Friday, March 22, 2013

another day in court

written by AmpuTeeHee, edited by TheMostImportantGuy 

So after last week's day in court (if you missed the post about it, you'll find it here) things were left with TheBadMan being given yet another week to pay restitution.  The amount to be paid had already been established. The probation department had contacted me to determine the amount prior to sentencing, then furnished that number to both the District Attorney and TheBadMan's attorney. TBM's attorney claimed they were never given the amount and that was why it wasn't paid.

As we were leaving the court last week, the DA asked me to fax her the receipts again, in case they were needed.  I did that, but also emailed her a letter...

You see, I had been regretting that I had left out information in my public statement that day.  I had been so nervous being in the same room with TheBadMan, I left out two key points:

Point # 1 - The DA told the court that TBM's sentence should not be reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor because he showed no remorse. He did not change his plea to Guilty, he changed it to No Contest, and wrote the court a letter stating that this was all just a "merry mix-up" ... an accident that occurred while he was doing target practice.  But I have it in writing from the investigating officer that TheBadMan admitted his guilt when he was questioned.  I also have it in writing from the officer that my assessment of his being passive-aggressive is accurate. And the officer informed me that TheBadMan possesses other firearms in the house that were not confiscated as evidence. (yay me)

Point #2 - I had not yet described my mental state to the court. I had not talked about not sleeping well, or freaking out when I hear noises outside, or listening for his car before deciding whether or not to let the dog out for a pee. I didn't talk about the fact that I have a tazer in the house now.

So I wrote these points in an email to the DA.  Then Tuesday we were back in court.  I was there by myself, which was totally nerve wracking, and I almost didn't go because it was not required. But I really felt like I needed to see this thing through and hopefully gain some closure.

Here's how it was supposed to go:  The case was to be called up, TheBadMan was to have paid restitution or have a cashier's check, the DA would still suggest that he be charged with a felony since he still showed no remorse, and the judge would probably reduce the sentence anyway because of his squeaky-clean record.

Here is how it went:  The case was called up.  TBM had not paid restitution, had no check, and his attorney claimed he was never given the amount (it was given the week before).  The judge told TBM to go downstairs to the collection service and come back up.

But before he went to go pay, the DA asked if she could read my email to the court, amending my statement.  She did, and I just wanted to crawl under a rock.   I felt so vulnerable, and it just made me twitchy.  The judge said that in terms of reducing his sentence, my statement shed new light on things... but honestly, I think she was just trying to put fear into the equation.  I really think that she had no reason to keep him with a felony conviction because he had no priors.

While TBM went off to pay, I sat and waited and watched all sorts of other craziness in the courtroom (it really is so interesting!) like people being sentenced for kidnapping and forgery and stuff.  So TBM and his attorney come back, the case gets called up again, and TBM still has not paid.  I couldn't hear why, as there is no real wheelchair seating in the courtroom... I was in the back... and when I tried to come forward to hear better, the deputy had to ask me to move because I was blocking the aisle. Great, right??  Anyhow, it sounded like there was some reason the court collection services couldn't process his payment.  I have no idea why.  So the judge gave him time to leave the building and go get a cashier's check.  So I waited some more.  Maybe an hour more.  I was told I could leave and the check would be mailed, and quite frankly, were this just about a check, I'd have left.  But it aint.

So he finally comes back, and the check gets passed around and recorded and finally makes its way to me, and then the case gets called back up again.

The DA states that she still doesn't want the court to reduce it to a misdemeanor. She states he should walk out with a felony conviction, and perhaps during his probation period he could approach the court again for a review... and when the judge asks her why she wants the felony conviction to remain, the DA states it's because TBM still shows no remorse.

This is where TBM's attorney steps in and says (basically)  how surprised they are to hear this new statement of stress and isn't it odd that I hadn't mentioned it already. He also restated that all of this was an accident. And this is where TheBadMan himself says, "I have lost a lot of sleep over this myself.  And this has cost me a whole lot of money. But I do have remorse."


