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The Sentence Served
"The defendant shall be given a copy of the terms of his probation or suspension of sentence and any requirements imposed pursuant to this section, stated with sufficient specificity to enable him to guide himself accordingly."
-New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice 2C:45-1 (f)

The Sussex County Probation Department

Case Update
Sussex County Probation Department & Domestic Violence Assessment Center of Sussex County (DVAC) Fail to Return Wrongfully Assessed Fines and Fees!
Thomas Cassidy sent certified mailings to both the Sussex County Probation Department and the Domestic Violence Assessment Center on August 16, 2000 in regards to the repayment of monies that were wrongfully secured from him more than 3 years ago!

Mary Houtsma, CSW, DVS, the Director of the Domestic Violence Assessment Center of Sussex County, signed the receipt for this mail. B. Segura appears to be the signature from Sussex County probation.

We note that neither of these entities have responded to our inquiry. Yet these fines and fees had been imposed as a result of the wrongful conviction on their fabricated "cover charges". These very same "cover charges" were reversed on appeal and subsequently dismissed after this website published their misdeeds.

Such failure to return these monies is clearly demonstrative of their ongoing acts of wrongdoing.

Following the wrongful simple assault conviction that was entered against Tom on February 4, 1997, Tom was ordered to serve a sentence of 1 year probation, participation in the Domestic Violence Assessment Center (DVAC), DECIDE anger management classes, fines, fees, restitution, and other requirements. It was mandated that Tom serve the sentence to this wrongful conviction even though he had filed an Appeal.

Now that Tom had been successfully loaded onto the wrongful conviction train, he had been subjected to what could be described as an Intensive Supervision Probation (ISP) program. The Sussex County Justice officials required that Tom report in person on a weekly basis to Sussex County Senior Probation Officer S. Brian Banner for a crime that he had not committed. Tom had questioned why it had appeared that he was being harassed by the Sussex County Justice officials. For they had required that Tom attend weekly in person reporting requirements, DVAC meetings, DECIDE meetings, ASAP meetings, etc. At the same time, they told him to remain steadily employed. Employers were not keen to the idea that Tom had to attend a multitude of meetings and court appearances for an extended four year period!

On March 7, 1997 Tom was required to submit a urine specimen to test for drugs; although he had never used drugs in his life. Urine specimens were extracted at the kind and gentle encouragement of S. Brian Banner. Probation Officer Banner trains his experienced eyes on a probationer's genitals anxiously awaiting the specimen to trickle into the bottle. This is quite an intrusive experience. Moreover, there are much less intrusive alternatives to extract the very same specimen. On March 11, 1997 Tom was required to sign documentation acknowledging the Standard Conditions of Adult Probation. On March 21, 1997 Tom was required to sign documentation acknowledging Judge N. Peter Conforti, J.S.C.'s Order to Report to Probation Department. Sussex County Senior Probation Officer S. Brian Banner had also signed this order as it was he that Tom was now to report to. Below we shall provide the reader with just a glimpse of the misconduct that Tom was subjected to while serving a sentence that had been imposed by the Sussex County Justice system.

Tom was having much difficulty maintaining employment due to the frequency of court appearances and probation visits. Tom noted that the statute 2C:45-1 (f) stated that probationers are entitled to know the conditions of probation and any additional requirements that are imposed upon them. Therefore, Tom sought out answers as to why it had appeared that in addition to being wrongfully convicted, he was now being subjected what appeared to be harassment!

Tom first made an inquiry with Sussex County Probation Officer S. Brian Banner. He had the following to say (RealPlayer):

Banner- "Hello, Mr. Banner."

Tom- "Hello, Mr. Banner?"

Banner- "Yeah."

Tom- "Thomas Cassidy, how are you doing?"

Banner- "Yes, alright."

Tom- "I was wondering if before I come in at noon you could see about looking up the statute, that says that I have to appear weekly in person because of the..."

Banner- "Restraining order?"

Tom- "Final Restraining Order, right."

Banner- "Well I'll tell you what. I'll let you speak to the Chief here in charge."

Tom- "O.K."

Banner- "That's our policy. It is not a statute, it is not under the law. But, it is a policy of the Department that people who have a Final Restraining Order against them."

Tom- "OK, whose policy is it?"

Banner- "It's a Department policy."

Tom- "Probation Department's Policy?"

Banner- "Right."

Tom- "Do you think that I can get something in writing on that?"

Banner- "Well, no. You speak to him about that OK?"

