question about the court thing

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Kjs, Dec 12, 2009.

  1. Kjs

    Kjs Guest

    The more I think of this issue, the more upset I get.
    They have a dress code at all the schools here. Underware cannot
    be showing. T-shirts under polos. Pants cannot be hangging down.

    NOW....IF this kids was dressing according to dress code, his pants would NOT have come down.

    Can I say something or should I keep quiet.

    Again, difficult child has NO idea how we feel. We are letting him think about it, and how wrong it was to embarrass someone.
  2. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I must have missed something- can you detail the specific situation a little more? And if this is just a situation of disobeying a dress code at school, what on earth does that have to do with court?
  3. Kjs

    Kjs Guest

    difficult child and his friend were in the commons. difficult child "pantsed" him. The new liason officer saw and hauled difficult child out. Ofcourse this is a new officer and does not know difficult child at all. difficult child started arguing, officer called the police. He was going to have difficult child arrested and hauled out in handcuffs for "obstruction" because he yelled. This new officer is really young.
    A teacher stopped him (although there were two squad cars there when I arrived). difficult child was joking. Nobody filed a complaint. Liason officer gave him a $235 ticket and court for the ticket.

    But, when I think about it...If you wear pants that fit you and don't hang down, even if someone tried to pants you your pants would not come down. So, obviously his pants were hanging to begin with.

    It is hard to talk to difficult child about because I am angry, think they went way to far. I don't want difficult child to pick up on how I feel.
  4. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I don't konw what to say- but if I were you, I'd try to get my say in court even if it means hiring an attorney for myself- and in my Department of Juvenile Justice jurisdiction a parent gets blamed but usually doesn't get to say anything in Department of Juvenile Justice court without their OWN attny. I say this because when my som was about 8-9yo, he took an obvious squirt gun to school (yellow or green, clear plastic, huge white trigger) and it fell out of his pocket- he never threatened anyone with it. It was given to him as a reward from cub scouts the night before and I had told him he could not take it to school- but he did anyway. I was willing to back up a punnishment for taking a squirt gun to school when he knew he shouldn't have, but when it got to a point of threatening to arrest him for taking a "look a like weapon" to school, I had a major issue. I think this is what forces parents to swing too far in defense of our kids- but we have no choice, in my humble opinion. I swear, people making these rules have NO common sense anymore.

    Your difficult child misbehaved, but it was a typical misbehavior for his age and does not warrant an arrest or appearance in court....but sd's have minimal discipline ability anymore and parents have minimal authority. I can't begin to tell you how I think about it.
  5. Farmwife

    Farmwife Member

    I have never been in your particular situation but do sadly have some experience with courts. I can share my observations.

    1. Some judges are nice some are not. It is always a safe bet to quiet your anger. Absolutely speak your piece but do it in as neutral a tone as possible. Being assertive is not always good if the judge just had a person act the fool an hour before your turn. The justice system isn't always fair so expecting it to be can be frustrating.

    2. Facts ONLY. So many people get emotional or bring up things that are not relevant which detract from things that may help. Judges get edgy when people ramble about things that they think are important but are not what the judge needs in order to determine specific rules of law. too much information is a major problem in courts.

    3. This is a juvenile court so unless your difficult child has a long record already the judges usually want to keep kids on the right path. Throwing the book at kids at this age is not a good long term plan. It is up to the judges discretion as to what to do, they do not have to give the fine. Often in juvenile cases they may exercise other options such as dismissing it if it seems silly, ordering counseling, ordering community service, allowing payments, reducing the fine etc. etc.

    4. Your difficult child's underlying conditions will make a HUGE difference. A kid with problems is looked at differently than a delinquent who just decides to be a menace to society for fun or cool points.

    5. The first appearance is rarely the end. There can be many preliminary meetings before an actual "trial". I assume this is a misdemeanor. Although upsetting to you it is not a big deal to the court system and is usually sealed when difficult child turns 18.

    6. If you cannot afford the fine tell the judge. If difficult child is found responsible it is up to difficult child to work it off. Sometimes they have kids do volunteer work in lieu of a fine. If you are on hard times and doing what you can there is no reason why the family should be short on bills.

    7. The liason officer may be a bit wet behind the ears but perhaps you could take that up with the school. I assume they understand the situation. Maybe there is a way to make peace and have them go to the hearing to say your difficult child has been well behaved since. Even if difficult child was not 100% wrong an apology would go a long way. Upsetting the apple cart at school may not go in your favor. Creating an adversarial relationship with the school even if you are right can only hurt difficult child even if unfair.

