Friday, July 17, 2009



Elsa Newman sees her sons twice yearly, by court order. Their father testified against their mother. His testimony, despite the fact that it was composed of smiling, bald-faced lies and a sociopathic bent, apparently was a huge factor in sending their mother to prison for a crime which she had not committed. The crime, in fact, did not even exist. She was accused of attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder.

In the first place there was no murder attempt--there was only an attempt by a family friend to search for evidence of the molestation the boys had disclosed. True, this search ended with shots being fired. Why? Because Margery Landry found Slobodow, nearly naked, in bed with his younger son, who was completely naked. Apparently Landry found Slobodow in the process of molesting the child. When she tried to pull him off the boy, Slobodow attacked her, knocked her to the floor, and tried to turn her gun and its two whole bullets on Landry. When the gun went off, one bullet struck Slobodow in the thigh.

In the second place, there was no conspiracy. Margery Landry acted on her own and undertook the search on her own initiative--while Newman was out of the state--and despite the fact that Newman had told Landry to keep away from Slobodow and the boys.

Thus it is that Elsa Newman sees her sons only twice a year. She is unjustly imprisoned at Maryland's Correctional Institution for Women at Jessup. Technically, she was given a life sentence for these two non-existent crimes. All but 20 years, however, were suspended.

With that background, I come to my list of why and how questions:

1. During divorce proceedings, and when Newman's elder son was still a small boy, Newman discovered a tiny toy clutched in one sweaty palm when his father returned him from a visit. Why did the boy look at her, terrified, as if begging her not to mention what she had noticed? Why such fear? It was a toy his mother had given him, and he could not afford to have his father know that he had been carrying it--perhaps during the entire length of the visit. I have wondered if he carried it, perhaps, as some kind of charm to ward off his father's sexual assaults?

2. Another time Newman found this same son wearing two t-shirts. When she started to ask about that, the same look of terror appeared. The second t-shirt, under the one his father could see, was an old, worn and cherished shirt his mother had given him. He dared not allow his father to know how he loved it. Was there, perhaps, a huge price to pay for loving a gift from his mother.

3. When their father picked them up for a visit with him, the boys would sometimes cling to furniture and scream and beg not to have to go. They were more than frightened of visits with their father...they were terrified. At that time, they preferred their mother--who tried to protect them--to their father, from whom they so desperately needed protection, considering the unspeakable sexual, physical and other abuses he heaped upon them.

4. Both boys, when very young, obviously loved and respected their mother. Don't these examples--only three of many I have at hand--demonstrate their deep love for their mother and their preference for her? Do they not also demonstrate a deep-seated fear of their father?

5. Why, when these boys have not lived with their mother for over five years, has the elder one now apparently turned against her?

6. Why does the older boy write filth and vulgarity when he writes to me about his mother? Is the father forcing him to write like that? Is he writing like that in order to get on his father's good side? Is he afraid? Perhaps even for his life?

7. Newman is seldom permitted to talk to her younger son. When she calls, she usually hears, "He's visiting friends." Why isn't she allowed to talk to him?

8. In a recent call, when she was finally allowed to speak briefly with the younger boy, he virtually whispered into the phone, "I love you, Mom." Why did he have to whisper?

9. In that same call and in that same whisper, Newman's younger son added, "[My brother] loves you, too." The abusive father is permitted by the courts to monitor all phone calls. Was the boy hoping he could keep his father from hearing? Was he trying to save himself from abuse at the hands of a father psychiatrists have called "a sadist"?

9. When the boys visit their mother in prison, why is the younger son friendly and wanting to touch his mother on their first day of their visit...and yet on the second day, he seems distant and afraid to get too close to her?

10. When the boys make their semi-annual trek to Maryland to visit their mother, why does their father cut the visits short? When you only have eight hours a year to see your sons in person, why would any decent human being leave before the time was up?

10. Why doesn't any of this add up? When they were younger, both boys loved Newman and preferred being with her to being with their father. But now that they haven't lived with her for years, have lived, instead, in their father's house his physical custody and under threat of his constant abuse, at least one of them has learned to spout crude, vile and vulgar messages about his mother and has even declared, "Until this is over, I don't have a mother."

