Dan Foster (clercjr) has passed away

11 06 2012

Dan never liked discussing medical matters in public so he isn’t about to start now, but passed away due to long illness with serious complications towards the end. That’s all he has authorized me to release.

Dan says it’s been a pleasure writing for you and also knowing various people including his family, long-time friends, and associates, all of which he appreciates.

He also says it’s been interesting hearing from some of the more, ahem, “interesting” commenters — he didn’t necessarily agree with them but they did spice up things to make life and the blog interesting.

What most people never realized was that this was not an easy case to follow. Not just because it was so large with so many people involved, but because it was also a sad story to write about — it left a lot of people hurt (defendants’ families, friends, victims/survivors, members of the community, other VRS providers that may fail due to rule changes).

It’s just a terrible situation all around, but unfortunately, that’s the reality of court. Court is rarely a pleasant place to be; if you’re part of a court case, it means everything has gone badly wrong.

So why did he write about it? Because in the beginning, there were a lot of rumors about the real facts; he wanted to clear that up and also to try to provide more timely information to the community instead of relying on very few newspaper articles. He also wanted to educate the community about how the federal justice system works.

It was a difficult choice for him to decide to go ahead and write about it; he had some sleepless nights and just a feeling of like this being a negative situation was dragging down the soul. But ultimately, he decided that if done properly, the positives can outweight the negatives.

So he went ahead and did it. Just because he said it was a pleasure for him to write for you doesn’t mean it was easy for him to do it but it was a labor of love and dedication to want to see it done after every single VRS case had all defendants either acquitted, appeals exhausted, or sentenced.

Dan wasn’t sure what he would write about post-VRS cases; he thinks he’d like something he could research with obtainable data and then whip up posts from it, preferrably on more positive topics.

He asked the blog be left up for at least a while because there’s a lot of information contained. Long-term, depends on if one of his trusted associates is willing to host the domain and blog somewhere.

The blog will likely have no new post or case updates. clercjr@clercjr.com email will no longer be read; only Dan read it himself and insists on senders’ privacy so that mailbox was destroyed. No backup copies of it exists; it is completely gone now.

It’s difficult to find someone willing to put in a lot of time, effort, research, reading, understanding of basic legal concepts in the federal justice system, willing to write and follow all VRS cases until fully done with, so it seems unlikely to have further updates.

He wishes well to all sides involved in the VRS cases, and to the wider Deaf community. Also greatly appreciates all the good people he had the honor and privilege of meeting throughout his life.


Robert Hansen
Longtime trusted friend of Dan’s and a former work colleague
Phoenix, Arizona

P.S. He has instructed me to not allow anyone smear his memory on his own blog despite his human imperfections because he does not have a fair opportunity to defend himself so I (Robert) will not approve any off-topic or negative comments to this post.

I will also not be approving any further comments to other existing posts, either, per his instructions. The blog is effectively closed at the moment except for comments to this post.

VRS case: Blog Closing

9 05 2012

Well, dear reader, the time has come to think about closing at least the VRS part of this blog due to poor health. Still in hospital but out of the ICU and no longer spitting or vomiting pure blood. Body is failing and doctors thinks I might have weeks to a few months remaining.

Guess we’ll see, eh? :) A most interesting experience even if nasty. I will try my best to answer questions as long as I have internet access, time, and energy. This blog may disappear from DeafRead’s feed aggregation if or when I request it.

I doubt I can cover the July 10th sentencing so keep an eye on iDeafNews, other bloggers elsewhere, or perhaps guest bloggers here.

Just to be clear on the oft asked private question regarding Ridor’s several ad hominen comments regarding this blog, my answer is simple yet powerful (and still exactly the same): we all win when the community is educated about something.

As an American, I highly value the freedom and right to self expression (within reason) especially against governmental suppression. Even though this isn’t a governmental site, it’s still important to me, the basic constitutional principles that forms the foundations of our American freedom and civil right laws.

For instance, the constitutional equality stuff is what makes the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act (A.D.A.) legislation possible to benefit the Deaf, blind, and other disability groups. Ironically enough, the benefits also included telecommunications access.

So regardless of my own personal opinions, Ridor kept it on topic, could self-express without resorting to the word choices of a poor mind (profanity) and thus his comments were published. I never believed life to be a popularity contest, just to be right best one can. He has his own vlog and is free to uphold his own publishing and commentary standards.

In fact, just to show there’s no personal grudge (or vendetta as Ridor so cutely put it once :) ) I would be glad to encourage readers and myself to contribute to Ridor’s favorite charity if he specifies it soon here. Takin’ the high road and wishing Ridor all the best wishes for success with his vlog.

Back to the VRS cases: I left various documents, case numbers, NJ court pacer website link and info on how to set up a PACER account. So if interested, follow other good sources or PACER. Grab anything you want to keep since I’m not sure if or when the website would disappear. For now, probably only personal non-VRS posts will continue for a bit.

It has been my pleasure in writing to serve and educate you as well as answer public and private questions or comments to the best of my ability. Keep the fire to learn ongoing!


–clercjr, site owner and moderator, aka Daniel S. Foster (clercjr@clercjr.com)

Viv’s Tree: Success!

6 05 2012

I recently found out from a source, Naomi Sheneman, Viv’s Tree (and memorial plaque) has been replanted by the Hall Memorial Building (HMB) on the Gallaudet University campus. I need some help getting some more information, please. (I will update this post as I get more information.)

I’m not sure when it was replanted, but likely very recently. Does anyone know when? Also, I wanted to give thanks and credit to all who worked behind the scenes to make this possible. Does anyone know who they are? Are there any photographs of Vivienne May Simmons (aka Viv) that I could post publicly here? Same for the memorial tree. I know readers who knew Viv would be very interested in seeing a photo of each here if possible.