    8. The dress code will not matter in the court. The judge is there to decide if your son broke the law. it sounds like your difficult child is charged with obstructing which has nothing to do with the depansting. The "crime" sounds like it was the mouthing off after. The actions taken by the other student or the validity of the school rules will not come into play. Although it is all related the judge is not presiding over the fairness of the school policy. The judge has to decide if difficult child actually obstructed, nothing more nothing less.

    9. Do a search of state laws/statues. You can dig into juvenile court laws, school admin. code etc. It is dry reading, sometimes confusing and takes a lot of time but the "law books" are available to the public online or at the local court. Sometimes information can give piece of mind. I saved myself some problems by informing myself and have had cases dismissed that may otherwise have been problematic.

    10. Breath. I know you are upset but you have to be clear minded to get good results. I understand the frustration, believe me. The court isn't as scary as many people imagine. You will be fine. Hopefully this will blow over and may be a valuable lesson for difficult child.

    Good luck
  6. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    This is a stupid over-reaction by the school in my opinion but I dont think you saying that if the other kid had pants that fit, he couldnt have been pantsed because that isnt going to fly. Unless pants are nailed to someones body, they will fall down. I really doubt this charge is going to stick unless it sticks because of the language your son used. If they got him more on his attitude and rude and obnoxious behavior AFTER the incident you may have a bigger hurdle. For that, he may need the lesson this teaches him. This ticket thing isnt a big deal like getting a felony slapped on him. Its one of those things they use to try to teach kids some real life consequences.
  7. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Having spent many years in a school uniform, if kids are determined enough they can pull down even properly fitting pants. It leaves some serious scrapes and even bruises though. If the pants are too tight the student might have left them unbuttoned, which would make them quite easy to pull down. While that might be the case, or the student might just have been out of the dress code, I fear that you will cause more problems by pointing this out.

    IF the pants fit properly and your son pulled them down then they may up the charges to assault of some kind.

    If the pants didn't fit right or were improper for the dress code, it sounds as if you are trying to switch the blame away from your son.

    The school and the court will say that what the other boy was wearing was not the problem and has no bearing on your problem. Or they will say the boy was within the dress code and your son hurt him. You do NOT want this, of course.

    It would be best, in court, to not bring this up, in my opinion. If the court and school think you are trying to switch the blame away from your son and onto his victim (the other kid is a victim in the eyesof the school and the court, most likely.), then the school and court will start to blame his problems on you. They will blame you because you try to keep your son from being responsible for his actions. They will latch on to this and everything else you have done, or will do, will all be looked at through the lens of "she says it is always someone else's fault".

    It is dumb and idiotic of the school to be so narrowly focused, but they usually are. Especially once something has gone to the level where the court is involved.

    Do you think your son needs an attorney? An attorney might be able to bring this up without the problems that will come up if you bring it up.

    Or the lawyer will know that it won't be considered relevant in this hearing.

    It really does sound like the new liason officer is trying to assert authority however he can. He probably feels very insecure, esp if he looks close in age to the students.

    Sadly, our difficult children have mouths that escalate everything they are involved in to new levels. This time it is to a new level of bad. HOpefully he will be able to control himself during the hearing.

    If you have questions about if attorneys are recommended or whatever, call the court clerk. It also might help if you had the judge's name and the clerk would be the person to ask about that also.

    Good luck. I am sorry this all got so overblown. But you know how your difficult child's mouth makes you crazy. Imagine how it looks to a new officer who isn't very confident in his position and abilities (as yours sounds like). I can see how the constant challenges and jeers could make the officer keep taking it to the next level. A more seasoned officer could have handled it differently, but everyone has to start learning somewhere.

    Gentle hugs,
  8. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Exactly Susie. Cory almost got himself maced at one school because he kept running his stupid mouth even though he was doing exactly what he was supposed to be doing! He was running an errand for a teacher from the first floor to the second floor and he even had a hall pass on him but when the school cop asked for it, Cory got mouthy and said something idiotic and the guy went off on him...just because he was a BED kid and Cory said something back and it was on. If I hadnt walked in right then for an IEP meeting and saw what was going on..and the can of Mace was in the cops hand...Cory would have been sprayed. I was both of them!

