PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary



THE PLANET reminds everyone of the all-day cleanup at Springside Park, scheduled to begin tomorrow at 9 a.m. Please support this wonderful community effort. Volunteers will have the chance to show officials how it’s done.

The latest we heard about the effort, The Friends of Springside Park did  obtain a permit for this activity. In a communication with one of the FOSP leaders, both written and in person, we learned that:

(a) the group had been warned it needed a permit to do a much-needed job that will cost the city not a red cent;

(b) there was not the inclination to run through the Ramsdellian Gauntlet, also known as the absurd permitting process in place, Gestapo-like, in the city of Pittsfield; Nonetheless, the group filled out the form, got the signatures, and the Parks Commission gave its OK. Seems like THE PLANET’s reportage on the Pittsfield permitting process has produced results. This one came a little easier. See, it does pay to fight city hall.

(c) the group, apparently, will be not have to call the city’s bluff. For a while, it looked like they might dare the city to bust them for being citizen heroes. However, we are told by Nomad, permits are in hand. Now, when Deanna’s Stormtroopers ask, “Do you haff zee pay-pahs,” the FOSP will be able to say, “Ya vol. Ist un mit here.”

THE PLANET had reassure FOSP and volunteers who help them, they would have nothing to worry about if they went au natural — We would have seen to that. It would have made a great story, though, if Deanna’s private police had to drag people off to the dungeon.

We thank Nomad for his update on the permit.



(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, FRIDAY, APRIL 20, 2012) — Below you will find a couple of trailers for the film, Freeing Bernie Baran.

THE PLANET has been pressed on the issue of relevance. How can a 28-year-old case be relevant today? Our response: Given the reasons why Bernie Baran was charged, the manner in which he was prosecuted,  the secrecy that still enshrouds the “why” of the case, and the civic ordeal of having to endure nearly a generation of the continued moral decline that has infested too many official seats of power of a once-proud city, how can this NOT be relevant? Our critics have no answer.

‘Knowing Nothing?’ At One Time, True, but Not Today

We have been accused of “knowing nothing about the case.” We disagree, having read in the last couple years an exhaustive amount of information generated by the case over the years, including court documents, transcripts, interviews, and the like. At the time of the case, we regret to say, the case did not grab our attention, despite the manner in which the local media, particularly the Boring Broadsheet, willingly participated in Baran’s betrayal and crucifixion. We were too busy building up a business. We were wrong, then, to be oblivious. We are right, now, in our rectification.

We have challenged our critics to produce definitive evidence to support their allegations. They can’t, because they have none. In fact, all they have are generalized slurs, myopic and unfocused slings that use many words to say nothing. On the other hand, THE PLANET has dealt with matters of the fact and the record. In The Baran Case, the record, ultimately, is not something with which our critics are comfortable. To fact, they react as Dracula does to a garlic clove.

At the time of Baran’s ordeal, no one other than his family stepped forward from the community to offer him help. He stood alone, against The Man and The Machine.

We cannot change that, but we can attempt to rectify the wrong. We can do this not simply to redeem the past but to ensure a better future. For if even the smallest residue of corruption that WAS The Baran Case still operates in Pittsfield, Mass., the community will have a better prognosis if it finds the strength to face this horrible chapter of its past and eliminate all traces of it in the present. Remember, the sins committed by officials to waylay Bernie Baran were committed on your name. Prosecutors acted for “The People.” We need to come clean.

At its most benign, the best we can say about The Baran Case was that officials made a grave but honest mistake that robbed an innocent man of the best years of his life. At worst, we can wonder if the Baran Case might be the Achilles Heel that opens up vulnerability for a much larger issue than the innocence of one man.

For all these reason, Pittsfield, Mass., M-U-S-T be allowed to see the film, Freeing Bernie Baran.

Here is one review for the film, published at The underlines are THE PLANET’s:

We shall take our leave here, rather than at the end. We did you all a great weekend.



