No Attorney!


Coincidence?

When the trial began...
When the trial began…

I was charged with illegal voting on July of 2011 for voting in the November 2, 2010 elections.  I made six appearances at the government center courthouse and always with an attorney.  I completed probation and I also finished the community service time ahead of schedule.

I went to court today, January 22nd without an attorney and as I sat alone waiting for the trials to begin my probation officer came to speak with me.  Lois asked,  “Do you have an attorney”? 

I asked her, “Why, do you think I need one?” 

Lois could not advise me, so okay.  Then she asked, “Are you not going to ask for a ‘Stay of Imposition?”

“Lois,” I replied, “I’ve had attorney’s all through this quagmire and the mess just continues to worsen.  The legal nightmare should never have come to where we’re at today.  But, what do you think I should do?”

Of course she couldn’t help me, “I cannot recommend one way or the other, but here you need to sign this,” and she handed me a paper to sign and check a box for my intention.

I went out in the hall to phone my sister as she has worked in a legal office her entire life from high school to present.   Of course that did no good, as all I could do was to leave a message.

Back in the courtroom to speak with Lois, “Basically,” I said, “this is a crapshoot.  If the judge feels like it he can release me from any and all penalties.  On the other hand, he can throw me in jail or give me more probation and community service?  What would you do?”  Again, not so much as a cue from her.  “I really want this, all of this, to be finished today because I can’t take it anymore! And if I have another attorney I will be required to return for more visits to court, right? Well I can’t take anymore and seems to me like every time the attorney gets involved that just prolongs this!  No I will waive my right for an attorney and be done with this whole mess today.  My probation from the initial charge can be dropped today also, right?”

“That was dropped on January 7th; I’ll have to mail you the information on that.”

“More than ever, I want to end this today!”

Then the prosecutor came and asked to speak with me?  That had never happened before.  Prosecutor Wedes took me into a room separated from the court proceedings only by a glass wall and gave me more disheartening news. 

“You know the time has expired on this charge and what that means is that the judge cannot give you probation or more community service which is what Lois had asked for.  If the judge finds that you did indeed violate your probation he will need to give you jail time.  You would be sent to jail today.”

“What about my daughter?  I’m raising my daughter alone.”

“I know that.  Now I am willing to help you fill out the paperwork for a public defender; it won’t cost you anything and will get you some time.”

I almost gave in to getting another public defender because of Stephanie, however, it was her that I was thinking of when I immediately stood up and stated angrily, yet not out of control.  I felt my eyes puffing up “You guys are really something.  Five years ago I had a public defender who told me it would be in my best interest to plead guilty to a 3rd degree charge of burglary!  All because I had stepped across my ex-wife’s threshold without an invitation and was told it would be a 3-year wait for a jury trial.    I got five year’s probation for that one and a felony charge.  Then I, because of my disability, voted in the 2010 election.  I made many return visits to the courthouse and it just goes on – and on – and on!  Fuck – I can’t do this any more!  I will defend myself today! And whatever happens – well at least it will be all done!”

So I walked back into the courtroom and sat patiently, revising something written for the last trial.  I had better do it quick and (I am not fast nor do I have a good short-term memory.)  I am just lucky that I, and I don’t know why, included this writing with other court papers.  Herewith, what I read to the judge:  “Let’s visit what I did on the morning of November 2, 2010 and see if there is a reason for doggedly pursuing me in such a manner… The program manager for “Low Risk Unit” (LRU) and now car salesman told me that if I did nothing else wrong and fulfilled all requirements early that I could get off in one-fourth the time if the attorney would write a letter testifying to my diligence.  But if the attorney would not write the letter, he (Randy), could get me off with half the time, I was looking at two and a half years probation tops and that was from January 2008.

 I walked in the office of my daughter’s school and there was much talk about voting, then when I left, “Make sure you vote today!”  Turning the radio on in the car, “Polls have been open for about an hour now but of course the votes won’t be tallied until the booths close tonight; so be sure to get out and vote today!” 

As I drove from my daughter’s school I had to listen to words like that and so just before turning to go home I made an unwise split-second decision.  I did not turn to go home but drove directly to the voting place (St. John’s school or St. John’s Church, I cannot recall.)  I voted and though I was shown a little card before voting I asked, “The card is just wanting to know if my address is correct and stuff, right?” I did not have my reading glasses with me.

“Yes” she replied. 

I told the woman my picks and she filled the tiny circles in for me because of the lack of dexterity I was not able to do it myself.  I was given an “I voted” sticker and showed it to my daughter when I picked her up from school.  Stephanie was proud of me and I gave the sticker to her.