Tom- "O.K."

Indeed, Mr. Banner. Why would we expect the Sussex County Probation Department to "adhere to any statutes or adhere to the law"? None of the other governmental bodies within the Sussex County Justice system had adhered to the law! Why should your agency be any different? Finding little satisfaction in Mr. Banner's illusive answers, Tom then made an inquiry with Sussex County Probation Department Chief Ron Nowakowski. Nowakowski had the following to say (RealPlayer):

Nowakowski- "Mr. Nowakowski."

Tom- "Hi, this is Thomas Cassidy again, how are you doing?"

Nowakowski- "Hi."

Tom- "I was just asking Mr. Banner if he could just provide me with something more specific as to my weekly appearance requirements, because I..."

Nowakowski- "No, I mean, I told you that before. This is all a matter of Probation in here. These are decisions that we make in here."

Tom- "I understand that, but I was looking in (referring to N.J.S.A. 2C:45-1 (f)).."

Nowakowski- "I don't care where you look. These are specific probation rules that we have over here that is generated from our department itself. Now listen, if you don't want to follow our rules..."

Tom- "That is not an issue."

Nowakowski- "...we can bring you back to court. Maybe the Judge can tell you that you have to abide..."

Tom- "Sir, can I explain what I am looking for?"

Nowakowski- "Sure, what are you looking for?"

Tom- "All I am looking for is pursuant to 2C:45-1 (f) is to be given a copy of the terms of my probation and any requirements imposed pursuant to this section, stated with sufficient specificity to enable me to guide myself accordingly."

Nowakowski- "Well you were. You were given the Rules and Conditions of probation when you came here."

Tom- "Well, I need something..."

Nowakowski- "That is all we are going to give you."

Tom- "What I am looking for is the requirements that were imposed. And those requirements being these weekly meetings, and the..."

Nowakowski- "That is all probation policy. That is not within the Rules and Conditions of probation."

Tom- "Well I wasn't given a copy of any of that."

Nowakowski- "Nobody is."

Tom- "So that doesn't pertain as far as going weekly?"

Nowakowski- "No, that's our own probation guidelines that we have over here for policies and procedures that we have over here. That doesn't pertain to you."

Tom- "Is that Sussex County Guidelines, then?"

Nowakowski- "Yes."

Tom- "O.K. Because I was trying to see if I can get a copy of the guidelines."

Nowakowski- "No, you can't."

Tom- "Oh. And why is that?"

Nowakowski- "Because we don't give them out to anybody."

Tom- "Well, it shouldn't be classified material."

Nowakowski- "No. Because when you are placed on probation, you are to follow our guidelines. That's what the Rules and Conditions are. And you were told what those guidelines were."

Tom- "So that I can follow the Guidelines, I should have a copy of them so that I know."

Nowakowski- "Because like I said before, if you don't abide by those guidelines what happens is that we bring you back to court on a Violation of Probation."

Tom- "Well, I understand that. I have been complying with the Guidelines. But pursuant to that section it says that..."

Nowakowski- "The Rules and Conditions are what..."

Tom- "It says that I can get something in writing with specificity to enable me to guide myself accordingly. And I haven't had anything in writing stating that I have to be there at weekly appearances. I have had nothing."

Nowakowski- "That is pure policy of the [Sussex County] Probation Department."

Not only does the staff at the Sussex County Department become hostile when one poses a question, they also refuse to release documentation of why Tom had to report with such an odd frequency for a crime that he had not committed. Mr. Nowakowski does admit to us though that Sussex County does have its own set of guidelines that apparently insulate them from any adherence to the law!

Following the inquiries that Tom had made regarding the weekly in person reporting requirements, it was on October 27, 1997 Tom had sent certified mail to the Sussex county Judiciary- Probation Department enclosing a money order in the amount of $85.00. In this letter, Tom explains that he has been enduring an extreme financial hardship as a consequence of being wrongfully convicted for a crime that he had not committed. Tom also inquires as to whether he will be reimbursed if his appeal was successful. Today, in the year of 2000, the wrongful conviction since reversed, Tom has still not received a response from the Sussex County Probation Department to a letter written in 1997!

On October 30, 1997 Tom was charged by S. Brian Banner and Ron Nowakowski of an act of Contempt of Court for failure to pay! Was the Sussex County Probation Department too seeking to exact retributive Sussex County Justice against Tom? It certainly appears so. If you you're not yet convinced, see what they do next!

