Monday, November 2, 2009


Please see below: I hope you will take a look at the story of this Jewish mother, innocently imprisoned for a crime committed and admitted to by someone else. The collage is the cover of a brochure I created for Elsa Newman, #921975, Maryland Correctional Institution at Jessup. The text is the material from the inside of the brochure.
As an additional note, I want you to know that I have learned that Newman suffers incredible harrassment for being a attorney...white...and innocent. I have written to Gary Maynard, head of Maryland's Department of Public Safety and Corrections, and he has been able to reduce some of the harrassment--but not all of it...never all of it.

This is the story of Elsa Newman and her sons, a mother unjustly imprisoned in Maryland, while her two boys live in Tampa, Florida, with a father they have accused of incredible molestation and abuse.
In the early 2000's in Maryland, Newman and her then-estranged husband, Arlen Slobodow, were divorcing when her two small boys began disclosing that they were being molested by their father. Before visitation, the boys clung to furniture and begged their mother not to make them go.
On a night in January, a friend of the Newman family, Margery Landry, broke into the home of Arlen Slobodow while his two sons were visiting. She carried a gun containing two whole bullets--hardly the arsenal of a woman intending murder--possibly the arsenal of a woman afraid of Slobodow because he had assaulted her more than once.
Landry, having heard of the molestation and abuse by the children's father and seeing that neither children's protective services nor law enforcement nor the courts seemed able or willing to do anything about it, entered the home at night to see if she could find evidence of the molestation.
She found no evidence, but before she left, she decided to look in on the two little boys. However, when she reached the bedroom of the younger son she found his bed made and empty.
Landry turned toward the master bedroom and looked in. There she saw Arlen Slobodow, nude from the waist down, in bed with his younger son, who was completely nude.
Question: In January in Maryland, how would she have known about the nudity if the pair had been sleeping and thoroughly covered as one would expect in the NE at that time of year?
Question: Why did Landry testify at trial that she "tried to pull them apart" if they were doing nothing but sleeping?
A struggle followed the attempt. Slobodow forced Landry to the floor and tried to turn the gun on her. It went off. One bullet struck the wall and one struck Slobodow in the thigh. Although his pajama bottoms were covered with blood, there was no bullet hole in the pajamas, verifying the claim that he had, indeed, been half naked when discovered.
Landry broke free and fled. She would be arrested the next morning.
Slobodow called 911 and set up the case for the prosecution in the trial that was to follow: "My wife sent someone to try to kill me."
During this time, Elsa Newman was out of state. When she heard that the police wanted to talk to her, she returned voluntarily, with no idea that authorities would accuse her of involvement. She was arrested and charged with everything Landry had done, plus conspiracy and attempted murder.
Landry pled guilty to other charges, but refused to plead either to conspiracy or attempted murder. Conspiracy and attempted murder were both null prossed for Landry. She was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Offered a reduced sentence if she would implicate Newman, she refused to do so.
Newman was tried twice. In her first trial one of the witnesses against her was her own divorce attorney, who, some two days after he discovered that she was planning to file a complaint against him, suddenly remembered that she had sat in his office and plotted to kill her estranged husband.
Maryland’s highest court voided the verdict the first trial, saying that her attorney should never have been allowed to testify against her.
Newman was released. In the second trial, the divorce attorney's secretary testified against her. Although Landry had denied conspiracy or murder attempt, those charges were held against Newman, who was offered a reduced sentence if she would apologize. She refused to apologize for something she had not done, and is now in Maryland Correctional Institution for Women at Jessup.
Her two sons, now young teens, continue to live with their father in Tampa. Since molesters do not change, I assume they are still being molested.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

I am not alone in my belief that the court system is failing

Scandal Illuminates Troubled Family Court System
By Byron Williams

The family court system has, in theory, operated on the question, "What is in the best interests of the child?"

But the findings articulated at a one-day workshop hosted by Alameda County Supervisor Gail Steele and the Center for Judicial Excellence suggest that question is more theory than practice.
If the statistics are accurate, the frequency with which children are allowed to have unsupervised contact with physically or sexually abusive parents after divorce in this country is alarming and worthy of the public's attention.

According to the Center for Judicial Excellence, "Not since the Catholic Church pedophile scandal has the United States seen this level of institutional collusion and corruption harming innocent children."