And there you have it.  I did not yell at anyone nor touch anyone.  I could not fill out my voting card because of my lack of dexterity.  The prosecutor said this crime was no different from somebody committing murder, well; I did not murder anybody or even attempt to harm another.  I voted because of all the hype filling my head and because of mental processing difficulty resulting from the traumatic brain injury.

“I plead with the court to end this nightmare.”

Judge Jud revoked all probation and community service and wished me, “Good luck.”  At last I am free of this agony that has paralyzed my every thought or movement for 5 years.  Was it merely a coincidence that the day I face the judge without an attorney I get discharged? 

Lois, the probation officer congratulated me on a case well presented.

After the trial is over...
After the trial is over…

Steve Richie

Hi folks, Two lives in one lifetime. The first me, lived to age thirty-four. That Steve was overly confident and oozing with pride. Then, on a record heat-setting day (107º) here in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota and western Wisconsin, a one car near-fatal wreck left me in a two-month long coma. I emerged much as I was before minus certain physical capabilities, but my mind seemed mostly in tact. The crash and its effects did not change me (I emerged a happy individual) but the deeds perpetrated against me in the ensuing months from my wife of sixteen years scared and humbled me as I was dragged down with nothing left by my wife who now had guardianship over all of our accounts. And neither would she allow me to see our kids. She took everything out of, "Our" names and changed them to her name only; then would not allow me to our home and divorced me. I was angry, but no more. I spent half of 1988 and more than half of 1989 in hospitals, nursing homes and a three month stint at a head-injury rehab center where I was being taught how to re-enter society as this different person, that I didn't know. I was not able to return to my previous line of work, a self-employed decorator, you know, painting and paperhanging. It was a physical job which required much dexterity, finesse, and a good grasp of numbers. I returned to the beginning, school, but on a community college level. One of the instructor's liked my writing and I began focusing my attention on that. I attended classes at, "The Loft," A Place for Writers in Minneapolis. While there, a classmate of mine was having her friend from New York, a CBS executive, to her home for the holidays and asked me if she could do a critique on a couple chapters of a book I was writing, "A Day I'll Never Remember" and I obliged. When she returned to class the following Monday she told me that the exec wanted a ten-page synopsis of the book for a possible movie; I was excited. After obliging for that also, I never saw or heard from her or the guy from CBS. Next thing I knew I was watching a movie called, "Regarding Henry" starring Harrison Ford and the scenes of therapy were exactly like what I went through and had written about. Regarding Henry - could've been my story except that, "Henry" got his head injury from a gunshot and his wife stayed with him throughout the ordeal. Coincidence I'm sure, though, the therapy scenes entailed what I described in the book so I always wondered..... My hope, my dream is to bolster our income for my daughter and for myself. I am and have been raising this beautiful, talented little girl who was diagnosed with autism at age two, since 2006 singlehandedly. I divorced her mother the same year following complaints that I spent too much time with our daughter. However, Stephanie began school with no need for special education. She has been reading since age four and understanding what she'd read. Stephanie maintains straight "A's" on her report card, has published two books (through school) and has been selected as an, "Honors" student for seventh grade English. My ex moved to New York to be closer to her sister and has been remarried now for a number of years. Well, that's only a snippet of my sixty-one years and I would like to thank you for reading, thank you.

9 comments

    • Yes Madelyn, Most are (or at least seem to be) unconscionable rodents. While pretending to be on your side many only care about the bottom line. Their skin must be reptilian and so tough that nothing bothers them. Most would send their own mother to jail as long as the price was right!

      That being said, my sister has been dating a lawyer who seems to be exemplary in his dealings. So not all are low-life’s unfit for a civil lifestyle…

      Like

      • Bottom line? If only they cared even 1/10th as much about as anyone else’s bottom line it would HELP them stay in touch with some humanity – vs. “billable hours” “setting legal precedence” and “settlement totals” score-cards.

        They must be forced to take what might as well be Lying-101 in Law School – these guys seem to have the STRANGEST relationship to “truth” – like “legal” is ALL that counts – a chess game played against the opposing atty – with clients mere pawns to be sacrificed as necessary to “win” – whatever that means to them.

        I’ll have to take YOUR word for it on the sister’s boyfriend. The VERY few even relatively “successful” atty’s I know (or have heard about) who have been more highly developed than primordial ooze have been entertainment atty’s, for the most part – but I’ve never known any who were SO successful they were up in what I’m sure are the cut-throat leagues.

        I wonder if it’s even POSSIBLE to do that job without going over to the dark side (like MOST politicians – too many secret alliances made on the way up to remain “free” enough to reallyi walk their talk) – and the back room deals seem to leave an indelible stain. Even Lady MacBeth had nightmares about her out-damned-spot dastardly deeds. Wonder if THEY do?