On January 28, 1998 Senior Probation Officer S. Brian Banner had now charged Tom with a Violation of Probation! Why had he done this? Because at a Violation of Probation Hearing it is easier for the Sussex County Justice officials to lock one up in the "canary cage"! The Sussex County Justice officials will do everything possible to exact retribution on anyone who challenges them!

It is important for one to recognize that the entire Tom was being harassed by the Sussex County Probation Department, his appeal to the wrongful conviction had mysteriously been dropped! (No doubt, with a little help from the Sussex County Justice system!). Moreover, it during this same time period that the Sussex County Prosecutor's Office had faxed false documentation to the NJ Department of Corrections, where Tom had been previously employed wrongfully indicating that Tom had plead guilty to simple assault!

As one will see continually throughout our site, the Sussex County Justice officials will stop at no ends to deprive citizens of their civil rights and civil liberties! This abhorrent conduct is analogous to a cancer. It spreads rapidly throughout the entire Sussex County Justice system!

Illegal Interrogations at the Domestic Violence Assessment Center (DVAC)

On March 27, 1997 Tom was ordered to appear for "an assessment" at the Domestic Violence Assessment Center of Sussex County (DVAC). It was on this day that Tom was interviewed by Clinical Evaluator Lenny Marano, ACSW, LCSW, DVS. [N.1] At least, it began as an interview. What happened next, is that Marano had now taken on the role of a government interrogator. He did this knowing that Tom was currently being represented by defense counsel. He did not ask Tom if he would like to have his counsel present. Marano simply began interrogating (RealPlayer) Tom about the "knowing possession of assault weapons". A transcript is provided below. Their recording equipment interfered a bit with the tape that we have acquired, so listen carefully!

Marano: "Going back to the notion, where you were charged with these uh, with possession of those four assault weapons..."

Tom: "OK, the weapons, you're talking about the weapons, or guns...there have been no charges or allegations regarding anything to do with guns as far as domestic violence is concerned. So, you being a domestic violence counselor, where do the guns come in as an issue?"

Marano: "Well, I mean we're interest in treatment...for instance when you told me that part of what you were charged with was the uh, was the uh, possession of uh, assault weapons. You know, you're ...when I asked you about that you're response to me was that I didn't know that they were considered illegal. How could somebody who is an avid collector? - And I don't question your desire to collect guns and rifles, and stuff like that; a lot of people do it.- you know, how could somebody who is a collector, who has also served in the military- who has some sense of what assault weapons are- not know that in fact they were not legal?"

Tom: "Well, I don't know. I guess there is a lot of confusion. Because it is being challenged in federal court in Newark right now as we speak. So I guess there is a lot of people who are confused. And again, I though that this was the Domestic Violence Assessment Center and that is beyond the parameters of why I am here, isn't it?."

Marano: "No, it's not."

Tom: "It's not? So, this is the Assault Weapon Assessment Center?"

Marano: "No, it is not."

Tom: "Oh, O.K."

Marano knowingly was violating Tom's Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights afforded to defendants under the U.S. Constitution! He embarked on this interrogation even though there had been no allegations of misconduct regarding any type of firearms. As Marano attempted to solicit inculpatory statements from Tom, the videotapes were steadily recording and capturing the entire interview! Did you provide these tapes to the Sussex County Prosecutor's Office Lenny? We are aware that Sussex County Assistant Prosecutor Bruce LaCarrubba had secured a position for his girlfriend within the DVAC. Was it part of this "deal" that DVAC act as a proxy for the Sussex County Prosecutor's Office by engaging in criminal case interrogations and investigations?

After Marano had finished interrogating Tom about criminal charges having nothing to do with the Domestic Violence Assessment Center of Sussex County, Marano sent treatment recommendations to the Sussex County Superior Court- Family Division where Judge N. Peter Conforti, J.S.C. had wrongfully convicted Tom. In his recommendations, Marano stated that Tom should participate in a psychological evaluation and a batterers treatment program. Here we see yet another Sussex County Justice official abusing their professional licenses to facilitate a deprivation of ones civil rights! How many other innocent victims has the Domestic Violence Assessment Center of Sussex County attempted to warehouse through their "psycho-babble" reports?

Tom filed an appeal of the treatment recommendations the very next day on March 28, 1997 with Judge N. Peter Conforti, J.S.C.

In April of 1997, Domestic Violence Assessment Center (DVAC) counselor, Lenny Marano offered the following unsolicited statement to Thomas Cassidy:

Marano: "Again, I just want to be very clear about something Tom, this is not, like, you know, out to get you (RealPlayer), these are just my recommendations, they're treatment."

