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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Grist for the Mill » Grist in the Mill...Literally

   
Author Topic: Grist in the Mill...Literally
LAJD
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Hello fellow Hatrackers,

I got a real eye opener this last weekend. Sat 3am I awoke to find out my son was in jail in Colorado. I don't live in Colorado so the scrambling began to help him.

After a pretty scary weekend, we were able to find an attorney, bail him out and get the story. Turns out, Colorado has a mandatory arrest law for all domestic disturbance calls. In Colorado, if the police are called because of an altercation between two people who are family or otherwise involved, someone is going to jail. Guess how often it's the woman? Right, like never. My son was trying to keep his drunk girlfriend from taking his car and going out to get more drunk. Yes, this girl is peach, isnt she?

Anyway, the neighbors called the cops, since the altercation about who could have the keys had moved from the living room onto the front lawn and it was 1:30am.

The police arrested my completely sober son (have the test to prove it). The drunk girlfriend was left there to actually drive away later in my son's car! The police never even alcohol tested her even though she was screaming at them. My son sat in jail until sunday afternoon. Yes, our lawyer has seen the police report and it agrees with my son's account. None of these people are 21.

Now, he cannot go home because he lives with the girlfriend and there is a no-contact order-since it was considered a domestic incident the Domestic Violence laws kick in and a whole slew of mandatory events now occur.

She feels just horrible about this and has tried to contact the DA etc to help. We'll see how that all works out. Our atty says it will help, to a point.

However, as bad as she feels, she is snug at home and my son is is sleeping on the couch of a friend wondering how he is going to pay for two apts. He is on the lease with the one she is lving in and he is going to have to live somewhere. The trial date is not until March at the earliest.

I am sure that there are women who have been helped by this law but I wonder if anyone has looked at how many young men have been hurt? Doesn't anyone analyze the impact of these laws on anyone other than heinous wife-beaters?

For us, its likely to be 10s of thousands of dollars in legal fees before we are free of this. My son is looking at jail time for a misdemeanor (increased sentence because of Domestic Violence attached) and years of anger management- at his expense. The conviction rate is very high and he did do what he is accused of--> yelling at her and taking his keys from her. Did I mention that no one was physically touched at all. He was just demanding that she return the keys and bellowing at the top of his lungs.

And all of this because he did not want her to drive his car while she was drunk. I am appalled.

You know what he told me? That next time, he is going to let her drive drunk. I am almost more appalled at that. And so incredibly pissed that I can barely speak.

Leslie

[This message has been edited by LAJD (edited January 20, 2009).]

[This message has been edited by LAJD (edited January 20, 2009).]


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Patrick James
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Ever see the tapes of a man beating a woman and men standing by and watching--or calling the police--instead of grabbing the man by his colar taking him outside and teaching him a thing or two? Well I have. It is what is expected of citizens now, preventing such atrocities is vigilantism. Our laws do not trust citizens to have to have good judgement and prevent them from taking such action. I have learned studying criminal justice is that justice is always on the criminals side. Whenever something goes to court the outcome is never just. Sad but true.
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Meredith
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Wow! Not familiar with the Colorado laws, but that sounds like you could almost make a case for descrimination if it's ALWAYS the man that gets arrested. It IS possible for a woman to be abusive, too, you know.

And if she took HIS car after the police took him away and they LET her have the keys, it's a good thing she didn't get in an accident. 'Cause in his place I'd have been suing the cops for giving her control of my property.

If the order of protection is continued, I wonder if he can get the court to order her to pay the rent and take his name off the lease. I'd ask, anyway.

Hope this all gets worked out.


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aspirit
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The police officers involved in your son's case are incompetent. Not all Colorado officers are. I'm familiar with the training my local police (in Colorado) receive in domestic violence, and I'm confident they would've immediately arrested the girl, for her safety as well as others'.

As I recall, woman are frequently arrested on domestic disturbance calls in my city. I don't have the figures in front of me; I'll post them when I find my notes.

From your story, your son lived with the wrong person in the wrong town. His community needs to know about how their officers handled his situation, IMO.


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LAJD
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Thanks Aspirit,
That's really good to know. This has been a completely depressing situation and I would like to think it is due to the incompetence of the police.

Now, lets just hope that all will end well.

Leslie

Oh, and it is in Boulder...where I am sitting now in a cafe, getting ready to see an atty.....

[This message has been edited by LAJD (edited January 23, 2009).]


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C L Lynn
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I have no useful advice like some of the others here. But I must say I am HEARTBROKEN that you and your family are having to suffer this injustice. I'm praying that all will be sorted out in your favor....
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philocinemas
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I, like many of us, don't know what to say, so I second what C L Lynn said. I hope it all works out for you and justice prevails.
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Bent Tree
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I know this may sound bizarre, but write your congressman an email. It really can work. Be as vocal as you can. Write the D.A.,press, governor, mayor. Have a good lawyer and yell as loud as you can; someone will hear you... really. Good luck. I really hope everything works out.
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C L Lynn
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Yeah, put that writing talent to work! Use adjectives!
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Rommel Fenrir Wolf II
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I never get anywere neer a car when i am drunk. i usily walk every were.


