Season of Scales


Presentation Description

Lady Justice is described as elegant; a long flowing gown, some weighing scales in one hand (sometimes blindfolded) and a sword in the other hand. What is Lady Justice? My experience has been that the blindfold -- if any -- is partial or bias; and as to the scales, some re-calibration is in order...


Presentation Transcript

“A Season of Scales” - AUDIO : 

1 “A Season of Scales” - AUDIO Another short story from the series, For a Time & Season, this adaptation is a sequel to the story, “A Time for JAIL” in the saga of a non-custodial unwilling to let go…

Arrested Again! - AUDIO : 

2 Arrested Again! - AUDIO Similar to the first episode, my arrest took place at my employment; thus leading to the humiliation and misunderstanding – not to mention loss of job. From the arrest to the trial, the prevailing challenge was (and has been) fear: the fear of a “guilty” verdict and prison…

Smoke & - AUDIO : 

3 Smoke & - AUDIO Compounding this condition was the news that a warrant was out-for-my arrest: in November 2007, or about four months into my one year probation, the authorities informed me that I had violated probation (VOP). The real problem was that there was “no information” on my VOP; or the Sheriff’s office had no evidence regarding the violation. Troubled by the matter, and sensing the thickening of the fog…

Pea - AUDIO : 

4 Pea - AUDIO As fear can be driven by the unknown – or shrouded in a sea of fog – the news of this unsubstantiated warrant was yet another cause for alarm; it’s one thing to know the cause, and another to not know; and still another when the authorities don’t know. Justice begins with cause that ideally searches for truth; but this warrant (or case) would prove to be another example of justice gone south, or using the fog analogy, pea soup.

Slide 5: 

5 Letters from JAIL – “Former Father” - AUDIO June 30, 2008 …During most of the seven years, I have prayed for reconciliation with my former wife, and have appealed in kind to the courts; yet without any apparent progress, but instead, further erosion to a once healthy parent-child relationship and the current charge that could destroy my engineering profession and my ability to continue paying child support. Much more could be said, and much more has been written on the seriousness and the sorrow of the estrangement – both in regard to the sources of misinformation and the mishandling of credible evidence or information….

Stalking! - AUDIO : 

6 Stalking! - AUDIO Escorted from my workplace, I learned of still another charge; a felony described as aggravated stalking. Now I had really done it; I had become a stalker without even being in Florida – where my children live! In case you don’t know, stalking has many forms – as I would begin to discover. You can stalk someone without every being near them; and as a third degree felony, aggravated stalking can – at the least – be simple assault, harassment, and malicious.

“Let me guess…?” - AUDIO : 

7 “Let me guess…?” - AUDIO …Booked and processed, I was then expressively profiled by a few passing detainee’s as either: a serial killer; a computer thief; a “white-collar” criminal (e.g. executive embezzler); and finally, a man (or once husband) who’s probably been burned by a woman. Of all these initial impressions, it takes one to know one; and the lucky winner happen to be yet another poor chap (or is it sap) when he said, “Let me guess, some woman put you in here?” - AUDIO : 

8 - AUDIO In Charleston, I shared a cell with six black men…African Americans; and they were six of the nicest guys I probably have ever lived so close too. They never once bothered me, but did come around the fire to talk about God, themselves, and other things. Among themselves, the accents could get pretty thick with the co locally Gullah of the Low Country.

Days long - AUDIO : 

9 Days long - AUDIO Hearing them talk caused some brief flashback to my youth – growing-up down the road in Beaufort. Oh, how I could have longed for those days of innocence; but even then, there was fear; ironically, much of that fear had been about race and the escalated escapades of egalitarian education…or integration. Those days were long gone

Color don’t matter… - AUDIO : 

10 Color don’t matter… - AUDIO It was ironic that I would end-up just miles from where my children live – not because of employment as before – but because I was stalking them from 200 miles away. I was going to be near my children again; but before the trip, I read the Bible aloud to my six mates and they listened (or tolerated) the white man – without my sometimes realizing that I was not black…and they were. We were together and that was all.

