Friday, September 3, 2004

America’s Youth

It’s only my 5th day here in the Juvenile Unit and I’ve already witnessed some unnerving things. Like yesterday, we prosecuted this 15-year old who was arrested with 166 vials of crack cocaine in his possession. 15 years old! That’s just sad. And this morning, we handled a case where the kid was arrested with a .45 caliber gun –he was 14 years old. What’s even more distressing is the clear lack of guidance that these kids get. When juveniles are processed and given a court date, their parents/legal guardian are of notified and required to appear in court along with the juvenile. This whole week thus far, I’ve noticed that:

  • some parents just don’t show up (as with this kid I have who’s charged with robbery and has 2 open complaints for attempted burglary; he’s 14)
  • someone else shows up –i.e., the grandma, a sister, or someone else because the kid just doesn’t live with the mom or dad or hasn’t seen the mom and dad in years
  • the mom or dad who does show up looks only a few years older than the kid him/herself
  • the parent who does show up looks disinterested
  • the juvenile him/herself looks disinterested
  • all are dressed as if they are either going to a club, going to the gym, going to loiter around a park, living in the 70’s/80’s; or just look unkempt in general. Nice to set an example for your kid by wearing a black, mesh tank-top, shorts, and flip-flops to court.

It’s not surprising that these kids are in trouble. Of course, I’m just making a superficial (and judgmental) observation, but you can learn a lot just by watching. You can tell that these kids are loved; you can tell when a kid seems afraid; but you can also tell when the parents could hardly give a flying f*ck that their kid is charged with 2nd degree robbery.

Today, there was this kid who was charged with a violation of probation (he was placed on probation under conditions that he would attend a program).

Judge: Why didn’t you go to the program last Saturday?
Kid: Huh? What you say?
Judge: Why didn’t you go to the program last Saturday?
Kid: Oh…uhm, I didn’t wake up early enough.
Judge: You didn’t wake up early enough? That’s your excuse?
Kid: Yeah, Uhm. A bunch of kids got in trouble at the youth house last night on Friday and we got home late and I woke up late.
Judge: Waking up late is not going to help you complete the program or stop your from getting re-arrested.
Kid: Yeah I know. Imma get mahself an alarm clock.
Judge: You better.
**other stuff happens, etc…**
Judge: So at this point, are you satisfied with the legal assistance of Ms. B (the attorney assigned to the kid)
Kid: Who? What you say?
Judge: Are you satisfied with the advice that Ms. B has given you so far?
Kid: Who her? *points to attorney*
Judge: Yes.
Kid: Oh her? Oh, yeah. Sure. I didn’t know her name.

Then the mom said something confirming that yes, the kid woke up late and missed the program that morning. Not that I’m into enabling kids or anything, but as the mom, you could’ve woken up the kid yourself and make his ass go to the program, don’t you think?

I came into Juvenile hoping to help out. Yes, to this day, I still have idealistic notions that I’m be making a difference in someone’s life (I’m a bleeding-heart liberal with conservative tendencies). However, reality doesn’t work that way and you’ll often find yourself getting exasperated with your victims, the defendants, and the families involved. Everyone is just out for their own self. Not all victims are victims and no one really knows what the truth is. I think what these kids needs is a good bitch-slapping or ass-kicking to knock some sense into them. They have no respect for themselves, their parents, or the judge. I was trying to place myself in their shoes and I know for a fact that I would’ve been scared of the judge (the Juvi judge is a formidable man, big in stature with a booming voice) and would’ve said things like “Your honor”, “Yes sir”, “Excuse me sir” or something to that effect instead of strolling into court with a walkman on, saying shit like “Huh? What you say?” or saying “My bad.”

In Other News

  • I went to the gym yesterday! Yahoo! I may even go today! (2 days in a row?! *gasp*)
  • I got my green card approved yesterday! (I had a conditional one before, but now this is a green card with no conditions attached. This means I can actually apply for citizenship! You'd think after being in the country since 1988, I'd be a citizen by now...but no, America does not make is easy for a contributing member of the society to become legalized right away.)
  • I'm going to lose 10 pounds. That is my goal and I'm sticking to it, dammit!
  • I'm buying a dining table set, hopefully this weekend.

Okay, that's actually only 2 new things about me (and 2 goals). But just thought I'd share. Have a great Labor Day weekend!

POSTED BY KAT AT 9/03/2004 02:28:00 PM |


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a wanna-be rockstar with mediocre guitar skills | mom to rockstar baby | guitarist in a band | 30 but not grown-up | this is all about my musings. music. motherhood. and mayhem.

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