I have been on EHD since Feb of 2011. I have since, been waiting for a trial that has been continued (postponed) almost every month since Jul 2010 based on a variety of excuses. I am CHARGED with Second Degree, Assault of a Child – Domestic Violence. Many of you have read or heard a little about this situation, but maybe not entirely. On Jul 27th 2010 my then stepson and I were waiting for some hotdogs to cook so we could eat lunch before going on a small hike around the park trails surrounding our apartment complex. While the hotdogs were cooking my stepson sat at the dining table, IN THE DINING ROOM (see image A below)
And I partially laid down on the love seat IN THE LIVING ROOM, to play on my Xbox (see image B below).
In a matter of a minute or two I heard a noise, and seconds later got up to check on my stepson and found my stepson trying to get up holding what appeared to be a broken bone on his right thigh (see image C below).
After assessing his injury and making sure that that was the only thing he had injured I texted his mother to notify her of the incident and immediately called 9-1-1 for proper medical treatment and transportation. After briefly explaining the 9-1-1 operator what was going on, and describing the injury, the person said that someone would be there shortly. My stepson and I talked to his mother on the phone while we waited for some sort of medical crew/ambulance to arrive; instead, a police officer showed up at our door accompanied by a crew of firemen (rescuers). After a long time wasted, several questions and photographs that that officer was taking, a second police officer arrived with an AMR (American Medical Response) team. After more time was wasted; answering irrelevant questions; explaining what had happened several times to all three AMR, Fire Department and Police crews; the rescuers dropped my stepson from a stretcher on his injured leg; photos of my then naked stepson were taken by the police with another camera; more pointless and irrelevant questions, the second officer asked me if I would be willing to come to the police station to answer questions about what had happened. Before I finished answering the officer’s question, I was placed under arrest with no explanation other than “it was a yes or no question.”
Not until later that day, I was informed that the police’s reason for my arrest (their probable cause) was that one of the police officer’s claimed that she had been in the ambulance with my stepson and that my stepson allegedly told her and the two AMR drivers/paramedics that I had “kicked his leg.” Putting aside how ridiculous that claim/accusation was - is… this officer did not have enough time in that ambulance (at least not at the time she claims she did) to have had the conversation that later she described having with my stepson (who at the time was a 4 year old being interviewed with no neutral adult supervision) before she decided to tell the other officer to arrest me as she claims that she did. The officer and the investigating/interviewing detective both lied in their reports and have conflicting statements; also misrepresented several details, and parts of the events AND my description of the events to them, therefore they made it appear as if I had lied about where I was when my stepson either fell or jumped from the only three possible places [at least to the unprofessional] (the dining table/dining chair; half-wall dividing living room OR dining room) that could have caused his injury. They claimed that I had told them that “my stepson fell down behind my chair, running” which of course sounds ridiculous, but that is simply NOT what I told them. At all…
I described the aforementioned events to the police and the detectives in clear details (IT IS EVEN RECORDED!), exactly as the events unfolded and to the best of my memory (which is pretty good AND accurate), more than once to each party, “I was in the living room [BEHIND THE HALF-WALL] when I heard a noise and when I got up to check on it I found my stepson laying on the floor by the dining table [ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE HALF-WALL].” I also explained to them several times, that MY STEPSON had told me and his mother that he was “running, fell and hit the table.” I didn’t claim to have seen that – in fact I expressed my reluctance to believe his story because he often lied, but of course the police twisted my words to their convenience to fit the little story they had concocted. It was easier to believe that police were being “heroes” and that an “innocent” child could not lie or be wrong than believing what was clearly obvious, right in front of their eyes.
The officers also managed to weave a distorted version of past injuries and/or marks on my stepson, all from separate events into their story and even attempt to misrepresent some of these marks by claiming that they were bruises when they were not, even though my stepson, myself AND my stepson’s mother described these injuries and their respective sources accurately, including the few that required medical attention in which there was no concern for abuse.
Here is an X-ray (see image D below) of the actual injury, even though at some point the officer claims that my stepson originally and allegedly told her that I kicked him “several” times. Yet the injury appears to be consistent with one impact and not necessarily high-impact, and it is consistent with several other possible causes, some of which include what my stepson told his mother, me AND all the crews (at least in my presence). Also from an article published in the official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics titled Long-Bone Fractures in Young Children: Distinguishing Accidental Injuries From Child Abuse “While testifying in child abuse cases, physicians have been frustrated by the lawyer who asks, ‘Doctor, how did this injury happen?’ ….Sixty percent of femur fract[ures] in infants younger than 1 year of age were due to abuse. Although it is taught that femur fractures in young children are inflicted unless proven otherwise, in this study it was found that femur fractures often are accidental and that the femur can be fractured when the running child trips and falls. That is one of many articles related to these type of injuries and about the wild differences in the views from some professionals to others, all come down to misconceptions about myths based on the common, yet out-of-context statement “the femur is the largest and strongest bone in the body” which only means that it is the largest and strongest in A body relative to its other bones AND independently from how weak or fragile this whole set of bones might be in relationship to its environment. Unfortunately many understand this as “the femur is a bone that is almost impossible to break” when that is not true at all.
