Tuesday, March 20, 2007

CarMan, the Sex Offender, Part III

So, I've got CarMan back on active reporting status; I've got a special condition imposed for NO unsupervised contact with children; and I'm beginning to build a revocation case against him for sexual abuse of a child. Those of you unfamiliar with the Criminal Justice system, [heck, some of you working in the CJ system] may wonder HOW a Parole Officer does this. Allow me to explain.
In a "normal" criminal proceeding, the prosecution must prove their case 'beyond a reasonable doubt'. In a Parole Revocation hearing, the Parole Officer has a different standard. S/he only had to present a 'Preponderance of the Credible evidence'. But, we also had to present evidence of the Parolee's 'adjustment' to society, or failure to adjust.
So, I began to gather documentary evidence: the police report from the agency that took the original report the night Mrs.CarMan took her daughter to the ER; the ER records, including the physician's conclusion that the patient had vaginal and anal "irritation"; Mrs. Carman's statement. I was waiting on a summary report from Child Protective Services and the Psychiatrist treating the child.
Randa and I discuss the documentation, once it all comes in; I write a summary and Report of Violation, in the Officer's Recommendation section, I request a "Blue" or no-bail Warrant, and a revocation hearing. Randa dittos in the Supervisor's recommendation section and we send it off to Regional. The Regional Supervisor approves it, sends it to the Hearing Section and Austin. The approve the Revocation, but deny the warrant. Do NOT ask me their reasoning on that decision, I haven't the foggiest. I can make an educated guess, but that's all it would be, a guess: The local jail was suffering overcrowding due to a large number of newly convicted felons waiting to go to TDC. Because TDC was under a Federal Court order to ease overcrowding, they were only accepting as many new prisoners as they were releasing each week. Since larger counties, like Dallas, Harris, Tarrant, Bexar and the like sent more felons than our small county every week, we and all small counties around the state, had a backlog of felons in our jails. Since CarMan didn't have pending felony charges, Austin was not inclined to slap him in jail to await his revocation hearing, which might take 3 months or longer to come up on the hearing schedule.
But, at least I got the Revocation Hearing. And it did indeed take 3.5 months to get it on the schedule. I spent that time requesting subpoenas and prepping witnesses. Remember back in Part II when I described how angry CarMan was when he got reactivated? He went ballistic. Seriously, I thought the guy was gonna save me the trouble of a hearing and stroke out when I served him with Notice of the Revocation Hearing. I truly wish he had.
In case you hadn't already guessed, your tax dollars provide an attorney for any parolee faced with a revocation hearing. Sometimes they will hire an attorney, but most just take the one appointed for them. CarMan got lucky. He got a GOOD appointed attorney. But even when I knew who it was, I still wasn't worried. I had enough documentation and witnesses, I thought I had it locked. He was as good as on the bus, for the rest of his 20 year term.
Until the Psychiatrist got Brain Cancer. For those of you who have never known anyone with brain cancer, sometimes it's slow-growing and sometimes it's a fast mover. Her's was a fast mover. She was diagnosed 3 weeks before the hearing. Three days after her diagnosis she called me to say she was entering hospice care and would not be able to testify. She was, in fact, in a coma on the day of the hearing, and I had a physician's statement to that effect at the hearing. CarMan's attorney objected to the introduction of her affidavit and the hearing officer upheld the objection. Neither Mrs. CarMan nor I were willing to subject a 4 y.o. to cross examination, even of the gentlest kind. She and I had discussed this, and what it would most likely mean to the outcome of the revocation hearing.
CarMan testified that the reason his daughter said, "Daddy hurt my hiney" was because he had thought she had a fever and used a rectal thermometer to take her temperature. The testimony of the ER doctor, the CPS worker, the police officer, Mrs. CarMan, did not convince the hearing officer to revoke Carman's parole. In fact, she even removed the Special Condition for No unsupervised contact with children.
But none of us knew this at the time. It took a month for her decision to be made and filter through channels. I called Mrs. CarMan to give her the news, before I delivered a copy of the Hearing Report to CarMan and his attorney. She thanked me and said "Good Bye" with a certain note of resignation and finality to her voice. I was rather bitter when I went to the attorney's office to deliver his copy of the hearing report. I said something that was satisfying at the time, but very childish, "Counselor, if your client's 'member' truly does feel like a rectal thermometer, he's got bigger problems than I can fix!" and I dropped the report on his desk and left.
A few days later, CarMan shows up at my office. "Where is that Bi+CH?" "Don't use that language, and to whom are you referring?" Seems his ex-wife had dropped off the grid. With his daughter. Packed up, left her job, her house, her family and friends either didn't know squat or weren't saying word one to him. We, the Parole System had been her last hope for protecting her child, and we had failed her.
Keep your head down, Mrs. CarMan, and Fare Well.


SpeakerTweaker said...


I'm not even entirely sure why, but I'm sorry.

I thought this guy was as good as Greybarred. I can't believe how all of this went down.

Furthermore, I can't believe the blindness of those who ultimately made the decisions in this case.

I hope you attack the next one with the same ferocity as this one, and next time I hope it sticks.

Still, you may want to find the cure for cancer right before you show up for work that day:)


Ambulance Driver said...

Win some, lose some. It's never satisfying when the systems fails. I'm hoping that Mrs. Carman can elude his reach for as long as she can.

phlegmfatale said...

aw, crap!

I was expecting a satisfying end to this story in which justice prevails. Gee whiz - how vile an outcome. And how stressful for all the good people who try to make it right. This makes me sad.

But I'm so proud of you, and that there are folks like you who have done your best.

You should run for JP.

Lovi said...

I've said it before and I'll say it again. I admire you. I don't know that I could've gone back to work after that.
Hugs to you