Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I Have Not Yet Begun To Bitch

Funny ole justice system, it amuses me on a daily basis.

At every single juncture over the past nine and a half months, whenever I have "assumed" anything or "figured it would be set up correctly" or trusted the system for ANYTHING, I have been proven horribly naive.

I want to trust. I want to believe. I keep clicking my damn heels together but I'm just not feeling the magic.

I admit to being annoyed when I got the letter from the MN Correctional Department that spelled out all my rights as the representative of a victim of crime. Oh, everything was spelled out beautifully, except for the fact that STBX's name was wrong. His OID number was correct and really, that's the magic piece of info when you're in the big house, but it just got in there like a splinter under my fingernail and annoyed me.

I kept mulling it over in my mind...if they can't get the damn offender's name correct, what else are they going to screw up? But then I said to myself "Self, shut the hell up! It's over and done with. Get on with your life. You have done all you can do. ENOUGH."

Then I said to myself, I said "Hey self, you need to be a little less trusting. Haven't you figured that out by now?"

It's easier if you picture this conversation with two little versions of me, one sitting on each shoulder. One of course, is all angelic and dressed in white and believes in fairy tales and lawyers with big hearts and a system that only gives victims flowers and chocolate chip cookies. The other one? You guessed it. Dressed in black, piercings and tatts everywhere, perhaps chain smoking Marlboros, perhaps just a very big hookah. YOU DO NOT FUCK WITH HER!

These two ladies were talking at me for a couple days before I picked up the phone and called my victim advocate with the county. I prefaced my call with an explanation of the letter and how it was wrong and how it really just put another hole in my balloon and I knew he was busy and I felt kinda stupid BUUUUUUUT, I had a question:

If the system can't get his name right in a letter to the victim/victim's family, how can I trust the system to work when it comes to his payment of restitution?

By the way, he was ordered to have 50% of his prison wages garnished for restitution. That is exactly how the judge stated it.

Well, our advocate hemmed and hawed and ended up sending me paperwork that would bring the matter to conciliation court.

Paperwork that asks the stellar questions: Where is this person working right now? List their employer and contact info...and be sure to have this declaration notorized and hand delivered.

Oh, and by the way, you have to file this in the county where the person is working.

In other words, I spent a couple days paging through a stack of papers that forced me to try to put a square peg in a round hole.

After pulling at my hair and pacing around the room and demanding of the dogs "How do I do this???" I called him back and asked "WTF???"

Well, I didn't quite say it like that. He is a very nice guy and we must pity him...he has to deal with me on an all to frequent basis.

I simply inquired as to whether this was really what I needed to do.

He retreated to gather more information.

And appeared again on my phone yesterday afternoon.

In order for a restitution order to automatically trigger, there has to be a stated dollar amount put into the system.

Our judge never gave us a stated dollar amount.

Do you see where this is going? Yup! Right up my own ass.

The system will not trigger for any restitution until the judge puts down an amount.

Perhaps this is as simple as him filling out a form, perhaps we will need to make another appearance at the happiest place on earth! No kids, not Disney Land! It's the St. Louis County Courthouse!!

Now, with cleaner bathrooms and cotton candy for all!

So here is where I'm coming is irrelevant here. I certainly don't go hunting down pedo's that make .50 cents an hour so my kid can pay her way through college. The fact of the matter is that the judge placed an order for restitution in such a way that restitution could never be made.

Unless someone, who felt like a fool just asking, picked up the damn phone.

Here's my next question when faced with scenarios like this: How many people actually make that calll? How many people decide it's just to painful to deal with and they just shrug it off?

And why should this burden be mine?

Oh, and one more thing?

Why in the hell can't they get his damn name right on the letters that they send me???


Anonymous said...

How many people sue the judge?

The mind wanders....

Anonymous said...

Oh hell, just a bunch of idiots that get to ruin what's left of a survivors life! I wonder too, could you sue a judge? Could you garnish his wages until he gets things corrected? Now that would be truly memorable!
As always; you and yours are always in our hearts and prayers.
Tabatha (friend in Folsom)

Anonymous said...

Just your luck the name being spelled incorrectly could cause you more problems later on. You know like people who have names like serial killers but just spelled differently. It may be a pain in the ass but it could be important too. I'd do it just to piss him off. Maybe a message to your reporter friend and a story about the local judicial system could help clear some of the red tape?