Monday, September 10, 2007

Phone Call from a Desperate Mom

About 7 am this morning my phone began to ring. Since I have to work tonight and was trying to rest up for it I got up and turned off the ringer. I didn't recognize the number which was Mobile, AL based.

When I did finally get out of bed I noticed that the same number had called me around 20 times. I checked my messages and on one of them was a desperate sopunding woman who said, "I read your letter about drug courts in the Press-Register and I desperately need some help to save my son from going to prison." She gave her number and asked me to call back.

I called her back and this is the story she told me.

She has a 21 year old son, who has never been in any trouble, held a regular job and was raising his two year old son. She said back last year four other men started giving him some trouble, threatening him, driving by his house and so forth. She said they had filed multiple police reports but the cops never did anything. She said one day it escalated drastically when the four men cut her son off while he was driving down the road, pulled him out of the car, beat him badly and stuck a gun in his mouth. They filed another police report and still the cops did nothing. A few days later these same four men started driving by their home again and the son shot at the car twice, hitting the car but not hitting anyone inside. Then the cops decided to do something....arrest her son for shooting into an occupied vehicle.

So, the mom helps the son hire a lawyer and go to court where the judge sentenced him to three years but suspended it and put him on probation. On his first visit to his probation officer, which was 26 days after he was sentenced, he was drug tested and tested dirty for marijuana. His probation was revoked and he has been locked in Mobile Metro since mid-June and is about to be sent away to prison for at least a year.

I have a lot of issues with this whole thing.

First, if the story is being told like it actually happened, then this gentleman's use of a firearm against people who had clearly demonstrated that they were a threat to his life and the lives of his mother and son, was a clear cut case of self-defense. What would you have done in his shoes?

Second, the drug test. It takes at least 30 days and in some cases as many as 45 days before marijuana is out of your system. This kid got tested at 26 days after being sentenced to probation. He may not have even smoked any since he was sentenced...but now he is going to prison for it anyway.

Third...prison for dirty pee. That is about as insane as it gets in my book. As crowded as our prisons are and as many people on the streets that actually need to be in there we can somehow still find room for someone whose pee is not up to government standard. That costs us a minimum of $12,000 a year. What makes it worse is that this young man had a job and was caring for his young son and prior to all of this he had never been in trouble. Now the taxpayers will have to pay for him and his young son. They ripped him out of his life, away from his job, away from his child, completely disrupted everything and caused emotional trauma that will leave scars forever...all for a little dirty pee.

Four, his mother has a private facility for him to be released to for drug treatment. The reason the DOC says he needs prison is to go through the Substance Abuse Program (SAP). SAP program or not prison is no place for anyone who truly needs drug or alcohol treatment. If the mother has a place for her son to go and is willing to foot the bill then why is the DOC still demanding that taxpayers foot the bill?

This has to stop.

I talked with this lady for a little while and told her I would talk around to my people and see what could be done to keep her son out of prison. I also mentioned the Court Watch program that myself and a few good friends have started and asked her interest level. She said to let her know when I can get some folks down there for a meeting and she will have hordes of people who are sick and tired of this shit lined up and ready to do some direct citizen action!

Look out we come..


Dan said...

I've gotta be a little suspicious because of the source. I would need some more reliable information before I jump on board, but it doesn't sound completely unlikely (unfortunately).

Anonymous said...

You have troubles enough of your own to deal with, and yet you find it in your heart to champion the cause of this poor woman and her son.

I don't know how you do it, but I think it's time the rest of us started thinking about how we can get off our butts and do it, too...

-Sepp said...

You can't shoot at people for simply driving past your house plain and simple. Had they been shooting at him or, stopped and got out and became an immediate threat to his life, he would have been justified to shoot and never get to where he is now. I think there is more to this than a failed piss test and "mom" may only have the story her son handed her.