They both loved her, but now, living with their father, one of them says, "She's crazy," and the other is mostly not allowed to talk to her.

They both loved her, but now, under their father's influence, the older boy--or someone pretending to be him--started a petition on Care2, stating that his mother is mentally unbalanced and should not be allowed out of prison. He even got a few signers--very few--before someone shut the petition down.

They both loved her. So why has at least one of them seemed to turn against her?

Gotta say it again: it simply doesn't add up.

Maryland's Shame--Children in Custody of Abuser

[Just in case you have a hard time reading the web address for the petition:]

Once upon a time...

...there was a happy family: a mother who loved her two sons and tried to protect them from the father they said was molesting them; the two sons; and a grandmother who also adored them.

Then disaster struck. Please see the flyer below:

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


And what about Maryland’s prisons?
Are prisoners treated according to some code of demoralization or what?

It’s been a long time since I’ve written anything here. I guess I got discouraged. For that an apology is due, and I duly apologize.

The reality is that my discouragement and lack of blogging may well have contributed to the dismal situation Elsa Newman continues to endure at Maryland’s Correctional Institution for Women at Jessup.

People who have previously read here probably remember the name of Elsa Newman. Please allow me to refresh your memory as to said “dismal situation.”

First let me remind you how firmly I believe Elsa Newman’s imprisonment is unjust. As far as I can tell from extensive research into the Newman case, Newman did nothing to deserve prison. Back in the days when Doug Gansler, now Maryland’s Attorney General, was a mere state’s attorney in Montgomery County, Elsa Newman was incarcerated. I have long believed that Gansler rode to political success in Maryland partly on the back of the case he made against Newman. If you disagree? Well…that’s OK…but you might want to take a trip back through some of the things I wrote earlier before you make a final judgment.

At that time of the Newman trial, Doug Gansler’s chief assistant was a woman named Katherine Winfree. Make no mistake, Winfree is probably one of the best prosecutors in the United States. She is so good that she can make a case out of lies and partial truth, witnesses who look good on the stand but are willing to lie through their teeth, and suspicions she created by well-placed questions and her own creative ideas.

In my opinion, Stephen Friendman lied. He was Newman’s former attorney.
Maryland’s highest court said his testimony should never have been allowed at all. But he testified against Newman, saying she had sat in his presence and plotted to kill her estranged husband. Pardon the expression, but that’s bullshit. I wonder sometimes how Friedman manages to eat, using a mouth that spouted such infamy. Again: BULLSHIT! Elsa Newman is an extremely intelligent woman. Had she wanted to kill Arlen Slobodow, she would never have sat in the presence of an attorney she despised and for whom she had literally no respect, an attorney she accused of overbilling [an attorney who, for example, would “step out for a moment to get a Coke” and then bill her for the 45 minutes or so she sat in his office waiting for his return], and attorney she wanted to fire because she did not trust him…Newman would never have sat in the presence of such a man and plot ANYTHING, let alone murder.

Another witness was the aforementioned estranged husband, Arlen Slobodow, now of Tampa, Florida. If you’ve read any of what I said before, you know that I firmly believe Slobodow is a sociopath as well as a child molester who has repeatedly assaulted his own children sexually and in every other way possible. And you know what it is that a sociopath can do best? Lie! And be personable in his lying. He made, I am sure, a fantastic witness for the prosecution. Eloquent. Charming. Apparently candid. Said anything he wanted and made it believable. And he somehow made the jury believe that his estranged wife had plotted with a family friend to kill him.

More bullshit.

There would come a day when the family friend, Margery Landry, would testify also. According to her testimony, Newman knew nothing of what would happen that night in January. No plot. No conspiracy. No attempt to murder, for that matter.