This may sound like hyperbole, but the comparison holds if, in fact, most family court professionals know the system is broken and are allowing the most vulnerable members of society to potentially suffer lifelong consequences.

It is indeed a broken system that allows 58,000 children each year to be placed in harm's way simply because the abusive parent also possesses the resources to hire a bevy of professionals who plead his/her case to judges, mediators and other family-law professionals.

Heavy caseloads, bad judges and unqualified mediators, who evaluate families sometimes based on no more than a one-hour meeting, can add up to decisions that permanentlyaffect families.
As one parent shared with me, "I wouldn't believe my own story if I didn't live through it. We trust the courts to do the right thing, but it's just not that simple."

Those who are not directly involved trust the system to work — but there was a consistent message at the workshop that it does not work, and children are paying the price.
Are these simply the musing of parents and attorneys who did not get their way? No, there is more than enough data to suggest there is a problem that warrants investigation. The primary charge finds that many judges, for reasons ranging from being overworked to becoming jaded by the system, have placed an inordinate reliance on court appointees such as mediators, evaluators, investigators, and minors' counsel, who may or may not act in the best interest of the children.

This has created a scenario whereby individuals who have no understanding of the law often sway the individual who is appointed to administer justice.

Steele also cites a level of dishonesty that she states is pervasive throughout the system. "It's not just mediators but social workers who are not telling the truth," she said.

The workshop featured experts in the field and parents sharing their gut-wrenching, first-hand testimony and offering solutions to the problem-plagued system in California.

State Sen. Mark Leno and other members of the Legislature are calling for an audit that will evaluate the magnitude of the concerns expressed over a number of years.

A number of participants also made it clear the problems they cite are not emblematic of the whole, maintaining there are indeed a number of good judges within the system. But there are enough bad ones who are not held accountable, causing the system dysfunction.

Steele should be commended for her willingness to bring attention to an issue that has flown under the radar for years. Investigation is long overdue.
Byron Williams has served as pastor of the Resurrection Community Church in Oakland since 2002. As the only pastor/syndicated columnist in the country, Williams writes a column which appears in 10 publications and several progressive web sites across the country.

Thursday, October 29, 2009


The brochures are ready to be printed, as of this morning.

I set aside the flyer and used that material on the outside of the brochure. One less thing to keep track of as I travel.

The paper petition is ready to be printed for me to carry with me on the trip.

I have gathered information from The Innocence Project at Yeshiva University; The Innocence Project has meant exoneration for some 240 people--many on death row. My hope is that this will prove helpful to establish without argument that there actually are innocent people in US prisons.

I have bumper stickers that say "Free Elsa Newman," and they are all ready to go.

The signs are on the motor home. The signs on the metal stayed on well. However, I must make some replacement signs for some that came off the glass. I will put the replacement signs INSIDE the windows, rather than trying to drive in pouring rain with outside signs.

I am beginning to make some media contacts, despite the poor piece of writing I put out at first. I think I will now send copies of the brochure to media, rather than trying to write a "press release" at which it seems I am a dismal failure.

I have twenty-two days to go, leaving three weeks from tomorrow, God willing.

All that remains is to finish the printing...make four replacement signs and have them laminated...and get the MK ready to go. Hmmm. Maybe I'll leave early. The earlier I am on the road, the better my hopes for the weather between here and northern Idaho, which will be my first stop.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


The two little boys who, according their own disclosures, have suffered for years at the hands of the father they said molested them

Re: Stephen Friedman-- I FIGURED IT OUT!

It’s easy to understand why Arlen Slobodow would lie. He had been accused by his sons of molesting them sexually as well as savaging them physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. The accusations never reached a courtroom in Maryland because Margery Landry's crime intervened. If Slobodow lied and his estranged wife went to prison, he was free and clear.
But why on earth would a woman’s former attorney lie about her in court—saying she had sat in his presence and plotted murder?

It’s easy to understand why Doug Gansler, then State’s Attorney for Montgomery Country and now Maryland’s Attorney General, might not care much about the truth of the matter. He was planning a run for state office. The Newman case was high profile. The media coverage was doubtless helpful. And all the more helpful if he could put the defendant away.

But Newman’s own divorce attorney?