    Number one...they all knew Cory wasnt violent and Number two, all they had to do was walkie talkie the BED teacher to confirm. Mace is a last resort. All Cory was doing was talking belligerently.
  9. skeeter

    skeeter New Member

    I only have immediate experience with juvenile traffic court. I have a lot of experience with adult court through our Court watch volunteering.

    My son got a ticket for going 45 in a 35. It was after a school dance, at 1am. He was driving my car instead of his truck, and going down a long hill near the school. In his truck it wouldn't have been an issue - it wouldn't have been going that fast. In my car, you have to ride the brake on that hill.

    Being juvenile, I had to go with him to court.

    He dressed nicely. He was respectful. The judge looked at where the ticket was given and asked him about it (and also winked at me - he knew exactly what had happened). The judge then proceded to ask him questions - where he went to school, church, where he worked (not "if" on any of these, where). He asked why N was speeding and N answered truthfully - it was my car instead of his truck and he just didn't think to ride the brake. Didn't make excuses, he admitted he was wrong.

    The judge didn't fine him at all, or put points on his licence, but did have to charge court costs. He told my son IF he got in any trouble after that, he would add the points. Son had the money to pay the court costs (he actually had brought enough to pay both costs and fine if he had gotten it).

    Your best bet is to stay "on topic". The condition of the other child's clothing is not "on topic". What your son did or didn't do is. Your son is the one "in trouble" not you, so your son must do his best to make himself present as respectful. Unless you are specifically asked to talk, don't. If you are asked to talk, don't make excuses, don't blame the school or the resource officer, again, stay on topic.
  10. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I'd get an attny involved. It probably woon't get dropped because they don't like dropping charges that come from school. But, with an attny you can ask for certain things that you woon't have opportunity to ask for probably without an attny. For instance, sometimes the judge debates between paying the fine and finding him guilty or deferring it for one year with one year of probation- and if that year on probation is done successfully with no more bad behavior, it is dropped. Here, they will not let a parent speak usually but will (have to) let an attny speak. Although the deferment and year of probation always sounds better than a guilty finding, knowing what I know now, I would go for the guilty finding, paying the fine and keeping him off probation so it can be over with now. This is such a minor offense it might not matter but I would avoid probation if possible, knowing what I know now.
  11. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Maybe its just your state K...but here, they do regularly talk to parents and the kids and then make a decision on whether the charges from the school are legitimate. Cory was referred (I guess that would be the word) in 5th grade for taking a boy scout knife to school. Yeah he shouldnt have done it but he was playing with it from Billy and thought the fork, spoon and scissors on it were cool. He wanted to show it to his class for show and tell. He didnt consider it a knife because it had all those cool things in it. The school of course, freaked.

    They called us in and said they were referring it over to the juvenile authorities. Oh great. I was astounded. I was even more shocked when I got there and a guy who I used to work with was our court counselor! Eek! Talk about embarrassed. He listened to what Cory had to say, heard about how we had him in therapy and under a psychiatrists care and that Cory had a tech with him at the time this happened...and dismissed all charges. Obviously no intent to commit harm.

    Later on when he was in high school, someone attempted to throw a knife down in front of Cory and claimed that if fell out of Cory's back pack. They wanted to cuff him and hall him into the juvy cops. They called us to the school to discuss it and showed us the knife. Now at this time I was searching his stuff before school and after school and he was riding to and from with a way for him to access a knife. This was not a knife we ever had. We refused to let him take the fall and said unless they had an adult who SAW this way was he saying he did this. They couldnt prove it.
  12. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I don't know if it's this whole state or just this county- I have no doubt the personnel in our county are extreme- and now that the judge is leaving, I have no hope.

    Moving to NC is looking better and better all the time. There just seems to be less work there than here.

    Kjs- is there a way for you to find out how your coourt authorities there do things and how they "lean" before your court appearance?
  13. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I have no doubt there is less federal work here unless you check with Coast Guard or Navy yard in Morehead City. There is a small one there. There is some FBI offices I am sure you could get on somewhere with DSS. Just have to find out which counties are hiring. The pay isnt great but you can live on it in some of the smaller counties because the cost of living is lower. Rent here is MUCH lower than up there.

    Oh...another thing to consider...teaching some form of your degree at a community college. Like I said, dont know what you do but say you have a degree in Accounting, you can teach a night class in Basic Accounting or Budgeting or something like that and earn some money.