My Friend Went to Jail

smiles

It’s been a day like none other. It started out earlier than usual because I now take Tesla to middle school. The school set up is bizarre and I could not find how to get to the student drop off. There were signs everywhere staring me down with: No Student Drop-Off  But, no sign directing me how the hell to get to the drop-off area. I finally trusted her to walk across the parking lot, even with the signs still glaring at me through the rain drops. Oh yeah, it was dreary and raining too.

Work was the same. Me, trying to cram as much case clearing as possible into my work schedule. I do get breaks. Two, 15 minute, breaks that fly by along with the rest of my day. And today, I left early because one of my best friends was being sentenced.

We stood outside the courtroom, waiting to go in. When I arrived, I hugged Jodie, her husband, Steve, and their 13 year old son, Sean. I have been friends with Jodie since meeting in 6th grade. Our other two friends, Dawn and Angie, were also there and we sat together in the courtroom, often holding hands during the impact statements.

The judge seemed angry. Often short with the lawyers. She listened to both sides give statements, including Jodie and Steve. Listening to the parents of the children who died was absolutely gut-wrenching. I cried along with the families.  I cannot even begin to understand how it would feel to lose your child in such a way that they did.

Steve pled guilty and did not have a trial. Jodie was not offered a plea. She was found guilty, and now, today, a judge was deciding her fate and also making the decision of Steve’s. After the testimonies, the judge immediately gave her decision. I don’t understand the impact statements if the judge has already decided. I guess it is just the last chance for everyone to get off their chests what they think and how they feel. It was emotional beyond belief. The family of the boys that died testified for both sides. It split families, because some felt that strongly that what the boys did on that day that caused their deaths was their own doings, as Jodie and Steve weren’t home. They did not allow them to drink for hours and then drive a vehicle drunk. Period.

I wasn’t there that day. I’m just stating what I believe to be true.

While I think they were completely wrong in previously buying alcohol for kids and allowing them to drink, I do not think Jodie should have been sentenced to 2.5-6 years in state prison. Her youngest son is 13 and oldest just started college. My heart was breaking as the judge read off their sentences. Steve was sentenced 3 years probation with fines, DUI classes, and community service. I had hoped Jodie would not get prison time, but the judge was incredibly harsh, comparing them to parents who horribly abuse their children, physically, sexually and emotionally, and even murder them. I knew then that she was going to jail. The judge was over-the-top and out-of-line with that comparison. In no way would either of these two people intentionally hurt anyone, especially their children, or friends of their children.

What I think doesn’t matter. The statement I prepared and gave to the judge didn’t matter. The judge had already decided what she was sentencing my friends and there is nothing I could do about it. I will be there for my friend and her family as she begins what her lawyer told me will be 2.5 years, and then she will be up for parole with the state board. The most she can stay at the county jail is 1 year. The judge ordered she must go to state.

She ordered Jodie be taken into custody immediately to begin her sentence. The sheriff cuffed her and led her out of the room. We were all in shock. Then, we all started crying.

So what has been accomplished? Tax payers will pay for someone to be behind bars that is not a threat to society. In fact, prior to this, she and her husband had never been in any legal trouble, so society is losing a tax payer and gaining a tax creator. I have cried so many times today for my friends and their family. I just needed to get some of this pain out. Stone and Nick won’t magically come back. I wonder, is there really is any satisfaction gained by destroying more families?

Now, I will stop crying and just continue praying. I went to their house afterwards and told Steve they have to be strong, and work through this, and that I’m only a phone call away. I pray he never hesitates to call.

Thanks for reading.

~P.

Comments

  1. Brian Taughinbaugh says:

    Pattie, I agree with you. In fact, I was just discussing it with my wife before typing this. I don’t feel Jodie’s sentence really does any justice. I do hope that it, in some way, serves as a deterrent to others. I knew Jodie since Kindergarten. As you saw with my response to comments on the Dispatch site, I don’t think there was any bad intent, merely bad judgements. Could have happened to me or countless other people I know, but we were lucky. I’ll be praying for all involved in this horrible situation, victims on both sides of the argument.
    Brian T.

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