—– 00 —–

Director: Daniel Alexander

Writer(s): Daniel Alexander

Bernie Baran had one strike against him when he took a job at a daycare center­—he was gay. By today’s standards (not that today’s standards are great), Baran’s sexuality would not have been a big deal, but in the homophobic environment festering in the 1980s, Bernie became the target of a bizarre hatred toward gays gripping not only the small town of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, where he lived, but of a nation blinded by the fear of homosexuals and the recent spread of AIDS.

Baran would eventually be tried and convicted of a crime that never took place, a fact that would play a pivotal role in future legal battles. With Bernie’s case so unbelievably fraudulent, it is hard to imagine that any human being possessing cognitive thought could not see through the lies that would take twenty-one years of a man’s life. What is most shocking is that literally no one in this community (with the exception of his family) offered to help Bernie Baran out a predicament that was so unjust; still, to his detriment, Baran continued to have faith in a justice system that had completely ignored the truth.

Director Daniel Alexander takes the PowerPoint presentation approach with Freeing Bernie Baran, and while it could be argued that this is a low-budget technique (it does look a little low-budget), it is nonetheless a rather effective tool in showing the extreme absurdity of the events that transpired. Through this point-by-point analysis, the audience is able to follow the freakish contradictions and inaccuracies that make Bernie’s ordeal so mind-boggling. In addition, this method not only makes the film easy to follow, but was also a nice way to break up various segments of the documentary.

The majority of the documentary is divided between Bernie’s family and his legal battle. The former shows Baran to be a loving kid with no hang-ups or eccentricities to speak of. This helps to reinforce the fact that Baran was not some twisted, evil “gay” bent on molesting children. The latter deals with the astounding circumstances surrounding Baran’s case. The most prevalent issue that comes to mind is that there seemed to be more concern over the possible negative impact the truth might have on prominent officials involved in the trial. It is shocking that, considering their erroneous behavior, these individuals would be shown any leniency whatsoever, and in the end, not be held responsible for what is nothing less than criminal activity.

Freeing Bernie Baran is an engrossing documentary that will leave you pondering the legitimacy of the American justice system. Where once racial profiling in the prison system seemed to be the iniquité du jour for media outlets to report, this is the first time I have seen anything so blatant dealing with an individual being convicted based solely on their sexual orientation; if ever there was a case of someone being railroaded, this is that case. For all those that have believed the justice system in our nation exists without fault, this documentary should change your views. if you are in the camp that has little faith in the system, Freeing Bernie Baran will help only to further your distrust.

Freeing Bernie Baran will be premiering at aGLIFF on Saturday, September 11, 2010 (1:30pm) at the Alamo South Lamar in Austin, Texas. For more information visit aGLIFF at or at the Freeing Bernie BaranFacebook page at

Freeing Bernie Baran Sneek Peek Scene 5 – YouTube

Freeing Bernie Baran Trailer – YouTube


  1. Joe blow
    April 20, 2012 at 9:27 am #

    Dan, why no mention of the cover up involving the teacher in Great Barrington?

    • danvalenti
      April 20, 2012 at 12:36 pm #

      I am not familiar with this case. Can you send me some info?

      • Joe Blow
        April 21, 2012 at 11:53 am #

        I should have said the Stockbridge Plain School in 2004 with Scott Muir.

        • danvalenti
          April 21, 2012 at 5:12 pm #

          Yes, I am familiar with this case. Muir, the accused, wasn’t a teacher, and it wasn’t GB. That’s what confused me.

    • Steve Wade
      April 21, 2012 at 8:12 am #


    • Beacon Hill Mob
      April 22, 2012 at 8:33 am #

      Dear Dan

      Why have been iYOU BEEN Ignororining LENOXOGY????????