Landry broke into Slobodow’s house, looking for evidence of child abuse. She found it. Oh, boy, did she find it! Slobodow was in bed--nearly naked--with the younger of his two sons, and the boy was completely naked. It sounds to me like Landry stumbled across a scene of abuse-in-progress. She was the child’s godmother. She loved the boy as she would have loved a child of her own. And she found him there in bed with his father, both nude, and apparently in the middle of a sexual assault upon the child. What would you have done? Crept quietly away? I doubt it. Nor did Landry. She lost it. This government employee, highly intelligent, and with the highest security clearance possible in the US foreign service, scheduled for an ambassadorial post at her next promotion…she completely lost it. She saw her godchild under attack. She entered the bedroom and try to pull the molesting father away from his son. The father struggled, shoved Landry to the floor, tried to turn on her the gun she carried for protection…and it went off. One bullet struck him in the thigh. The other, I understand, struck a wall. And she had no more bullets. Only two. Hardly the arsenal of a woman intending to kill.

After than, Landry fled. Slobodow called 911 and set up the prosecution case for them with his first words: “My wife sent someone to kill me.”

And it was there that the prosecution took its stand. As if the words that Arlen Slobodow spoke had been true, the prosecution set about the convict Elsa Newman of conspiracy and attempted murder, when she was guilty of neither one.

Elsa Newman is guilty of only one thing: she tried to protect her two sons from an abusive father. They had disclosed abuse to their mother, to family friends, to doctors, to psychiatrists, to law officers. All these people had seen signs of abuse. Some of them reported the abuse.

Margery Landry, unbeknownst to Newman, went in search of evidence in Slobodow’s own house. And the result? Elsa Newman was tried and sentenced to prison for a crime of which she was innocent. Furthermore, she had known nothing of this crime until police informed her what had happened and she was arrested…tried…convicted…sent to prison.

And this is what passes for justice in the state of Maryland?!? If so, Maryland has no justice…nothing but injustice. Shame on the state of Maryland. Shame on Montgomery County. Shame on Doug Gansler and Katherine Winfree and Stephen Friedman and Arlen Slobodow who wanted things their way and happily dissembled to get their way.

ANTI-SEMITISM? In Maryland's Correctional Institution at Jessup?

Elsa Newman is a Jew. She is white. She is above average intelligence. She is an attorney. She was a US government employee. She was very good at what she did.

Then she was unjustly arrested…unjustly accused…unjustly tried…unjustly convicted…and unjustly imprisoned, despite her innocence.

And now? I believe her to be the victim of anti-Semitism, racial prejudice, intellectual prejudice, status prejudice, professional and perhaps any other kinds of prejudice you can think of.

Humor me while I present a few examples:

Another inmate, head down, walks by Newman muttering, “Kill all Jews!”

Her cell is searched, frequently and repeatedly and left in a mess by the officials who search. She seems to be under far greater scrutiny than other prisoners.

Medications that are to be issued to her from the prison pharmacy in a blister pack containing a full months supply--meds which are a matter of life-and-death for Newman--sometimes appear in a blister pack containing only three or four pills, rather than the month’s supply.

Newman lost her job. She could not seem to get another.

A roommate--much larger than Newman, who is small and appears somewhat frail after her years of fighting for her sons and for the justice which has, thus far, eluded her--stands in a doorway so Newman cannot leave the cell.

Another time the same roommate is on her top bunk, watching TV. As Newman attempts to walk past her, the roommate reaches out to adjust her TV, and the movement effectively “clotheslines” Newman.

Same roommate, seemingly a lesbian, makes a pass at Newman. When Newman does not respond as the roommate desires, since the roommate apparently wants her to become something she is not, the roommate begins urging her to fight. “Come on girl. Let’s fight. Let’s go down!” You should know that this roommate is a woman who sent one of her previous roommates to the infirmary.

Same roommate leaves bloody sanitary napkins on the sink. When Newman reports this to guards and requests assistance, she is ignored.

Same roomate is in her top bunk when Newman fixes herself a cup of tea and sits on her bed, preparing to drink it. The roommate throws her legs over the edge of her top bunk and begins to swing them--kicking the cup and spilling scalding hot tea all over Newman.

Newman requests another cell. There is another woman who has a cell to herself and is willing for Newman to move into that cell with her. Officers and guards tell Newman there is no cell available.

