10,000 Signatures Needed to Bring Jailed Mom Home Before Christmas/Hanukkah; Victim of Spousal Abuse, Valerie Carlton Awaits a Decision From NYS Governor Cuomo on Extradition

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According to the Committee to Vindicate Valerie Carlton, Ms. Carlton is a 42-year-old mother who was incarcerated in Maryland on 28 charges including 15 felonies and all but one of the charges was dropped for lack of evidence. According to court documents Ms. Carlton did plead “no contest” to a misdemeanor protective order violation for sending an email to her daughter’s first grade teacher and was sentenced to time served --13 months in solitary. Ms. Carlton now sits in jail again, waiting for a decision by NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo as to whether she will be extradited back to Maryland on an assault charge – to be returned to the private detention center where she and four others allege she was beaten and tortured. Her supporters hope to obtain enough signatures on a petition to prevent the extradition; their goal is to shed light on what they believe is a misuse of the criminal justice system and bring about a full investigation of the case.

Please help Valerie Carlton by signing the petition to prevent her extradition to Maryland.

Valerie Carlton has been incarcerated and unable to see or communicate with her daughter since February 2009.

Those who believe in civil rights and our constitutional protections, the many victims of spousal abuse, those who have been harmed by persecution and injustice at the hands of a criminal justice system gone awry, should support Valerie Carlton.

According to the Committee to Vindicate Valerie Carlton, in 2009, Valerie Carlton, a 40-year-old-mother, was indicted on 28 charges, including 15 felonies and incarcerated at the Harford County Detention Center where she was held on $10 million bail (Harford County Circuit Court Case #12K09000935 at http://casesearch.courts.state.md.us). According to court documents, after she had spent 13 months in solitary confinement, the County dropped all but one of the charges for lack of evidence, a misdemeanor protective order violation for sending an email to her daughter's teacher.

Ms. Carlton now sits in jail in Rockland County, NY, awaiting extradition to Maryland on an assault charge that involved a scuffle with a guard during her incarceration (Harford County Circuit Court Case #12K10000473). Her supporters allege she is the victim of civil rights violations and a criminal justice system gone awry. They believe freeing her will require swift action and 10,000 signatures on a petition to Governor Andrew Cuomo. To read more and sign the petition visit: http://valeriecarlton.com/what-you-can-do.html

Ms. Carlton’s supporters allege that the 27 charges that were dropped for lack of evidence stemmed from a bitter divorce and custody battle (Harford County Circuit Court Case #12C04000452 at http://casesearch.courts.state.md.us) in which her ex-husband Russell Carlton was awarded custody of the couple’s daughter in 2007 even though, just a year before, he was convicted of domestic violence against Ms. Carlton (Bel Air District Court Case #4R00048668). His conviction was overturned on appeal (Harford County Circuit Court Case #12K05002327).

Ms. Carlton’s supporters allege that Russell Carlton is now seeking to terminate Ms. Carlton’s visitation and parental rights with their six-year-old daughter by bringing false allegations of sexual abuse against Ms. Carlton, who has not seen or spoken to her daughter in almost three years.

While in solitary for 13 months in the Harford County Detention Center, Ms. Carlton and at least four witnesses allege she was routinely tortured and abused. According to court documents, toward the end of her incarceration, she was allegedly accosted by a male guard who admitted that he put his hands on her, with no other guards present, in an attempt to lead her back to her cell. He claimed that she “became combative by pulling her arm away." (http://valeriecarlton.com/incident_report.pdf). However, the following day, the guard allegedly changed his story and claimed that Ms. Carlton stabbed him with a pen when he tried to lead her to her cell. Regardless, she was charged with an assault against the guard, despite videotaped evidence showing that he tackled her, pummeled her, and smashed her head into a concrete wall three times.(http://youtu.be/oQN1jWn5P0Q).

Ms. Carlton was released from jail on June 30, 2010, pending the trial on the assault charge. Fearing for her life and safety, she traveled to New York and was subsequently arrested by U.S. Marshalls, leading to her current incarceration in the Rockland County jail.

A nationally recognized independent forensic psychiatrist, Dr. Mark J. Mills, strongly recommended (http://dl.dropbox.com/u/17180901/Affidavit%20from%20Psychiatrist%20for%20Valerie%20Carlton.doc) that Ms. Carlton not be kept in the Harford County Detention Center in light of the abuse she claims she has suffered there. This written recommendation was provided to Governor Martin O'Malley of Maryland. However, no action was taken to prevent Ms. Carlton from being returned to the jail.

According to Philip Murphy, Esq, an attorney working on the case, she currently faces a potential sentence of up to ten years for assaulting a guard (Harford County Circuit Court Case #12K10000473). Yet, despite a videotape of her altercation with the guard and the fact that she was originally incarcerated with no evidence, no Maryland agency has examined the case, and she therefore awaits extradition while NYS Governor Cuomo’s office investigates the matter.

"All those who believe in our civil rights and our constitutional protections, the many victims of spousal abuse, those who have been harmed by persecution and injustice at the hands of a criminal justice system gone awry, please support Valerie Carlton’s fight for vindication and the right to see her only daughter by signing her Petition (http://www.change.org/petitions/the-governor-of-ny-stop-the-extradition-of-an-innocent-jewish-mother-from-ny-to-md)," stated Michael Ettinger, another attorney for Valerie Carlton.

On November 16, Rockland County Court Judge William A. Kelly denied bail for Valerie Carlton (County Court of the State of New York, County of Rockland, In Re the Matter of the Extradition of Valerie Carlton, the Judge is Hon. William A. Kelly, Supreme Court Justice) and postponed a decision until December 8th.

In order to assist Valerie Carlton in her fight to be free and see her daughter again, supporters have established a petition and are hoping to get enough signatures to give to NYS Governor Cuomo before Christmas/Hanukkah in order to get Valerie home. More information can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/VindicateValerieCarlton/ including links to the petition and links for contacting both the Governors of Maryland and New York. Additional information can be found at http://www.valeriecarlton.com.

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