For photographs, I would prefer the photographer gives me permission to republish and for getting photographic credit. Can provide a link to a photo through the comment box below this post (no Facebook links, please — clercjr is not on Facebook and never will be) or email it to Dan Foster at clercjr@clercjr.com.

I am informed Viv’s brothers (Paul, Alex, and David) along with their mother (May) has seen the replanted tree in person along with other significant members of the family. So I’m happy they have had a chance to see such a beautiful and stunning thing alive again. Please give a member of the Simmons family a big hug on my behalf if you see them in person — I’m very thrilled to know the tree is there now.

Just amazing, the power of getting the word out and something done about it. Speaking of words, Viv was quite the wordsmith and I’m sure a very delighted poet Viv wrote a beautiful poem in heaven to commemorate the replanting and now can finally properly rest in peace knowing her Earthly legacy has been secured and properly recognized.

A new sunny day has begun, full of hope and promise. Thank you for everything and rest well, Viv, most well-earned. Shalom, Viv. Love always from your family and friends.

Daniel S. Foster
Rochester, NY
Spring 2012

The original post explaining the importance behind the tree and Viv (with its great comments) can be found here

VRS case: Quick update for three cases

27 04 2012

The Bonheyos requested a continuance (delay) of trial to July 2012, citing time needed for the discovery process by both sides as well as to continue plea negotiations. Judge Pisano rescheduled trial to June 20, 2012 but that is likely to change again when we’re closer to the new date. I posted the approval document at the ‘VRS case documents’ link.

Also, at the ‘VRS case documents’ link, I posted Larry Berke’s (and his lawyer’s) request document for the third delay in reporting to prison (which was approved for August 23, 2012 but without further extensions in the future) which details the reasons. I have some misgivings about posting Mr. Berke’s public document but will allow it here for now. I’m not going to discuss the reasons he listed, however. It does confirm prison will be in Florence, Colorado. Judge Pisano, at sentencing, specified it be at the FPC (federal prison camp).

Finally, Joshua Finkle, Irma Azrelyant, and Oksana Strusa had their sentencing hearings rescheduled to the morning of July 10, 2012, at 10am, 11am, and 11:45am Eastern in Trenton, respectively. Sentencing scheduling page has been updated to reflect this recent change. We’ll see if it changes again when we get closer to July 10.

VRS case: Larry Berke’s prison reporting date change

23 04 2012

On April 13, 2012, Larry Berke’s lawyer Hal K. Haveson (of law firm Haveson & Otis) submitted a request to the court asking for a third delay in reporting to prison.

Originally, Mr. Berke was scheduled to report to prison in Florence, Colorado no later than today (April 23, 2012) at noon Colorado time. He requested another delay of at least three months. Judge Pisano granted the request on April 17, allowing him to report to prison no later than August 23, 2012 at noon Colorado time instead but warned that this would be the final extension.

It is likely that if Mr. Berke does not show up at prison by then, Judge Pisano may potentially issue an arrest warrant to have him taken into custody and then order the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) transport him to prison at government expense.

Mr. Berke listed five reasons in the latest request — one related to his mother’s health, saying doctors do not expect her to live past July or August 2012 and is being transferred to hospice care. One related to being near to and providing support for his children and wife. Several related to personal medical issues that he’d like to resolve before going to prison.

There are conflicting statements from both Mr. Haveson and Mr. Berke in court documents about exactly which part of the Florence prison Mr. Berke is scheduled for, but it seems most probable it would be FPC (Federal Prison Camp) part of the Florence complex given the short length of sentence, disability needs, and nonviolent crimes committed.

And so the saga continues.

VRS case: Dary Berke sentenced

3 04 2012

Today, federal District Judge Joel A. Pisano sentenced Dary Berke to  5 years of probation with a special condition (including one year of home confinement and location monitoring), no fine, and must pay back $1 million in restitution. All charges were dropped except for count #4 (conspiracy to commit mail fraud).

Judge Pisano also approved a defense motion for Dary Berke to begin his home confinement on June 1, 2012.

I contacted Dary Berke’s defense attorney, Joshua L. Markowitz (of law firm Markowitz Gravelle, LLP)  seeking public comment. If or when I receive one from Mr.  Markowitz, I will update this blog post with it. Through a U.S. Department of Justice spokesperson, the USDOJ declined to comment.

On an unrelated note: I added a link to iDeafNews under the ‘Important VRS Case Information’ links area on the right column of the screen. Also, many thanks to Lexie Cannes and others who credited this blog at various times regarding the VRS case coverage.

VRS case: Wanda Hutchinson sentenced

26 03 2012

On March 20, 2012, District Judge Joel A. Pisano gave Wanda Hutchinson the same sentence he handed down to co-defendant Jessica Bacallao: 5 years of probation with a special condition (including one year of home confinement and location monitoring), no fine, and must jointly pay back $2.5 million in restitution. All charges were dropped except for count #4 (conspiracy to commit mail fraud).

I contacted Ms. Hutchinson’s defense attorney, Anthony G. Simonetti, and Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA) Alex Berlin, seeking public comment. If or when I receive one from either person, I will update this blog post. with it

Of note: 13 of the original 27 VRS defendants has now been sentenced, with 14 more remaining. 4 has been scheduled for their sentencing hearings — one next week and three in five weeks from today. Not much has been mentioned regarding the Bonheyo case in court records other than the defense attorney continuing negotiations of some kind (possibly plea agreement negotiations?).

Errata: Ms. Bacallao received five years of probation, not one — but will spend one year of the five in the location monitoring program (which requires home confinement). clercjr regrets the error in reporting and apologizes.


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