It’s easy to understand why Slobodow’s attorney might not be interested in truth. She was being paid to defend him, not find out the truth.

But why would Stephen Friedman, Newman’s own attorney, perjure himself on the witness stand?

It’s easy to understand why the prosecuting attorney, Katherine Winfree, would not seek truth. Her emails show her disdain for Newman. In addition, she had a reputation to uphold; her boss, Doug Gansler, has said she is a better prosecutor than even he is.

But dammit…the one thing that I couldn’t figure out for the longest time was why a man like Stephen Friedman would lie about his own client.

And now? I’ve figured it out. At last.

Perhaps, after reading this brief account, you can draw your own conclusion as to why Stephen Friedman would have been motivated to bear false witness.

Friedman, you see, was not Newman’s attorney in any way that had anything to do with the criminal trial. Nope. He was her divorce attorney. And Newman was becoming sick and tired of his behavior as her divorce attorney. She began putting together a list of his misdeeds.

· He made appointments and then kept her waiting interminably with no apparent reason, once when she waited with her elderly mother, now 96 years old.

· He would talk to other clients on the phone while Newman sat in his office—and then he would bill her for the time he was using the phone.

· He would take a “break,” be gone for as much as half an hour or forty-five minutes, leaving her alone in his office—and then bill her for that time.

· He would often seem to fall asleep during time that should have been used for preparing the divorce case. Whether he was really asleep or not, he billed her for the time.

· He left to use the restroom—and billed her for the time.

· Friedman double billed—meaning he would go back and bill again for something he had already included in a bill. One month he billed Newman $40,000. Nor was this a month when he went to trial for her. There was nothing going on but office visits.

· Friedman billed Newman some $300,000 for a year’s work—although he stretched the work out for well over a year.

· According to Newman, Friedman wrote three- and four-page threatening letters.

As a result of these and other equally “obscene practices," Newman was preparing to accuse Friedman of malpractice. This she did not want to do during the divorce hearing. She intended to wait until divorce issues were settled.
Newman never got that chance. Margery Landry broke into Slobodow's house, and the rest is news I've written and rewritten.

Now you need to know that Newman has a habit of planning everything out on paper, and even before the divorce hearing, she made a list, some two or three pages long. At the time of Margery Landry’s crime, officials removed a computer and personal papers from Newman’s home, in search of evidence. Included in the papers was Newman’s list of complaints against Friedman.

Ah-oh! Guess who saw them!

Somehow, it seems, possibly with the assistance of Katherine Winfree in the State’s Attorney’s office, Friedman became aware of the paper and the charges Newman was planning to bring against him.

Two days after he saw the papers, he suddenly remembered that he had heard Elsa Newman sit in his office and plot to kill Arlen Slobodow, and rushed to two different judges to ask advice about what he should do with this horrible knowledge. Two days. And then he testified against her at trial.

Ladies and gentlemen…readers of this blog…I rest my case.


One of my fondest hopes for you is that you will forever--no matter what anybody makes you say to the contrary--be proud of your mother!
I've ever known a mother more proud of her children, more pleased with them, more hopeful for their future; more frightened that the horrible abuses you disclosed might damage you and your bright future.

Of course her heart is broken over her separation from you, but she did nothing to deserve that. All she did was believe you when you disclosed the abuses your said your father was perpetrating on his two very young sons.
Did you know that your mother, when she was offered a reduction in her prison sentence if she would apologize for "conspiracy" and "attempted murder" held her head high and said simply, "I cannot apologize for what I did not do."
It did not matter what the jury said. It did not matter what the judge said. It did not matter what your father had said. The only thing that mattered is what she knows to be the truth. Your mother is a brilliant woman and a woman of integrity. It takes guts to do what she did--face a longer prison sentence, rather than deny that integrity.
Enough said for now.


The first leg of the coast-to-coast and border-to-border trip on behalf of Elsa Newman has been completed. On Wednesday last the pugs and I climbed into the motor home, took our places and picked up Lois, a friend who had agreed to accompany me on this part of the journey.
Thanks to Lois, I have pictures for you. I will try not to write much, but just let you look at the pictures and captions.

