Thursday, February 7, 2013

"It is hard to believe a man is telling you the truth when you know you would lie if you were in his place."-- H. L. Mencken

I testified recently at a molestation case.
That is not noteworthy; it’s an occupational hazard.

However, during my testimony, there was a lot of chatter from the defendant to his attorney and then a request for a recess.
Seems the guy wanted to change his plea to guilty.

Since we all knew he was - yet for 2 years has maintained he wasn’t - it was a bit of a Perry Mason moment.
It was nice. It saved us all from continuing with the legal charade and saved a 7 yr old from having to face him again and testify in open court about how he victimized her.
(Don’t for one minute believe that because a child has a taped interview with a forensic interviewer she is spared from having to face her perpetrator – she isn’t. In our legal system, criminals’ rights are more important than a kids psyche.) 

I don’t know why he reached the conclusion to admit his guilt.
I can’t honestly say I care.
I guarantee it wasn’t due to my testimony; I’m not that powerful a witness.

I was allowed to stay in the room while his lawyer and the prosecutor hammered out a plea – and he allocated.
It was a lot like watching them make sausage… I liked it better before I knew what went into it.

The judge asked him a litany of questions – hand to God about 15” worth – all of which seemed designed to talk him out of saying he was guilty. Do you realize you have a right to a jury trial? Do you realize that 12 people would have to find you guilty before you could be convicted? Do you realize those 12 people would have to agree beyond a reasonable doubt that you did what the Prosecutor is saying you did before they could find you guilty? Do you realize that by pleading guilty you give up the right to a trial? Do you realize that also means you give up the right to appeal? Do you realize…. 

After that list of 45 questions came the 25 questions about the legal representation he received… Did you meet frequently enough with your attorney for him to have a grasp of the circumstances of your case? Are you satisfied with the advice you got from your attorney? Did your attorney do what you wanted him to do? Did your attorney or anyone else in this courtroom promise you anything in exchange for your plea? Ad nauseam.

I get that it’s to protect ‘the system’ from allegations of misconduct.
I get the whole attempt to prevent more lawsuits and insure a criminals rights (although WHY an  undocumented immigrant who comes to this country and perps on our children should have the same legal ‘rights’ as one of our pervy citizens is, disturbingly, still a question in my own head.)

I spent a chunk of my time that evening pondering the litany of questions I’d liked to have asked the victim while she was in the ER –

Do you realize you have the right to be 6 yrs old and not molested by every man who comes into your mother’s home/life as a date? 
Do you realize that it’s a parent’s job to protect you? 
Do you realize that you have the right to have your mother believe you when you tell her you’re being hurt – and not call you names and say you’re mean for trying to ‘ruin her chances for happiness’? 
Do you realize that buying a squeaky bed in the hopes that your mother will wake up when her man gets out of bed to come to your room is NOT a form of love or protection? 
Do you realize that sleeping with your sister (who’s also being abused by him) and putting a sheet over your heads to try to hide so he can’t see you is also not what any decent mother should be telling you to do? 
Do you realize that, with a mother like her, your chances of functioning outside a psych facility in your teens is negligible?

OK, so maybe that last one isn't helpful... true, but not helpful!

I also discovered that INS (Immigration) has a 'hold' on him and, after he serves his 2 10yr consecutive sentences, he'll be deported back to Guatemala. Really?

OUR tax dollars have to pay to house and feed this guy and provide him with free medical care for decades BEFORE we can send him back? Hell, let's do it NOW!

I guarantee you, it's a better deal in 'benefits' to how his victim is going to be living!
I left the courthouse 
knowing exactly why Lady Justice 
prefers to be blind!

Me too, sister!

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