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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Not guilty!!

Justice has been served! Dave was found not guilty on all counts! We are so pleased and so very thankful this horrible nightmare is finally over! There are still battles to fight but the biggest, ugliest, most potentially life-altering one is behind us now. It only took the jury 50 minutes to come to a decision. Many thanks to all who have prayed for us and sent us good wishes! Special thanks to the one who was there with us... you know who you are :)

The cost of justice played its part indeed. Without the money well spent on a good lawyer I have my doubts if things would have turned out so well. No matter what we have to do now to recover from this financial hardship it is worth every cent. I can't help but feel for those who aren't able to manage to come up with good legal representation. The cost of justice is simply out of reach for so many...

I will attempt to fill in the blanks for those who have followed our story over the coming weeks. Among other issues my computer crashed a couple weeks ago. I'm now running an old 5 gig I pulled out of mothballs to get me back online. Minor details in the scheme of things. Dave is free!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Spending nearly every waking moment trying to earn money anywhere & everywhere. Thank the good Lord that I have some diverse skills! I can't keep up with the blog very well right now and we are coming down to the wire. The trial starts in a few days. The entire purpose of this blog was to share Dave's story of injustice and try to get some help with this relatively astronomical legal bill. Getting help certainly hasn't worked out very well. Soon we will know if there is any justice in this farce of a legal system where individuals are guilty until proven innocent. May God help us.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Spousal support? Are you kidding me?

Dave had to take another day off work to attend a conference hearing to modify the child support order and address spousal support. Back to the heart of the city! Dave's wife immediately went after money as soon as Dave was released on bond. So the Family Court that must be dealt with is in the county I lived in when he came to stay with me in December. A different county than the one we live in now or the one his children live in. More unnecessary complications...

I always found it interesting that she went after spousal support. Based on what justification? Even from the very beginning when the only child in the home was hers from a prior relationship she had always been the wage earner while Dave stayed home with the kid(s)& did the cooking & cleaning. This was by far the best scenario since she had zero maternal instincts, couldn't cook and didn't clean. Dave was 17 & she was 21 when they met. She moved him into her apartment. How convenient to have a live-in babysitter & housekeeper!

Requesting spousal support was even more ridiculous in light of the fact she had steadfastly refused to allow Dave to have either of their two vehicles. So he was expected get a job with no employment history & no education, without a vehicle & pay her to sit at home alone? The children were in school all day.

I accompanied Dave to the city primarily because I'm much more familiar with the city & where things are located than he is. We both knew I wouldn't be permitted to be with him at the hearing. When we went to the previous hearing in the same building in February I wasn't allowed to even be on the same floor! So I dropped him off in front of the building and went a few blocks away to park & wait.

He called me to let me know he was done. I pulled up in front of the building where he was already waiting. As he started to approach the vehicle a strange man stepped in front of him. Dave tried to step around him and this man again blocked his path. My son finally got to my vehicle with the man still stalking him and I could hear some of what he was saying to Dave "The wrath of God will rain upon you!" or something along that line. I asked Dave "what was that about?" He said "I don't know. Another nut job on a city street, I guess. What was weird is he was standing right beside me while I was waiting for you but never said a word until I started towards you".

As we headed away from the downtown area we talked about the incident some more. It finally dawned on Dave what had happened. This strange man was the wife's new boyfriend! Apparently, he had to work up the nerve to say something to Dave and when he saw Dave about to leave he was pushed into action. Wow! What a never ending series of craziness.

We did some detective work on the Internet & pulled up her acknowledgment of their relationship & a picture of him. Yep, same guy. Looking at him it was quite obvious why Dave's initial impression was just another nut job on a city street...

Next up - results of the hearing

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Money, money, money

Dave was in jail from Friday morning until Monday evening. On top of the extra stress, this cost us extra money to run back & forth from the city. Dave also lost three days of work at a time when we desperately need all the money we can get our hands on! The end result of Friday's debacle in Plea Court was a date was set to begin jury selection for Dave's trial. A date to modify the court order for child support case was also set prior to his release from jail.

