1st Time in Delinquency Court...HELP!?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by tessaturtle, May 16, 2012.

  1. tessaturtle

    tessaturtle New Member

    Ugh, so after many, many incidents with police intervention, they finally agreed to file on difficult child to get him access to additional services and to try to nip his behaviors before he gets older and there would be no turning back. One of the bad things is the incident they filed on is so minimal, it almost didn't even make it to arraignment (he stole $6 from his sister). Anyway, the JPPO (juvenile Probation and parole officer) was amazing and read through the lines and picked up on difficult child's history and future and convinced the prosecutor to go forward anyway. difficult child wanted to plead true at arraignment and waive the atty, but because he has an IEP, he HAD to get an atty and couldn't plead until talking to his atty.

    Now, I have extensive experience through my job in the Court system, but for abuse and neglect of children, not delinquency and in our state, they are two separate statutes. We are quickly finding that it appears that parents have no rights in this case! We are beside ourselves! THe JPPO tried to give us an idea of the police report that was filed, but said she can't hand it over to us, but that we could get if from the police themselves. We asked the police and they said we had to get it from difficult child's attorney! Well, difficult child met his public defender yesterday and she said we could not have a copy due to client confidentiality! He is a minor and we are his parents - yet it appears that we have absolutely no rights at all in this process. His atty is also not letting him plead true, which is what HE wants to do, and is now insisting he is not competent and is going to ask for an evaluation (which is complete BS because even the JPPO said he clearly is competent, his IEP is for EMOTIONAL HANDICAP, his IQ has always tested at completely normal/average)!! Of course Kids don't know all that there is to know about Court until they have to experience it - he is no different!They are also saying that easy child has to testify against difficult child since his atty is pushing this, so she has been subpoened....besides being a kid and nervous about being in Court, she is also scared of retaliation by difficult child. We also want to explain or tell the JUdge that there is much more than just this one incident, but now we have no method of doing that since it appears we have no say in this process. We are not 'out to get our kid' but yes we did ask for this to finally be done because he is getting worse and worse so this was the next step to get him help.

    So, besides venting :D, I do have a question for any of you who have been through this process....is this really the way it is? DO parent's have no rights in these cases?! Very stressed......
  2. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    I'm not sure. When I (as difficult child 1's parent) got the notice to appear in court, the police report was attached. I would check with an attorney of your own. That doesn't sound right to me. Have you talked to his lawyer to tell him WHY you're doing this in the first place? That you're not out to GET difficult child but that you're trying to get help for him that you can't get any other way because you've tried. All his atty is seeing is YOU against difficult child. Maybe he needs to have the WHOLE story.
  3. Liahona

    Liahona Guest

    Laws are so different state to state I'd suggest getting your own attorney.
  4. buddy

    buddy New Member

    That's a good idea Lia. That is what scares me if our charge goes through, that I wont have any say. In our case though Q is actually incompetent so that would be the desired outcome. This attorney sounds like she is not acting in his best interest (but probably not on purpose, just no clue to what a kid who has parents who really WANT the help are going through.) Any way the prosecuting attny. could talk to his attorney to explain why he followed through and what the objective here is???

    If nothing happens he will just feel he can do whatever and nothing will ever happen. Heck, even my Q said, well I a m getting used to the police now so I am not so scared, I will never back down and I will show them blah blah blah.... they learn from inaction. (I never wanted him arrested though, just to help diffuse the situation and get him to the hospital.)

    It seems insane to me that you have no rights. Hope you can find an advocate to help guide you.
  5. tessaturtle

    tessaturtle New Member

    First off, thank you for the replies :)

    We did see the petition as difficult child was served with it at home; what we didn't get to see or are allowed to read is all of the supporting documents/affidavit that went along with it (including the police report).

    Unfortunately, we can't afford to get our own attorney especially because we now have to pay for his attorney even though he didn't want one. In addition to that, if the competency request goes through, we may have to pay for the evaluation ($700). The prosecutor has been no help either.

    I do realize that laws are different in each state. What I wanted to see or hear from people is if their experience was similar when they went through it with their difficult child's for the first time.

    Buddy - I agree, my difficult child is the same way - which is one of the reasons we are to this point - if this doesn't go through, he will once again think he can do anything he wants to people. I hope your situation turns out the way you hope for.
  6. Bunny

    Bunny Guest

    Is there a Legal Aide Society in your area? They might be able to give you advice at a low cost. Also, if you are near any law schools they might have a program where a law student nearing graduation looks over your case and gives advice under the supervision of lawyers barred by your home state.
  7. Liahona

    Liahona Guest

    I know with divorce cases everything that goes before the judge is in the file in the court house and is public record. I could go to the court clerk and request copies of any of it. I don't know if its different for people under 18.
  8. Hopeless

    Hopeless ....Hopeful Now

    Not sure about your state but when we went to court with our difficult child she had an atty and a GAL as well. We were allowed to speak in court. I am so sorry you are having to deal with this. Sending you hugs and strength.
  9. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Find a law school in your state, or just over a state border if you live near one. Call the law school and ask if someone can answer some questions. If needed, look up the faculty online and call each and every single faculty member and ask them. You can also look in the yellow pages for attorneys and find one wth a free 1/2 hr consultation. Go and ask them about the laws. If the first one doesn't answer, go to the next, and the next. MOST attys do a free 1/2 hr consult, esp for defense work. Ask each atty who cannot help if they know who can.

    Also call the Clerk of Courts and ask them how to get help. Ask how to file for financial help. difficult child's atty may not be able to SPEAK with you, but seh CAN listen. Get your parent report and copy the history section and give her a copy, or type up a short (short as possible) outline of his history. Better to use bullet points than paragraphs. let her SEE the problems, what you have tried and has failed already. if she own't accept, find the person who recommended that you file.

    You can also call the state bar association and ask them basic questions and how to get them answered.

    When we were trying to press charges against Wiz, the deputy kept refusing to write them up. We only got before a judge because I refused, flat out, to let him stay at home. I told the deputy why it was too dangerous, showed him the bruises and marks, and he tried to convince me that Wiz 'didn't mean it". At the last court date the judge heard from us, then from CPS who said we were doing ALL the right things incl keeping Wiz out of the home for the safety of the rest of us. As the victim, I was able to speak to the judge but so were my husband and my mother.

    You MAY be able to speak to the court as easy child's mother. She is not yet a teen, so her rights are different than difficult child's rights. I would push your status as HER mother to get you to speak to the courts esp about her fear of retaliation and how real it is and that it is an expectation and not a fear - fears may or may not come true, but expectations . . . .

    I hpe this helps. It may take a lot of phone work. I usually write out the ?? I want answered or the outcome I want, SHORT background of situation (not of child), and then start on the next page writing the name, phone # and addy of the first contact, their answers, and then the 2nd person, etc...

    You can also contact a church and/or the DV center to see if they can help. The DV center might require you and easy child to go to therapy with them (free) but they also usually have attys that clients can at least speak to. it cannot hurt to ask them.

    I really hope this helps.