Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Serving Six: Court.

The year we spent in and out of the court room was probably the hardest year of my life.

It didn’t take too long to get our first court date. He entered his plea and then there would be sentencing. Except it wasn’t that easy. Or fast. There were continuances, new judges, and other delays. There was a lot of stuff going on in and out of court. Our lawyer was trying to get some of his charges dropped and trying to work out sentencing recommendations with the DA’s office.

We went to court what seemed like every month. Usually they were short hearings and we’d be in and out. The lawyer and DA would do their thing. There’d be whispers between our lawyer and George. And then we’d usually leave and stand in the hall talking with the lawyer about what had just happened. It was never like any court episode that I’ve seen on TV. The whole thing was surreal. And I was so numb that I don’t think I was really present for any of them.

George was there for almost every one of his court appearances. Sometimes they were short enough that he didn’t need to be there. They’d bring him over from the jail. Handcuffed. It was really hard for me to see that. Sometimes when I close my eyes I can still see him that way. Which is weird because I haven’t seen him in those shackles since 2007. I’m not really sure if those images will ever go away. I would give anything for them to go away, but I fear they are stuck with me.

Going to court was always quick, but it was really hard on me. Every time I stepped in to that court room I was sick to my stomach. Nerves. Anger. Sadness. Fear. It was overwhelming. And it never got easier. I still have trouble walking in to that county courthouse. I always took the day off work. It was so emotional that I knew there would be no way for me to go back in the office and actually be a functioning employee. Generally speaking I would just go home and crawl in to bed and cry my eyes out.

The whole thing wasn’t just hard on me. It was hard on my brother too. For the most part I don’t think he understood a lot of what happened in court. Which I can only imagine is frustrating. And there were a lot of years hanging over his head. We had been preparing ourselves for a lot of time. Like double digits. That’s scary. His whole future. His life. Our lives. They were all hanging in the balance. And none of us knew what to expect. On top of all of that uncertainty there was the moving. He was “home” for a few months, and pretty much as soon as court started they moved him somewhere and then they’d have to bring him back. Basically, as soon as he got settled into a routine somewhere they’d move him. He didn’t do so well with that and that added extra stress on him and for us. Plus, when he was "gone" we weren't able to visit on a regular basis so that was pretty shitty.

Steven was always the saint. He'd always go with me to court. He made it a priority to be there with me when I needed him the most. I honestly don't know how I would have made it through all those court dates without him there - with my brother shackled in front of me so close that I could reach out and touch him but I wasn't able to actually do that. And he was always there to pick me up and dust me off when we got home.

November 2006 to November 2007 was probably one of the hardest times of my life. Actually. Not probably. It was. And it’s hard for me to write about. Partly because I really was in the midst of a deep depression that I didn’t even realize I was in. And partly because I have a hard time remembering it. Which I attribute to the fact that I was barely present even when I was present (At one point you could actually ask me how many tiles there were in the courtrooms at that courthouse and I’d be able to tell you. Because most of the time, while trying to fight back the tears, that’s what I would do –count ceiling tiles.). And it was just really hard. I really wanted to re-count more of our court experience, and I have been trying to write this post for a couple weeks now. But I just can’t. I don’t have it in me. The memories are just not there. And maybe it isn’t about the exact memories but more so about the feelings that surrounded this entire experience. So I’m giving you all everything I have at the time. Some days are better for me, and some things are easier to write about and those will probably be clearer and less like someone just word vomited all over a blog post. Sometimes there will be vague details and vague feelings. Because in my version of the story that is all I have to tell.

And for today. This is all I have to tell. This is everything I can put on this page.


  1. I hope that writing this even though it's hard is helping. Again another great piece of writing.

  2. It kind of is. I think it really will in the long run. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger right ;) and thanks!

  3. This will make you stronger!

    I hate to ask but what was he charged with? Double digits seems extreme for robbery but I don't know much about the justice system...

  4. I'll actually be talking more about that next week when I get to sentencing so you're ahead of the game but he was originally charged with 5 counts of armed robbery, 1 count of abduction (store clerk he forced back inside), 1 count of felony eluding the police, and 1 DUI