Need help to cope if he gets 15 yeard jail

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Star*, Apr 2, 2008.

  1. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    Hi,

    I guess maybe I ask lots of silly questions here, now and then. But I'm finding myself in real need of some good sense talk. Not pity party, not I'm sorry - just maybe....I was where you were - my kid was going to prison and it affected me this way or that.

    I guess maybe I need to know that I'm not alone in not being able to sleep, eat, think- function. It's like every thought is about this - and I'm not dealing with it too well. I'm angry - I'm crying on and off. I know that none of this is my fault, but you can't help feel sorry for this kid because for the first time in his life - HE is trying. And now - if he pleads guilty to this - he has his second strike - if it goes to trial - and looses 2nd strike. I don't know what to tell him to do. For the first time in his life I have no answers. I'm clueless.

    I just know that if I feel this way - I can't imagine what he's going through. I need to be able to tell him why he should get up in the morning and go to school and keep trying to pay off his fines from the last BOGUS charges.

    Then yesterday his probation officer tells him that HE has nothing wrong with him - I show her the diagnosis, the psychiatric's name and she poo poo'd it all away by telling him that her Mom was a psychologist - and that she KNOWS what crazy is - and it's not him. That he is NORMAL. I told her 64 medications, 20 plus doctors, 6 hospital stays, 2 suicide attempts and a dozen or more group home and Residential Treatment Center (RTC) placements said otherwise - but she said - Well after this last one you're finding out that group homes are ONLY in it for the money arent you Mom. (my head exploded) I smiled and said "in Greenville? yes."

    Any advice?
     
  2. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    Well, Star, I wish ant's mom was around these days for times like this. She would know what to say. The last time mine went to jail I let him sit for 23 days until he grandfather died and then I talked the SA into letting him get out on a PR because I had gone round and round trying to get through to him, and he kept doing the same things over and over. The thing is----he was partly guilty---but I made him plead guilty to a felony trying to teach him a lesson----and now I regret it. I should have let him fight the charges because they were bogus. But...what should you do? God, I wish I knew. I don't think I'd let him plead. He needs to get up in the morning, go to school, and continue to pay off his last bogus charge so that the judge has evidence that he is trying!!! Ask for a jury trial. I wouldn't leave this in a judge's hands---too biased. Have character witnesses lined up to testify to his trying to change. Have other boys/experts to testify about other group home experience. Put on your armour---shine it brightly---this battle could last a while!
     
  3. WhymeMom?

    WhymeMom? No real answers to life..

    Well, I want to tell you they are completely bluffing with the 15 years, cause they want you to plead guilty and take the deal. This will mean they don't have to go to trial which can take a long time and witnesses can change their story or not show up, etc. BUT I don't know how your state runs their courts. From our dealings in our state there is a penalty for going to trial. But many times if you threaten to take it to trial you can get a better deal offered. It really kind of depends too if you have an attorney who can push back and tell the DA that the whole charge is bogus....In the end if you go to trial it depends on the judge you get. If it's a jury trial hope that the panel is made up of difficult child parents. Seems a bit ridiculous to say 15 years for attempted burglary. My son had a deal for 4 years on his second burglary charge. This was for a break-in to a business, no weapon involved, no confrontation with anyone. Of course he proceeded to screw this up by breaking into yet another business. Now he is awaiting trial as an habitual offender, so don't know what this means except he could be put away 30-life....... In Indiana time is reduced by half if served with good behavior.

    In the end it's a **** shoot......best advice---get a super tough lawyer.......good luck.....
     
  4. WhymeMom?

    WhymeMom? No real answers to life..

    Also wanted to add that sometimes they really do want to "scare" you and make a seven year sentence seem reasonable, so they say 15 years is the sentence. I would look up sentencing requirements for your state. I would think you could find it maybe even online under your state's judiciary code.
     
  5. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Star...I think I understand what you are feeling. At least I can commiserate. Cory goes back to court on the 7th...next monday...for his felonies. Im dreading it myself because even though I know what he did was wrong...I feel really awful that most of those charges are ones I took out. Its a catch 22. I want him punished but I dont even want to think about him in prison.

    I cant believe they are threatening 15 years for this piddly junk. Hopefully they are just trying to scare him with the worst case scenarios. I know they have sentencing guidelines...I found them for NC online. It takes a bit of research to figure out how to read them but its doable. Even when you get the guidelines...like we figure Cory "could" be sentenced to maybe a year or two on each of the counts, we know from experience with others that they will combine it all and if he pleads out then he will probably only get 90 days or so...even though he would have parole on the end.