        I know I could NEVER do that job and be able to sleep – I’d die of sleep deprivation.

        I’ve had a few clients who were lawyers who had what I would call decent values – but they were being eaten alive by their own kind. I wonder if one even stayed in the profession after marriage to fiance. I hope not.

        Another was *SO* ADD I’m not sure he survived his “clerking” years once he passed the bar (which is why I was on board – to make sure client stayed tracked to pass.) Interesting that the lawyers are among the FEW clients who don’t touch base at least once after our coaching relationship is over.

        The Lathams are a couple of disabilities atty’s who seem to be solidly on the side of their clients and have done A LOT for ADDers across the board (retired now, I believe). I once dated a man in another field whose best friend was an atty. who seemed pretty great. Since I didn’t relate with him professionally, I’d have to reserve judgment even with him.

        They are made of different stuff than you and I. It would BOTHER me to be a member of a profession that was universally repulsive to most people. I wonder if many of them are “other focused” enough to even realize that they are?

        TERRIBLY judgmental of me, I realize – and it wasn’t always my opinion. But life experience leaves me as wary of them as I would be a scorpion or a rattlesnake. Don’t turn your back if you plan to survive the experience! Necessary evils, I suppose – but evils none-the-less, most of them. I’d LOVE to have an experience that would change my mind. Here’s hoping!

        SEE – don’t get me started!

        Drop Dead Diva (Darling TV show I watch at Peggy’s sometimes – no TV here) is one of the FEW attys. I actually “approve” of – and she’s fictional!!

        BTW-How did the cell phone decision turn out? Did you find out enough info to make one yet?
        xx,
        mgh

        Like

      • Hi Madelyn,

        Wow – you were not kidding concerning attorneys! I should probably be more that way, after all, they and when I say “they” I mean all three that I had. I did not feel as though I were represented well. I never had occasion to use one while a “normal” person. The problems began only after the TBI and then they never quit, it’s always something. But you know what? I could easily be upset, even furious, regarding what they did to me and how they lied to me and were so blase’ to my unique situation, but why? That would only serve to keep me miserable.

        I did not fully understand your,”Drop Dead Diva” statement and watching at Peggy’s?

        I followed up with some of the ideas you had regarding a phone for, Stephanie, and here’s what I did: I signed onto HSN but I couldn’t get prices cheaper than AT&T’s. I went to Amazon but they only had (and I was surprise) some wannabe Apples and I cannot even remember their name because they were so obscure. I made a list of phones to check on to see if the store’s prices were as good as the Internet’s and the prices were exactly the same. The iPhone 4s is .99 and I will just add her to my plan at an additional cost of $45 per month or $540 a year. Buying a phone outright I’m looking at about $80 and up. Then, I would need to purchase a prepaid card at $50 per month and so I will just take care of it all at the AT&T store. The salesman even told me that there will be some Black Friday specials that I could still get on Saturday to avoid the crushing people rush.

        TFTC (thanks for the correspondence)
        Steve

        Like

      • QUICK question – l-o-n-g complicated answer. Probably should have left it at “it is a TV show about a lawyer who has values and Peggy is my biz partner”

        NOW for the long version:

        Peggy Ramundo is my friend, colleague & biz partner – co-author of ADD classic, You Mean, I’m NOT Lazy, Stupid or Crazy?! (and others) we co-teach ADD in the Spirit Coach Training – and her bio is somewhere on my blog & several articles about some tragedies in our mutual lives have been featured – so I forget that every reader doesn’t read everything I write. Sorry – thought you’d get the reference.

        Peggy lives a few walking blocks from me and has a HUGE flatscreen tv – I don’t normally watch tv and haven’t owned one in 20 or more years. But she tapes certain shows for us to watch when I go over for “business” meetings and we usually have a marathon catch-up session that lasts until at least 4 in the AM.

        Diva is the ONE show I picked. I saw an the pilot on my computer (Hulu) and thought it was GREAT. Peggy thought I was NUTS to suggest it because it doesn’t describe well and the pilot takes some time to reel you in. By the end of it, she was HOOKED – so we always watch any episode available for taping.

        Pay ATTENTION – even without TBI this is nuts to try to follow

        Drop Dead Diva is a VERY clever comedy about an aspiring model (good looks, blond, very nice but not the brightest) who, in the pilot (set-up show) dies in a car accident –her fault – she is painting her nails while driving herself to an audition — on the LA freeway!