Almost 27 months later I am still sitting here waiting for the state to resolve this matter; ther’s been little if none, due process. I have given the state AND the public defense a considerable amount of time without raising my questions and concerns about the legitimacy; accuracy and the competence of this charges and the case as a whole. Meanwhile I am not allowed to see my daughter or any other child under the age of 13 (including many family members and friends) because to “protect” (rather cover their butts) the state believes that I shouldn’t be around any of them, even though I am just accused of something and our constitution reads OR implies somewhere in its language, I am sure, that a person is innocent UNTIL proven otherwise.
Apparently in the state of WA all you need is someone to make an accusation - however far-fetched - and you’re treated as if you were guilty! I have NO prior history of crime or any criminal record; I served honorably for almost 8 years in the United States Army and I am a medically disabled, veteran with more motives to stay on the good side of the law than to not. My only stable source of income depends on me being a stand up citizen and despite what this officer and her posse claimed I have been one so far. I have always loved children and despite being strict and stern when parenting or caring for them, the one thing I would never be is abusive (at least under some’s views) and if I somehow accidentally hurt a child, I would have no reason to hide it. In fact I have been at times accused of being OVER-PROTECTIVE rather than abusive.
My life has completely been “taken away” because of this situation, I cannot leave the apartment where I live without having to schedule a pass to do so and of course, without disclosing to most people I come in contact with, my situation. This places me at a disadvantage that the state might not want to admit or understand, but is very real: if and when I procure any job as an freelance artist, photographer and anything else I am qualified for, I will most likely, have to disclose my situation and request that my employers/clients contact my monitoring agent to confirm that I am where I say I am - you can see already how this, not only puts me at a disadvantage, but also forces me to deal with the bad reputation that comes with it. Most people are judgmental and will assume the worse, even if you present the story to them within the right context. Another problem is that when I have go to medical treatments, appointments or emergencies I also have to disclose my situation and show the monitoring device to my medical provider and/or hospital staff which exposes me to unwarranted prejudice and unnecessary conflicts with people who do not understand what having this device means, in their eyes you’re automatically guilty, whether you’ve been to a trial or not. I have already experienced this at one visit to the hospital during a medical emergency, which is why I am now more than paranoid and reluctant to attend my so needed, medical check-ups at the VA Hospital.
I have not only shown that I pose no threat to the community, but that I am more than willing to satay away from trouble, abide by the rules and cooperate with the system as much as possible to resolve this case promptly, so it can finally give everyone involved some peace; and give me, the opportunity to pursue legal action against those responsible for starting this mess - incompetent public servants with their unscrupulous actions.
My defense has presented several motions to the court, requesting my release from electronic home monitoring, but all their attempts have been futile; a month ago exactly, the latest motion was presented to the court. This time the defenses argument factored in my compliance with the program, cooperation with the investigative process; they explained that releasing me from EHD would provide me with some needed flexibility - the ability to take care of medical affairs and even work without the aforementioned risks.
My hopes were low, just because every time we have been to court for this matter, the state prosecutors’ argument however invalid, has always been a variation of the following logic, “Your honor, you have already decided that because the severity of the accusation the defendant should not be allowed on the streets…” or “Your honor, the counsel feels that electronic home monitoring is more than adequate flexibility for what the defendant deserves, given the severity of the accusation.” Needless to say, this motion was also fruitless, I was denied release from EHD.
Are they serious!? How many cases do you see, or hear where recurring criminals get released without bail or without monitoring devices then commit crimes, harm the alleged victims and/or the witnesses as a result? If there is any silver lining to this latest hearing, is that my atty made me aware of something I hadn’t even consider because of course, I had not expect this bullshit to go on for so long: apparently the minimum time possible as a sentence were I convicted of this charges, is nearly served. Of course that does not mean anything, because the maximum sentence possible is a lot different and no matter what happens it is always up to the judges discretion who’s shown already no desire to be objectively considerate of the lack of evidence - lack of trial for that matter. If this is the case, my atty suggested requesting release from EHD again when the time for a served minimum sentence would’ve happened.
I told my atty that I did want to request again, so the atty brought this up to the judge “would you be willing to reconsider if we come back at this time, your honor”, on the record, and this was the judge’s response, “If this was a different case I might change my mind, but because the alleged victim is a child… I mean I am willing to hear your argument, but my response is still going to be no.” WTF!? Yeah, no double-standards or subjectivity there, your honor. Why do we have laws, if a judge can enforced bases solely on his/her own opinion. I really wish that the media was present for all of my hearings. So there was some trustworthy documentation and record of how these people run the political, money-making machine called justice system.
I ask you all to consider the situation I am in and be mindful of what your children do at all times, because in a micro second they can do almost anything and if you are as unfortunate as I was of having an officer the law - if you can even call them that, that will destroy your life simply because they believe making stories up or misinterpreting what people tell them, is part of their duties as police officers. If you’re EVER in a similar situation get in contact a lawyer before you attempt to be helpful, or before you answer any questions without legal representation. When you have children, if affordable, purchase audio/video monitoring devices for your home, so you always have documented evidence of what your children are doing. At the very least you’ll be protected from a lot of unnecessary inconveniences.
I wish that this is solved promptly and that eventually this officer and anyone else who has supported the lies are brought to justice. Even if I have already lost two years and the little life I had managed to procure until then, the faster this is solved the sooner I will be able to be with my daughter and forget this nightmare.
32 MONTHS LATER