    With Dude...I almost think you should get a lawyer involved if you dont think his PD is worth a dang. Here the PDs are just regular lawyers from the area who get assigned clients so you can get some of our legal best as a PD. Dont know about there.

    Also...keep thinking about the fact that this is probably going to drag out awhile. The more time that passes the better the likelihood that he can either beat it or get it reduced to some really lesser charge.

    I will be thinking about you. This is a really awful thing to go through.
     
  6. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    While I haven't been at the receiving end of worrying about my child, I did volunteer as a Guardian ad Litem at home. The DA would give the defense attorney the worse case scenario in the hopes of plea bargaining the case down. They really didn't want to go to trial -- as was said, too many things could go wrong, especially with no hard evidence.

    I do remember one case that was very similar to Dude's except there were two boys involved. One took the plea and was sentenced to 2 years. The other insisted on a jury trial. The boy who took the plea was forced to testify against his friend. Fortunately, his testimony was truly not credible -- mainly because both boys were actually innocent. The jury saw this and found the other boy not guilty. It was, however, a huge risk -- the boy could have gotten 20 years for a B&E he didn't commit.

    From what you've said, Dude's case has even more holes than these boys' cases did. However, they lived in a much more liberal state with jurors that were pretty well educated and very willing to believe that the police would falsify reports to make themselves look good. For your state, I don't think that's the case. If you do decide on going to trial, pray that at least one person on the jury has had a child go through the system (although it is highly unlikely the DA will allow that happen) so that that knowledge can be used in deliberations.

    Part of what you need to factor in is your faith in his attorney. A baby attorney can have the advantage of not being burned out by the system and a willingness to fight wholeheartedly. The obvious disadvantage is that of no trial experience. It is important to know how to question a witness, when to object and when not to, when to keep quiet, etc.

    I wish there were some easy answers or suggestions. A lot really depends on his PO. If the PO truly sees that Dude is now making an effort and believes in Dude even a little, he has a chance to beat all of this and get off with probation. If, however, the PO thinks it is just a matter of time before Dude blows it again, then a trial may be your only option. The PO's recommendation is a huge factor in what will be offered and accepted in a plea.

    I know it is hard, but find a way to do things for you now. You'll need them to keep your strength up for Dude and to keep your sanity. I also know you said you really didn't want them, but (((((STAR))))) -- you need them, too.
     
  7. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    Meow - PO - is that is probation officer?

    How could her words in his trial or whatever help? Thanks:dissapointed:
     
  8. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    Yes, it's Parole or Probation Officer. In Oregon and Washington, the PO makes recommendations as to what kind of sentencing or treatment plan should be given. Sometimes the courts use a sentencing officer who will read the files, interview the victims and the PO to make a determination. No matter what, the PO does have some input as to what will happen.

    If the PO is on Dude's side and you go to trial, it might be worth having Dude's attorney subpoena her to testify (this gets her off the hook if her boss doesn't want her to appear pro-Dude -- she has no choice). If no trial, ask her to write a letter stating all the hoops Dude has gone through to make things right, the problems at the group home, etc. Technically, a PO is an officer of the court. Their words carry a lot of weight. More so than a social worker's or a therapist's to a judge.

    If at all possible, get his case moved to juvenile court. You'll have a much better chance of getting him help. I don't know the laws in your State, but sometimes even though a case can carry "big boy" times and adult prison, a juvenile judge can still hear it. This might be the best chance Dude has.

    I get the feeling you're pretty friendly with Dude's PO. Ask her what recommendations she would make for him. Then ask her what she knows of the judges, etc. The more info you have, the better chance you have to make a good decision.

    One thing I learned as a GAL was not to ask whether anyone in the court system would recommend a plea bargain for a juvenile -- everyone always recommended bargaining. My theory was that this was the choice not because it was best for the child but it was better for everyone else.
     
  9. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    Star, I know how upset you must be and I'm so sorry you're going through this. I've never been through this personally but I've worked for the Dept. of Correction for 22 years, and I'm another one who thinks they're trying to scare you!

    We have had inmates who KILLED people who didn't do fifteen years in prison! We've had rapists and people who are serious repeat offenders who didn't do fifteen years! Where I live, an attempted burglary would draw a relatively short time in the county jail, or even probation for a first offender. It complicates matters if he's still a juvenile and they would be even less likely to do it because juveniles in the adult system are a pain in the butt! Have to be housed separately, all kinds of special considerations. It's possible that 15 years could be a "max" amount of time that could be given if the circumstances warranted it - a long prior record, done while out on parole, caught in the act beyond a doubt, etc.? Are they using this tactic to get him to plead guilty and save the cost of a trial? If there is any way, if this were my son, I'd be trying to find a decent criminal lawyer and at least get a consultation so you'd know if they're trying to put one over on you! Sending serious hugs!
     