Newman repeats her request to move--or to have the offensive roommate moved. Newman is informed that any roommate problems are obviously her own fault, since she has had six roommates and they all left. Hmmmmm.

Two of those roommates were released. Two were injured and had to be moved to a cell where they could have lower bunks. One stole her blind.
And then there was the most recent roommate, of whom I have been speaking, the one who said to her, “You should have been burned when all the other Jews were!” [I wonder if the woman knows when the Holocaust occurred. Probably not, if she thinks Newman is old enough to have lived through it!]

Oh, my, yes! Clearly all the roommate problems were caused by Elsa Newman! Mmmmmm-hmmmmm! NOT!

Anyhow, as the story continued, Newman was finally moved…to an older part of the prison where the rooms are smaller and darker, and where, in her cell, the hot water did not work.

About this same time, a problem appeared when Newman went for her kosher breakfast. Now with this kosher breakfast, Newman is supposed to get two hard-boiled eggs. Her previous roommate--the one who wanted her to fight--works in the kitchen. Lo and behold, on the day after Newman moved, she received, instead, two raw eggs for her breakfast. You figure it out.

In the process of the move, some of Newman’s things were stolen. Logically enough, she complained. The Lieutenant to whom she spoke ignored her. When she complained again, the Lieutenant told her “If you complain once more that you had things stolen, I’ll put you on lock.” [Newman would be locked into her cell and not be able to leave.]

It begins to look to me like one finds the same kind of “justice” in Maryland prisons as one finds in Maryland’s courts. I’ve heard it said--I’d never say it myself, of course--but I’ve heard it said that Maryland has one of the most corrupt systems in the country. However, as I have researched the case of Elsa Newman, I begin to entertain just the teensiest bit of suspicion.

Now things change slightly. Enter the picture, but from the opposite side of the country, a little, old lady by the name of Aine O’Brocken, from the state of Washington. O’Brocken [yes, that would be me] writes to Gary Maynard, head of Maryland’s Department of Corrections and Public Safety, and…OMG…at last…someone in the state of Maryland who will take me seriously--and reply! At last, someone in the state of Maryland I can respect!

His email was to the effect that he would send someone to investigate my allegations.

And you know what? The day he sent someone to investigate, Elsa Newman got hot water in her cell! It was still the crummy, frumpy cell in the old part of the prison. But it had hot water! Wow!

Shortly thereafter, she was moved again. This time she had lots of volunteer help from other prisoners and from guards. Nobody stole anything. And nobody threatened lockdown. Hmmm. A great improvement, I must admit. And, what was unusal, perhaps, she had no new roommate.

Lack of a roommate was unusual, however, and shortly thereafter, other prisoners took up a spiteful cry: “Oooooh, Elsa! You have your own condo!”

And then came further harrassment: one of the guards manipulated a situation and issued Newman a ticket. Understand now, Newman tries her best, both to be a cooperative prisoner and not to make waves or draw attention to herself. She tries to follow all the rules. She does not get tickets.

This time, however, she did. The guard claimed she had disappeared from the area where she was supposed to be, the area for which she had been issued a pass. There were, however, cameras in that area, which showed that Newman had NOT disappeared. Nevertheless, the guard issued the ticket. Oh…and I must add, that the guard waited until the following day to issue it, and it was authorized by a Lieutenant who had not even been on duty when the supposed “disappearance” occurred. Tickets, you see, are supposed to be issued on the day of a supposed infraction. And the authorizing/signing officer is supposed to be one who was on staff and working at the time of the supposed infraction.

Enter O’Brocken again. What a nuisance this obnoxious little, old lady can be!

Another letter to Gary Maynard. No word back this time, but the ticket was disappeared. And as to the “condo”? Newman shortly had a roommate.

Not a perfect outcome, perhaps…but something.

And I repeat, I am gratified that I have found one man to respect in the Maryland system--one man who would take action on behalf of an abused prisoner and try to insert some degree of fairness and justice into an unfair and unjust situation.

Thank you, Mr. Maynard.