Juvenile courts?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by cmfout, May 4, 2011.

  1. cmfout

    cmfout Guest

    First a little back story - last August, difficult child was riding his bike home to get here before curfew. He came down the southbound lane of the road in front of our home, went towards the center, signaled a left turn, and turned into our driveway. A police officer was a block or so up the road, came down with his lights flashing, and harassed difficult child in our driveway for "riding in the center of the road". When I saw his lights and went outside, he wouldn't let me approach, wouldn't tell me what was going on, and was leaning over Jacob and yelling literally inches from his face - saying things like "you're stupid if you think you'll get away with anything in this town" and other similar nasty comments. Every time I tried to get close and find out what was happening, he would physically grab me and force me away, then asked another officer (who had stopped to see what was happening) to keep me at least 15 feet away. Jacob finally broke away from him and came inside and I asked again what was going on. The cop explained that Jacob was in the middle of the road - isn't he supposed to be when making a left turn? - and he stopped him because "he's the new teenager in town"!! The officer - the first one, who had been yelling at Jacob - then used his chest and upper body to physically "walk" me backwards towards me door. He rubbed his chest and upper arm over my chest when he turned to walk away.
    Fast forward to November. Jacob had been out with several friends and climbed over a gate at a national park that separates the US from Canada. He climbed over, did a little dance, and climbed back over - I've seen the video so I know that's the truth. Border patrol made contact with him and his friends, talked to me on Jacob's cell phone, and told me they'd send him home with the understanding that he wouldn't go over the gate again. As I was talking to Jacob and telling him he'd better get his butt home immediately, the same officer that had given us issues in August showed up and took Jacob's cell phone from him, ending the call. I took off for the park gates with my brother and room-mate in tow. We got there (less than 5 minutes away) to find that Jacob had been handcuffed, placed under arrest, and tossed into the back of a cruiser. Another officer talked to me then released Jacob from the cruiser, telling me that he didn't understand why Jacob had been arrested when a good talking to was all that was needed. The first one (Jacob calls him officer a**-hole and I agree!) tried to keep Jacob and I separated while the other officer was talking to me, but was told by the other one to back off. Jacob, as soon as the handcuffs were off, pulled his shirt off and showed me bruises on his upper arms, wrists, shoulder, and his lower back. We left after being told that no charges would be brought against Jacob. Once home, I took pictures of the bruises (caused by officer a**-hole) and helped Jacob to write down his side of what happened. When the officer took his phone and ended our call, he grabbed Jacob by the wrist, bringing his arm half way up his back. He then slammed Jacob into the hood of the cruiser a couple of times, all the while holding his upper arm and wrist tight enough to bruise him. Jacob struggled and got a good kick in on the cops leg. All of this is on video from the park entrance - none of it's just Jacob's word. This officer has been told by the state police to stay away from Jacob and I pending their investigation.
    Now, the same officer (nearly 6 months later) has sent the police reports (minus his actions) in to the prosecutors office and we've already had an arraignment hearing. Jacob is being charged with trespassing (we agree with this one, he did wrong), resisting arrest, assault on an officer, and obstruction of justice.
    Jacob is not able to fully comprehend the seriousness of this. He can't focus well enough to really understand what he's being told and what could happen to him. His public defender is refusing to allow me to be in the room with him when she's talking to him, and won't discuss his case with me in any way. There is no way he can keep it together long enough to give her all the details that she needs to know to help him.
    My question is CAN SHE DO THIS??? She doesn't know his diagnosis or what's in place for him. She's pushing him to plead guilty to all charges. Doing so would mean up to a year in juvie, when he's worked so hard to better himself and to become a great kid. Does anyone have any advice or suggestions? We can't afford a private lawyer but I can't let her screw Jacob over like this. He should answer for what he actually did wrong BUT he should not be held accountable for the actions of a police officer! The pd is also giving Jacob a hard time about being home schooled, telling him that if he's not enrolled in some type of program it won't go good for him. We follow the laws in our state with homeschooling and he's not enrolled in anything - we're not required under law to be enrolled in any program. Can they use that against him?
  2. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I do not think they can hold Homeschooling against him.

    I would ask a lawyer or the court office if you are allowed to be in the room with him. That seems wrong!

    Have you filed a sexual harrassment against Officer AH yet?
  3. PatriotsGirl

    PatriotsGirl Guest

    I would be LIVID and calling a lawyer. That officer should be in trouble for excessive force and I cannot believe they won't discuss the case with you!!!! They were not like that AT ALL where I live. I was involved in every detail and my difficult child was older. Unreal and I am so sorry you have to deal with a holes like that!! There are BAD cops out there that LOVE to push people around. I, myself, was a victim of such an a hole. :(
  4. cmfout

    cmfout Guest

    We've made so many reports against office A-hole that I've lost count. Sexual harassment and assault, harassment of a minor, excessive force, assault on a minor - everything we've had reason to file on him for. The state police have informed him that he's to stay away from us but he doesn't listen. Just last night, I looked out the window to see him parked at the end of my driveway. When I went out to confront him he said he was "monitoring traffic". Thankfully he left when I told him to. The state police are looking in to his actions but the local town police are protecting him. That's typical here - they have a serious, contagious case of "good old boy" syndrome! They stick together no matter what, and when you make waves for one they'll all look for ways to get you. I so can't wait until I can afford to move out of this town!
  5. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I am having computer problems and am so frustrated because it is important that you know not to let them "get" your son....and this is my third attempt at posting. I'm trying this to see if it posts.DDD
  6. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Hooray. At least I got one through. I can't emphasize how strongly I feel about this issue. We had the same type of "targeting" by a couple of local cops and it had terrible results. Locally they make a major effort to isolate the teen and then push them to "sign this paper and you can go home". Most teens are eager to get home...sign and then later find out that have confessed.

