2012-02-29 - 9:48 a.m.
My Hearing is at 3pm today at Loudoun Domestic Court. Interestingly the web site for the court indicates the docket times and it is during the time reserved for CHINS - Children in Need of Supervision cases. I find that interesting as my children were not in need of supervision and I complied with the VA Code of calling the school to inform of lateness when running late. (In fact it made us run later as I wouldn't bring the kids WITHOUT calling first, so even if we were pushing it I would spend the time looking up the number to call as from my reading of the statute the law allows for intervention when there is not communication from parents.)
Seems about as amorphous as "offending the dignity of the state" which was the charge two years ago. In both instances the court also failed to follow the notice requirements which are clearly stipulated in VA CODE for the provisions about attendance: That both parents need to be notified.
I find it facsinating that every step of the way each player disclaims responsibility: Wayde B the spokesperson from the schools indicated when discussing the Denicore's case that the schools don't want to do this; the Sheriff's office in their statement made the point of pointing out this is the first time they are aware of a parent being arrested, and there is at least one comment on a blog from a Sheriff indicating the Sheriffs just have to do their job so it seems they have little support for this (and that is the sense I took albeit they were very professional of course in going through motions. Some had difficulty keeping a poker face and suprise showed and that second of incredulous disbelief I was arrested for 10 and 11 tardy.)
I think the Magistrate who chose not to throw me in jail also kept her poker face but in the questioning "Did you fail to show up for a hearing?" was clearly trying to understand what rational was used to arrest me.
So the whole intent of the law on the books and the intent of this action seems incongruent. Most interesting is that each step of the way those implementing the order to arrest (which came from the Truant Officer) and then the school spokesperson disclaim that is was their choice. The school acts like they are at mercy of the court which is just a blatant lie as it is the choice of the truant office to refer a situation to a court for possible intervention. The truant officer makes the argument before a magistrate to issue the warrant for arrest. It was trusting the role and judgement of the truant officer who made this decision that was why the magistrate issued the paperwork. And why shouldn't the magistrate trust the judgement of such officer? In this case the magistrate likely did not have the VA CODE in front of him/her and likely presumed the officer actually read it . I question the Truant officer actually ever did read the law carefully at all.
The court however is now the place to question whether that judgement was sound.
Reality is however that the Domestic Court is not a court of record. Since I have been brought in court two years ago and paid $1850 then, and my children are still young- as far as the question of what happens today both in regard to what I expect and what I would like to happen I have mixed feelings.
Two years ago I plead nolo contendare. That thwarts any policy objective of the court , if indeed that is what motivated this .
If the goal is to extend the statute I think the only real way to do so is have a case in circuit court which is a court of records.
The best way to prevent any possible egregious extension of the law which is not justifiable is in fact the nolo contendare plea OR LOSING in domestic court and then WINNING clearly in a de novo case in circuit court. Provided of course there is a fair trial system in circuit court and the fact the elements of the statute allowing to bring parents to court in cases where kids are absent on five occassions and the parents don't know the whereabouts of the kids those five days are NOT met in the situation where kids are late.
That is the way I see it.
Therefore I guess I still have mixed feelings as perhaps it is a valuable thing to engage in the game to prevent others from undergoing the harassment , however at the same time perhaps its best I just go and try to win this in Domestic Court and be done with it.
If I KNEW that others would be harassed it would be a clear choice for me.
I would like to believe that is NOT THE CASE. I can't imagine anyone being THAT UNHEALTHY.
Yet it is really odd and hard to imagine that a judge or a court wouldn't have better things to do with their time than pick this as the foremost policy agenda to try to affect change in.
Furthermore it seems unlikely that a JUDGE or court would try to change policy by forcing a square peg into the round hole of the law. OK Maybe they CAN strech the hole and squeeze it in-- but it will be clearly precarious.
As far as my lateness, guilty if CHARGED with being late- but that is not a crime. It is not GOOD for me or anyone else, but alas, not criminal behavior. I understand how frustrating it is when you are in early and others are not! ( Heck the irony is that I LOVE The group I work in but we have West Coast clients and team members, those who commute from D.C and choose to drive later AFTER rush hour and work later AFTER rush hour to commute two hours instead of four a day- so most often I am the FIRST ONE into the office. Yes sometimes it stinks if I have my work done but have to wait on others and they are in full swing late afternoon when its my bio-rhythm NAP TIME and I am mentally foggy and not alert and then I have to push through it at work til 7:30pm at night cause the whole team is in full swing 4-7:30 pm. So YES those of us who thrive on the 8-4 schedule and who are in at 8 or 9AM DO understand the self centered perspective that someone else's lateness is a disrespect to you. See I see that perspective as a SELF CENTERED view. Why does anyone else have to act like if someone else is late it is in some way at all ABOUT THEM?
But I digress...
I am tempted to go dig in the dirt and do some gardening, and then color my hair as after all I have a day off. I will however do some legal research to prepare for the case although frankly to do so makes me feel very much LIKE a pawn.
I suppose I am still bothered a bit that the judge didn't ASK me my plea. She was dismissing me and I said " YOu didn't ask me for my plea. Isn't that the point of this , hear the charges and enter plea?"
She said " I presume you are pleading not guilty"
I have to. I have this little habit of mine. Its called not lying. It can actually be annoying. I plead nolo contendare last time which also was not a lie as it was CLEARLY in my best interest to not undergo a trial at ALL at that juncture.
There was no point. It was tempting to do the same just for the EASE of it. Money can always be earned but peace of mind at times is harder to come by and worth more to me frankly. I would rather pay fines than have to be in a room with an abuser frankly. I have had a full blown breakdown in court before when I was expected to be seated next to him- and although I don't see that happening again, I really would pay anything in the world to not be around him. Considering the amount now is at $100K in legal fees honestly, it is so damn tempting when this action came forward for my sanity to just plead NOLO CONTENDARE. I mean what is a couple thousand more in the big picture? ( See in my mind this is very connected as I was never brought to court for tardy of children when we were married and we were later and later more often then! In other irony my oldest is on scholarship at college and was offered another full scholarship she didn't accept so it seems clear I hadn't "contibuted to delinquency" of her when I lost my keys and couldn't drive her on time.)
Let me pay your fine and leave me alone.
I guess fundamentally I am just so tired of court. The zeal is gone in feeling excited and motivated to use the court to try to affect change in the world. Perhaps it will come back again someday. But now I am a little tired more than anything.
Suppose that apathetic "whatever" attitude is still lingering just a little. That is what happens when in a situation where one is powerless. You learn to submit completely to survive. Its amazing because some have the impression that an accussed who is not guilty of something will be adament in their arguing otherwise. Not always the case. Sometimes the innocent are the most meek simply as they have learned along the way that the negative energy of a fight is not worth it if they can not affect change and their survival is more important.
I also notice that it is the liars who are often the MOST adament . They are the ones who never give up it their attempt to make their lie seem credible. Those of us who are truthful often just don't really give a damn what anyone else thinks- as our consience is clear and in the end that is truly all one needs to have peace.
Peace is within.
I am going to do what is my recipie for success: Already ate a good breakfast, and now I am going to take short a nap. ( I swear that is why my kids are smart and A students. I insist the sleep and eat well!) After that, trim a couple plants that I noticed could use trimming and enjoy checking out the many tulip bulbs that are sprouting early due to unseasonably warm weather.
Hopefully by the time this afternoon rolls around I will be relaxed and playfully ready to enter the game. It really was fun the last time as I was in a decent frame of mind (OK Angry actually- but motivated), and gave a good delivery. Will rest and a little prep I am sure I can convince this court that common sense should prevail.