Court

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by WSM, Aug 10, 2009.

  1. WSM

    WSM New Member

    I'm so frustrated, but maybe it's premature.

    We went to court. The public defender came over and asked who were were, checked his charges and asked if we had a lawyer for him or were going to get one.

    husband said no and he didn't think he was going to get one. She said the charges are pretty serious. (3rd degree felony for drug possession of prescription drug with-o a prescription). She looked at difficult child, "Do you want an attorney, this is serious." He said he didn't know. The public defender pressed: "Do you want one or not?"

    He said he guessed so. So husband had to fill out papers; I told him not to add my income (which is 20% higher than husband's).

    A few minutes later the PubD came over again. She would be it. She went into the spiel about how he was just 12 and a half and they'd enter not guilty and talk to him about justifiable defenses, etc...but not to worry he was young, a few hours community service, a diversion program (which he's had twice), etc...

    It was clear to me she didn't understand what was going on, she thought he was just a first time offender who made a bad choice and maybe got in with the 'wrong group'. So I spoke up and said, "Is all this true even with his history?"

    husband got very tense next to me and started to speak up but the PubDef said, "Is there a history?" I held up 4 fingers. husband was sputtering, "not now, you don't need to..."

    PubDef said, "4 times? But they were all misdemeanors?" I just barely shook my head no. husband said, "He's been in trouble before." I could tell he was furious.

    The PubDef looked at difficult child and gave him a little speech about behaving himself and how this was very serious and if he didn't stop it, he would be charged as an adult for this charge sooner or later and be facing 15 years in a real prison.

    Then she went away. husband told me I shouldn't have said anything. I told him you can't lie to your lawyer. He pointed out she wasn't MY lawyer. We sat in frosty silence. After a while he patted my leg, I ignored him.

    The CPS lady wasn't there. I don't know if she was supposed to be. When husband and difficult child went up to the lectern the judge said to difficult child like he asked every kid, "Did you thank your parents for taking time off today to bring you here?" difficult child made a big show of hugging and thanking husband.

    The judge asked if he had a lawyer, the PubDef entered a none guilty plea, the judge asked if difficult child was doing well at home, husband said no, there were issues. difficult child is bald as a billiard ball from boot camp, and the judge asked if he were in a regular school, husband said last year he'd been in military school, this year he was going to go to a regular school. The judge said some stuff I didn't understand and then said the next hearing would be Sep 10. The PubDef pointed to the seat and told husband to sit down.

    While they were continuing on with other cases, husband noted that the CPS lady wasn't there and maybe they didn't know about difficult child's past history. When a couple other felonies were offered settlements (plea bargains) that didn't sound too bad, he hoped that maybe he'd be offered one, another diversion program with probation and community service. He was hoping difficult child would skate under the radar again. I was beyond disgusted.

    After a long while we wondered why we were still sitting there, and then a lady from court mental health services came over and said difficult child had to see two different doctors before the next hearing and took husband's numbers so the doctors could contact him.

    Then we left. It was a silent ride home and is silent now. difficult child had a few questions about the doctors he had to see. husband told him that this was to help the judge decide the best place to put him: maybe another diverson program, maybe a special school like the military school difficult child wants to go to, or something. difficult child said he didn't want to go to foster care but doesn't want to live here or at juvvy. husband said the judge probably doesn't want to put difficult child in juvvy, the judge wants what's best for difficult child, and husband said again about going to the military school and even said to difficult child that he'd get some say in the matter. difficult child was reassured. I was disgusted.

    So now we are home. All that happened was difficult child has a court appted attorney, which will probably cost about $600, and two doctor apptments, and the prosecutor doesn't seem to know about difficult child's history, and the cps lady is no where in sight.

    I think it's a good possibility husband will get his hopes fulfilled and difficult child will skate and be home with us like nothing happened. The kid has committed 5 felonies and has pled no contest to 3 or them, had the school cover up one of them, and looks like he's going to get off on this one too.

    I really, really really don't understand it.
     