  10. Sunlight

    Sunlight Active Member

    hi there, hun, you pink tractor EZ rider you.
    Star, you are rightfully upset. many have been in your shoes but fear speaking out, or crawl off and cower til this passes. It is very brave of you to come forth and speak on your son's behalf.

    of course you are in distress, your son will be your son til one of you passes on from this life. our hearts are deeply embedded with the course of their lives. fear can make you not sleep not eat and suffer much. God is still able, Star. He has not left you nor your son. he will stand by and guide you as you seek out info and help.

    Your son should not take the plea if he is not guilty. My son Tony was guilty and facing more serious charges from his 4th DUI. so a plea was right for him. sad, but right.

    you have received much good advice:
    -dont take the plea
    -seek a juvenile court situation if he is underage
    -find out about sentencing guidelines
    -speak to the public defender about possible scenarios
    -it is true they first alarm you with worst case scenarios to encourage taking the plea

    some POs input helps, sometimes not. after Tony was already in state prison, he was pulled back to the county he was on probation in for his 3rd DUI. they violated him, meaning he got more trouble for getting in trouble. he got addtl time in prison, even though his PO spoke for him and said he always checked in, paid his fines and had been out for a year working daily. it was up to the DA and she was harsh on all prisoners that day it seemed. I do think the POs input got him a concurrent sentence (in other words, it runs along the time he is already in state prison)

    they do not like trials as they are costly and take time, the courts and prisons are all over filled. But your son deserves his day in court.

    so do you have him out on bail? has he had a preliminary hearing yet?

    You are gonna make it thru, so will your son. no matter the outcome.
     
  11. standswithcourage

    standswithcourage New Member

    Star - I wonder if you could talk to a judge or write the judge. I wrote the prosecutor. I dont know if it did any good or not. My son is still in jail. He went to prison for about a year a while back. It was during court that he was sentenced and it was a complete surprise. I was hoping rehab but instead the judge revoked his probation and sent him down the road. I almost had a heart attack. I was the only family member there. I felt sick, etc. I asked for an appeal and everything I could. However, I prayed to God over and over - I got down on my knees and prayed for his safety because there was nothing else I could do then. It was out of my hands. It was the most helpless feeling I had ever had but it didnt hurt my son. I am not sure if it even registered with himm. He said it was better than the county jail. This is not to make you feel better. He has not been sentenced to anything yet. You need to try and take things one day at a time. You are p rojecting tragedy much too soon. I didnt think I would make it during that time. I thought he would die and I would too but I didnt. He didnt either. Trust in your Higher Power.
     
  12. Abbey

    Abbey Spork Queen

    Giving info to the judge is a GREAT idea...just make sure you know your state's laws on that. In CA, you had to give any documentation to both sides, including the judge 3 days in advance. It was very helpful.

    Abbey
     
  13. MyFriendKita

    MyFriendKita Member

    If you have a psychiatrist or therapist who would speak to the court on Dude's behalf, or would at least write a letter to the court, it might help. It doesn't sound like the p.o. is going to take into account Dude's mental health issues. In our case, we were dealing with the juvenile system, but my son's therapist talked to his p.o. before we went to court, and it did keep my son from being locked up when he violated his probation a second time (we were told jail time was a given with a second violation). It might also help to gather some info regarding Dude's issues (articles, etc.).
     
  14. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Star sweetie............I am too brain dead to give any advice.........but I am SO thinking of you. I hold you and Dude really close to my heart - and you guys are in my thoughts a lot. Please hang in there, and hold on. I believe the best will happen. These other people have lot's of good advice, I hope some of it can help.

    Many many hugs............blah, blah, blah.;)
     
  15. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Star

    I haven't delt with this on the homefront. But watched my mom go thru it with my eldest brother, and sis with my nephew. And I know it was pure h*ll on them both. Even though my sister had already "given up" on her son.

    I don't understand the 15 years for an "attempt". Nephew only got 5 for actual armed robbery. Twice. (idot did it again when he got out the first time) Another nephew is facing time because he decided to rob a bank, and I don't think he's even looking at 15 yrs. ugh

    But I do know they were talking "big time" with the one nephew clear up until sentencing, then suddenly it was 5 yrs. And we were like, huh??

