Thursday, May 29, 2008

I'm innocent.. really!

Well, I have been in court all morning long. Fortunately, it was not on my own behalf! I shadowed with the court advocate from Friend to Friend this morning. We had about a dozen or so clients that had to appear today. Of course, these are all things like restraining orders and stuff. Some people had the FTF lawyer assisting them, and others attempted (bless their hearts) to represent themselves. Most of the cases were cut and dry - many of them one person didn't show up and the whole thing was dismissed. Some were much more involved.

For example, the one between a husband and wife where she swore that he had threatened to "blow her effing brains out" while he sat there crying. He had a tape recording of her saying that she was making it all up, but wasn't allowed to play it because the guy who recorded her didn't show up in court. She ended up getting the restraining order and temporary custody of their two kids.

Or the couple who broke their restraining order by sitting together in the courtroom. They were there for her to drop the order against him. Everytime the judge turned his head, the guy was mouthing things to her - angry things, and yet she was still dropping it. The judge asked her all these questions -

Judge: Is he forcing you to drop the order?
Girl: No.
J: Did he offer anything to you to drop the order?
G: No.
J: What makes you think he doesn't want to kill you anymore? (This couple had been in this courtroom twice already for him beating on her, holding a gun to her head, etc.)
G: Well, he says he's gonna take abuser classes and stuff.
J: Okay, well, has he signed up for them yet?
G: Well... no.. but, he says he's going to.

It just made me so sick! All of us from FTF were looking back and forth, and we just wanted to go over and shake her! But I know that it's hard to leave that situation, especially if you don't have any family in the county or anything.

On a good note, we did have a girl move out of the shelter today. She has been working really hard for 3 months, and finally got up enough money to rent a trailer with a girlfriend. I think she'll do really well. Success stories make everything better!

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