Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Sad Day

I missed the one case. It was continued. But I did get to watch an abuse/neglect case yesterday. It involved a child who suffered traumatic brain injury at age 7 months from multiple skull fractures. I have a seven month old, so it hit a bit too close to home. I sat there and listened as witness after witness tried to explain away the injury as accidental. This child "jumped" out of one person's arms, fell off a bed three times, ran into a wall when crawling, was fed sweet tea from a bottle, as well as chocolate cake that probably accounted for her projectile vomiting, and didn't sleep well at night which accounted for her "passing out." Both children were born addicted to drugs. Another family member was supposed to raise the children and keep mom away, but after mom's 27 day (got kicked out of program early) stint at rehab, they just knew she was "cured." I know my eyes rolled in my head several times. Over lunch, which I could not eat, I asked the attorney how she does it. She said you just adapt. But I noticed she doesn't have children. We got finished a bit early. The Judge immediately found the children neglected, but needed to review the 6 inch thick stack of medical evidence for ruling any further. As if multiple skull fractures on all sides of the head could ever be caused by a simple fall off the bed? So the children remain out of the home for now. I decided not to return to the office, but instead pick up my two children and love on them. What really gets me - is that I spent several hours in the same courtroom with someone, although we couldn't prove who, inflicted those injuries on a child.

No worries about me ever switching over to do this kind of work. I'll fill in when absolutely necessary. But I can't do that stuff - because I'd soon be a defendant in a murder trial.


Austin said...

When I took in foster children I knew their story. I knew why they were with me and it angered me beyond belief. I adapted too because if I thought about the details too much I couldn't do my job as a parent. Also, I knew the time they spent with me meant they didn't get hurt, they were safe.

I know it'll be very difficult for you but think of it this way, you'll be a child's voice of authority. You may be part of only a handful of people who will go out of their way to fight for that child. Their storys will break your heart but perhaps knowing you speak for them and fight for them will help ease the ... I don't know what word to put there. It may make it easier. It did for me when I was a foster parent.


beauty said...

It made me sick to my stomach to read this. I don't know how anyone can deal day in and day out with such abuses to children, except as Austin pointed out: by being a voice of authority on behalf of the child.

Not everyone can do this though. I don't know that I could, that's for sure.

Marj aka Thriver said...

Safe hugs, (((((((((((Enola)))))))))) That must have been gut wrenching. It so reminds me of my brief stint (a little over a year) as a CASA (court appointed child advocate).

I had a case where a little premie (she was still only five pounds at the time of her abuse) had 18 broken bones in her body! When their bones are still that soft that takes one HELL of an impact to do that. The parents tried to say maybe they rolled over on her on the bed. The radiologist said it would take HUGE force against a hard, unyielding surface to do it.

The parents said no one else watched her. They were going to give these monsters back the baby! I had to quit. I told the judge it was against my recommendation because of what I've just stated here. But, I quit because I was losing sleep and so disturbed by it all. That little girl still haunts me. I wish I could have done more to help her.

That poem I wrote on my April 6 post, I wrote for her.

Secret Shadows said...

I am sure that was very difficult to hear. Even the little things they used to defend themselves like tea in the bottle and stuff just bother me. As if that is even ok. (shaking my head). I could not do that job. In fact, when I lived in GA, I was taken off the jury duty list entirely because the questionaire they made me fill out disqualified me for so many types of cases based on crimes I have been victim to. That's sad, huh?

What exactly do you do for a living?? I am assuming you are in some area of law.

Ethereal Highway said...

I'm glad you took your kids home and loved on them.


lawyerchik said...

Reminds me of a line from the otherwise forgetable movie "Parenthood": "You have to have a license to get a dog, but they'll let any butt-reaming a****** be a [parent]." BTW, if you ever did need an attorney to defend you for that, though, let me know. I would go in pro hac vice in a New York minute!! "Justifiable, your honor!" :)

Kim said...

These kind of stories wrench my gut when I see them on the news. I can't imagine sitting there "live" and hearing all the details. I have a friend who is an attorney and he always says he could not do family law because he'd either have 500 foster children or he'd be in jail for murdering the parents.

Kahless said...

In the Uk a man has just been convicted of raping a two-year old.

The main evidence was provided by the victim who is now 4.

I hope someone castrates him in prison.