    I wish I had tons of advice, but I don't. Just know that you and Dude are very often in my thoughts during the day, and most certainly in my prayers at night.

    Hugs
     
  16. PonyGirl

    PonyGirl Warrior Parent

    I don't have any further advice from what you've already been given. My advice would be to do as much research into the guidelines and statutes as you can stand. The internet was a wonderful resource for me in that regard. I had to keep in mind, tho, that while Knowledge is Power, Too Much Knowledge is a Bad Thing......

    Peace
     
  17. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Sending understanding hugs. I wish I could give you "an answer" to the insanity that is called the Justice System. There is rarely any logic in what happens in the system around here. I am a logical person and it makes me feel like a surreal trip where I wonder who to H has taken the LSD!:biting:

    The Solictor's office wears THE Pants. The Defense (Public Defenders)
    almost always seeks to get the defendant to agree with the Solictors offer. Where we live the Judge is the puppet of the States Attorneys office (solicitor). I do not mean to depress you further but that is the truth where we live.

    What can you do? Well, it costs eight grand to hire the one defense attorney in our little town who "gets results". Not an option for us.

    What did I do? I wrote a letter to the Judge after calling and asking his
    staff if it was permissible. My communication was longer than it should have been but the circumstances of the brain damage, and the multiple arrests for VOP that were not valid etc. made it necessary. I ended the letter by thanking him for his courtesy in reviewing the facts and told him that I would be in Court (as always) and would have documentation with me should he or anyone request it.

    I wrote the Public Defenders office and outlined the history of my son's issues and listed 23 possible experts who would be willing to offer info on the problem behaviors that can result from Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)'s. THEN I called the
    States Attorneys office and inquired if I was allowed to send a letter copy to them. I was told I could. I did.

    The States Attorney told me face to face in a previous hearing "My job is
    to prosecute NOT to be an advocate for your grandson." I replied "I understand that Mr. C. but I assume that since you work in the justice system that you are interested in serving the cause of justice." :sheepish:

    Now, my friend, that is what I did when my grandson was told to take two years in prison for "appearing to be intoxicated" and no breathalizer
    test was done!

    I could go on and on and on. The Judge allowed me to speak, talked about what an outstanding advocate I was (I have been a GAL and a Statewide advocate), how lucky my grandson was to have me...THEN he
    proceeded to say that he did not feel it was his job to "interfere" with the
    negotiations that took place between the PD and the SA. :faint:

    My kid was put back on probation and avoided prison WTH for an unproven VOP! I would suggest that you use you writing skills and put
    in writing ALL professional documentation you have of past issues. I would suggest you follow my path and make sure there is a path. IF an appeal is necessary (and yes it is allowed as well as a change of attorney) it will expedite things. I would get a letter from the current foster home. I would get documented proof of the atrocities that Dude has experienced at the hands of the system. Document. Document. AND document.

    I understand. My heart breaks for you all as it is like David and Goliath and the results are likely to be ugly. on the other hand, you will have proof that you have done everything you could to support your sons future.

    If you are crying too much, eating too little, sleeping too few hours..get
    something from your Dr. to help you stay strong. Dude NEEDS to know that you are his advocate and that you love him. He NEEDS to know that God can help him face what seems to be unfaceable. He NEEDS to keep
    optimistic thoughts for the future..even if he has a few more years of sadness to face. Hugs. DDD
     
  18. Mikey

    Mikey Psycho Gorilla Dad

    Star, I can only ditto what the others have said. First contact with prosecutors is usually an attempt at "shock and awe". The truth, though, is in the sentencing guidelines that virtually every state uses. I remember with my 'bro who was facing several felonies that the DA was going to throw the book at him, but the sentencing guidelines were actually much less than the threats.

    One caveat, though. Guidelines are just that - guidelines, not rules. There are exceptions to guidelines, so make sure you know what they are as well. In my 'bro's case, the fact that he was an ex-cop and was being personally persecuted by the Chief of Police allowed the judge to toss the guidelines. Eventually, in appeals court 'bro got the sentences brought back in line, but it was tough.

    Now, that's the exception, not the rule, but like others have said, get a good lawyer you trust, and get as much info as you can. Good info is the magic that calms the storms in your mind and allows you to make reasonably informed decisions in bad times like this. 15 years is the threat; find out what the likely reality will be (along with potential pitfalls), and work from there.