  2. midwestdad

    midwestdad Lost

    I don't understand it either, but I'd bet the files barely get any review before a prelim hearing like that. Before the real hearings begin, someone should be reviewing those files.
     
  3. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    I hope for your sake that husband does not get his wish on this. The child needs to understand the butterfly effect - something he does now will affect him YEARS down the road even if not immediately.

    Onyxx is still learning this. I'm praying for your sake, since I have been following your story, that something is done. Soon.

    I thought the public defender was only assigned if you could not afford a lawyer? So why are you paying?
     
  4. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    In some states the parents end up being billed for a juveniles public defender. Not in my state...but some.

    I agree that very often a prelim hearing will not have everything looked at before the eventual trial. This isnt quite the way things were handled in my state. In NC, you met with a court advocate (I think that is what they were called) who went over the case and talked to the parent and child about what all was going on. I always went in with my Parent Report and whatever evidence I wanted known then. Then on the day of the court hearing, Cory would be met with a court appointed lawyer because I had already told them I wasnt hiring a lawyer. He went into court and the lawyer and he pled him guilty and we all had a nice conversation with the judge and attorneys. Everyone...including me. I passed out my Parent Report like candy. It was always put into evidence with no problem and the judge weighed it heavily when sentencing him.
     
  5. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    Re the PD....it does vary state to state. I know here, difficult child had a lawyer appointed and we didn't have to pay since he was a juvenile and it was HIS lawyer. I hope that's the case for you. We told difficult child when he turned 18 that if he got into legal trouble from then on, we would NOT be paying for an attorney or bailing him out. He insists he's an adult, he can take care of it. (We'll still support him emotionally but we're not doing the legal stuff anymore.)

    As for the rest....I would see if there is any kind of advocate system for juveniles where you are. If there is, check into it thoroughly before you request one but I would HOPE they would do what is in the best interest of the child. And in this case, the best interest of the child is some serious help. It may or may not be the best thing for you guys but it can't hurt to look into it.

    Your husband.....sigh....I just want to grab that man and shake him till his teeth rattles. I'm sorry. I wish I knew something to say or suggest to make that light bulb turn on for him. HUGS

    What are YOUR plans now?
     
  6. WSM

    WSM New Member

    Re the PubDef, I think they appoint, regardless of financial wherewithal because you need one right now since you are sitting in court and then they put you on a sliding scale per income and bill you later. That happened to a friend of mine whose son had a misdemeanor tresspassing charge. She was on food stamps and should have qualified but about 6 months later got a bill for $650. husband only put his income down with-o mine, and and put all the kids down as dependents. They didn't ask him to sign an irs release. But probably they will assess him for something. We simply are not indigent.

    I just got a copy of the letter to the judge the therapist intends to send. This is what it says:

    "Your Honor:

    I have seen difficult child in this office since 4/21/09. difficult child was brought by his father and step mother because of behavior problems at home that included destruction of property, filing abuse reports with DCF, elopementy from home, and an inability to benefit from repeated efforts by his father and step mother to effect change in this behavior.

    difficult child's presentation in the office was that he was a good looking 12 year old. He has an innocent attitude about him and a politeness that belies what I suspect to be a major mental illness. His biological mother suffers from bipolar disorder according to the father, and this raises the risk and suspicion of a serious illness in difficult child. difficult child denies that he is committing the acts that his parents complain about. He claims that others are doing these things so that they can get difficult child out of the house. What is unclear is whether he suffers from delusions of persecution or is simply covering up so he does not get in trouble, or some combination of these conditions. Because of the refractory nature of his problems and the difficulty of managing KGfg with outpatient treatment, as well as the dangerousness of some of his behavior we have discussed residential treatment options. On one occasion it was necessary to have difficult child hospitalized at psychiatric Hospital.

    I have spoken with an abuse investigator from the Sheriff's office who is familiar with this case and recently received another complaint against the parents for lack of supervision. She is in agreement with my impression that difficult child suffers from a major mental disorder based on her experience with the case and others like it over the years. In my last conversation with his step mother yesterday, she reported that difficult child has now reported hallucinations.

