I am making progress...

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by toughlovin, Nov 25, 2010.

  1. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    OK so as you know my son was in jail for two weeks for a bunch of petty things he did. All the things he did also involved one or the other or both of two other boys. My son was involved in all the cases, the other boys each did some of them. So my son was in the worst trouble because he was there for all of them.
    We got a lawyer and they did a plea agreement which included my son going to rehab. My son had to plead guilty to a couple of charges (out of about 10). Part of the agreement was that eventually he pay about $500 in restitution for a broken window. This is his debt and there is no way we are paying it. So the other boys had their court date this week. If they also have to pay restitution then the cost of it will be split. Seems fair that they should all pay the restitution.

    So I talked to the mom of one of the boys. He did not have to plead guilty but the case was continued without a finding and he is on probation so he does not have to pay restitution.. Don't know what happened with the other kid.

    So my first and gut reaction was thats not fair. It is not fair that my son has to pay the whole thing on his own. Again my first reaction was I should call the probation officer and check on the status....blah blah blah.

    Then I realized, wait a minute... this is NOT my problem. It is unfair if he has to pay it all, but really so what. If you hang out with kids that do this kind of thing sometimes you get screwed!!!! There is yet another lesson here about who you hang out with and what can happen. If you are the one that is there every time there is trouble, then yes the consequences for you are worse. Tough luck.

    I have no idea if my son will get any of this message when he finds out....but I am staying out of it all together.

    Honestly it amazes me how my protective mother bear skin kicks in even when he is 19, drug addicted, and is doing bad stuff. Like I need to stop protecting him really.

    OK guess I need to turn from a bear to a rhino.

    I am glad I realized this before I made any phone calls...... that is progress.
  2. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Don't diss yourself!! That is not just progress, that is HUGE progress on your part!!! Remember, you have been the parent who was responsible for him for 18 yrs and 9 months (cause while he was in the womb you were responsible - even if he was adopted you were responsible from the time you filled out the first paperwork, cause that was the first step toward parenthood and you have to be super on top of things to be able to adopt.) So you have to fight almost 2 decades worth of training and behavior to treat your child like the adult he is considered to be.

    in my opinion you did great by stopping yourself before you called anyone!!!

    I DO hope that you intend to consider the attorney fees and court costs as something difficult child needs to pay you back for. Those should be his responsibility just as much as the restitution ordered by the court. After all, he IS legally an adult.

    I don't think courts necessarily split restitution amounts up between people. At least not here. husband has done jury duty and one case a man argued the amt of restitution, saying that there were 3 people involved so he should only pay 1/3 of the cost. the judge was NOT happy to be told this, the man's lawyer was not happy because the guy just yelled it out in court instead of asking the attorney first, and the judge told him that the amount was set by the court and if others were involved their restitution amounts were not figured in with his.

    I don't think your son would get very far if he challenged the amount of $$ he had to pay, but if difficult child is concerned then he should call his attorney and have the attorney figure it out. Calling the courts or prosecutor won't accomplish anything because they will not discuss it unless the attorney is part of the discussion. Once you have a lawyer the other parties involved in the legal system MUST go through the attorney to ask and answer questions. In fact, questions must be asked through the attorney and not asked directly to the judge or prosecutor. or that is the usual way things are handled. difficult child needs to be aware that this question, asked of the attorney, and then the attorney going to the prosecutor and/or judge, will cost $$. Attorneys bill for questions asked over the phone usually, and they also bill for asking the juddge and prosecutor. Depending on the attorney, it may be cheaper to pay the full $500 than to have the attorney ask the judge about it.

    Either way, it just isn't your job any more to ask these questions. Kudos for NOT making those phone calls, for stopping yourself and reminding yourself that it is NOT your battle. It IS hard to step back and let them deal with things, and you are doing a great job!!
  3. Star*

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

    My son stood on a street corner and told 2 other boys who were already on felony, burglary probation - THE COAST IS CLEAR - he never went into peoples homes. He did get involved with divvying up the loot.

    The other two boys were 13, 15 yo. My son was 15 - three months shy of 16.

    WE told the police - (like idiots and I'll tell you why we think we're idiots later) YES we found stuff in his room - here - take it. HERE - here is our son. Please, yes, absolutely take him to juvie. The officer told us that the first boy to come forward would be dealt with fairly - the others would not. BULL-HOCKEY. My son told on himself - NOT on the other two. My SON - was charged with 13 counts of conspiracy, and 3 counts of night time burglary. My SON was held without bond and charged as an ADULT facing 20 years in prison. He was fined over $8k, given 3 years probation, and is a convicted FELON at the age of 15. The other two? The kids who were ON probation for B&E? One got a night in Department of Juvenile Justice - The other? 2 weeks in Department of Juvenile Justice. The one that got 2 weeks in Department of Juvenile Justice? When he got out - had his buddys drive around and find my son and jumped out of a car, and shoved a pistol in my sons mouth, threatened him - and to tell the cop that arrested them? Useless. HE GOT A PROMOTION for busting one more felon.

