Welcome Guest.   Make a donation to an author on the site July 23, 2014, 12:58:28 AM  *

Please login or register.
Or did you miss your validation email?


Login with username and password (forgot your password?)
Why not become a lifetime supporting member of the site with a one-time donation of any amount? Your donation entitles you to a ton of additional benefits, including access to exclusive discounts and downloads, the ability to enter monthly free software drawings, and a single non-expiring license key for all of our programs.


You must sign up here before you can post and access some areas of the site. Registration is totally free and confidential.
 
Free DonationCoder.com Member Kit: Submit Request.
   
   Forum Home   Thread Marks Chat! Downloads Search Login Register  
Pages: [1]   Go Down
  Reply  |  New Topic  |  Print  
Author Topic: Stiff sentence for sending child to wrong school district  (Read 3713 times)
wraith808
Supporting Member
**
Posts: 6,073



"In my dreams, I always do it right."

see users location on a map View Profile WWW Read user's biography. Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« on: February 29, 2012, 05:24:09 PM »

Tried to make the title as neutral as possible...

Homeless mother sends her child to a school district different than the one in which they lived (I know personally several people who did the same thing).  For this crime she was sentenced to 5 years in prison, and has to repay the $6200 she 'stole' sending her child there.

To make ends meet, the woman may also have resorted to selling drugs, which was "considered in her sentencing."

http://www.alternet.org/n...a_better_school_district/
Logged

Stoic Joker
Honorary Member
**
Posts: 5,093



View Profile WWW Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #1 on: February 29, 2012, 05:41:45 PM »

Well that's completely absurd. The woman has committed no crime. The prosecutor should be shot for concocting such a stupidly trumped up charge.
Logged
40hz
Supporting Member
**
Posts: 10,391



see users location on a map View Profile Read user's biography. Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #2 on: February 29, 2012, 06:36:20 PM »

Yep. Happened in my home state two towns away from where I live.

People here are generally enraged about how she's being treated although the drug dealing, which supposedly went on for years prior to her sending her son outside her 'official' school district had a lot to do with her going to jail. Plus a prior conviction for robbing a local bank 10 years previously didn't help her much either.

Some local coverage can be found here and here.

This is one of those difficult (for me) cases. Is this somebody who may be bad but was legitimately trying to get her son out from under the circumstances of his birth. Or was this just somebody who was dealing drugs and wanted her kid out of the immediate area where she was dealing either to protect him - or just keep him out of sight and her hair.

Tough call. We'll never really know.

I personally think her kid would be better off not being with her IF she is dealing because the city she's from has major gang issues when it comes to drugs. Going after somebody's kid for purposes of intimidation, or to get revenge against a competitor, isn't exactly uncommon.

But if that was the State's primary concern, there are other far more serious things she could have been charged with. Hitting her so hard for 'defrauding' another school district smacks of maliciousness. Not to mention the fact those drug and prostitution charges appeared at a suspiciously convenient time considering what a political football her case was turning into on the national level.

But when you're a prosecutor I guess you pursue whatever charges you think you can make stick. Pretty sucky doing that IMO. But that's how it often works.

We are all of us pieces in many different hidden games.

"So it goes."  undecided
Logged

Don't you see? It's turtles all the way down!
wraith808
Supporting Member
**
Posts: 6,073



"In my dreams, I always do it right."

see users location on a map View Profile WWW Read user's biography. Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #3 on: February 29, 2012, 08:53:49 PM »

We are all of us pieces in many different hidden games.

*sigh*  Sad
Logged

Target
Honorary Member
**
Posts: 1,382



see users location on a map View Profile WWW Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #4 on: February 29, 2012, 08:57:29 PM »

author=Stoic Joker link=topic=30144.msg280188#msg280188 date=1330558905]
Well that's completely absurd. The woman has committed no crime. The prosecutor should be shot for concocting such a stupidly trumped up charge.[/quote]

time to call your congressman?
Logged

"Look wise, say nothing, and grunt. Speech was given to conceal thought" - Sir William Osler
zridling
Friend of the Site
Charter Member
***
Posts: 3,289


Linux captive

see users location on a map View Profile WWW Read user's biography. Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2012, 07:27:39 AM »

Logged

- zaine (on Google+)
40hz
Supporting Member
**
Posts: 10,391



see users location on a map View Profile Read user's biography. Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2012, 09:40:54 AM »

@zridling - +1! I'm starting to feel that way more and more lately.  Sad
Logged

Don't you see? It's turtles all the way down!
superboyac
Charter Member
***
Posts: 5,606


Is your software in my list?

see users location on a map View Profile WWW Read user's biography. Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2012, 09:46:13 AM »

@zridling - +1! I'm starting to feel that way more and more lately.  Sad
Only 294 more days, guys!  Just hang on!
Logged

wraith808
Supporting Member
**
Posts: 6,073



"In my dreams, I always do it right."

see users location on a map View Profile WWW Read user's biography. Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2012, 09:47:22 AM »

One thing I don't see is why the system doesn't use these potential crimes as opportunities for creative sentencing- especially when there is a child involved.  Apparently there is low income housing in the district- the child can stay in school if the mother 1) gets gainful employment and 2) lives in a residence in the district, and 3) stays out of trouble.  Get her help in doing so- then if she doesn't, she doesn't put her child above her other activities and this should be addressed.