    It is my opinion that difficult child will benefit most from residential treatment where he can be observed in a controlled environment for an extended period of time so that a proper diagnosis and treatment plan can be determined. I am hopeful that the funding can be made available so he can get this treatment while he is still young and before these problems worsen.

    Thank you for taking the time to consider my point of view in this case. If I can be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to call on me. Very truly yours,"
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2009
  7. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Someone sees... This is only to the good for you!
     
  8. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    First thing...you might want to re-edit that letter. There are a couple of identifying names in there I don't know if you want there or not.

    Otherwise...let's hope you have a good judge who will pay attention to this. Fingers crossed.
     
  9. WSM

    WSM New Member

    Also the CPS lady called. She wants to see difficult child to complete her report tonight. I told her a bit about the court this morning, because she was the one who said that this time difficult child would be held accountable and this time there was no possibility of a diversion program. She's said he's a sociopath and that he needs to be in a residential program. The therapist had said that he and the CPS lady were in agreement on where they thought difficult child's future should be.

    I said I didn't think the prosecutor had the information on his history, and she laughed and said: "No comment".

    WTH does that mean?
     
  10. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    Maybe CPS lady has it covered but wants to give you plausible deniability so you're not the bad guy??? I don't know. Weird.
     
  11. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Maybe you should ask her to clarify her little remark when you take difficult child to see her.

    I think the therapist's letter is pretty clear that something needs to be done -- if that doesn't get someone's attention, I don't know what will.
     
  12. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    If the judge ordered appts with two different "doctors", here's my guess based on this happening with my son. One will be to see if he's competent to stand trial. This isn't a "competency determination" like they give an adult to see if the person is mentally competent, this is to see if he's old enough to understand the seriousness and legality of what he is accused of and/or if he understands enough about the judicial system to help in his own defense, again due to age. If found incompetent (too immature), here they put the kid thru a class/program to teach them, then the kid stands trial. Unless it's a really young kid who just did something stupid, then they drop the whole thing.

    The other one probably is a mental health evaluation by a person who will review previous mental health records, talk to difficult child and husband. This is the chance to push for Residential Treatment Center (RTC) or whatever you'd like to see happen. Don't be surprised if you end up with difficult child home and the family getting an intensive in-home therapist or mst, though. This is the "going thing" before Residential Treatment Center (RTC) is approved anymore. We couldn't survive the 2 weeks waiting on ours to start up before we had another crisis so that ended that for us.

    If the second one isn't a doctor, it could be dss to do a family assessment. That isn't the same as an investigation for a neglect or abuse accusation, but it is an interview and check by a trained dss worker to see if there is anything awry in the household that could be contributing. This could lead to anything from reporting to court that the household is fine, to making anyone in the family or the entire family do some kind of class or therapy, to removal of the child from the home- in which case they then will first try to place the child with another family member until you/husband or whomever does what they want. If you don't want difficult child put in dss but you want something done, you can make sure dss family assessor knows about the problems but let them know what you are advocating for.

    I can't guarantee you that this is what was ordered, but this is exactly what my son went thru after his crime spree where he racked up 7 charges after having prozac doubled at 12 yo. Oh- when it's a felony charge, a juvenile is not allowed to go to trial without an attny here so if the parent doesn't hire one, they will assign a public defender and based on husband's salary, might use a sliding scale and bill him some. If the offense is for something a kid did against the parent (like stealing or hitting), they will assign a PD at no charge to the parent.

    I think I posted on one of your threads before that I had been thru similar with my son and was terified of him being committed to state juvy (local detention was NOTHING plus it is short term- maybe 30 days max) and I advocated hard to get my son into a psychiatric Residential Treatment Center (RTC) based on recommendations from tdocs/psychiatrists. It would have been best for my son, I think, but we couldn't get it. Anyway, my son is in state Department of Juvenile Justice now and even though it's still a bear trying to get everyone on the same page, this is showing more hope than anything we tried at home, so far, at getting people to the bottom of the problem. You know, as long as the kid is at home there are people who doubt the truthfulness of the parent.

