The hearing went well. I got to talk to the prosecuting attorney prior to the hearing, which helped. I explained my concerns about him coming home right away. We talked until we were called in to court. My friend of 25 years, Sheila, went with me. She was my "sister." She has been more "family" to me than many of my relatives have been.
The room was small, enough room for the magistrate's bench, a table for the court recorder, two tables on the floor- one for me and one for the prosecuting attorney and the court liaison- and some chairs behind us where Sheila sat. Josh and a bailiff stood to the left of the judge.
The judge read Josh his rights and explained what would happen if he decided to waive his right to a trial. He was informed that if he did choose to go ahead with a trial, he could call witnesses and have an attorney at no cost to him. So she went on to explain all these rights in their entirety.
Josh chose to waive his right to a trial and plead guilty. He was extremely humble, saying "yes, ma'am," "no ma'am," etc. He confessed his guilt without hesitation and admitted to abusing the younger two siblings, mainly verbally, but sometimes physically in the past.
I had a chance to speak. I explained how important I felt getting Josh on medication was. I explained that we want him home but not if something like this was going to happen again. I told the judge that I was mainly concerned about my younger two children and their safety. I also mentioned that Robert requested that Josh not come home right away so that Robert could have a few days to cool down and regroup. I shared with her the story of Josh being on the phone all night arguing with C., and how I think it may have prompted the outburst.
I also explained to the court that Josh's coach wants him on the team, has seen nothing but a well mannered team player and that he feels, as do I, that basketball is a positive in Josh's life. I explained that a few weeks ago, Josh walked away from an opposing team player who was taunting him and several other boys after the game. Josh walked away and encouraged his teammates to do the same, which the coach "caught" him doing. The coach had taken ten minutes out of practice to praise Josh's actions, so needless to say he was stunned to hear of Josh's actions. However, the coach maintains that he think Josh is a good hearted young man who just needs some help.
After I talked, the judge explained that there is about a month and a half waiting list for mental health care through the courts in our county. That unfortunately, she is unable to hold Josh for that long, but she is able to set in motion a plan for him to avoid any trouble until he is able to be evaluated. She placed him on probation. She stressed to me that if Josh gives me any sort of trouble, I am to contact the probation officer right away, and Josh will be taken back in to custody. She stressed that I am not to wait, not to hesitate and not to second guess myself. I am to protect myself and my other two children first and foremost.
Additionally, she asked Josh if he had apologized to me. He said he had not. She asked him "Don't you think you owe your mother an apology?" Which he agreed that he did. Then she said, "What I don't understand is why it didn't occur to you to do that without my prompting? If I were in your shoes, I would have already done so." He then apologized. She then told him that he needed to go back to custody and draft a letter of apology to the entire family. That she would review the letter and not release him until the letter was written to her satisfaction.
Josh will have to do community service, he will have to do 12 weeks of a class about domestic violence, and the psychological counseling will be mandatory. He will be on house arrest accept for school and basketball. He will not be able to be left alone with Jo and Jess, nor home alone. He will have to be with us at all times.
So, he is to be released tonight after I get off work. Robert and I will go together and get him. We will see how things transpire from there. I'm nervous about getting him and relieved all at the same time. Last night I was lying on the couch, dozing, and all of a sudden I woke up and thought, "I've got to get Josh from practice!" then when reality hit, I wanted to cry. This has been the strangest mix of emotions I've ever had to contend with. I'm getting there.
The soreness in my body is greatly reduced. I can move and breathe without as much pain. I slept pretty good last night. I think physically I am much better, overall. I am calm as I write this, but that comes and goes. Yesterday , Sheila (she's an RN) told me I was broken out in hives after court. I was willing myself not to cry, and I think my body had to let the stress out somehow. As soon as we left the juvenile detention center, the hives went away.
I have to say that without your support, kind words, prayers, thoughts and energy, I would not have made it through this. Truly. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Your strength made me stronger.
Hope you have a good weekend, and I'll update you further on Monday.
Holli: Happy Birthday to Tucker, and have a great party. I doubt if I will make it to see you Sunday, but if that changes, I'll let you know.
Love to you all!