        Suddenly finding herself up on a cloud, she pushes a button on an angel’s computer because she simply doesn’t WANT to be in heaven (“return”) and ends up flying back into the body of a very heavy, frumpy and VERY smart attorney, who died at that very second. Every show recaps this set up quickly, ending with Deb’s screams of horror when she wakes up in Jane’s body.

        That’s just the set-up.

        The show is amazingly clever – takes place in a law firm where the star (“Deb the model is now in the body of “Jane” – atty) melding characteristics of both women into a new “Jane” – it sounds unbelievable stupid, but the show is award winning. VERY clever writing, the actors are wonderful, and Jane is the “good” (frumpy) lawyer who actually cares about her clients – A LOT- but sweets are her downfall, so she stays heavy (rare for TV to star a heavy woman!), and Deb has to come to grips with her fat phobia. Jane is a fabulous atty. – so she wins cases against all (very funny) odds.

        Nothing slapstick – which I don’t like much – tho’ hard to imagine when you just get the “plot outline”

        The actress playing “Deb/Jane” is actually heavy and simply amazing – the way she melds the size 0 model’s horror at her “new” body, the model’s body language into Jane’s MUCH larger body, the models true delight at finally being smart (because she now has access to Jane’s brain) along with the thrill of finding out she now owns a BMW, makes a hefty salary and has her own assistant — AS she carries the story forward as Jane the lawyer.

        Deb has no knowledge of Jane’s past, so her trusty female assistant (a well-known Asian comic who’s name escapes me right now) always has to fill her (and us) in as various things happen. (Jane’s crazy mother visits, old cases resurface for the new Jane to retry, Deb’s mother becomes a Firm client – etc – then Deb’s grieving fiance gets a job at the firm — and of course can’t recognize Deb in Jane’s body and Jane can’t tell him)

        The cover story is that Jane has some lasting amnesia as the result of having died and come back to life, which adds to the plot — because she doesn’t recognize ANYONE that Jane knew (since she is actually Deb in Jane’s body), but DOES recognize everyone that she knew as Deb, which she has to pretend not to.

        No one knows the truth except Deb’s former best friend Staci (another model who almost steals the show, the actress is so good) — Deb/Jane is told by her guardian angel (demoted to earth because he didn’t stop Deb from hitting return) that she can tell NO ONE or horrid things will happen. Except that “Jane” had already convinced Staci that she was actually Deb, and the two become roommates, which complicates everything still more. Staci helps give Jane a make-over, hoping to help her return to her former model body — so Jane’s looks get better every episode, but Jane loses no weight, despite Staci’s best efforts – which allows for some interesting social commentary.

        If you are confused it is because you really need to SEE it to get it – even without TBI the plot is confusing unless you can put faces to names.

        I KNOW it doesn’t sound good, yet is award-winning and laugh out loud funny. Big name guest stars (Liza Minnelli is the only name I can pull up right now) guest in small roles – so you know the show has to be great – that hardly EVER happens.

        ALL that just to say that Jane is the only lawyer at the Firm with a heart – thus the comment that confused you. I don’t know if the show appeals to men (or if your daughter could follow it) – but it is in its 5th season so it certainly plays well to somebody besides Peggy and I.

        Aren’t you glad you asked? GREAT news about the phone. Sorry my leads turned up nothing.

        xx,
        mgh

        Like

  • Yes Edie, I was so happy that I went out and purchased another vacuum cleaner; I now feel like cleaning. I have always been a clean person (Stephanie often complains that I am too clean) and my landlord once said that I was anal about cleaning. I like a clean house, anything wrong with that?

    I am so glad that nightmare has come to an end!

    Like

  • Congratulations! It’s about time someone listened to you. I wonder how many others are held accountable for voting. This is ridiculous, and all the emotional pain and suffering you have encountered is incomprehensible. It’s bad enough you suffered a TBI, but it seems as though it’s always ongoing … not just in your case but in nearly every TBI.

    I’m very happy you just stood your ground and refused to get an attorney and drag this entire process out longer and longer. I think because you told them you want this done, and you presented all the facts … you surprised the Judge. All I can say is how delighted I am that you did so well, and you were finally given your freedom. Your freedom of thought and not to be held hostage by a political system all money motivated.

    Take good care of yourself. You must be one happy man today! Take care and stay safe, Edie

    Like

    • Thank you Edie for your understanding words and to have that one person in your corner who totally gets it, is worth more than silver or gold. Keep in touch and always be safe okay?

      Like

    • My humble opinion only… The reason for the ongoing emotional pain and suffering, in my case at least, was my loss of insight. I don’t realize what the consequence could be. It drives me crazy. Well, I have to get ready for my Qi Gong class so TTFN!

      Like

Submit a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s