Slide 11: 

11 Letters from JAIL – “Faraway Father” - AUDIO July 10, 2008 The arraignment was ostensibly to enter a plea of which I plead non-guilty – based on the fact that I have not (nor would I) threaten my former wife and/or children with bodily harm or death… A chief concern is that I will likely spend six (6) months waiting for a trial; and with this wait, will arrear about $12,000 of child support. The judge suggested that I hire an attorney (to file a motion for relief); but since I cannot afford an attorney for this case – or bond-out to possibly attain re-employment – the suggestion is not an alternative.

“You can’t hate them.” - AUDIO : 

12 “You can’t hate them.” - AUDIO Of the eight days together, my most vivid memory had to do with their (one or more of them) comments or responses to my situation. What little I mentioned was enough for them to say two things in particular: the first was, “the way you meet her (a woman or eventual wife) is the way that you will lose her”; and the second, “you can’t hate them”.

Doggone - AUDIO : 

13 Doggone - AUDIO At 3:00 AM, I was called-out to board the “Van from Hell”: equipped with am internal cage, a falling headliner, and a lousy air conditioner, this was the worst trip I would ever be own. Someone boarding on the last pick-up in West Florida said it so well: “They don’t even treat dogs this bad.”

The Ancient City and… - AUDIO : 

14 The Ancient City and… - AUDIO Near the breaking of the morning, I arrived once again in the Ancient City, the village of Saint Augustine. As a kid, I had vacationed in this city; as a newlywed, I had honeymooned in this city; as an adult, I had frequented this place and even lived here for six months; and as father, I had brought my children here; and, most recently, had been extradited here for stalking those children.

… - AUDIO : 

15 … - AUDIO Weeks later, the city prepared for its perennial birthday and – being the oldest city in the U.S. – was (or is) equally proud of its heritage, its history. Not that anyone would argue the significance of this event, but a Native American did attempt to put forth the ugliness of the early days of raiding Privateers, brutalizing Spaniards, and the oppressed Indians among others.

Pain in the… - AUDIO : 

16 Pain in the… - AUDIO In the course of those first weeks, I hurt my back while taking a shower. A single slip and suddenly a body-stopping cramp later diagnosed as a slipped-disk. Immobilized by this slip (in the shower and of the disk), I was transferred to the medical unit – but not before my arraignment of the first of two charges, the violation of the injunction (VOP).

Slide 17: 

17 Letters from JAIL – “Fellow Father” - AUDIO July 20, 2008 There is much to write about in jail with much sorrow amid much seriousness; in regard to fathers is the frequent brokenness that prevails in the lives of both sons and fathers. Not always sorrow, but often the wayward and wild son whose father is distant or alienated for some reasons. Than, the fathers who have long abandoned or been estranged from his children by marriage or out-of-wedlock relationships. There is much wealth to be gained in “a gift” or being a father; and in knowing that love, however experienced and applied, is so desperately needed….

… - AUDIO : 

18 … - AUDIO Somewhat taken “back” by the injury, I was not in the best frame-of-mind for each of these cases (or court appearances). Honestly, I was hurting and – and when one is hurt – they can be very difficult, overly defensive, or irrational. What may have been my circumstance was a sort of counter-pain; one pain offset or subordinated by another more significant – the pain of my losses as a parent much more pervasive and hurtful than the momentary and immobilizing back pain.

“No Information” - AUDIO : 

19 “No Information” - AUDIO The court’s “system” was consistent: the violation of injunction (VOP) still indicated “no information” (or evidence supporting the charge, the warrant). A small detail was that the Prosecution did present evidence – which was discovered to have occurred eight months before my probation began. Even with “no information” and out-dated evidence, the Judge granted the Prosecution a Continuance. A Continuance could not be good (for me)…

Who needs evidence? - AUDIO : 

20 Who needs evidence? - AUDIO It hurts me to tell you this, but the Prosecution does not apparently, always evaluate evidence before the case – it’s relevance to the charge. Perhaps it is a murky matter where the end justifies the means, and the relevance of some evidence is, well, irrelevant. How does one get charged when the “system” has “no information”, no substantiated or relevant evidence, and otherwise, no cause?