      • danvalenti
        April 22, 2012 at 6:42 pm #

        Simply not enough time in the day. I agree, LENOXOLOGY is an insult to every taxpayer in that town. I don’t know enough about the personalities that infect Lenox politics to comment specifically. “Lenoxology” — My word, this campaign would have failed a junior high school advertising term project.

  2. Gene
    April 20, 2012 at 12:22 pm #

    Thank you for this posting. The more I learn about this case the more unbelievable it sounds. It makes me angry that Berkshire County court system should be known around the world for this case.

  3. Bull Durham
    April 20, 2012 at 12:45 pm #

    The question keeps coming up – why did the current DA not attempt to retry the case… speculation has ranged from the obvious – he would have lost given the evidence that we now all know about that was withheld in the original trial – to Baran had already served “enough time.”

    I just read an interesting article that told me something I was unaware of – it says a little noticed part of the appeals court decision vacating the conviction said that if the state chose to retry the case, it would allow a motion by Baran’s attorneys to open a hearing on potential prosecutorial misconduct by the original assistant DA who tried the case – now Judge Daniel Ford. If you’re David Capeless, wouldn’t this be a very tempting reason to let all of this go? Without a retrial, there is no hearing on misconduct, and the most powerful judge you have to appear before for your prosecutions is left without a scar.

    • danvalenti
      April 20, 2012 at 5:27 pm #

      Only David Capeless can answer that, but the reason you offer would seem sufficient inducement for Capeless to let this go. Also, if (and we only say “if”) a retrial would open up a can of worms for the GOB Establishment in the due diligence process, there’s no way they would risk this.

      • Scott
        April 20, 2012 at 7:11 pm #

        Dan, there’s no conspiracy here other then the stigma surrounding gay men and societies views of it at the time.

        • danvalenti
          April 21, 2012 at 5:22 pm #

          Perhaps you are correct. I certainly hope so.

  4. Jonathan Melle
    April 20, 2012 at 1:31 pm #

    The politician Dan Valenti glowingly endorses for U.S. Congress named Andrea Nuciforo tried to jail me (Jonathan Melle) on May 20, 1998. My story of what [N]uciforo did to me and my family is on my Blog page:
    – Jonathan Melle

    • Scott
      April 20, 2012 at 2:58 pm #

      Johnathan it seems alittle trivial when compared to child sexual abuse and possible civil rights violations that resulted in a man being raped and tortured in prison for over 20 years please go away.

      • Jonathan Melle
        April 20, 2012 at 6:08 pm #

        Nuciforo is an Attorney whose father was a Judge in Pittsfield. I don’t believe what my family and I went through is trivial. I understand that it is not as bad as what Bernie Baran went through. I feel victimized nonetheless. I am proud of my personal scars.

        • Scott
          April 20, 2012 at 7:09 pm #

          Johnathan you had trouble in the Pitts fine but then in NH you also had issues with a police officer is it maybe possible your problem is with authority? I share that with you I’m just saying take some personal responsibility once in a while .

          • Beacon Hill Mob
            April 22, 2012 at 6:35 am #

            As a politican I found Nuciforo to be an arrogant petty man who had no concern for anybody THAT COULD NOT SUPPLY HIM $$$/GREASE his sleeasy PALMS.

            He does fit well with the rest of the CROOKS on BEACON HILL.

            He is NOT the HONORABLE Silvio Conte

  5. Scott
    April 20, 2012 at 3:01 pm #

    Dan you only know of facts presented and related to a formal criminal prosecution. So on those terms I agree they did not convict him beyond a reasonable doubt. Too bad we couldn’t talk to the jurors and see what led them to their guilty finding I’d also like to hear from judge ford but I doubt he’ll talk to anyone.

    • Molly
      April 20, 2012 at 9:06 pm #

      I agree with you, Scott — I would also like to hear from Judge Ford. I’d be very interested to hear his side of things, why he was apparently so convinced of Mr. Baran’s guilt, etc. And if he wasn’t convinced of his guilt, how he lives with himself every single day! Without this “other side” or “the entire picture”, we are never going to know the answers to our questions.

