We went to court today. Nothing happened in Nic’s case. Not that I could really post about anything anyway. Nic now has his own lawyer…I think this is a good thing.
Here’s the setup. We are in the Baxer County courthouse on the 3rd floor which has two family courtrooms. We are waiting in the hall with about 7 other families and all the lawyers representing all the parties. The scene was sad. There were mothers who were crying, clearly fearful of what they were facing. It was clear from the solemn faces who the parent’s in the crowd were.
The bailiff was loudly yelling names, “Rodriguez. Your case is up. Rodriguez”. The lawyers are all hobnobbing (by the way, I always said I wanted to become a lawyer…now I want to even more. Dennis thinks that means I’ll just be on my phone all the time…probably). This was a long busy hallway. We were sitting on a hard wooden bench. The way the courtroom works is, you enter through one door, into a little “hall” then walk through another door into the courtroom. When the hearing is complete you exit at the other end of the room, through a door into a little hallway then out another door into the large hallway.
We had been standing in the hall for about 15 minutes when four court officers and a woman burst out of the courtroom exit door. The woman was wailing hysterically. The security officers were not touching her but were trying to “move” her along. She was wailing and had her face pressed against the wall with her arms up covering her face. She was clearly extremely distraught.
At the time we are chatting with Nic’s new lawyer and he mumbles under his breath, “just do your services”. Another lawyer comes over and they start talking about how the woman hasn’t been doing the services recommended by the Department of Family and Protective services and the court and her children were not being returned to her.
All of the sudden, a loud voice rose above the noise of the crowded hallway, “They are taking babies away from people. Don’t go in there. They are taking people’s babies.” Her voice rang out desperation tempered by sadness. Her voice was like a cry in the wilderness. She had clearly missed her prophetic calling. Although the mothers in the crowd may have felt a twinge of sympathy for her, the lawyers and caseworkers clearly felt the outcome was just and expected.
I have plenty of opinions about the system. Most of them not great. My experience has been that too often children are being returned to parents are not fit or sober. That’s just me. I would rather see the system err on the side of the caution than to return a child too soon to an environment that could be dangerous.
Around noon, the corridors of the courthouse began to empty. In fact, it began to look like a state holiday. (I guess the judges and lawyers all go to lunch..who knew they needed to eat.). We were waiting near the information desk and I overheard the staff talking to some of the security officers. One of the officers said, “I can’t believe she (the officer escorting the lady) didn’t taser her. I would have tazed her”. It did take them quiet a while to get her escorted out.
Although there was drama in the courthouse today, it wasn’t our drama. It isn’t surprising that a courthouse, especially one dealing with family situations would have drama in it’s halls. A family court without drama would be like Thanksgiving without drama (or gossip…not my family of course.)