It can always get worse! - AUDIO : 

21 It can always get worse! - AUDIO In their haste, the Prosecution forgot to change (or overlooked) the year-date on the charge; apparently, the document used the initial VOP was being used for this second VOP…with minor editing. So instead of being served (and booked) with a VOP on July 14th 2008, I was booked in 2007; the initial VOP occurred after the second VOP – which makes absolutely no sense. If you are confused at this point, it may be the murky matter. Just relax as it will get worse…

Slide 22: 

22 Letters from JAIL – “Family Father” - AUDIO July 30, 2008 Continuing on the theme of “Being a Good Father”, I must give tribute my own father who, through the course of much trial and difficulty, continues to support me prayfully, financially, and in other ways. By this tribute, I do not suggest that he is a replacement for our heavenly father; but rather, he is a blessing and, in ways, a model for me. …In the detail of these recollections was the apparent sense that life is a thread… (as described in the movie Amazing Grace) – it either breaks or it doesn’t. Yet beyond that life, he believes in another, and for this, he is a blessing and a model for me.

Guess who’s coming to court? - AUDIO : 

23 Guess who’s coming to court? - AUDIO The arraignment for aggravated stalking, came a day or two later. An unexpected arrival (to the courtroom) was the present husband of my ex-wife; I guess he was on a mission to collect information and report back. After a moment of accepting his oversight, I waited for the call to the judge’s bench. - AUDIO : 

24 - AUDIO Here lies the dilemma as I see it. I have been stripped form my role as a parent, but imputed with the enormous debt of child support; I am not deemed worthy to be a parent, but I am subject to debtor’s prison as a payee. This dilemma is not just a quandary, but it is a quagmire; it is a tragedy…

The Price of - AUDIO : 

25 The Price of - AUDIO So I returned to my cell, to my block and to my confinement. All this for attempting to contact my children: with a letter and gift to my oldest about his graduation; monies for their birthdays – that their mother cashed…then submitted as evidence for the investigation; and a few letters to each of my children.

Dysfunction - AUDIO : 

26 Dysfunction - AUDIO As I was given much time (in jail) to mull over this charge and supporting evidence, the continuing thought was that the actions I took are no different than the vast majority of our population (of parents and such); but for those who have the unfortunate condition of an injunction, such behavior falls under the description of malicious, assault, and harassment. What’s more, the parental perpetrator (that’s me) must accept the one-sided nature of the injunction…

Slide 27: 

27 Letters from JAIL – “Fore-Father” - AUDIO August 20, 2008 Just two days before my arrest – and eventual extradition – I stood in the “Old Customs House” in historic Charleston, South Carolina. This building was, at the time of British occupation, a jail; and as learned from the tour, held three of the four Carolinians (signers of the Declaration) prior to their extradition to Saint Augustine. The irony comes as I am presently incarcerated within a few miles from the fort – where the patriots were locked-up. Thankfully, the prayers of many have been lifted-up, and I am at peace because the Lord is ever present with love to solace….

Open Season! - AUDIO : 

28 Open Season! - AUDIO My wife (at the time) filed for the “first” restraining order in March 2000; but jeopardized it in the following months by returning to our home and resuming marital relations. As I would later discover, she could have filed charges against me had our residence been in the given state where she filed the restraining order. In short, an injunction is an open-season, one-sided law

Detained but - AUDIO : 

29 Detained but - AUDIO Jail is an endless series of idleness interrupted by an occasional event or an interesting character. In terms of the basic needs (food, shelter, and security), jail is top-notch; but beyond these basic needs, is the endless idleness and prevailing sense of uselessness. On the one hand is long periods of waiting, while on the other hand is the rush of court appearances and procedures; yes, it hurry-up-and-wait coupled with conditioning to be useless…but also demanding like a child.

