Teen Legal Trouble

My son is 21-years-old, but when he was 14-years-old he got into some trouble with 3 other boys.  Yesterday, we went to the Douglas County Juvenile Court to get his record sealed because today he is trying to become a EMT and we don’t need anything from his youth to pop up on a background check.  While we were waiting, there were all these other boys coming in with their parents because of trouble they had gotten into.  Every time a new parent came in I wanted to reach out to them and let them know this didn’t have to be the beginning of a life filled with trouble.

Matt was actually a good kid growing up.  Starting at the age of 9-years-old until the age of 11-years-old, he had 9 brain surgeries.  Due to all the surgeries and pain he was in, he developed an addiction to pain killers.  By the time he was 16-years-old, he had kicked his addiction, basically quit high school and went to work.  Overall, he might sound like a problem child, but he wasn’t.  His demeanor was very laid back and he never questioned why he had to go through all the things he had to go through.  He did hang-out with some bad influences, but who doesn’t.  Eventually, he saw those influences for what they were … weights to his goals.  The point is, he turned all that around.  In 2016 he went to night school and got his GED while working a full-time job installing windows.  Then last August, he started West Georgia Technical College in their EMT program.  Today, he is about half way through and he has a grade point average of 4.0.

He isn’t the only one who has done this.  Look at Jose Bias.  He was a high school drop out also, but he got his GED and then went to Law school to become a Lawyer.  Today, he is hailed as one of the greatest lawyers for winning one of the biggest death penalty cases in the State of Florida for his Criminal Defense of Casey Anthony.

It can be done.  I was looking at these parents and teens in that court waiting room yesterday and the feeling was: “this is it”.  I wanted to stand up and start explaining to them, parents and teens, this don’t have to be it.  This is one mistake.  Sit up (because most of them were leaned over and had their shirt pulled over their heads sleeping while waiting for their name to be called), you hold your head high and when your name is called, you march in there and let that Judge know, “yes, you were young and you made a dumb mistake, but sentence me as you will because I am going to march back in here in 6 years and ask you to seal it from everyone because I am not going to let this mistake determine who I become”.

Often, we as parents don’t realize how important our job is.  Or we don’t understand how we handle problems is how our children will handle problems.  I never allowed either of my boys to think that a problem should determine what you do or who you become.  No matter how many problems popped up in my life while I was raising my boys, I always held a job and I always overcame whatever we faced.  These parents in this room seemed like they too had given up.  We can’t give up.  We must continue to fight for our child and push them to do what they need to do.  If school is dragging them down for one reason or another, then let them quit and get their GED and/or get a job.  Sometimes, it is the institutions of education that bring our children down and it is up to us to show them another route.  No, dropping out of high school isn’t one of the goals in life we have for our children … but if the school is hindering them from becoming something, then maybe we need to show our teens how to look outside the box.  Those boys in that room were giving up because their parents had given up.

Today, my oldest is 23-years-old and he is an Advanced EMT with a little family of his own.  My youngest is 21-years-old and he is in school to become a EMT (although he has his sights on Paramedic).  I couldn’t be prouder of either of them.  The troubles they got into as teens have been sealed away and they have nothing but the sky to reach.  We as parents are to show them how to do that.

 

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Justice … does Justice have a color … a age … a job title?  Martin Luther King once said, Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.  We have so often claimed that this kid or that kid “fell through the cracks” … the “cracks” of what?  The cracks of society?  The cracks in education?  The cracks in family?  By now, you probably have a pretty good idea where I am headed with this … or not.

On October 20, 2017, Jashaun Matthews and Jordan Wilson, both 15-years-old and a unnamed 13-year-old were 3 of the 5 people that beat a 56-year-old pizza delivery driver to the point that he was in a coma for 3 days and was in the hospital a little longer due to his injuries.   This took place on Baltimore Avenue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  Matthews and Wilson are both charged as adults and the 13-year-old went to Juvenile court.

pizza beater

On October 18, 2017, Kyle Anger 17-year-old, Alexander Miller and Trevor Gray both 15-years-old, Mark Sekelsky and Mikadyn Payne both 16-years-old were throwing rocks off an overpass in Genesee County Michigan when one of the rocks hit and killed a 32-year-old man that was in one of the passing vehicles.  They have been arrested and charged as adults for this act.  They are charged with 2nd degree murder and they were denied bond.

Rock throwing

I could go on and on with stories just like these.  Try Google searching:  Teen shoots another teen in blah blah town … it will pull up several listings of such.  My question is this … Do they know what they are doing is going to put them in prison for life?  By the way, it will never be the death penalty because teens can’t get the death penalty.  Another fact to keep in mind, a 13-year-old cannot be charged as an adult, they are sent to the juvenile courts while their friends that are only older by one year can be charged as adults and sent to prison for LIFE.