    Our son had his life ruined because this cop lied. He said he would not be a felon, he said he'd go to court and talk to the judge - he said he'd help us.....HE LIED on all counts. He even arrested my son without mirandizing him - you think anyone is going to go against this man? Nope. Took him out of a psychiatric hospital. Lied about that too. So I have very little respect for the law in this town. Dude isn't an angel but he didn't deserve that - and no - I haven't tried to bail him out other than having him do chores to pay for his probation.

    When he had three months left? He took off and now he's a fleeing felon. Just great. Can't tell him anything - THREE months left on 3 years - and he takes off - brilliant. Now it will take an attorney, lots of money - probably about 8k, and him doing jail time for fleeing - because they Probation office could not and would not take $10 a week when he lost his job- nope wanted the entire $200 or go to jail - he freaked and ran. Lovely- We wouldn't pay it and this is what happened.

    So don't be toooooo quick to say what you will and won't do in these circumstances - just kinda draw a line in sand - not in concrete.

    We said this was Dude's battle too - but it also wasn't fair that the other kids weren't dealt with like he was. Not sure what will happen in the future but I do know - at this point - it is up to Dude, all we can do is support him.

    Hang in there Mom....
  4. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    You've come a long way that will bring you many hours of peace in the future. But I agree with Star......while it's good to draw the line at what you will and will not do, just remember that circumstances may cause you to change your mind. It doesn't mean you've taken a step backward, it just means you're capable of being realistic and to adjust to different situations.

    I swore that I would never let katie stay in my house ever again. I was adamant about it, I meant it with all my heart and soul. Yet a month ago I allowed her and M BOTH to stay in my house for a whole week!! Circumstances. Grands would have been sleeping on the street literally......a 4 yr old, a 9 yr old and a 10 yr old. I did not do it for either katie or M, even though they'd been helpful and displaying the proper attitude that week, I did do it for the children.

    The moment they were able to be somewhere else, poof out of my house they went. Am I still hard nosed tough love with katie? You betcha.

    Such situations do come up..........it's best to consider that so you aren't too hard on yourself if you decided to change where that line in the sand is placed.

    As for our justice system? There is no "justice" in it, anywhere.

    You did good. I'm proud of you for not picking up that phone. :D
  5. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    Thanks for all the input and support. I like that statement draw a line in the sand, not in concrete! That is a good way of thinking about it.. That is exactly why we ended up hiring our son a lawyer. We had initially said we would not pay for a lawyer if he got himself in trouble. He had a court appointment attorney who immediately wanted him to plead to a felony and was going to do nothing. At that pointn I thought to myself this is his long term future... so we hired a lawyer..... and then my son got into more trouble!! Incredibly stupid of him. When he got his bail revoked even our lawyer said that he didn't blame the judge he would have done the same thing. I agree.... it was the only think that was reasonable at that point because here was a kid who had been given several breaks who just was flagrantly disobeying the law. So my son was thrown into jail. i am glad we got him a lawyer because they came up with a plea agreement that was right for my son. This is what I have to remember. Whatever the other boys get, my son ended up in a good rehab program out of state. Yes he could have stayed here and gone to drug court, which I think is at least what one of the other boys got.... but that would have meant him continuing to live at home and that would not have been good for any of us. Yes he ended up having to plead to two counts, one being a felony and had a suspended sentance, but gee the kid had like 5 arrests in the space of 4 months!!!! The other kids did not have as many and my son just has to learn there are consequences if you break the law.

    I am glad we paid for the lawyer because the end result is something that I think will help my son... rehab, probation, random drug testing and paying restitution.... and yes he should pay the restitution. It was set up that a certain amount needed to be paid and if the other boys had to also pay they would split that amount... but since my son went to court first he had to agree to the restitution even if the other boys don't get that.

    Susie thanks for your comments. I am not going to charge my son for the lawyer although you are right he should be responsible for it. The thing is there is no way he can come up with 4k.... and I would rather he figure out how to live on his own right now.