Now, be good - AUDIO : 

30 Now, be good - AUDIO Perhaps one of the few legitimate complains would have been the multiple days penned-up in our cells – when purportedly, construction and power outages might be the cause. The tendency for some (maybe the minority) to complain, coupled with the bickering and occasional confrontation, created an atmosphere much like pre-school – which may be why some of the deputies treated us like children.

Slide 31: 

31 Letters from JAIL – “Founding Father” - AUDIO August 30, 2008 Continuing with the founding fathers; one of the three Carolinians, Thomas Heyward, wrote “Of Thee I Sing” while incarcerated at the Saint Augustine fort. Using the melody of England’s national anthem, he formed the words “my country…sweet land of liberty…” … Advancing the historical clock, while returning to the “old country”, a German-Christian minister, Dietrich Boenhiffer said, “When Jesus calls a man, he bids him come and die.” - AUDIO : 

32 - AUDIO Such “wildfires” occurred during a series of weeks when we were locked-down for days at a time; again, the reason(s) were reputed as the construction, power interruptions, etc. At the climax of this wildfire, the “violent-offenders” block was rumored to be near the breaking-point; and on this rumor came yet another lock-down for us….for everyone. - AUDIO : 

33 - AUDIO The mix of detainees included: the youngest group that generally were called “JITS” – which is short for jitterbugs; and at the other end were the old timers like myself – who might be referred to as “Pops”; finally, there was everyone else in between that might take-on a sub-class name or some pet name.

JITS or… - AUDIO : 

34 JITS or… - AUDIO As with any community, there are many characters with an equal number of stories; but the saddest and most compelling is the young men (sometimes “JITS”) who seemingly (or expressible) had started young – real young – and seemed to have been inevitably headed down the wrong road…that leads up the road to prison.

…or young - AUDIO : 

35 …or young - AUDIO It is sad. Yes, these young men are sad cases because they have been dealt a band hand and seem to be playing their cards as most would…and maybe do. Early sexual relationships, petty crimes, and drug use are the usual conditions that have for so long been written about, studied and reported – if for no other reason than to warn parents and maybe the young

Slide 36: 

36 Letters from JAIL – “Farthing Father” - AUDIO September 10, 2008 To somehow associate my actions – or the charges before me – is not that simple wither; for even now, the prosecution has been unable to find (or manufacture) evidence on one of the charges dating back to October 2007! Among the pains endured is the realization of judiciary power gone awry. Just last week, the prosecution entered a second continuation on the premise that I was not in the court room; but they failed to acknowledge that, per court procedure, I was waiting in the holding cells waiting to be ushered into the court room…prior to the case call!

“We live in a messed-up…” - AUDIO : 

37 “We live in a messed-up…” - AUDIO In the first of two meetings with one of my public defenders (PD), my story was shared and elaborated in a matter of minutes. Sometime during my discourse, the PD said that “we live in a messed-up world”; and then he mentioned that I would probably be one of those fathers who would not see his children until I was about 65 – if then.

…sorely hurt by… - AUDIO : 

38 …sorely hurt by… - AUDIO I am sorely hurt by the consequences that have left them without a father (or parent) in their lives; and to the remaining young men, I have taken their stories and will not forget what I heard…and saw – as it has only compounded my belief that divorce is destructive, that alienation can be abuse, and that my estrangement from my children is without excuse.

The Drug Industry… - AUDIO : 

39 The Drug Industry… - AUDIO There are many names among these young men; but there are a collection of common characteristics or conditions that led them down the wrong road. Besides the behavior and experience already mentioned, drugs are the frequent – almost certain – addiction and lifestyle. For those familiar with them, the list should come as no surprise; thus, I will not mention any by name. Drugs are an industry…for law enforcement too.

“…the color green…” - AUDIO : 

40 “…the color green…” - AUDIO Call me naïve, but I was little taken-back by yet another pay-for-fee example of justice…discretely through the back-door. Of course, it’s just another story; but I am reminded of the words of Johnny Cochran: “Justice is the color green in America”.