We are quickly running out of time. The judge holding Plea Court pointedly told Dave "these are serious charges, young man, you need to get yourself an attorney." Well, Dave & I both know that. The question is how can we possibly manage this? Dave & I discussed the situation. "What do you want to do?" I asked him. His response was "what can we do, Mom? I know I need a lawyer. I'm pretty sure I'm going to end up going to jail for a long time without one, but we don't have the money! Even if we can borrow money or make payments you are going to be the one stuck with the responsibility of a huge debt if I do end up going to jail. I can't ask you do to that."

That settled it for me. My son might be going to prison for the rest of my life for something he didn't do and he was worried about saddling me with debt! How could I live with myself if I didn't do everything I could possibly do to help my son? I called an attorney that my ex-fiance & I had used last year when my fiance had been falsely accused of a crime. (What is it about people close to me being falsely accused??) I liked the attorney and I trusted him and the charges had ultimately been dropped against my ex.

Good thing I was sitting down when I spoke to the attorney... He said he would take the case for $6,000 to $8,000 plus costs. That amount of money is half a years wages for Dave & I! It took some convincing for him to give me a figure for a down payment. He finally agreed to $3,000 up front and a payment arrangement. Now, all I had to do was figure out where in the world we were going to get $3,000! When I shared the results of our conversation with Dave he said "We have to come up with $3,000 up front? Well, guess I'm going to jail!" I said "don't give up yet, honey. Give me some time to work on this."

Dave's sister is in the best financial position in our immediate family. She has the best job & makes more money than Dave & I put together. I will take some of the credit for the state of her finances because I managed her money & advised her every step of the way to get her where she is. I just helped her make the climb, really. She deserves most of the credit for maintaining her spot on the uphill side. She is an incredibly hard worker and very diligent about paying her bills. However, like a lot of people, the more money there is to work with, the bigger the debt there is.

She indicated a willingness to help but didn't have a few thousand lying around not in use. We talked & we checked & we ran figures. With my help she managed to free up the money for the down payment with the agreement Dave & I would pay it back. I made a consultation appointment with the attorney and Dave, his sister, her boyfriend and I went to see him to discuss the case. She wanted her boyfriend's approval of the attorney before a payment was made. Her boyfriend is going to school to get a law degree and she trusted his judgement.

After an hour long consultation we all agreed to go ahead with hiring the attorney. Sis made the down payment. Dave & I agreed to make $500 payments monthly with an addendum I would continue making the payments myself if Dave went to jail before the debt was paid. The attorney stated the available facts indicated the case was winnable. We all left the office feeling a little better. Just procuring decent legal representation made us feel like we could see a little light at the end of tunnel.

Now... how in the world are we going to pull off paying out all this money? Agreeing is one thing. Accomplishing is another! Hence, the birth of a blog. Surely, there are people out there who care enough about justice to help us. How many people around the world know someone who was falsely imprisoned?

Even if this doesn't generate any financial help, (which all indications are so far it's not doing much) at least I can get this story out to the world. This story is about the incredible manipulations used by unscrupulous people; the ineptness of the court-appointed attorney and the ridiculous legal system that is all about money, and not about justice. This story is about false accusations, guilty until proven innocent and the high cost of justice.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

A ridiculous system part 2

Dave was handcuffed in plea court (where he should have never been in the first place) and isolated. I tried to say something to him from 10 or 12 feet away and from behind a railing but two guards aggressively started towards me like I had just started screaming "I'm going to break you out, Dave!". I put my hands up and backed away. One of the guards was nice enough to come over to me afterwards. He let me know they were taking Dave to the local jail some miles out of town. From there the other county would come get him and he would be taken to jail in the heart of the city.