    I just read your post about the cps lady- you probably won't have an additional person from dss then. My guess about her "no comment" is because the PD is there to defend difficult child and cannot confide in cps - they will be advocating for different things in court. If you/husband plan to pay for Residential Treatment Center (RTC), you can tell the PD and asked them to try to wiork out an agreement with the prosecuting attny. If you want the courts to order/pay for Residential Treatment Center (RTC), you might better have husband call and talk to PD and see if the PD will advocate for this- husband can tell PD about the history.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2009
  13. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hopefully CPS lady will be at the next hearing. I understand your husband's reluctance even though I don;t agree with it. It's difficult to watch your child go through that, although he needs to realize his son needs help and his best chance of getting that help is to be completely honest about what has been going on.

    Nancy
     
  14. WSM

    WSM New Member

    OMG, I hope there isn't invasive family counselling where they come into the house and bug everyone. My kids won't do well with that. They want to be left alone about this problem.

    I did wonder if why there were two mental health doctors. It makes sense one is about competency. I guess the other is a mental health assessment.
     
  15. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Family therapy of any kind we tried created havoc while difficult child was at home and NEVER helped. This is another advantage of him being in state Department of Juvenile Justice- we are going to get it while he's in there. Again, I would have really preferred for difficult child to go to Residential Treatment Center (RTC) but this is a second choice now. Maybe you could let husband know that it isn't all a waste of time- actually, you might want to do a web search first about your state Department of Juvenile Justice, which is different than local detention where the kid gets nothing but locked up and a bogus 2 hours of education a day.
     
  16. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Trust me, he's twelve and you said he looks young. So did our socipathic child--he was undersized, skinny, and had big brown eyes that would melt the snow. But he finally blew it.

    Soon enough DSS will run out of chances. This isn't going to be the last time he offends. Unfortunately, since he is a good actor, and husband is a great enabler, he has so far gotten by on his youthful looks and his age. The time will come when it will no longer work. Or he'll up the ante and do something so horrible that it can't be ignored. One thing is certain, he would probably end up in trouble even without help, but there is no chance at all if he doesn't get intensive help.

    Meantime, I hope the Judge looks at his entire record and at least does SOMETHING. If he is any way antisocial, there's not much they can do, but at least an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) will keep him out of the house for a while. I hope they give you that break from him. Or even t he military school. It won't help him one bit, but it will get him out of the house while you think about your future. Meanwhile, your boys won't have to see him for a while.
     
  17. WSM

    WSM New Member

    Wow, CPS lady came by to talk to difficult child. husband wasn't there. She sat at the dining room table with- difficult child and asked him about camp, asked him about court. Then asked if he'd been behaving himself since he came back? He admitted he lied about the ranger beads because I took away his tent stake he was trying to hide in his clothes. He admitted he'd been going out his window at night but wasn't doing it any more. "When did you stop?" "Before camp. " LOL. So he did it all the way up until we sent him 200 miles away and the one night he was back, he didn't do it. Go difficult child!!!

    (husband was shocked about that, he was sure difficult child couldn't be doing it, "He said that? He really said that?")

    She said that the therapist had told her that difficult child was doing what he was doing to push me out of dad's life, and then if I got pushed out he'd push out stepdaughter, so he has dad all to himself. (but therapist hasn't said that to either me or husband, and I wish he would).

    She emphasized how I'd have to protect myself. We talked about stepdaughter and I confided my worries that if I left she wouldn't be protected. I explained about how husband flipflopped but might be finally getting a bit of a clue. She told me about psychopathy and we talked about books we'd read about it.

    husband came home then and sat at the dining room table with us. He reconfirmed his commitment to let happen what will happen and to let go if he had to. "But it's hard, I feel like I'm losing my son forever, and I fought so hard to get custody and save him from his mother." He teared up. And he talked about how he was failing his son. She was very comforting.

    She stayed about an hour, which I know was after hours for her.

    So that was my day today. I'm exhausted.
     
