Observing An Unfair Trial Firsthand

       To be a fly on the wall in Janet Delfuoco’s jury trial was an experience I will never forget for many reasons. To preface my recount of the day, I had written a previous article about the situation she was currently in. After battling the court system for years in regards to a poor decision made by a judge in family court, she still did not have custody of her daughter. Before today, I really didn’t understand the gravity of her situation. There came a time she made a few posts on Facebook that were taken out of context regarding the judges overseeing her case. When I wrote the first article, I had been discussing how the court denied her request for a lawyer which was her constitutional right. When I arrived, they were interviewing a clerk from the courthouse. I found this interview peculiar, when she was asked how often people called them angrily at the courthouse, the woman claimed that “on a scale of 1 to 10, Janet was a 20”. She elaborated how when Janet called in she played the phone call on speakerphone without consent. She claimed to be fresh on details for the prosecution, but got forgetful when questioned by the defense.
       In regards to the detective for the Attorney Generals office, he was interviewed second but it’s what the jury DIDN’T see that is relevant. When they were out of the room Janet was battling to get a video admitted to evidence from a year ago where she talked to this detective and thought it would help her defense now. She entered a motion to allow exculpatory evidence as all evidence should have been available to her. The prosecution used posts against her in court referencing a woman who was supposed to be a witness for the defense, but she was not allowed to testify. A representative from the ACLU entered a motion to remove the evidence because it was unconstitutionally obtained, but that was denied.
       Janet was barred from even bringing up the video, but still questioned him. He talked about how they obtained a warrant for her Facebook information for a period of several months without notifying her. The reason I started to get eerie feelings is because in my personal opinion, though she was advised of her right to not incriminate herself, in many ways she was still left no choice. She was denied a lawyer, denied witnesses, and was not allowed to use the same evidence for her defense that had been used to arrest her. She had taped the conversation in question, yet couldn’t play it or talk about it.        She eventually took the stand and spoke the truth about what happened. Over a year ago she made these posts on Facebook, but soon after removed them a couple hours later at a friends advice. The detective who had been emailed about it, called her and she explained that she was talking about karma in her posts. She explained how she realized soon after how they could have been taken out of context and removed them herself. The video showing their conversation over a year ago where they left it on good terms was the one not allowed into evidence.  
       The Attorney General’s office waited a year after she posted these things before they indicted her for threatening to hurt a judge. In one of the breaks the Judge himself admitted that it was very reasonable to assume Janet was not threatening to kill anyone. We did hear many other posts brought up about corruption in the courts, banks, etc. They tried to paint a picture like she was some radical, but when she spoke we saw who she really is. This woman does a job most couldn’t bare. As a hospice nurse and reiki practitioner, she talked about how planning to harm someone couldn’t be further from who she was. Her faith and careers are both about love and healing. She emphasized how she wanted the negativity to stop, and this system to protect her instead of hurt her.

       Since the incident she had been much more mindful online, and even helped work to correct issues with laws so bad things don’t happen to good people again. In the whole year after these posts were made and deleted, nobody was harmed, and Janet spent her time trying to raise awareness about a system that really is broken.
The whole day was live broadcast to Facebook, and we had a number of us there. I think this made a huge difference as there was proof the whole day of what happened here. My heart really goes out to her, I spoke to her boss while we were on break and he had wonderful things to say. I guess he too wasn’t allowed to testify, but said she is a tremendously dedicated caretaker. There is still closing arguments tomorrow before the case closes, but nothing about this was a “fair trial”. Janet absolutely shouldn’t have had to testify, but I do think it made a big difference. To try and put a hospice nurse in prison for that long over a few Facebook posts a year after confirming there was no threat? That’s both ludicrous and a clear indicator of a much bigger problem. When Janet spoke, she showed the jury something real. After hours of micro-analyzing a few posts to try and prove a point that was a stretch at best, Janet told the truth. Personally, for someone who had the cards stacked against them, I think they very well could rule in her favor…I would.
       The experience itself was powerful, I couldn’t imagine being in her shoes had nobody been there to support her…alone against the court. These sorts of thing happen all to often, and seeing it with your own eyes is an experience in itself. The people who came together today to fill that courtroom were amazing. The dedication to each other, a good cause, and helping someone in need is beyond commendable. Where her right to counsel was denied, I feel this group acted as a check and balance on the judiciary today. After years of stress and parental alienation, I think Janet finally deserves some peace of mind. Janet was wronged from the beginning with these courts and to truly understand that viewers would have to see what she says at a few points towards the end. I’ll be praying tonight that she gets a “not guilty” verdict, but I’m pretty confident she will.

-Adam Rice


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