      • dusty
        April 21, 2012 at 3:00 am #

        It really is scary what some of these people can do with their power and then have no guilt of conscience afterwards. I mean putting away a guy for 20 years on flimsy evidence is not just cold hearted but heartless. I hope Bernie’s face haunts them every night in their dreams.

  6. Fan Dan Go
    April 20, 2012 at 5:23 pm #

    The jurors convicted Baran because of the one-sided nature of the case. He was up against the Berk. Cty criminal justice Establishment, which had reason to invent evidence to send Baran away for life. The jury probably acted in good faith, assuming that the courts were on the level. They weren’t in the Baran case.

    • Scott
      April 20, 2012 at 7:06 pm #

      Correct but did they not see exactly what we’re seeing now?

    • Molly
      April 20, 2012 at 9:08 pm #

      What was their reason to invent evidence to send Baran away for life?

      • The Mighty Led Zeppelin
        April 21, 2012 at 7:36 am #

        I’ve heard multiple reasons over the years, including that Baran walked in on two gob, let’s just say in the throes of embrace, to put it politely.

      • danvalenti
        April 21, 2012 at 5:21 pm #

        Ah, now that is a huge question.

  7. Nomad
    April 20, 2012 at 6:00 pm #


    The information you received about the cleanup of Springside isn’t correct. The (ridiculous) permit process was completed on time, and the event was approved by the parks commission at their meeting on Tuesday.

  8. Mario
    April 21, 2012 at 5:40 am #

    Mayor Bianchi addresses streamlining Pittsfield’s permitting process at his recent annual fund raisier dinner held at the Itam. He didn’t mention park useage specifically, but was targeting building permits. Interestng however, is that only two city councilors attended and only one department head. Granted all department heads are holdovers from the previous administration, but how about some percieved support for their boss and the man that retained them ?

    • danvalenti
      April 21, 2012 at 5:19 pm #

      Bianchi is likely dealing with a lot of residue angst on the part of holdovers.

  9. george
    April 21, 2012 at 7:24 am #

    [REDACTED: THE WEBMASTER, PER THE PLANET’S ORDERS] Here is your tip: perhaps Ford had access to evidence that could not be presented?

    • Scott
      April 21, 2012 at 11:43 am #

      George please share what you know if you don’t feel comfortable putting it here click on my name and use the mail on my website.

    • Joe Pinhead
      April 21, 2012 at 12:02 pm #

      There is no such thing as evidence that cannot be presented, that is called speculation, rumor innuendo, etc. it is only evidence once it is entered into a case formally through the procedures of the court ensuring that it meets all the rules of evidence as outlined by the judicial body. Mr. Ford may have had information that was unfavorable to Mr. Baran but that’s all it was at best or it would have been entered as evidence.
      For a moment though lets cede you the point let’s say that Mr. Baran was guilty as sin in this case. Please direct us where it says it is ok to manufacture evidence to further support your claim? Please direct us to where it says it is ok to suppress evidence in this or any other case? Is there a Dan Ford exemption in either the Commonwealth of Massachusetts laws or the Constitution that we are all unaware of?
      It is not us here making the charges or prosecutorial misconduct, it is the very body and process we use to review his work product to ensure equal application of the laws. No one here is making stuff up and slinging rubbish, The Planet has simply made available the findings of Dan Fords work product, Granted it looks bad for him could it possibly be that’s what he earned?
      Or simply put please provide us a listing as to how and to whom we can place at the mercy of a prosecutor who feels they can do what they please when they please and to who they please.
      Once again the question is not solely Mr. Barans guilt the question is was he protected equally under the law. The Courts of the Commonwealth acting on behalf of the people have shouted from the rooftop NO!