We drove to Long Beach in Washington, where we picked up a small piece of driftwood, thanks to Lois, who found it. I was about ready to give up on the driftwood and just take a tiny container with a few grains of sand. The idea behind the driftwood is that as I travel I will pick up a small rock or other found item from each state I visit, carrying all of them with me as a symbol of my attempt to unite people in all the states behind Elsa Newman and her sons.

After Long Beach, we drove across the Astoria bridge and back to Vancouver, Washington--and then the pugs and I came home.

It was a good shakedown trip. I learned that I may not be able to drive that far every day. We found that some of the signs came off, so I will have to replace those. The ones on metal were fine. The ones on glass were a lost cause.

Now for the pictures:

The view from the passenger seat. We drove about two miles out of the way to take a look at this historic covered bridge.

Notice the signs. Please notice also my "prison blues,"
which I wore, but which had not yet
been stencilled with the words "PRISON BLUES...
in honor of Elsa Newman...#921975 MCIW...
innocent but imprisoned." I am right now in the process of
doing the stenciling

Me--with some of the pug herd, in their ex pen.
Somebody must have still been inside, because I seem to be informing someone that
it is time to disembark.
If you scrunch up your eyes just right, you can see some of the herd of elk we
saw on the way to the coast.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Plans Proceed Apace

Several things have happened over the last few days. All good, so far.

· The motor home is repaired and ready to travel. Ooops! That reminds me: I’d better start it up and let it run for a while.

· My stencil has arrived, so I can get my prison blues ready—thank you, Johnny Cash for the name. My blue shirts will say “PRISON BLUES…in honor of Elsa Newman…#921975 at MCIW…innocent but in prison.”

· I’m planning to purchase little blue shirts for all the pugs. I need to get fabric paint in tubes, so I can write on their shirts, things like “Free Elsa Newman”…”Elsa Newman-unjustly imprisoned”…and maybe even “Shame on Maryland!”

· The signs for the MH are due on Monday. I can hardly wait to get them on, so I hope the weather accommodates.

· The backup mirror for my MH arrived. I’ve got to get that installed. It helps a lot when I am driving. For example, I will be able to see if some ning-nong, invisible in the side mirrors, is tailgating.

· I even received the little rubber piece I needed for the vacuum cleaner, so I will be able to carry a Dirt Devil and vacuum the carpets, which needs to be done rather often, in view of the fact that statistics show that one pug sheds enough hair every day to make a whole new pug!

· Next week should bring the trip to the coast with a friend. Looking forward to it.

· I’m still working on the press release…finding it difficult to write about myself and mine in the third person.

· Found out I cannot use dried egg whites for my liver shunt puppies, so I will have to carry fresh eggs and/or make frequent stops for fresh eggs. Guess I’ll be eating lots of egg yolks or making lots of puddings—or something.

· Starting to receive word from folks who will welcome my dogs and me—and some even have suggestions for publicity in local news media. Yesssss!

· Received washable pads for the floors, to protect the carpet. Also have lots of homemade “rugs” that I use for the same purpose—mostly old towels sewn together.

Hey! This is really going to happen. I can hardly wait to get on the road.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Journal--day three

Elsa Newman and her sons
with friend of a canine persuasion

Wheee! Count down another day! Thirty-eight days until we leave; and sooooo much still to do!

The signs for the motor home have shipped—due here on the 19th of this month, but that is about all the news for the day.

We had a power outage this morning and into part of the afternoon, which put a crimp in some of my preparation plans. Preparation, of course, includes getting my home ready to leave behind, as well as getting the motor home and the dogs and myself ready for travel. Getting the house ready? Means putting covers over the screens on my screened back porch. Means getting all washing caught up. Means keeping up on dishes. Nothing very exciting.

Most of the preparation for the dogs means being sure I have the right foods with me. I have very young little girls with liver shunts. They have to have a special diet and special meds. They also need filtered water. Gotta be sure I have everything with me.

As to the rest of the herd? I’ve switched them all to Beneful—because I know I can get that anywhere. They are good to go.

Come November 20? We'll all be good to go.
Watch for us in your state or your city!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Journal--day two

Not much to record today on the preparations for the trip. I did begin writing a press release, after looking up a how-to and a guide on the net.

