Electronic Mail – Jasper County Sheriff John Halferty – The Form of Honor, Courage, and Commitment

Sheriff Halferty:

Good morning Sir, I am requesting to talk to you in person. I have spent my entire life living according to the law. I retired from the United States Navy with an honorable discharge, but since entering civilian life I have been slowly and methodically destroyed by the failures of the California courts and Iowa law enforcement.

I have not seen my children since 2017 because my wife utilized a malicious public cyberbullying scheme of false allegations of sexual abuse that San Diego East County Superior Court documented on 16 SEP 2021 there is no evidence to support. My kids were concealed in Iowa by conspirators of my ex-wife from the court in California, their court-appointed Minor’s Counsel Meredith Levin, and court-ordered Family Court Services Child Interviews preventing them from providing their testimony regarding these allegations their Mother utilized to profit off of child support. I am researching the process to launch a civil injunction against Honorable Judge Martin of San Diego East County Superior Court because I believe the evidence supports the conclusion that the reason San Diego East Count Superior Court did nothing regarding this situation is that Honorable Judge Martin issued Claudia J. Bergman a domestic abuse restraining order based on zero evidence violating California Family Code 6320 and 6320.5. I believe this is also the reason Claudia J. Bergman was not held in contempt of court for not appearing with the children as ordered on 21 AUG 2019 and 30 AUG 2019 for FCS Child Interviews. Honorable Judge Martin issued a domestic abuse restraining order based on zero evidence, and an allegation the San Diego County Sheriff investigated in the summer of 2017 (Case: 17136819) finding no evidence and filing zero charges. Honorable Judge Miller failed to take any action to restore fairness and balance to this court case upon assuming the role of the judicial officer in this case in 2020. Honorable Judge Miller failed to hold Claudia J. Bergman responsible for concealing these children from their father for four years based on allegations supported by zero evidence. Honorable Judge Miller failed to hold Claudia J. Bergman accountable for domestic abuse as articulated in California Family Code 6320 which states: “(1) Isolating the other party from friends, relatives, or other sources of support.”

I am fighting this uphill battle because I did not serve a country where anyone’s life can be destroyed while their children are concealed from them because of words without any supporting evidence. I have been completely burned by the Newton, IA Police Department, and Ames, IA Police Department. My 14th Amendment rights have been destroyed by these agencies.

I posted a joke online about your agency because I do not believe a small-town sheriff’s department needs a mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicle to perform its duties. As a Sailor that developed the foundation of my leadership experience on a mine warfare platform, I believe when agencies of government are more heavily armed than the citizens they are sworn to protect we begin moving down a slippery slope into tyranny. I believe the militarization of law enforcement is not constitutional. At the same time, I am aware you brought in a third party to help investigate the Copper Dollar Ranch Murders. I believe this shows immense humility and transparency on your part. Your agency’s response to one of my requests under Iowa Code Chapter 22 supports that.

I am respectfully requesting an opportunity to talk to you and show you the evidence I have and the work I have completed in my investigation, and get an explanation from one of two law enforcement leaders in Iowa who have earned my respect because I believe you are honest. Chief Tupper of the Marshalltown, IA Police Department is the other. I want to know why the evidence I have supports the conclusion that Iowa is a sanctuary for interstate child concealment. Chief Burdess of the Newton, IA Police Department failed to lead a proper investigation of an interstate restraining order violation when provided sufficient evidence during the coordination of this interstate transfer of my children from California to Iowa. Chief Burdess refuses to talk to me in person and has referred this matter to his contracted attorney. Chief Huff of the Ames, IA Police Department failed to lead his department in the investigation of Matthew E. Merritt and Sara N.Merritt who concealed my children in Ames, IA from San Diego East County Superior Court, court-ordered appearances, and their court-appointed Minor’s Counsel in San Diego, CA. I want to know why Matthew E. Merritt and Sara N. Merritt were not charged with violations of Iowa Code 706.1, 710.6, 720.4, and possibly 726.6 while violating my children’s rights in accordance with Iowa Code 598.1(1.) which states:

“Best interest of the child” includes but is not limited to the opportunity for maximum continuous physical and emotional contact possible with both parents, unless direct physical or significant emotional harm to the child may result from this contact. Refusal by one parent to provide this opportunity without just cause shall be considered harmful to the best interest of the child.

