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Fighting for Justice ~ In the Courtroom

It's not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.

The morning of Wednesday, October 20, 2021 was one that filled me with stress and anxiety. I couldn't sleep any later than I usually do any other weekday morning so I got up and took my time getting ready. I left my house with more than enough time to make it to the courthouse around 8:30 just in case it took a little while to get through the security checkpoint. I wasn't really sure what to expect but I definitely over estimated the amount of time I would need. I sat outside of the courtroom until a few minutes before 9:00 and other people were walking into the courtroom. One of those other people was the defendant in the case that I was there for. She was accompanied by her son and a man who I am guessing was her boyfriend. He actually was walking out as I walked in. She sat in the back corner of the courtroom like she was trying to hide, I made sure to sit on the opposite side of the courtroom but in the middle and next to the aisle in full view of her and her attorney. I wanted to make sure that she saw that I was there. Right at 9:00 the court was called to order and the judge came out and a couple of minutes after that the Victims Assistance Coordinator came in and found me and we stepped outside and spoke for a few minutes. We talked a little about how the attorney that originally was assigned the case was moving to a different division and a new attorney was taking over the case and she would make sure I got to speak with the new attorney. We went back in and sat down while several cases were called as attorney after attorney got in line and approached the bench.

We had been sitting there for a little while, quietly talking off and on about my dad, what he was like, what he did for a a living and how he ended up in memory care after my mom passed away and some of the things that happened (the good times) while he was there. When she saw the opportunity, Ms. Vasquez, the Victims Assistance Coordinator went and spoke with the attorney assigned to the case and let her know that I was in the courtroom and when she had a chance I would like to speak with her. It took a little while but when she could she stepped away and the three of us went into the hallway and sat on one of the benches to talk for a few minutes. We talked about the case and she told me that while she was just recently assigned to it she was up to speed and the original attorney was nearby if she had questions. She also let me know that she was going to be going to a different division so another attorney would be taking over but they would not let the case fall through the cracks. My response to her was that there was no way I would let it fall through the cracks and I planned to be in attendance at every single hearing or appearance I could be at. I planned to see this through to the end. she told me that if she were in my shoes she would feel the same way. We then went back into the courtroom and Ms. Vasquez and I chose to sit in the very front row this time.

We sat and watched as other cases were called. I noticed the defendant's attorney go over and talk to the Assistant District Attorney (ADA) assigned to the case and I tried my best to read his lips as they spoke. After they were done talking, the ADA got up and asked me to step outside for a moment and as we were walking past the other attorney, I heard her say something like, "No, that's ok, she gets it." When we were in the hallway, she asked if I had been able to hear or "see" what he had said. I told her from what I could gather, his client has still not seen an immigration attorney. She said that yes, that was the case and that she was going to agree to a continuance until January but that this would be the last chance and if she does not take care of this by the next scheduled appearance the case would be set for trial. She then told me that as we were leaving the courtroom that the defense attorney had asked to speak to me to let me know that he is not the one dragging this out, his client is difficult to work with. She also said that the defense attorney mentioned that it may encourage her to speed things up if I were to take the jail time out of the equation. The ADA said that decision was completely up to me and she would honor my wishes and do what I wanted to do. I told her that there was no way I wanted to take the jail time out of the equation. While I feel bad that she has her son to find someone to take him in for the time she is in jail (if the system works the way it should) but that is not my problem, she should have thought about that when she committed this crime against my elderly father.

We stepped back in and sat down and a short time later the case was called and a continuance was granted until Tuesday, January 18, 2022. At that point we will be two years and fourteen days from the date that this all started and I still don't see the light at the end of the tunnel coming closer.

I try my best to put on a brave face day in and day out but it gets harder and harder. I miss my dad more than words can express and I know in my heart he would have been with us longer if this incident had not happened.

I will keep going. I'm stronger than I've ever been before. My voice is louder because I'm speaking not just for myself but for those who cannot speak any longer. To quote Madeleine Albright "It took me quite a long time to develop a voice, and now that I have it, I'm not going to be silent." and follow that with one by Ayn Rand "The question isn't who's going to let me; it's who's going to stop me." I'm going to make sure to keep speaking up until this case has seen closure and justice is done.


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