      • danvalenti
        April 21, 2012 at 5:11 pm #

        JOE P
        Excellent reply. Critics like George conveniently ignore a key point you make here and that I have made: We are not saying there was prosecutorial misconduct, grievous to the point of wiping out all traces of the initial Baran trial. The court said that, through Judge Fecteau.

    • Ray Ovac
      April 21, 2012 at 12:41 pm #

      George, what kinds of evidence would be such that it could not be presented in a criminal trial? Give us a for instance?

  10. Joe Pinhead
    April 21, 2012 at 12:10 pm #

    George please have a look there is no exemption for Dan Ford, nor does it say that if a person is of a different color or sexual orientation the laws need not be followed.
    Yes I am aware these rules are for the current year I am willing to go out on a limb and say there were rules for evidence during Mr. Barans trial as well.

  11. Ray Ovac
    April 21, 2012 at 12:38 pm #

    DV, Joe Pinhead, and others,
    Check out the following news report regarding the case of George Zimmerman, the man accused of killing Trayvon Martin in Florida. Please note Harvard Prof. Alan Dershowitz’s comments concerning the state prosecutor’s failure to include relevant exculpatory evidence in the prosecutor’s affidavits.
    Is this not errily identical to what transpired in the Baran case?
    According to Dershowitz: “An affidavit that willfully misstates undisputed evidence known to the prosecution is not only unethical but borders on perjury because an affiant swears to tell not only the truth, but the whole truth, and suppressing an important part of the whole truth is a lie.”
    In Baran’s case, the DA’s office possessed tapes containing exculpatory evidence.
    Is it too late to bring perjury charges against former ADA Daniel Ford who was lead prosecutor in the Baran case?
    “Dershowitz Blasts Zimmerman Prosecution: ‘Not Only Immoral, But Stupid'”
    With ABC News’ release of the George Zimmerman photo showing blood flowing freely from his head, the question becomes whether Angela Corey, the prosecutor in the case, had access to the photo before charging Zimmerman with second-degree murder.

    The arrest affidavit did not mention the photograph, or the bleeding, gashes, and bruises on Zimmermans’ head. Professor Alan Dershowitz of Harvard Law School stated upon release of the arrest affidavit that it was “so thin that it won’t make it past a judge on a second degree murder charge … everything in the affidavit is completely consistent with a defense of self-defense.”

    After the release of the photo, however, Dershowitz went much further, telling Breitbart News that if the prosecutors did have the photo and didn’t mention it in the affidavit, that would constitute a “grave ethical violation,” since affidavits are supposed to contain “all relevant information.”

    Dershowitz continued, “An affidavit that willfully misstates undisputed evidence known to the prosecution is not only unethical but borders on perjury because an affiant swears to tell not only the truth, but the whole truth, and suppressing an important part of the whole truth is a lie.”

    When asked if it made a difference whether the prosecution had the bloody photograph at the time they charged Zimmerman, Dershowitz responded, “We do know that there were earlier photographs before the affidavit was done that strongly suggested blood on the back of the head, and we know the police had first access to him, so if there was blood they [the prosecution] would know about it …

    “I’ve had cases in Florida against prosecutors,” Dershowitz said, “and this is not the first time they have willfully omitted exculpatory evidence. It’s a continuing problem. Here, it’s not only immoral, but stupid. The whole country is watching. What do they benefit from having half-truths in an affidavit?”

    Dershowitz added, “I’m not taking sides, but I’m insisting that both sides play by the rules, and so far the prosecution is not playing by the rules.”

    • Scott
      April 21, 2012 at 4:17 pm #

      Zimmerman should have never apologized. Also a reminder of how we’re a republic if this was a democracy both Zimmerman and Baran would be long dead by now.

      • spectator
        April 23, 2012 at 7:53 am #

        Why not? For the same reasons that you may believe that Meredith Nilan should not offer an apology to Peter Moore?

  12. tito
    April 21, 2012 at 3:33 pm #

    O J….what hath ye done?