Apr. 19th, 2008

twoapennything: "Dear Boss" Letter from Jack the Ripper to Scotland Yard - 1888 (Busted!)
DOTHAN, Ala. - A Dothan man attempting to report to his probation officer and pay some fines was re-arrested when he emptied his pockets for a metal detector at the Houston County Courthouse and laid out more than the usual coins and keys.

Two baggies full of marijuana came out, too, authorities said.

Malcom Williams, 51, tried to escape when the drugs appeared Thursday, but he was caught after a minor struggle and a failed attempt to Taser him, sheriff's officers said.
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"He reached into his pocket and pulled out a handful with change, U.S. currency, keys, and the marijuana was evident in his hand," Houston County Sheriff's Capt. Antonio Gonzalez said Friday. "Every now and then you have somebody who forgets what he had in his pockets."

Sheriff's Investigator Rick Clemmons said deputies had to shackle Williams instead of handcuffing him because his arm was in a sling with a cast on it.

Williams was being held in the Houston County Jail without bond for violating his probation. He pleaded guilty to felony third-degree escape in April 2007, according to court records.

It was not immediately clear if Williams had a lawyer Friday.

I told [livejournal.com profile] longtimegone a recent work story over chat a couple weeks ago and had meant to post it to LJ . . . time just got away from me. Yet, the above article prompts me to share.

I get a new case: Eighteen-year-old kid, who is on probation for Theft. Originally, the kid was on juvenile probation, also for Theft, for approximately three months before he committed his first adult felony (also, not surprisingly, THEFT). For the first adult theft case, he was granted a deferred sentence and two years probation. Two weeks later, he committed his second adult felony, again Theft, and the deferred sentence was revoked in the first case and he was re-granted probation for both adult felonies. He was in jail until March 20th; he met with me on the 31st.

Horrible history. Just horrible. His first psychiatric placement was at the age of six. He was in and out of foster homes, group homes, psychiatric placements and the Division of Youth Corrections (DYC) for his entire life. Dad's a drug addict; Mom's absent; both he and his sister were removed from their parental home, etc. He can't read or write. He has no education. And his diagnosis is Bipolar and Antisocial Personality Disorder.

At the first appointment there are always standard items of business to take care of. The first thing I do with any probationer is read them the standard terms and conditions of probation (number one being: You shall not violate any local, state or federal law . . . this will be important further along in the story) and give them an opportunity to ask questions or for clarifications. Then, they initial each condition and sign and date the Court Order and the terms and conditions. Then, I collect the required DNA sample (buccal swab, kthx) and package it up for CBI, go over the required waiver of extradition and have the probationer sign it, review the federal felony firearms notification form with them, etc. The last thing I did with the new kid was to complete releases of information for various hospitals and agencies, so I could request his psych records.

So, I run the printer to grab the release of info and was gone from my desk for like, seriously, ten seconds max? I come back to my office and MY IPOD IS MISSING.


I looked at him.

ME: Did you take my iPod?
HIM: No!
ME: Are you sure? Because it was here ten seconds ago.
HIM: I totally didn't! You can search me, go ahead!
ME: Fine. Stand up.

I had a male officer come in and do a pat-down. No iPod. I searched through his coat, his hat. No iPod. So, I said:

ME: Let's go downstairs to the guard station and I'll have them wand you.
HIM: Sure, let's go.

We get downstairs and the guard is very nice and agrees to wand the guy, and she was damn thorough, too. The wand went off like ten times and we found his wallet, keys, a lighter, cigarettes, etc. Finally, the wand goes off right at his beltline, at his left hip. My colleague grabs the area, through his pants and says, "Yeah, that's an iPod. C'mon, dude. Give it up." Totally busted, he produces my iPod from his shorts, which, OMG GROSS ;0****

HIM: Ma'am, I'm really sorry . . .
ME: That? Was really fucking stupid.

I'm not one to use profanity at my clients or on the job, but it just came out. I was pissed.

So, my co-worker and I practically frog-marched him back upstairs to my office, and I am just fuming, because, holy shit, I have never in sixteen years of working in probation or with offenders had someone violate their probation WHILE THEY WERE IN MY OFFICE!!!! Much less, literally minutes after I have read them their terms and conditions of probation, which start off with "You shall not violate any local, state or federal law." I mean . . . HELLO.