I have signs coming for the motor home. The first one has arrived: a banner which I can attach to the MK at stops. It says, “Elsa Newman and Sons—information here.”
The rest are supposed to arrive on the 19th. I hope the company keeps that commitment. I am looking forward to decking out the MK in her new clothing. Among the signs I am expecting are the following:
1. Coast to coast and border to border for Elsa Newman and sons
3. Free ELSA NEWMAN –unjustly imprisoned in Maryland
4. Elsa Newman—Innocent but in prison
5. Time for justice—Elsa Newman—unjustly imprisoned
6. Time lost in prison is gone FOREVER—missing out while your children grow up—ALSO GONE FOREVER
7. Sign petition:
8. Free Elsa Newman [with two pics of Elsa]
9. Plus a pug sign, since I’m a pug person, in which a pug bewails the fact that “Elsa Newman has been in prison sooooo long!” That one is for the driver’s- side door.

Looking forward to taking this message across the United States. Look for me in your state and your city. I’ll be the obnoxious little, old lady retired school teacher, traveling in a “Jubilee” motor home covered with signs, and accompanied by 11 ½ pugs, ½ Chihuahua, and one pug in a tuxedo—that’s Holly, the Boston Terrorist!

Sunday, October 11, 2009


It is October 11, 2009—40 days to departure--and time to begin a journal of my coast-to-coast and border-to-border journey to publicize the plight of Elsa Newman and her sons.
In September, I made a shakedown run to LaGrande, Oregon, with the motor home. I took all 13 small dogs with me, using built-in crates that I had made myself. I have 11 ½ pugs, ½ Chihuahua, and another person who is either a pug in a tuxedo, a penguin, or some relative of the flying nun. We all learned a bit from that trip. I took notes on things I wanted to change or improve. And we headed home.

After that? Boy, howdy! Did things ever shake down! On the way home, as I passed some construction, I remember thinking, “Wow! That stuff is too close to the road.” And before I could even finish the thought, something hit my front awning arm, pulled it loose and created a tremendous racket.

When I finally got to a place where the road was wide enough to allow for pulling over, I clambered out to survey the damage. The awning arm hung loose. The door was scraped and looked pretty bad. Nor would it open. Fortunately, I try to plan for emergencies and had with me a length of clothesline, which I used to secure the battered arm.

After sitting a while in an attempt to calm down from the incident, I drove on home, nearing despair at the thought of what the cost of repairs would be.

When I checked online, it appeared that a new door would cost about $400 and the new arm for the awning would be something over $200. Ahh…then came David.

An online friend of mine speaks often of angels—in various forms, canines, other animals, people. I wonder often if David is not one of mine.

David, you see, lives on my land in a fifth wheel. Why is he here? Well…it’s a long story, but to keep it short, he lives here to help me care for his mother, Alice, who lives in my travel trailer [not to be confused with my motor home; the travel trailer is more-or-less permanently in place, and I consider it an extension of my house]. David’s mother, you see has terminal cancer. Actually, she was not expected to be still living by this time in 2009; in January, the doctors gave her two to five months at best. She is now at the beginning of the tenth month since her diagnosis.

OK…so all that is sort of an aside where this journal thing is concerned, except to explain the presence of David, who is helping me prepare the motor home for the journey. David felt nothing like the despair I had felt. “You know,” he said, “I believe I can fix this.”

The first step was to persuade the door to open and close. Which he did. Then we applied a painted plywood panel to cover the worst of the scratches and hold the door straight.

That left only the front arm of the awning. I ordered parts and David—bless him again—replaced the damaged one. Just today we rolled it up and down and it works fine.

I don’t know exactly how much money this young man has saved me, but I can make a rough guess, starting with the $400 I did NOT have to spend for a replacement door. Plus labor for replacing the door. Plus labor for replacing the awning arm, even if I had bought the parts myself and taken them to a repair shop. I’m appropriately grateful. I rather need the money for the trip, instead of repairs to the vehicle.

So now the repaired motor home—which my friends call the “motor kennel” or “MK”—stands in the yard, waiting for final preparations.

I have signs ordered, which should arrive on the 19th of this month. After that? A trip to the Washington-Oregon coast, accompanied by a friend, so I can say literally and truthfully that I am travelling coast to coast for Elsa Newman.

More later. This will do for a start. I have planned this venture for a long time now. I do hope it will call attention to the unjust imprisonment of Elsa Newman—as well as the abuses her sons have said they live with at the hands of their father.