Something is wrong with our teens.  Either they truly are “falling between the cracks” or we as adults have given up on them entirely too soon.  If they have “fallen between the cracks” or we gave up on them too soon … have we taught them all they needed to know about the law before we cut the strings to the apron?  Do they realize that the crimes they are committing is going to put them in prison for LIFE?  Do they even understand what LIFE is?  My heart is breaking tonight for the teens that are literally facing LIFE in prison and they can’t even tell you how it feels to stay a month in their rooms with no friends … no phones … no game systems.

Please don’t mistaken my broken heart as victim blaming … and I am not trying to say that these victims don’t deserve justice … because they do.  That is just what I am saying … everyone deserves justice.  The 8th Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits the federal government from imposing cruel and unusual punishment for federal crimes.  The Amendment states, “excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishment inflicted”.  Most of these teens have never had a job … as a matter of fact, most of them can’t get a job because companies can’t hire people under a certain age (I think in Georgia it is 15-years-old).  Any bail or fines that we impose on them is already above what they can afford.  Locking them up for lightyears … and that is what it feels like to them … is cruel and excessive.

I know not everyone agrees with me … dang, I wonder how much I actually agree with myself when thinking about all this.  We have let our teens down.  We gave them way too much responsibility way too soon and now they are in a lot of hot water for it.  Who is the one that we should be shaming … is it the school system for not holding their interest and giving them a reason to want to go to school?  Should be shaming the parents for being at their wits end and not knowing what to do or where to go to get help?  Should we blame the police for not being more kind to our kids when they lock them up?  Surely there is someone we can blame.  I don’t want to blame anyone.  I want to find a solution.  Has anyone ever thought if we do find a solution for this problem … we might also find a solution the jail overcrowding because most of the adults that are in prison started their crimes as teens.  I can’t help feeling that there is something that can be done.

One thing I do feel for sure is that we are punishing these teens with entirely too much.  Most of them never knew what it was to be punished at home and now the prison is doing more to them than they have ever had done.  I had to blog about this tonight because this has been keeping me up at night for the past couple of weeks.  I want to know what it is that we can do to stop this problem and help these teens.  Please join in a discussion and in the comments, let me know how you feel.  What do you think about this?  Have I got my heart in the wrong place?  Should I feel more sympathy for the victims than the suspects?  Let me know what you think.

 

COULD IT HAVE BEEN PREVENTED????

As you know, I am one to ask questions of a person that might give me some sensible answers.  My mind is going with questions all day and night.  The questions I have been asking myself lately is about this Christopher McNabb that is accused of killing his 15-day-old infant daughter.  Who is he and what lead to where he is now?  Were there any signs that we could have used to avoid this?  Were there people that ignored the warnings?  Could you hold those people responsible for ignoring what they scene?  Questions … Questions … QUESTIONS!!!

As you can tell, I am outraged about this case.  About the time I can sit back and relax and relieve myself of the stress of details of one case, I am hit with the details of another.  Now that I say that, wonder if one had anything to do with the other?

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Christopher McNabb is 27-years-old and he is facing the following charges:

  • Felony Murder
  • Malice Murder
  • Aggravated Battery
  • Concealing the Death of Another

Some of his previous charges are:

  • Obstruction of Law Enforcement Officer – Fayette County
  • He had 4 misdemeanor charges to with this one in Fayette County
  • Theft by Taking – Coweta County
  • Burglary – Bartow County
  • Burglary – Bartow County
  • Theft by Taking – Bartow County
  • Theft by Taking – Bartow County
  • Theft by Taking – Bartow County
  • Burglary – Bartow County
  • 2nd Degree Criminal Damage to Property – Bartow County
  • Burglary – Bartow County
  • Theft by Taking – Bartow County
  • Theft by Taking – Bartow County
  • Entering Vehicle – Bartow County
  • Theft by Taking – Bartow County

With all these charges, he was sentenced to 5-15 years in prison.  As we know, when

They first went to arrest McNabb, they hadn’t found the baby yet, so they held him on a probation violation.  He had just got out of prison last year.  In that year, he made up for lost time … he immediately got a woman pregnant and ended up killing that poor child … oh, and he is back in jail without bail.

Were there no signs that this guy might be violent?  I am sure to his girlfriend, there were signs.  I am also sure that she never told anyone about those times … or no one was ever able to convince her to leave him because of it … one of the two … and I have to wonder which.  Let me elaborate on why that would matter to me.