Was this unsolicited comment from Marano a Freudian slip? It certainly appears so. It is apparent that Lenny Marano has abused his professional licenses in order to "get people" who challenge his outlandish recommendations. How many others, Lenny, have you been "out to get" under the guise of "treatment"?

The DECIDE Anger Management Program

Tom was mandated to attend 3 weekend sessions at the DECIDE program until he had this punishment stayed pending the adjudication of his appeal. The DECIDE program is a six month program that is run by the same Lenny Marano of DVAC fame above. It is a program that addresses "domestic violence". Specifically, it addresses conduct between marital couples, cohabitants, persons who have a child in common, and discusses issues such as finances within the home.

The DECIDE program does not effectively deal with persons who had been wrongfully placed on the train to simple assault in order to cover up an illegal search and seizure very well. Indeed, when one indicates that they have been wrongfully convicted by Sussex County Justice officials for a crime that they had not committed the Domestic Violence Assessment Center of Sussex County (DVAC) "professionals" insist that you are simply in "denial"! As you have likely read above, rather than deal effectively with those who have been wrongfully convicted, the DVAC "professionals" abuse their positions by recommending psychological evaluations to those who question being wrongfully placed there.

During Tom's short visit at the DECIDE program, he did take note of the grievances that many of the husbands had expressed to the DVAC "professional counselors". The DECIDE "professionals" dismissed their grievances as merit less. This section is dedicated to them. For they did have many valid comments that were simply ignored by "the DVAC professionals".

In a recent report, the U.S. Department of Justice informs us that an estimated 62% of female violent offenders had a prior relationship with the victim as an intimate, relative, or acquaintance. By contrast, about 36% of male violent offenders were estimated to have known the victim. Moreover, nearly 3 in 4 violent victimizations committed by female offenders were acts of simple assault. [N.2]

Gender-Biased Domestic Violence Wheel
The Gender-Biased Domestic Violence Wheel.
One story that Tom had listened to at the DECIDE program involved a husband who indicated that his wife had thrown a beer bottle at him. Criminologists refer to this conduct as a victim precipitated event. He pleaded with the counselors that he believed that his wife should be at DECIDE counseling as well so that they could both benefit. The DECIDE counselors dismissed this participants suggestions stating that the court had sent him there and not the wife. Yet shouldn't both offenders undergo "treatment" since both had admitted to violent conduct? This man pleaded with counselors in order to save his marriage for the sake of their children. Yet he was simply told that he was "minimizing, denying, and blaming!". This man had sought to benefit from the counseling sessions and recognized that only one half of the problem was being "treated". If there are domestic violence issues in a persons home, shouldn't both persons participate in order to heighten the chances of program success?

This gender bias appeared to be rampant within the Sussex County Justice system. In fact, the DECIDE program ritualistically cite the infamous Domestic Violence Wheel in support of their own "denials" of women who engaged in criminal conduct. This wheel describes a garden variety of abhorrent conduct that all focuses on a fatally flawed assumption that the victim is a female and the perpetrator is a male. For example, the wheel states "making her feel bad about herself...Slapping, choking, pushing her, withholding money from her, etc."

Didn't the above mentioned husband likely feel scared when a beer bottle was thrown at him! Had he stayed out too late with his friends? Was she seeking to exact power and control over him? We recommend that DVAC abandon its radical feminist positions so that it can begin to deal effectively with domestic violence treatment. There is an ample amount of extant scholarly literature available on this social issue. Yet in the year of 2000, the Domestic Violence Assessment Center of Sussex County (DVAC) and DECIDE programs still operates using 1960's and 1970's literature!

In the case of State v. Cassidy, when Sussex County Justice officials continue to engage in criminal conduct unabated, seeking to salvage their unconstitutional conduct through the unjust application of "domestic violence laws", who really has the "Power and Control"? Perhaps you all would benefit from enrolling in a six-month course at your very own DECIDE program.

1 This alphabet soup of lettering that appear after Marano's name are seemingly there to make him feel a sense of self worth. Indeed, we have a great deal of correspondence from DVAC personnel with the same alphabet soup of lettering following their names. To those wrongfully convicted: Don't let the DVAC parade of "professionals" intimidate you with their alphabet soup!
2 U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics. (1999). Women Offenders. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.
See also: Associated Press. (1999, December 5). Most Female Crime is Simple Assault. The New York Times.

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