    If you have any funds seek out a private attorney. (Yes, I know about small town attorneys and the police department, sigh!) Do a mental review of the contacts you made with the State police.
    Was there anyone who seemed sympathetic who "might" guide you to a pro bono attorney? Do make sure you have a journal of the incidents. If you don't have one, gather all the notes you may have taken and use that to recreate a journal.

    It's hard to protect your chld from the system. Sometimes it is impossible. Give it your best shot.
    I'm rooting for you and your son. Hugs. DDD
  7. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Make super double triple sure that your child knows he is to say NOTHING to the cops other than that he would like to see his lawyer. He has rights, needs to know he can IGNORE ALL questions, statements and threats and is to sign NOTHING without a lawyer and YOU present. If your child asks for YOU then he has the right to have you there for questioning. HE needs to ask the lawyer to let you into the room. You may need your own attorney to help with this. A bad lawyer can be worse than no lawyer. PUSH difficult child to know he is to sign NOTHING until YOU have read and okayed it. He needs to ask for you until the atty starts to let you in. You must work to help him do this. Role play where you are hte atty and where you are the cops pushing him to say and/or sign things. he MUST NOT SIGN OR GIVE ANY VERBAL STATEMENT with-o a good lawyer. It is time to find a private lawyer. Send requests to every lawyer in your area is you cannot afford one. Or take a couple of days off of work (if at all possible) and go to verious law offices and ask to speak to someone about a pro bono case. I believe that every atty is required to do a certain number of hours of pro bono work by the bar association, so go sit in the offices of various attys and see what you can get done that way.

    I am very sorry. I think htere are a bunch of cops who are crazy in many depts. Sadly they can become obsessed with someone and behave very dangerously. While most cops are decent, in my opinion, there are enough bad apples and a culture of us against them that makes the crazy cops very dangerous. I hope you can keep your son from having any long term problems.

    As your son has diagnosis's of ODD and ADD, the atty needs to know he is not able to watch out for his own interests and you need to be involved. I hope you can work ti out.

    I think you also need your own atty to file charges and a lawsuit against the officer who harrassed you/abused difficult child. It should ask for a ton of $$ for emotional distress and PTSD (sexual harrassment is very hard to come to terms with, esp if now you will feel unsafe around anyone in a cop uniform because that man's actions. You are supposed to feel SAFER with a cop around, not afraid of being harrassed/violated. in my opinion a man who will sexually harrass a woman is often far closer to molesting or raping a woman than most men are - FAR closer. Personal experience, not research, but it is what I have experienced.) Sue the officer AND the dept for that and it will draw some heat off your son. They will likely want it to all go away - your suit and the issues with your son because it is expensive to investigate and defend such a suit. make any settlement contingent on ALL charges being dropped and a restraining/protective order against the cop so he cannot come near you or your son for any reason.
  8. compassion

    compassion Member

    Is there a diversion putrogram. difficult child got in just in the nick of time a few months before 18 in teen court. At age 15, I hired attorney expereinced in civil rights and criminal and youth. It is important o advocate in my opinion. I beleive illness, not badness. Nami has helped a lot too. Compassion
  9. cmfout

    cmfout Guest

    I only have a moment so I'll just give a general reply right now. Thank you all so much for the support and advice. I'll be going around to different lawyers at the first of the week and see what we can find. Jacob is now terrified every time he even sees a cop walking in his direction or driving past our home. He's never had problems with unreasonable fear or anxiety but he sure seems to be having them now. I want so badly to wrap my arms around him and protect him from all of this :(
  10. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    This is nuts... I hope you can get a private attorney.... I don't think the police are supposed to question a minor without a parent present. Maybe I am wrong here but at the age of 14 (difficult child is 14 correct) I think they are treading on pretty thin legal ice. Sounds like one really bad cop there.... I think your best bet is to get a lawyer and for them to threaten legal action against the PD.... usually PDs worry about lawsuits.
  11. exhausted

    exhausted Active Member

    Is there a PO or juvenile justice worker you can get to? I've found a lot of help can come there. NAMI helped us with a parent advocate who educated the PO and JJS worker and the judge quite frankly. Call the public defender and at least explain your son's diabilities. Let him know you believe he is being irresponsible by not including you and that you will report this to the judge in court. You have a right to speak in court. ( You can also write a letter and hand it to the bailiff before court. The judge is to read this. Tell the judge all this stuff. Let him know what you and your little kiddo have been through. They will also be impressed if you tell them you are not ok with the tresspassing and expect him to be accountable, however you cannot sit back and allow this cop to be abusive. Police are suppose to be helpful trusted individuals and this guy has just violated every bit of that. You need to get a lawyer if you can. I know it is so costly-but the pro bono is possible. We often do short consults and have him give follow-up calls or letters to spark people into place. This costs a lot less. But everyone knows we have a lawyer and things move along faster.