RFW2nd


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LAJD
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Thankyou, everyone for your kind words.

I have spent the past few days here in Boulder with my son. He now has a plan, a very good attorney, and will be able to move on, a much wiser person. He has accepted his role in this and understands how the system does not treat everyone the same, but that is the way it is. In many ways, young men are very vulnerable in our current society. But life is not now and has never been fair.

In Friedrich Nietzsche's words, "That which does not kill us makes us stronger."

I only hope now that he will stay strong in his commitments, because fighting these charges will be a long process. At least he does now see what he is up against and what he has to lose.
Thanks.
Leslie
(Now back to those crits!)



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brainie
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Please tell me they've broken up now.
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AmieeRock
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Okay, I have to reply...

I bet nobody in Colorado is shocked that this all went down in Boulder!!! Did you kbnow that the city of Boulder recently prosecuted a woman for dying her poodle's hair with beet juice? I wish I was kidding.

I was a corrections offcier for another county here in Colorado for a few years, and virtually every domestic dispute I encountered involved both parties coming into jail. I remember because it was such a pain to keep the two separated all the time in our limited jail space.


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LAJD
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Sigh, no they haven't broken up. I keep gnashing my teeth and wondering what kind of mother I was to make him pick such a gem. Sigh.

He has decided to keep the lawyer and is fighting the charges. That does mean that the earliest he would be able to see her would be the end of March at his next court date. We'll see. I'll be that she gets bored and moves on, according to his friends that's her MO. No, they don't like her either.

Aimee, it is so good to hear that this is just craziness in Boulder. It does seem like a wacky town.

Leslie


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LAJD
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I thought I would give you guys an update on the resolution of the nuttiness last winter with my son. It's not over yet, but we're in the chute, so to speak.

We did get a very good attorney and it was a good thing. It could have been very bad, indeed.

Evidently, our attorney had been itching for a fight on just this issue. The Boulder DA added a few more charges and it looked grim for awhile but, according to our son's atty that was really just posturing. It didn't seem like it and they went back and forth.

After a few rescheduled court dates our son did get a hearing. The girlfriend, ex by this time, wrote a letter explaining the circumstances and taking some of the responsibility for the disturbance. The letter was not very strong, she was worried about her law school application and what her parents would think. Evidently it was not enough because they would not drop the charges.

The best deal my son could get was a single misdemeanor domestic violence charge for taking her cell phone away. This is considered a very serious domestic violence offense, something that controlling men to do women. Clearly, in this case it was misapplied and that was the argument, but it was a no go. By this time nobody in the court room disputed that he was trying to keep her from driving his car and he thought she was drunk (since there was no test there was no proof she was). It was patently insane. I swear if I never go to Boulder again it will be too freaking soon.

The agreement was that he spent a week in jail and then is on probation for 18 months and must take anger management classes. If he completes this the conviction will be cleared from his record. If not, he is a convicted of a domestic violence offense. He wants to be a paramedic, if this conviction stands he will never be able to do this.

She started law school in September. (Do I sound pissed and bitter?)

We tried to transfer his probation to California, where we live, but the budget problems mean that the state is not accepting any transfers. They would not even talk to us. He cannot go to EMT/Paramedic school until this is over because he cannot pass the background check- he has a conviction on his record now. He is in this weird limbo and trying to work and not get in trouble. He's delivering pizzas, but at least he has a job. He may join the military. We have a strong military tradition in our family, and right now he is volunteering with the Sea Cadets. He likes that.

He's a good kid. I think he'll pull out of this. He isn't dating, thank god.
Leslie



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philocinemas
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Regarding the anger management classes:

I'm assuming he has to attend a certain number of classes over a period of time and then follow up with a court appointment to verify he completed the course. In my state, Virginia, you can take the classes individually, instead of in a group, and complete the course in a shorter time. You may also want to check if the follow up court date is necessary if you submit proof of completion. (I have clients who have been referred to anger management).

Is he restricted from traveling across state lines while on probation? I'm sure his attorney has done this, but couldn't he request a special exception or something?


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LAJD
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Thanks for the suggestions, Philocinemas. He can travel on vacation with prior approval. It's not hard to get. He's been able to visit his grandparents in Oklahoma and will be home for thanksgiving and Christmas.

Colorado only allows 1 class per week of probation. And he must take a class each week, unless he has extenuating circumstances, like he is out of the state or ill. He can take more than 1 per week only if he is making up a class that he has missed.

He can petition early for dismissal of charges at about the 1 year point. He has to show that he is giving back to the community etc. He is going to do that and if he is successful he may be able to make the summer session next year- it will depend on how long the process takes for his record to actually get cleared so he can pass the background check. I'll bet it's not instantaneous. 8).

You know I really should write something up about this and try to get it published. I have been afraid that it would hurt his chances, but I think we are probably beyond that now.

Thanks
Leslie


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