Slide 41: 

41 Letters from JAIL – “Forgetting Father” - AUDIO September 15, 2008 Of what I’ve read and heard, remembering the good times is the “healthy” choice of those memories; it is the choice that leads to the burying of feelings and thoughts that may be reminders of an unforgiving heart – with all its consequences. Furthermore, the memory of good times is the recognition of possible blessings of God. I cannot forget the past or I sure cannot ignore the present, but what I can do is ask our Lord to manage this mental and emotional part of my life such that forgiveness is possible – as is necessary for our own forgiveness and restoration in Christ.

…Not in courtroom… - AUDIO : 

42 …Not in courtroom… - AUDIO The months that followed were interrupted by a Continuance for the VOP. In the usual arrangement, I was transported to the courthouse and kept in a waiting cell to be called into the courtroom; however, the “call” never came…as a guard handed me a notice indicating another Continuance! Annotated on the “pink-slip” was the words “defendant not in courtroom” - AUDIO : 

43 - AUDIO Presumably, the Prosecution had nothing in the way of evidence…. The Pre-trial had been reset for September 30th; and as it would become, the Prosecution would still have no evidence…and end-up dropping the charge. So, for the full record: “no information” in November 2007; “no information” (or substantive evidence) in June and August; and “no information” in late September. I call it expediency. - AUDIO : 

44 - AUDIO In an odd mix of good and bad news comes a general postmortem where the congratulations are rather subdued and the condolences sometimes no more than a reverence, a moment of silence. For those going down the road for the first time, it may include a time of reflection, regret and reservation.

The - AUDIO : 

45 The - AUDIO Besides the mention of the drug seller, I have not discussed specific characters – or those who seem to for better or worse, break-up the idleness of the jail. Among such characters were a few worth remembering for a lifetime…while others will be soon forgotten, I hope!

Slide 46: 

46 Letters from JAIL – “Forgiving Father” - AUDIO September 20, 2008 From the title of this book, “Total Forgiveness” occurs when the past is buried – when the thoughts are no more and the prayers of blessing are in-work for those who have hurt or offended. When total forgiveness or Christ-defined forgiveness begins, so does the freedom to enable love – even for those who purpose to hurt and destroy. Well, I am not finished with the book – and I am not finished forgiving or being forgiven either – but what I hope and pray is that this process will be ever growing and practiced come what may.

Anger - AUDIO : 

47 Anger - AUDIO The jail understandably has a lot of anger; perhaps that’s why anger management courses are offered for those who enroll or are ordered to attend. This anger has different manifestations but, for the JITS, it released or evident with that energy of the youth. Ideally it is released on sports, but since we seldom did anything like that, it had to find another outlet.

Gifted - AUDIO : 

48 Gifted - AUDIO With this gift however, he was also prone to some very odd habits and behavior – which seemed to single him out as a target of ridicule among the block. In keeping with the confrontation of the JITS, he would end in Isolation more than once during his extended stay. He had an incredible mind but a very sad story.

Some had… - AUDIO : 

49 Some had… - AUDIO Others practiced the faith and evidently knew the word of God; some had jobs and hobbies and made one or the other a topic of discussion; some had children or parents and spoke with them or heard from them often; some had addictions and found a way to cope without it; some spoke crudely while others hardly spoke; some liked to argue and others like to play cards – or do both; and some had goals and dreams…and plans.

Slide 50: 

50 Letters from JAIL – “Fearing Father” - AUDIO September 25, 2008 Paul tells us that believers have been given a spirit of love…not a timid or fearful spirit; and that the Holy Spirit “pours out his love” into our hearts. “A man after God’s own heart, David surrendered his fears to God such that love would prevail – even toward King Saul. If I pray and commit the children to God – his love and care – why should I be in fear? With him as my savior, who should I fear? I cannot live without fear, but pray that this fear will be applied as instructed and lead by God…and not by or toward man.