    Personally, we saw the same thing happen with McWeedy; when he was originally arrested, he was threatened with up to 18 months in jail for simple possession (no intent to distribute), paraphernalia, and MIP. The truth was that he got diversion instead. Now that he's blown his diversion by dropping dirty on his UA's, and picked up another misdemeanor shoplifting charge, he'll be back in court on both and is now facing over two years in jail.

    Per his lawyer, though, the reality is likely a revoked diversion, probation, possibly 30 days in the pokey, and rehab. If he screws up again after that, the consequences escalate, until they finally get fed up and then they throw the book at you (McW has a friend who went through this, and after repeated trips to court is finally finishing his 24 month sentence in jail).

    For us, knowing the probable reality vs. the threats helps us make decisions. Could they throw the book at him? Possibly, especially since he's unrepentant and disrespectful. However, even if he gets more than the "normal" sentence, it won't be two years.....

    Now, for me, I'm pure evil. :devil:

    I'm letting McW think the two years is more of a threat than it actually is. I want him to willingly agree to probation, along with rehab and a long-term sober house stay. Hopefully, the threat of long-term jail makes McW choose an option that may keep the threat from becoming reality. Don't know if it'll work, but we'll see.

    In any case, though, I'll be keeping you and yours in my thoughts and prayers. This is a difficult time - seek peace through good counsel and the support of others who care for you and yours. In my very humble opinion, that's your best chance for success (however you choose to define "success").

    Ciao,

    Mikey
     
  19. dreamer

    dreamer New Member

    I have no words of wisdom, but wanted to send huge HUGS
     
  20. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Star,

    My situation was not nearly as threatening as yours; however, it all just made me sick.

    easy child 1 and difficult child 1, along with nephew (18) and another friend (17) were leaning on a truck bed behind the legion hall 15 minutes into our wedding reception. They each had a red dixie cup of punch and the remnants of their dinners on a plastic plate. It was a gorgeous evening and they were just visiting.

    At a wedding the prior weekend, an intoxicated dancer spilled their beer on easy child 1. The only other clothes we had were husband's swim shorts. So easy child 1 danced the night away in a plaid button down shirt, hawaiian shorts, and cowboy boots. So for our reception, easy child 1, difficult child 1, and nephew all donned said attire - flowery shorts, boots, and their tuxedo vests and ties without shirts.

    As luck would have it, the town festival was the same night as our wedding. Two police officers came meandering along on their way back to the station, saw the 3 boys there holding their dixie cups and dressed wild, and walked over. difficult child 1, for whatever reason (always had an aversion to police thanks to his bio mom), dropped his cup in the truck bed and headed inside.

    The cops called him back.

    They never even picked up his cup. The did not take breath tests or any other form of test to check any of them for alcohol consumption. They did not take any of their red dixie cups of punch. Yet they charged them all with possession.

    Granted, they weren't facing jail for this, but they lost their college scholarships because of it. difficult child was suspended from his sports teams and was not allowed to get his drivers license. Their names were mud in a small town.

    I cried. I was sick - literally sick to my stomache - how was I going to pay for their colleges OR a lawyer to get their scholarships back? How were they going to take this - especially difficult child, who, tho barely, had avoided any serious trouble? Suddenly, his attitude became "to heck with it - I get in trouble for doing even the right thing, so why bother just doing what's right?" It lead to a few real instances of trouble, some large vandalism cases. Was this stupid rookie female cop's attempt to prove what a good crime fighter she was going to cost my difficult child his chance at actually beating the odds and making it? OMG, I was furious.

    Eventually, the charges were all dropped based on lack of evidence and a nice note from a good lawyer stating such. But that took several months of worry. I'm not sure how I proceeded those first few days. I know I spent every waking moment online looking up the supposed crime and punishments, finding worst case scenarios and other similar cases tried with positive outcomes to hand to their lawyer in hopes that they could utilize the same methods of instilling doubt. I found several cases where cops had arrested people with open cans of beer, but they didn't confiscate and test the beer, so they couldn't prove that the contents in the can was alcoholic...surely this could help boys holding red dixie cups of punch.

    As the days passed, things just got easier, the focus fell less on the charges and more on the fact that we all still had a life to live until this played out, however that may be. In the end, it turned out ok. All charges were dropped.

    I can't promise you that it will work out the way you want it, but I can promise you that it will come to pass. In time, you will worry about things other than this. Beleive that time will help. Just tell yourself that for now, even if you don't really beleive it.

    Sorry so long winded. Not really the same, but kinda. Hugs and strength and soda crackers.
     
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