If she never told anyone about the domestic violence in the home, then it is very possible that she was the only one that could have seen the dangers of living with this man and she was blinded by either the abuse or the love.  I am still on the fence as to whether or not a woman in that state is able to make logical decisions.  One part of me say, yes, she has been hit by him, she has probably seen him get a little too mad at the 2-year-old that was in the home, but she is so abused that she thinks if she leaves him, it will only get worse.  Then there is another side of me that says, no, she sees the abuse, she has experienced the abuse and she knows that the only thing to do is to leave.  Those are the questions people have been asking themselves for decades and I don’t plan to keep hammering that nail here.  However, I do believe she knew full well what happened to Caliyah and I believe that although she may not have been able to stop it from happening, she most certainly knew it was a possibility to happen.  My questions now revolve around the other daughter.  How many times has she been hurt by McNabb and yet she remains in Courtney Bell’s custody.  How long is this going to go on before someone intervenes on that little girl’s behalf?
Let’s say that Courtney is so abused that she is beyond being able to assist her kids to safety (although I find that hard to believe since he has only been out of prison for a year); could there be others that knew how violent he was and yet allowed him to intermingle with children without any reports to Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS)?  I think there is.  How about the family members that found the baby in the woods?  Who are they?  How are they related to the baby and him?  How did they know where to go and search that the police had not already searched?  One cousin was on the news saying that they knew that the father “likely done something to her”.  My question to that cousin, why have you not already reported what you knew?  What if everyone reported what they knew about this big puzzle?  Eventually, the legal system would be able to save another child.

Look at my chart below and the following explanation.  Do I think we should charge some of these other people … why yes.  Maybe if we start charging others for not reporting what they have seen and heard, people might start taking this domestic violence stuff seriously; because right now, now one takes it serious.  Everyone thinks it is none of their business and they leave it alone.  If you report it and it gets investigated and they find nothing … then so be it.  At least you done your job.  After a few more reports, they will have to look harder and harder every time a new report is made and eventually you have saved a life.  Your report might not mean nothing today, but when the next one comes in, it gives your report a little more validation.

When I say, “I wonder if one had anything to do with the other”; I wonder if he got so obsessed with the Las Vegas Shooter story, that it caused him to go crazy also?  What if the media reporting on these things can cause people to lose all control?  We have to start thinking about what we are doing and saying.  How will it affect others?  Will there be casualties that we never considered?

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Who Gave Them the Right?

Mallory Grossman was 12-years-old when she committed suicide because of being bullied at school.  Her bullies weren’t just students, it was teaching faculty also.  Her parents are suing the school system because of the faculty being a part of the problem that caused their daughter to commit suicide.

Technology is awesome.  Today, I bet the reading ability for the average student is a higher than it was when I was in school and this is all due to technology.  When I was in school, I had a reading disability; today, I have yet to meet a student that has a reading disability and has to go to tutoring for it.  The students are still reading at school; but now they read text messages, Snapchat messages, and emails.  Some schools have even gone to computer setups where computers are a necessity and not a commodity and therefore they loan them out to their students … something like the way books were loaned out when I was in school.

In an average week, I use Email, Facebook, and Twitter.  I will gain access to these sites on 3 types of devices:  my cellphone, my Kindle, and my laptop.  Oh, by the way, I have 4 Email accounts (one for every walk of life).  I would imagine that the average student uses on any given week, Email (probably just as many as me, because Mom and Dad can only suspend one), Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube, KiK, and Instagram (and probably a few dozen more since I don’t stay in touch with the daily trends).  Honestly, I have a hard time keeping up with Facebook and Twitter on top of work, reading and writing; I don’t know how school age teens have enough hours in the day to do it … but they do and that is where the problem comes in at.

When I was in school, I was bullied a lot … I mean, seriously, a lot.  I don’t know why … my guess is, I got on people’s nerves.  However, today, many of the people that would bully me as a teen are friends with me on my Facebook.  No, we don’t hangout or anything; but it goes to show, as adults, we do act our age.  I hold no grudges for the ones that bullied me.  As a matter of fact, today, I sympathize with some of them because they have had a really hard life in comparison to mine.

There was this one girl that used to bully me that I thought was the prettiest person.  Even though she obviously didn’t like me, that never deflected what I thought about her.  I just knew that she could have had any boyfriend she wanted and it was obvious that she had a lot of friends.  A few years ago, she committed suicide.  I didn’t find out until years after it happened; I was absolutely devastated when I found out.  I wished I had been given the opportunity to speak to her one more time.  I wanted her to know what I always thought about her … back then and today.  I always wondered what made her do it.  Some said a failing marriage … others said a terminal illness … I hate knowing that she would have done something like that because someone didn’t like her.  I would have been the first one to let her know, this was not the answer.