This judge was on it, really.  She told him that whatever sleep he had lost, she was sure it could not compare to the sleep I had lost. Over the course of both appearances she talked with him about pets being family members, etc.  But she still had to reduce his sentence to a misdemeanor based on his clear record and hoped that this was an anomaly.  He was sentenced to 30 days in jail, but does have the option to seek work furlough. He will have 3 years of probation and it will involve some work with animals (I'll only get to know the details if the probation department clues me in, and I'm not sure if they will).

I'm not sure yet how I am feeling about it all. It hasn't settled in.

I can tell you that because I try to find the best in everyone, I actually found myself wondering if maybe he was telling the truth and that it really was a target practice accident.  But TheBadMan's attorney said that TBM was first shooting at a tree, but then turned to shoot at a target he had mounted on our common fence, and he heard the dog yelp, and stopped.

Sooooo what kind of fucking asshole (if it WAS an accident) doesn't come over to knock on the door and say something?!  Like, "Oh my gosh! I'm so sorry! I was doing some target practice and heard your dog yelp! Can you check on him?"  And let's say that is just too proactive for the average person.  Well, after I heard my dog yelp, I went over and knocked on his door, and his daughter told me he was in the shower and couldn't come talk to me, so I showed her the bb I had taken out of the dogs eye and told her to tell him I was reporting the issue... and what did he do? Come talk to me? And say, "Oh my gosh! I'm so sorry! I was doing some target practice and heard your dog yelp!"  NO. He got in his car and left.

And why am I even bothering doing this little exercise of looking for the best in everyone and putting myself in someone else's shoes?  None of it explains away the fact that the police officer told me TheBadMan admitted shooting my dog.

Now, it has been brought to my attention that there might be one other explanation for how this incident unfolded.  It comes from my plumber/neighbor (who fixed my draino mistake) who lives on the other side of TheBadMan.  From the very beginning, plumber/neighbor has thought it was TheBadMan's teenage son that shot mt dog, and that TheBadMan was covering for him. 

Hmm. Well. I have thought about this quite a bit.   It still doesn't quite add up for me. None of TBM's three kids live with him, they only occasionally visit. I did not see the son there that day, only the eldest daughter.  That doesn't mean the son wasn't there. But I didn't see him, and he rarely was there anyway.  Right before the dog was shot, I heard TBM yelling at what I thought was my dog. Perhaps his kid was back there and he was yelling at his kid.  That doesn't explain why the yelling would come first and the shooting second, though.  If I was yelling at my kid to stop shooting at something, it would end right there.  And let's just say, for the sake of argument, his kid really was there and did do it.  TheBadMan's attorney said he heard the dog yelp. Wouldn't you grab your kid by the collar and march him over to my house to apologize or something?  I guess what I'm saying is that even if TBM's kid did it, and TBM's covering for him, maybe TBM shouldn't pay the price for shooting the dog.  But then he should pay the price for bad parenting.

I'm still really nervous around here. Court might be over, but this guy is going to have to check in with a probation officer and pay fees and do work furlough and community service, and every time he has to do it he's going to be reminded of how much he can't stand me. I really do not think that every time he has to talk to his probation officer he will be reminded that he did a really bad thing and he is paying the consequences. I see him being reminded of how miserable I have made his life. It makes me really nervous.


Leslie said...

I'm so sorry for what you and your family have had to go through with TBM. I hope you all can find peace, and that TBM comes down with a bad case of crotch fleas.

I don't mean to make light of your situation and hope all goes well. :o)

Much love.

Linda said...

I do not think that anyone who has to report to a probation officer can escape thinking about the path that got them there...unless they narcotize themselves with drugs or drink or...beating wifey-poo. So it seems to me that TBM will have a long time to repent having covered for his son.

=Tamar said...

If he's covering for the son, then he's choosing to take the rap, and that includes taking everything that goes along with the rap. I hope all goes well. At the very least, he did have to pay, and he does now have a record.

Unknown said...

If he's covering to take the rap (and maybe I watch too many crime shows) maybe it's because he doesn't have a record, but his son does, and could do more time and/or get a stiffer penalty. Perhaps that's why it wasn't paid, if he was waiting to get money from his son. Or maybe he's just a douchenozzle. Either way, I hope with all my heart that his community work involves working with injured animals, and that doing so opens his eyes and even his black and bitter little heart, and that if he has to interact with you at all that he does so with respect and humility. And of course I wish you strength and peace.