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Hard Lessons

I watched a girl go to jail a few weeks ago. Her probation was violated and 90 days was revoked meaning she had to serve 90 days in county jail. I watched about 6 or 7 cases before hers and when these people went to jail it was understandable. They had chance after chance to handle their business and for various reasons chose not to do it. When the judge told them their sentences, they made sense. There was this one girl who seemed to be doing all she could to avoid what happened. She was charged with disorderly conduct and ordered to pay a fine and attend anger management. She was given 15 days to complete anger management before seeing the judge again. When asked why she didn’t complete the class she informed the judge of her obstacles.

1. The classes are only offered on certain dates within a month and are chosen by the court. 2. Those court-appointed anger management classes cost $150 each. 3. She was in between jobs and didn’t have the money to use one of the court-appointed places.

After sharing her obstacles she shared her solutions.

1. She registered to take an anger management class at 5:30 pm on the same day she was due in court. 2. The company she is completing the class with accepts her insurance so she wouldn’t have to pay the $150. 3. She recently started working and she will receive her first check the day after court and pay off everything she owes.

Without hesitation, the judge revoked 90 days and put her in jail stating his time was running out (in regard to the 15-day timeline). This girl began to cry and plead to the judge to just let her have until the next day. She assured him that she would have everything handled. She reminded him that she just started her job and would lose it if she was locked up. She cried and begged. She turned to walk away and her mother grabbed her. She cried and begged some more. Her probation officer commented that this was an example of why she needed anger management.

He had the ability to speak to the judge on her behalf and give her the opportunity to prove herself. It was a heart-wrenching experience. You could feel this girls sincerity with every word. Instead of using his power to speak on her behalf, he used it to contribute to her being detained. Her mother stood up to speak on her behalf as she was being handcuffed and escorted to the jail.

Her mother spoke to the judge and affirmed that her daughter was indeed doing her best to follow the orders of the court. She told the judge about all of the great news that her daughter just received about starting school and her plans to create a better life. The job that she started is also sending her to school in order to solidify her position in the field. The mother was just released from the hospital the day before court and went to support her daughter. The mother pleaded with the judge to release her daughter from jail so that she could go to the anger management class and pay her fine. The judge called her to the bench and spoke to her privately.

Shortly after she was headed out of the courtroom. As my friend and I were leaving we saw the mother of the girl. We stood with her for about 20 minutes or so listening and helping her figure out a way to get her daughter out. By the time we reached her mother, word spread around that the young lady was acting out in court and putting on a scene. My friend and I agree that this young lady reacted in a way that most would react given similar circumstances. She was hurt and she was trying as hard as she could to maintain her composure.

Lesson: People will judge you faster than you can prove who you are.

Listening to a person and having a heart for compassion can go a long way. Not everyone deserves an opportunity but you could feel this girl’s energy. It made me realize that people will categorize you by their prejudices and stereotypes. When they really know you they will see a whole human and not an idea of a person.

What do you think? Was she doing the most (based on what you read)? Do you agree with the judge’s actions?

Let me know!



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