    He called us today for Thanksgiving... which is good. I kept myself from saying too much and kept the conversation light. He did comment he is half way through which worries me because I wonder what he thinks comes next. I am afraid he thinks he will just come home and I don't like that idea at all. But I decided to not go there today.
  6. Bean

    Bean Member

    I wish I would have learned that sooner. If I were to go back, I'd have called long ago when my daughter was a juvenile, with hopes of getting her in the juvenile system. By the time I got the guts to call on her, she was waived as an adult and the adult system SUCKS.
  7. katya02

    katya02 Solace

    I agree. The adult system is not a 'justice' system for anybody. I will never believe a police officer again, after our experience. And since then, I've come across lectures from
    attorneys, as well as advice from easy child 1 (who is in second year law school), saying NEVER speak to a police officer other than to a) ask if you are free to leave (if so, do it!) and
    b) if you're not free to leave, ask for counsel. Nothing you say to a cop can ever help you in court, but it can be used against you. And cops lie. The lawyer we got for difficult child 1 told
    us that, and sure enough, the officers who illegally detained, interrogated, and searched difficult child 1 and his apartment all lied in court and in their affidavit. The other thing easy child 1 told
    us was not to use a public defender if at all possible - in a big metropolitan area you might get someone who is decent, but in smaller areas they should be avoided.

    I've had to back off from drawing lines in concrete too, and take things situation by situation now.
  8. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    My experience with the court system both via my difficult child and my job is that yes our justice system is screwed up but it is the only system we have.... and there are good cops and bad cops just like any other profession. I think the court system can work but you need to know how to work it. I would never recommend dealing with the court system without an attorney and I also agree a court appointed attorney or public defender is not the way to go if at all possible. They are not paid much and do not have the same motivation to work for you as a private attorney does.

    So the way I see it the court system may have been our saving grace. Now of course it may not be if our son comes out of rehab and screws up again because he will end up in jail..... but it got him willing to go to rehab because he really hated jail. He needed to land in jail to see where his decisions were taking him. Now if we had not had a lawyer who was willing to work with the da and the judge to craft a good plea bargain my son could be up a creek. That is one of the unfortunate things about our system, if you can't afford a lawyer and don't have family support you are in a much worse position. Which is why we eventually decided to get and pay for a lawyer for our son. The consequences were too long term for us to ignore... at least this time.

    What I like is that now the court system has the heavy hammer and consequences and so when I talk to him I can talk about what will happen if he doesn't do something and it will not be something I have to imipose. That has more meaning to him at this point than anything I say or do.
    Lasted edited by : Dec 4, 2010
  9. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I've always been fairly bright and quite savvy. When our gs got involved with "the system" I became sadly aware that justice is capricious and usually determined by the dollar investment in private attorneys. Over the years the CD family has read chapter and verse of inequities in our community. Sometimes I think that if I ever came into big money that I would be a full time advocate for youthful offenders. Truthfully there are many teens who are labeled felons for life after one arrest that does not include violence, the threat of violence, dealing drugs etc. Every employment application requires you to identify yourself as a felon. Innocent people (like I used to be) automatically think violence or long record or sex offender. It's bad.

    Regarding the Miranda rights :sigh: I heard on television two nights ago (I hope I heard wrong!!) that IF a detainee answers
    any questions that it is assumed they have shown they do not want to exercise Miranda. IF I heard right (and I do think I did) how are we to tell our teens and young adults that they can not say anything to the law enforcement officers. Just like
    on television the law enforcement people here are pleasant and chit-chatty with the kids. "Hey, what's up?" "How you doing tonight?" etc. etc. Do we now have to tell our kids to respond to the first upbeat question with "I want am attorney."

    The vulnerability of youth can lead to prison terms and long probations for minimal wrongdoing. It's very sad. DDD
  10. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    I think a lot may depend on where you live. Where we live I think they tend to give a lot of
    chances to youthful offenders. It took 5 arrests (all for petty stupid stuff) for my son to finally get his bail revoked. The two friends who did not go to jail each had 3 arrests. So yes my son did have to plead guilty to a felony which was unfortunate but he only pled to 2 charges out of about 10. Agreed none of them was really horrible and he does have to deal with a felony on his record BUT really he was not going to stop doing these things until the system came down hard. So in another state they may have come down harder than some place else.

    But really something had to happen and as awful as it is to say it they did the right thing by putting him in jail, and then also did the right thing by letting him plea and go to rehab.
  11. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Interesting thread and I agree with everything said. We have had situations with difficult child where she got much more severe punishment through the courts than other participants and some walked away free but I agree that's tough. She still did the crime. We also hired a private attorney for difficult child each time and never reverted it (DJ is an attorney do we know what can happen without one). We do not trust anything a police officer says,even though many really want to help juveniles, even though we have called them many times. Their agenda is different and even if they want to help once it is out of their hands and in the courts anything can happen.
  12. dashcat

    dashcat Member

    Good for you! As a fellow mama bear working on rhino conversion, I applaud you!