  18. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I do feel for your husband, but he is going the wrong way about trying to save his son. Denial is only prolonging and amplifying the inevitable. All his battles to save his son will bear nothing if he doesn't adapt and moderate his battle now, towards acknolwedging that there is something INSIDE his son, a bequest from his mother perhaps, which needs to be exorcised (or at the very least, identified and managed). Denial allows this to breed, to grow, to develop and infect outside him. husband is already infected. It's burning you and your stepdaughter.

    difficult child's best option is in getting help as the therapist described. It is his best chance to ever live a normal life. His worst chance (and HD's best revenge on his ex) is for husband to continue to enable the boy and deny him a diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

    If we have a child in our care and we want to make tat child happy, we might buy that child all the ice cream he wants. On a diet of ice cream the child will suffer malnutrition, will risk getting overweight, insulin resistance and eventually Type II diabetes. The child may still enjoy the ice cream diet andwhen presented with a healthy savoury meal may throw the mother of all tantrums. But are we really being appropriately parental to continue to feed the child nothing but ice cream, in our determination to avoid the child having a tantrum? No progress is being made towards encouraging the child to eat more normally.

    Andh wat your husband is doing here is the same thing. Would he listen to the ice cream analogy?

    As for not telling difficult child's defender - you HAD to do it, husband should have done it because the LAST thing difficult child would have needed, would be to get into court with his PD and have the PD snookered by withheld information.

    The PD's job is to get difficult child off as much as possible, to get him free and clear, his record clean. If the PD knows there is darker stuff having happened p reviously, then the PD goes in informed and well-armed to fight it, to excusde it, to argue it away. husband should have told the PD, so the PD can help make it ALL go away.

    on the other hand, if nobody had said anything but CPS lady was in court or someone else spoke up and said, "This is not difficult child's first offence, he's a repeat offender," and PD hadn't been told - then PD's surprise and loss of face would have told very much against difficult child.

    Doesn't husband wastch Law & Order? Or Boston Legal? He HAS to know that you tell your lawyer just about anything, it is your lawyer's responsibility to get you off regardless. In the British system you don't confess to your lawyer because then he can't allow you to plead not guilty; but even that could be a moral code rather than written in stone. I am not sure, but I think you can even tell your lawyer in the US that you did it, but if you still choose to plead not guilty, they have to try to get you off. Check tis out, I'm not sure.

    But the thing is, when you said, "You tell your lawyer everything," and husband snapped, "She's not YOUR lawyer," he was being a fatheaded idiot. You were speaking of lawyers, generically. Not talking as if THIS lawyer were your lawyer. ANd for him to retort like that is deliberate obfuscation of the main point - tell her, blast it! Or she risks finding out the hard way and under conditions where she is unprepared and less able to make it go away.

    You could have spoken more precisely and said, "One tells one's lawyer everything," because that iswhat I understand you meant. But who talks like that these days? (outside Buckingham Palace, that is).

    He loves his son. That is the only thing that cna possibly excuse his apparently having had an IQ bypass.

    Honestly! What a fool!

    I hope this sorts out sooner rather than later. I would be quietly asking the CPS lady why she wasn't there in court, and how you could ensure the best chance of getting difficult child into Residential Treatment Center (RTC), given an enabling father in denial...

    Marg
     
  19. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Marg, you tickle me with your descriptions - esp the "IQ bypass"!!

    WSM, these are very good points. I don't think you will be able to count on this brush with the courts to get difficult child into help. You will need to attend the doctor appts, therapy appts and court dates so that dad does not end up minimizing things. He only hurts difficult child. If it comes up in court that Dad did not tell the lawyer and/or kept you from telling the lawyer about prior offenses and mental health problems, well it could go very very badly.

    Dad will be seen to be a deceitful parent determined to hide things. It could spark the system to do more investigation and even have Dad lose custody of BOTH kids. If dad is shifty and lies about things then they will wonder if he is a fit parent of any kids.

    Of course, husband talks the game now but after his behavior in court you must just trust he will do his best to get difficult child "off" and do anything he can to "save" difficult child. He is just too far down the Rabbit Hole into "Not Me Land"

    This entire situation is just headed for a big explosion. Take care of yourself and your kids.
     
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