It turns out doing exactly what he was told to by the "Employment Specialist" wasn't sufficient. Dave was arrested and handcuffed at plea court because a bench warrant had been issued. It was issued when he didn't attend the hearing he was told he only had to attend if he hadn't found a job by then. Really? It's Friday. I know enough about this to know they will keep him over the weekend and there isn't a blasted thing I can do about it. After the last fiasco in December, when he was arrested originally, he memorized his sister's phone number. She is the only one in the family with a landline that could accept collect calls. At least this way we know he can contact family. Or so we thought...

Dave called his sister on Sunday. She said they spoke about 20 seconds and a recorded voice cut in and said "if you wish to receive calls from this person you must set up an account". Then the phone went dead. She called the number they gave her and was informed to set up an account required a minimum of $25. She was told they allowed a 20 second courtesy call but no more than that. I was quite sure Dave would be out on Monday. It didn't seem sensible to waste money setting up a $25 account for only one or two phone calls. What she wasn't told was it was a one-time per phone number 20 second courtesy! We would find this out the next day.

It's Monday morning. I'm not sure what to do. I know better than to try to call anybody in the city court system. It's never possible to get a human on the phone. I drove the hour into the city and had to park four blocks away from the courthouse. By the time I waited in line, emptied my pockets, and got through the metal detector just to get to the information receptionist it was after 9am. I was informed Dave had already seen the judge and would be released later that day. The receptionist advised me to go to the jail to get a time window on when he would be released. On to the jail!

I got lucky and found a parking space 100 yards away. When I walked up to the entrance I noted a big sign on the damaged glass of the door. The sign said no coats, cell phones, or other personal items were permitted inside the jail. I went back to the truck, emptied my pockets, took off my jacket, put my cell phone in my purse and went back again. At least now I can get inside the door. More signs inside the lobby let me know I need to know Dave's prisoner ID number and his location inside the jail to sign in. Yep, guilty until proven innocent is rearing its ugly head once more.

I can already see this is not going to get me anywhere. I opened the inner door where the guard sat by the metal detector. I spoke to him and explained what I was attempting to find out. He said "this area is only for visitation. I can't access any information." I'm sure disappointment was written all over my face. He offered up a phone number to call to see if they could help me. Once back outside I called the number and the not-so-nice voice on the phone said "go home and wait for a phone call". The line went instantly dead.

I'm an hour away from home. I don't want to go home and have to drive back. My options are really limited though. If I just hang out in the city it will just take more money for parking. If I'm down here all day I'll have to get something to eat at some point. I decided to go to Dave's sister's house & wait there. Her number should be the one Dave calls anyway and her house was about 20 minutes closer to the city. Now, to play the waiting game some more.

The hours pass by slowly. His sister has to leave for work and still no phone call. I waited some more. Its now nearly 4pm. I've been at this for more than 8 hours. I still don't have my son or have a clue when I will see him. I decided I was going to drive back into the city. If I must I'll just stand outside the jail until he comes out! At least I will be close by. When he does call it will take me at least 45 minutes to get there. Maybe longer than that at this hour. Just as I have decided I can't stay put any longer I got a call from a friend of Dave's. She said he tried to call her cell phone but she couldn't accept it. That settled it, I'm heading back to the city.

When I got to the jail Dave was already outside waiting. On the drive home I get the rest of the story about the phone calls. He tried to call his sister's number and wasn't permitted to because he had already used up his 20 second courtesy call to that number! He just started calling any other number he knew off by heart. Dave said he heard in the jail prisoners were never released until late in the day. This way the jail was able to charge an additional day for housing the prisoner!

What kind of ridiculous system is this? You are taken away from your family and locked up when you are suspected of a crime. You follow the instruction you are given and you are arrested anyway. You aren't permitted to make even collect phone calls! The only information your family can get is from officials, the majority of which are rude & uncaring. You are kept in jail for nine hours after a judge states you can be released just so the jail can charge an extra day for housing you?

If a person is truly innocent until proven guilty why are people treated like they are lower forms of life? Why are you stripped of your rights as if you were already convicted? Is the only way you can access information or even make contact with your loved one in jail is by hiring an attorney? The cost of justice is just too steep for the average person.