Thursday, December 16, 2010

How Are Court Workers Hired?

Not much to say but wait. We haven't been visiting our son unless we have to because he only gets 30 minutes of visitation per week so we are letting his girlfriend use the time. He is nervous about when he gets out and what will be waiting for him, what he might lose. My talk to him was he loses nothing if he keeps his determination of being clean and changing his life.

I have been trying to deal with court clerks and judges from the other jurisdictions. I'm telling you if these people worked for me they would be among the unemployed. I have been trying to figure out if they were this dumb when they were hired or became that way in their job.

A letter of incarceration handed to a judge stating his release date is May 24, 2011, judge gives him a continuation to March 1. When I tell him to look at the date on the paper, his response was maybe he get released early. When I say, maybe he won't he just tells me to, "Come up to court again and wait 3 hours like today." If I have to go again on March 1 I am going to ask him if he expects people to take him serious when he rules. If he responds yes then I am going to ask him why he doesn't take other with the same seriousness.

Another jurisdiction sent a letter that because my son was eligible for work release he should immediately send money for his fines. When I called the clerk and told her that he was not allowed work release by the judge she responded, "All I know is a letter we got said he was eligible for work release so he needs to come to court and tell the judge they won't let him work. They won't let him out of jail to go to court in another jurisdiction. Duh! I flat told this woman that if a customer service person responded to a customer with answers like she did and in the way she does in my organization they would be unemployed.

Faxed a letter of incarceration to another jurisdiction. Was told by clerk she would tell judge and get a continuation and call me back. No contact, no call. Am I wrong to expect someone to do what they told me they were going to do?

Maybe someone in the legal field would be so kind as to enlighten me if this is standard operating procedure. Truthfully, I am losing more and more respect for our judicial system and law enforcement the more contact I have with these agencies.


Barbara said...

Wish I could tell you how great things are here in the CA courts but its very similar. When we first got involved in all the court stuff I was APPALLED. Keven's public defender (and I sweat this is true, I witnessed it myself) told him he didn't like him and expected him to fail. He said that to a client that he was representing!!!! He said "you won't make it". I wanted to yell "_____ YOU, A____!" which is language I reserve for the most severe situations. Instead I just told Keven later that the guy was obviously an idiot and not all PDs were like that. Lets only hope....

And as far as police officers. We need maybe two in our city - lowest crime place in the USA. But we have a full force of them and they are so arrogant and mean. At least most of them are (and unfortunately I have met almost all of them).

We are very, very lucky to be in a special court now.

LisaC said...

The one "adventure" I've missed in all this drama is the courts and police... Bryan miraculously managed to avoid arrest (during an active 4 year addiction which is amazing). So my heart breaks when I hear the system that I want to believe in as a lawabiding citizen treats people so poorly. I understand they are inundated with criminals and I'm sure some of them (maybe all of them) are horrible. But the men and women that are in jail and/or prison for drugs did criminal things but they are not criminals, and I think that is a really important distinction.

I will continue to keep you and Alex in my thoughts and my prayers as you work your way through this.

beachteacher said...

I am sorry to read this....and OMG,...don't get me started,...especially with the police, sadly. I certainly realize how much our son initiated any contact with the police....but from our experiences(negative situations,of course), former faith in our police force is gone. In fact,recently, as my husband was setting up our Snow Village ...the little lighted ceramic houses and people and buildings we display during Christmas, remark was, "I can't believe we actually have a police station there with the school and church and Irish pub and Marine Corps recruiting place and the houses." (I just might take it out). We've had police downright lie to try to come in and search our house....and actually write a totally false statement about an incident when we called them to our home...resulting in our son being charged with attempted malicious wounding, had never happened at all Fortunately, even the prosecutor said it should be thrown out and it was,...after causing a lot of trouble, including our paying for an attorney (big $) and our son being on house arrest with an ankle bracelet worn to high school. :( That was all from a blatently false statement written by a cop, and it was no mistake,either. Also, one time our son was arrested,..he had $200 on him, and it was also never reported as his within his belongings when bonded stolen by the police. Anyway...I don't any longer trust the police, at all. :(

Barbara said...

Its me again. I know there are good police out there. I will say I've met two that seemed genuinely concerned about Keven. One was after a suicide attempt, the cop was very gentle with him as we waited for the ambulance to arrive. The other time was when they were arresting him and one of the cops gave me a sincere look and said "I'm sorry for what you're going through". But Lori's story above reminds me of all the negative things including the time they convinced me to have him arrested for vandalism but did not tell me it would be a FELONY or I would not have done it. Fortunately out judge had it reduced to a misdemeanor because it was not that much damage (he broke my cell phone and punched a hole in the door). It really bothers me that all my life I taught Keven to respect authority and that the police were there to help us. I guess they do help, but they sure seem to enjoy arresting people with little understanding that these guys are addicts doing criminal acts to feed their addiction, not criminals by nature or choice. (I don't think drug addiction is a choice. If they knew the first few times they did it that they would be addicted, most would choose not to).

VJ said...


I have lived through the same frustration early in my "forced" education regarding the criminal injustice system. I found I was in a no win situation but eventually I did find a different path that proved successful for me. What I did was hire a "legal advocate," in other words, an attorney who was in recovery himself and knew what DA's & judges who would understand my son and his "addiction." In addition, he worked in surrounding counties and that proved priceless. The end result was the legal system actually came together and did a formal intervention which put my son into treatment instead of lengthy jail sentence. The judge said my son would have to finish the treatment program or a warrant would be issued and he would have him serve the full sentence (one year).

If one can't afford their own attorney then, in my location anyway, writing the judge direct and/or the DA is not advised but one can visit directly with the Public Defender. This has been helpful in a few situations, so it is worth the effort. However, the public defender who is assigned to the case may not be the same one the child ends up with at his hearing/trial. And that will make you crazy!!

I found the state employees very helpful when I explained my situation after I said, "I am a parent and I need help." Most of the staff could relate and once I established rapport they usually went out of their way to help me.

Your doing a great job and I know Alex will be stronger once he get's over this struggle. This may just be what is necessary to make his recovery permanent, We can only pray that is the case.

I also learned how to deal with the police but don't want this to go on and on for too long.

Blessings to you and your family.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I thought this was an NJ thing? So sad to hear that stupidity is a nation wide dilemma.

sydney said...

This is what happens when a person is incarcerated multiple times across multiple municipalities unfortunately. The courts don't tend to talk to each other much at all until it reaches the federal level. Frankly he is probably lucky to be able to get out in May. What I don't understand is why you are trying to fix his problem? Let him be the adult and manage his own life.

The horse lawyer said...

Courts, and court personnel, are being forced to do more with less (just like most regular people in our economy.) While it doesn't excuse rudeness on their part, the clerks don't make the policies of the other courts or of their own.

Usually there is a form of some kind that has to be sent from one court to the other - filled out in triplicate, if you please! - but only a lawyer from that jurisdiction would know for sure.

While the court personnel with the exception of judges are (IME)as helpful as they can be, they have extremely limited authority regarding decision-making.