The battle continues… - AUDIO : 

51 The battle continues… - AUDIO To begin, the term “woman” is hardly used; but instead, a few select descriptions that, after I while, take on meaning for the rest of us. I cannot account for the total degree of this view – scope and depth – but will say that I’ve never heard anything quite like it. The battle of the sexes is still alive and well – sad as it may be!

While I was in jail… - AUDIO : 

52 While I was in jail… - AUDIO I could go-on about these groups – and what their presence meant to me – but let me say that these men are storing-up for themselves treasure in heaven in keeping the instruction in Matthew that, “while I was in jail, you came to visit me”. To these men, their ministries, and most of all, our Messiah, I could never fully express my gratitude and thankfulness.

Humor - AUDIO : 

53 Humor - AUDIO As in most situations, humor and comedy has its presence; but the idea of concept of “humor” can be subjective. One of my favorite experiences was two guys who could carry-on a close resemblance of a highly-exuberant, old-time, evangelical-charismatic church service. Complete with music – both voice and simulated instrumentation…

A - AUDIO : 

54 A - AUDIO There is a bond (and I don’t mean a jail bond) – a kind of fraternal brotherhood – that can develop in a place like jail. For those of you who have not had the benefit of jail, this “common condition” with all its stresses and regresses, can render some closeness of “common cause”.

Slide 55: 

55 Letters from JAIL – “For-(e)-bearing Father” - AUDIO October 15, 2008 There is always the possibility or risk of remembrance through rose-colored glasses – as though these forebears were beyond the realness of their lives (or any life); yet, if I must choose between that and not knowing anything, I choose the stories however inflated or exaggerated. For these stories will be my stories; and again, in reserve and well preserved, will be the occasional source for knowing that I once knew of or heard of two or more men of which I share my lineage. Ironically, these forebears will bring some strength to forbear in my own struggles…and remain at peace…as much as it is possible.

Not-Guilty? - AUDIO : 

56 Not-Guilty? - AUDIO In the last month of my stay, the wait came to an end. The aggravated stalking charge was never adjudicated; but instead, the Prosecution requested five years of probation that should keep this father from being a father for at least the length of time because, should I violate the probation – or should my ex-wife make such a claim – I could go to prison for up to three years for stalking my children.

A - AUDIO : 

57 A - AUDIO At the root of this ridiculous court-rendering is the injunction; and though I have written about the injunction before, I must give due to A Mess once again and in closing. In my understanding, injunctions are aimed at protecting the abused or the potentially abused from being harmed by a proven or prospective predator; but what has happened in my case, is that the alleged or assigned “abused” is abusing the injunction… - AUDIO : 

58 - AUDIO With the realization is that the court system simply does not care; but more than that, the court is not competent in the act of caring. Sources in our society – like these medical professionals – are all too aware of the crisis our society is facing with fatherhood; likewise, family courts seem to have grasped the urgency to honor the rights of the parents, the children and the family.

Slide 59: 

59 Letters from JAIL – “Future Father” - AUDIO October 30, 2008 The letters that I have written – twelve altogether – have supplied some therapy during my stay and most likely for some time. As I prepare this final letter, I am also typing the balance for posterity which may lead eventually to a book. Though writing is not a gift but a work-in-process, the ideal of a book is something that I have been encouraged to consider and to pursue as time and talent allow; and should I do so, the title may be A Once and Always Father…but a title is only the beginning.

Slide 60: 

60 Conclusions… - AUDIO With experience and reading, I am convinced that the plea bargain has ended all notions of Innocent Until Proven Guilty by compelling the defendant to testify against himself; thus exempting the need for compelling evidence, a trial and other steps in proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. What’s more, the courts have the power to convict without convicting…

Slide 61: 

61 …& - AUDIO When a court agrees to withhold adjudication – but in effect renders the conviction – it is doing an injustice by misrepresenting the verdict or decision of the court. To the defendant (or layman), the court has failed to follow-through with it’s agreement and… Absolute authority and no responsibility is the abuse of power.

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