Chief Huff of the Ames, IA Police Department has never responded to my correspondence or electronic mail and I am now communicating with his City Attorney who also refuses to release the original records including information regarding their investigation that Iowa Code Chapter 20.7(5.) articulates are not to be kept confidential in accordance with this section.

I feel immense pain every day because I served this country because I believe in it, but losing my children and my entire life while those I served looked away, ignored my requests for help, or are choosing to conceal records of their actions in this situation has left me in a place where I am losing faith in this country and this state.

When I was a kid I trusted and looked up to law enforcement. I think at the end of the day I just want to talk to someone that will help me get back to that place of feeling secure in my own home again. I have experienced a complete abortion of justice. I think this situation is at a point where I may have to file civil lawsuits and represent myself in Iowa as I did in California where I destroyed these allegations in court even though the female judges failed to hold my ex-wife (a party of the same gender as the court) accountable for her actions. As a servant of Christ, I am not seeking to profit off of my pain. I do not want anything for myself. I just want to feel heard. I only want people to see evidence of what my children and I have experienced so I can help make changes to protect others in the future while hoping that someday my children can see the truth of how their childhood was destroyed by the evil malice of those they were living with.

I am in a place of darkness, the only thing that will help me reconcile this is knowing I did something to help protect others from the immense pain I feel now.

I am respectfully asking to talk to you because you are the only law enforcement leader in Jasper County that I believe has honor, courage, and commitment to do what is right. Chief Burdess of the Newton, IA Police Department, and Chief Huff of the Ames, IA Police Department have shown me with their actions they possess none of these qualities. This is not just my opinion it is a conclusion I am prepared to defend in court. It is not the shine on a law enforcement officer’s badge that represents their character while protecting the citizens they serve. Like any leader, it is their ability to stand in the light and show transparency for the security and benefit of those they lead and serve even when it leads to their downfall. I will not rest until the public sees these two Chiefs of Police for what they truly are based on the evidence of what they failed to do or the records they choose to conceal, not what they promote on their social media pages. If this leads to increased investigations from these agencies against me based upon false testimony and allegations from those I am investigating as they continue to try to arrest me as evidence shows. While performing investigations against my freedoms of speech that are more thorough than their investigations regarding the complaints I have filed, so be it. It has been nearly 5 years since I enjoyed a properly made government egg and cheese omelet. Only those that allow evil into their hearts commit evil deeds. I will never execute conduct that turns me away from the light and truth of Jesus Christ. The only time I have in my life was because I loved someone. Someone I will believe in until the day I die.

I will be publishing this electronic mail to my website phoenixharbor.com

California Penal Code 166(a.)(7.) states: “The publication of a false or grossly inaccurate report of the proceedings of a court.” is a contempt of court.

Iowa Code Chapter 718.6 False reports to or communications with public safety entities. states: “1. A person who reports or causes to be reported false information to a fire department, a law enforcement authority, or other public safety entity, knowing that the information is false, or who reports the alleged occurrence of a criminal act knowing the act did not occur, commits a simple misdemeanor, unless the alleged criminal act reported is a serious or aggravated misdemeanor or felony, in which case the person commits a serious misdemeanor.

If anything I have said here is false I live at *** *** ** *, Newton, IA 50208. I do not own any weapons and I never have. I had a Top Secret Clearance and retired with twenty years of good conduct in the United States Navy not because I was perfect but because I had the courage to be transparent with the Chiefs and Officers appointed over me when I failed. I am asking those involved in this situation to provide me with the same.


Michael J. Merritt, USN Retired/Writer
Founder: phoenixharbor.com
Creative Writer/Musician
Information Warfare Specialist
Information Systems Manager
PO BOX 187
Newton, IA 50208

The study of Ethics is a pursuit of understanding the philosophical nature of right and wrong in its most perfect form.

A society’s justice system is an ever-evolving pursuit of that perfection.

Corruption is the cultural, political, or personal bias that overrules and interferes with that system.