ME: What were you thinking? You just violated your probation!
HIM: *now blubbering and stupid* I'm sorry! I don't know why I did it! You can raise my level of supervision or something! Put me on the ankle bracelet . . .

And I just looked at him and shook my head, because, son? Welcome to the adult system. You don't get to negotiate how a law infraction is handled. You don't get to "raise your level of supervision." You don't get to be dragged by the proverbial ear, like a bad little boy, to the electronic home monitoring department for an easy month on an ankle bracelet. You don't have anyone in your corner anymore (no guardian ad litums; no Denver Department of Human Services; no family intervention; no comprehensive family services), except maybe me, your probation officer, and you just screwed yourself so hard in that department that I'm surprised your bits weren't protruding from inside your own nose.

ME: Turn around. You're being arrested.
HIM: Aww, hell no, I ain't going back to jail!
ME: Turn around.
ME: Turn. Around.

In the meantime, my co-worker has called for backup. Then, the kid balls up his fists and makes a menacing step toward my co-worker. That was the wrong choice, as if it weren't obvious. Three male officers tackled the kid into the corner of my office and the kid fights like a cat in a gunny sack, thrown into a river. He's screaming at the top of his lungs, I'M NOT GOING TO JAIL! I'M NOT GOING TO JAIL! IF I GO TO JAIL, I'M GOING TO KILL MY-FUCKING-SELF! I'M GOING TO KILL MYSELF! I'M GOING TO KILL YOU, YOU MOTHERFUCKERS! IF I GO BACK TO JAIL I'M GOING TO GET KILLED! Meanwhile, I'm on the phone to DPD dispatch requesting immediate police assistance -- I have to give DPD credit, because they were in my office literally within two minutes. That's some excellent response time, seriously. It took SEVEN probation officers to hold the kid down and he never stopped fighting for even a second. He bled all over my carpet, and then when the cops hauled him up and handcuffed him, he leaned into the window of my office and deliberately smeared snot and blood all over the window, which, again, can I get a OMG GROSS?!

I absolutely pressed charges against him, because you know what? If he had gotten away with stealing my iPod, I know he would have been bragging all over the place about how he punked his stupid bitch PO. Because that's how psychopaths operate and think. They disdain the rest of the world for being stupid enough to get ripped off. It wouldn't have been him who was the problem. It would have been me, because I shouldn't leave my iPod in my desktop stereo -- I deserved to be victimized, because I should be the one anticipating criminal activity, which is always inevitable. Psychopaths are disdainful mofos.

He pleaded guilty to Petty Theft and got 90 days in jail, which, to be honest, is a really long sentence for the level of crime it is, especially as I got my iPod back without any damage. Now he's in jail waiting on our revocation of probation and the sad thing is that he's probably going to go to prison -- not because I'm holding a grudge or because the Court is going to take more offense at his circumstances than it would at any other theft situation. It's sad because clearly this kid is dangerous, in that he has absolutely no impulse control -- he copped three felonies in a few months time and within 10 days of being released from custody, he's stealing his PO's personal property from her own desk! Community Corrections isn't going to take someone like this -- he has a pretty extensive history of assault cases, too. He's too volatile. And, yeah, he's got a mental illness, but lots of people have mental illness and they don't victimize others. Mental illness is not an excuse for criminal activity or choices. My supervisor and I really discussed in depth what the recommendation for this guy should be, and we kept coming back to feeling compelled to recommend prison because someone like this is too usafe to be in the community. It's not about my iPod, because, you know, whatever -- I honestly wouldn't advocate for anyone to go to the Department of Corrections for stealing an item of relatively little value (I'm not a fan of the Three Strikes laws.) It's about impulsivity. People who are impulsive compulsively are risky individuals.

It's not very often that I consider another person irredeemible, but my gut feeling on this kid is that he will be institutionalized probably for the majority of his life, and that he will never be able to overcome the hand life dealt him. Geez, he's only 18 -- it's really unfortunate.


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