Back then, all I had to do was tolerate the class or bus ride that the bullies were on.  When that class or bus ride was over, I didn’t have to deal with the bullies again until the next day … on Fridays, I had a 2 day break from any bullying.  Today, our teens don’t have it that easy.  The bullying today takes on a deeper meaning than it used to.  Today’s bullying would be considered stalking more than it would be called bullying.  Sure, they are still calling them names, degrading their self-worth, and isolating them from everyone else … but they are doing it all day long.  That is all these people live for … taunting and making this person’s life a living Hell.  It doesn’t end with that one class and it doesn’t end when you get off the bus.  It starts with the texting, emails, and SnapChat first thing in the morning and that is where it stays all day … unless you are in person, of course.   They are able to do it in such a way that even the adults … the teachers and parents … get caught up in it.  As I sit here and write this, I am hoping that the adults don’t actively know what they are doing exactly.  I am hoping this teen is convincing them this is a prank and not bullying; thus their participation is supposed to bring a laugh and not a cry.

When I was in school, adults would tell me, “awe, they (the bullies) just like you”.  No, it was obvious they didn’t.  Even as I sit here as an adult myself, I don’t know what can be done about bullies; but I know something needs to be done.  Sure you can change there classes so they aren’t in the same classrooms; but that really doesn’t take care of the problem.  As I said, these teens today are texting them, SnapChatting them, going on their Facebook and posting things, and making videos on YouTube.  At this point, even changing their schools wouldn’t work.

Honestly, I think the only thing that would work is acting as an example for these teens.  No, maybe not after they become teens; but when they are younger, show them how to treat others.  Sure, you are going to have personality conflicts from time to time … I don’t think that is what bullying is.  I think these teens at some point in their life was given the right to be mean, and the one that gave them that right by example, needs to fix the problem.

For example, one day I was in the Wal-Mart and I ran into one the ladies that as teens was my biggest bully.  Not only did she bully me, in no uncertain terms, she would tell you in a heartbeat back then that she hated me.  In her shoes, I would have probably hated me too.  We were on the same softball team together.  This girl put her all into it.  I don’t know if she ever played for our high school team or not; if she didn’t, she sure needed to … she was just that good.  I really didn’t like softball.  I have never been the outdoor type.  I have always been happier indoors, either writing or reading.  So, imagine playing on a softball team with a player that didn’t want to be there and you were are a competitive player with an all win attitude … it probably made her angry on more than one occasion and yet she was stuck with me.

Anyways, we had not seen one another in years when we ran into one another at the Wal-Mart.  As we got to talking and catching up, my son, who was only about 2 years old at the time, asked me if she was a friend of mine.  Me and this lady both looked at one another and started laughing and the lady told my son, “not until now,” and she was so right.  Never in our history were we ever friends; but today, we may not hangout, but we do have a certain respect for one another.  I have told my boys several times about this lady and our history.  I have showed them that you can’t hold grudges and although you don’t particularly like someone, doesn’t mean you can’t respect them.  I could sit here and give you hundreds of examples of my boys paying it forward what they have been taught by example; but I won’t bore you with the details.  I will say this, they have never been called bullies and everyone that meets them will tell you that they have been nothing but a friend to them.  I tell people every day, once I meet you, regardless of our past, we are friends and my boys do the same.

We need to show our kids that people’s feeling do matter.  Even when we don’t have a particular interest in their life, we can be the one that changes everything for them.  All it would take is one time for them to be the one that changed someone else’s day by saying just what needed to be said instead of hating on them for being in the way.  Next time you get ready to say something mean about someone else or make a face that is unpleasant, think about your audience … you may be giving someone else the right to be a bully.

 

 

How Many Latino Women Would Kill Their Family??

In Gwinnett County on Wednesday evening, Isabel Martinez killed 4 of her kids and her husband.  Another child, 9-year-old Diana Romero, is in critical but stable condition in the hospital.  This family is a Spanish speaking family; only the kids can speak English fluently.

I watched Martinez in court this morning for her first appearance.  You would think this case wreaks of the insanity plea … but I don’t think so.  I think this woman knew full well what she was doing.  I further think she is doing everything in her power to make it look like she is insane.  She has told the police that she wants them to tell the community that a vicious killer is not on the loose (no, because she is in jail without bond).  In the court appearance, she was waving at the press, smiling at them and at one point got out of her seat and bowed to them.  She had to be asked by the guards to get back in her seat and stay still.  She went as far as to represent herself in court and she doesn’t want the court to order a co-counsel in the legal field to be with her, in the event that she has questions.  These are all indications of an insanity case.  The crime itself yells insanity.  I am having a hard time looking past all the signs that yell insanity and I am afraid the courts are going to be unable to also.

