense to perform reconnaissance on the house of a father who was indigent and couldn’t pay court cost as a result.

After knocking out the window to my front door and apprehending me, I asked the officers why I wasn’t mirandized. The younger one responded, “we don’t have to read you your rights, it’s “just” a civil warrant.

It was then that I learned that in America you can be arrested, not mirandized and incarcerated without a trial, and without counsel so long as your “crime” is civil in nature.

My final comment is as follows. I subscribe to the methods utilized by the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I do not believe in nor condone the breaking of any laws in protesting against injustice. I believe that present child support statutes are unjust and nothing less than State sanctioned, legalized extortion. However, it is the law none the less.

That said, I believe that I am morally obligated to follow the law and pay my child support obligation. This, despite the fact that I cannot afford it, was bankrupted by my current support order, went into foreclosure on my home, and am fortunate enough to have my wonderful daughter 50% of the time. Furthermore, I willingly and happily provide for all of her needs as any loving Father would.

Tony Fantetti
Ohio Council for Fathers Rights

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