It is too early in this case for them to know who the prosecutor will be in this case, but whoever it is needs to really be on his/her toes and be ready for any rabbits in the hat that this lady might try to pull out because I think she is a little trickier than you see on the outside.

I have been reading some statistics in Latino mental health and the numbers are more alarming than I first thought.  Approximately, 17.4% of the USA is identified as Latino and of that percentage, approximately 15% are diagnosed with mental illness.  Most often times, the diagnosis is depression.  One of the studies of women who kill their kids showed that there were other factors that played a part: most often of these are mental illness, post-partum depression, or they recently lost a loved one.

I personally have a hard time with this.  I don’t think this lady had any of these.  Sure, her family has come forward and said that she just recently lost her Dad and that after that event, she started acting different.  I don’t think so.  I think this was something much deeper; something much darker.  First question I would ask the family is: how was she acting differently?  Did she act depressed?  Was she suicidal?  Was she homicidal – had she spoken of killing anyone after her father died?  I would need to know what was different about her before I could even take this as a factor in the case.  Otherwise, I would have to chalk it up to family members trying to save the one alive and in trouble at the moment.  Second, how did her father die?  Was it natural causes or was he murdered?  Third and final question, where did he die?  Was he here in the USA or was he in Mexico?  The news is reporting that not only has she been arrested and charged with 5 counts of murder and slew of other charges; she is also be held for the U.S. Immigration Enforcement and Customs Enforcement.  My guess is, she will not even see the inside of a Georgia court room for her case.  She will be deported back to Mexico or Cuba or anywhere else she might have come from.

I think maybe her father wasn’t in the US when he died and she may have wanted to go back to Mexico.  Really?  You would KILL your whole family to go back to Mexico because your Dad died?  I think we need to hold her here, let her see the full force of the US law on mothers who kill their children.  She thought this was her only option out; I think that opinion would quickly change under the US laws.

To answer the question that is in the title, apparently, only one seems crazy enough to do it.  I plan to follow this case.  I want to know more about her.

 

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September is Literacy Month

September is national literacy month and I am trying to take a survey to write a blog for that month.  I need my family and friends help for this blog.  I am hoping this blog is going to be published for the group that I am in, Sister In Crime.  Please help me.  Take the survey yourself and then share it on your page asking your friends and family to take the survey.  It is merely on reading.  Anyone and everyone is encouraged to take this survey because I need as much data as possible for my blog.  I need the survey to be taken by at least 100 people, but if I can get more, that would be awesom!!!

So, are you ready.  All you have to do is either copy and paste the questions in a response directly to this blog post or simply copy and paste the questions with your answers to my Facebook account.   Here we go:

  1. How many books do you read in a month?
  2. How many books do you read in a year?
  3. Do you encourage reading to your family? (family reading time, suggest books to kids, etc)
  4. How many times do you visit the library in a month?
  5. How many times do you visit the library in a year?
  6. Do you visit the same library each time?
  7. Do you buy the books you read? Or do you prefer to borrow from the library?
  8. How many books do you buy in a month?
  9. How many books do you buy in a year?
  10. Do you read fiction or non-fiction?
  11. What genre of books do you read? (Fantasy, True Crime, Drama, Romance, Etc)
  12. Do you read books on a digital device (Kindle, Nook, or Phone)?
  13. Do you chart the books you read (ex. Goodreads)?
  14. Do you keep a Journal (a daily journal, book journal, or any type of journal)?
  15. Who is your favorite author?
  16. What was the last book you read?
  17. When did you finish it?
  18. What do you plan to read next?
  19. How do you find you the books you read? (word of mouth, advertisement, library suggestion, etc)
  20. How old are you?

Thank you again for your participation.  You have been such a great help.

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Women Kill Me!!!!

Shane Ladner was in court this week to find out the verdict on his case of lying about having a Purple Heart.  He was a police officer in Cherokee County and was accused of lying under oath about having a Purple Heart.  He was found guilty on 6 of the 7 charges against him.  One charge of lying to investigators and 5 counts of lying to the tax commissioner so he could get a “free tag” for his truck. As he is lead out of the courtroom in handcuffs, friends comfort his wife.  Are you serious?  Some women kill me with how easily a guy is able to smooze her.  She don’t even get a clue that if he lied about this, what else do you think he lied about.  His tag was only $20 a year; he lied to get a $20 tag free.   I promise you, the lies he has told his wife are a lot worse.  Wake up lady, this is only the beginning.