That would seem to be a sentencing that could bring her out of trouble, and reduce the upheavals in the child's life.
Logged

40hz
Supporting Member
**
Posts: 10,391



see users location on a map View Profile Read user's biography. Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2012, 10:47:51 AM »

^There is low-income housing in the area. Unfortunately it's administrated by each town individually. (This is New England after all!) You have to first get your name on a public housing list. Many towns only open their list for registrations once a year. Once on the list, you wait for a unit to become available. Sometimes you'll wait for years depending upon which municipality you want to live in. Towns with low crime rates, public beaches, and good school systems have very very very long waiting lists.

Considering the mayor of Norwalk started this whole mess for her, and has been pretty vocal about his justification for doing so, she won't be seeing any favors from the city. If she were to apply you can be 100% sure it will be handled by the book. Which, in this case, means a multi-year wait.

Also can't speak for the rest of the nation, but CT isn't CA. Judges and legislators don't get very creative here. Such behavior would be frowned on and considered 'inappropriate' by most of the general public. What can I say? It's New England.  undecided
« Last Edit: March 01, 2012, 11:09:21 AM by 40hz » Logged

Don't you see? It's turtles all the way down!
40hz
Supporting Member
**
Posts: 10,391



see users location on a map View Profile Read user's biography. Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2012, 03:58:36 PM »

The woman has committed no crime. The prosecutor should be shot for concocting such a stupidly trumped up charge.

Actually she did. At least according to current laws.

In the USA, publicly funded schooling is compulsory for all children. Usually between the ages of 5 and 18 although the exact years may vary slightly depending on which State you reside in. (In the USA, public education is still mostly regulated by State rather than federal law.)

So why do some people consider what this woman did as being criminal?

Some background:

In Connecticut, public education is funded out of collected property taxes. The state sets a minimum annual expenditure per student for education. Local municipalities may spend as much over that minimum as they like however. So the bigger the town's property tax base (i.e. the wealthier it is) the better funded the schools should be. At least in theory. Although that's pretty much the case in practice too.

My town just finished building a new elementary and middle school. And extensively renovating one of it's three high schools. Total cost was in excess of $1 billion dollars. And that has not included additional millions spent on expanding and renovating its 14 other schools. We currently have: 10 elementary, 3 middle schools, and 2 standard + 1 alternative high school. The proposed annual school budget for 2012-13 is just shy of $150 million to service a student population of about 9,300 students.

The schools are well equipped, well maintained, and have (for the most part) a competent and dedicated staff of teachers working in them. Student to teacher ratio is about: 18:1 for elementary; 12:1 for middle; and 10:1 for high school.

Needless to say, my town is a good place to send your kid for public schooling. So much so that houses and rentals command a premium price because they get you access to this school system.

Unfortunately, our property tax assessments can also cause nosebleed. But even that isn't an issue for many residents. I heard a parent of school children once state (at an open town budget meeting) that she didn't care if the taxes doubled. Because it would still be a bargain. She had four kids in public school, and had worked out that buying all four a comparable private education would cost her in excess of $40K per year. When asked if she would still feel the same way once her kids were out of school, she said in a serious voice, "Oh, I won't care. As soon as my youngest is finished with high school my husband and I plan on moving."

In a nutshell, my town has put itself in the education business. Something which has pretty much split the town into two political groups: those with school children who are benefiting from high property taxes; and those without who aren't - but are still required to pay them.

And this is generally the case throughout this region. Education budgets and budget hearings are often very contentious political issues in these parts.

This situation is further exacerbated by the fact that many municipalities (my town is one) don't allow the taxpayers to directly vote on the school budget. The taxpayers only get to elect the School Board. The School Board itself is who gets to vote on the school budget. (Note: in towns that do have public voting on the school budgets it's not uncommon for there to be four or five separate votes before a budget finally gets passed. It's enough of a problem that several municipalities are trying to change their local laws to no longer allow a public voting on school budgets.)

----------------------------------------

And into this political firestorm comes Ms.Tanya McDowell. She lies about her place of residence in order to enroll her son in school in a town where she isn't a legal resident - an act which is a direct violation of existing law. A law that up until recently wasn't taken too seriously because most people felt it was always better to have a kid attending school than worry about where he attended it.

But with worries about a diminishing economy, increasing unemployment, high taxes, and a less humane attitude on the part of many people, Tanya McDowell's fib became a lodestone for all the frustrations people had about funding a very expensive educational system. So she got selected to be the poster child for what can happen to you when you break the rules about where you send your child to school.

This might have been resolved quietly, with some token penalty once the furor died down. Most people didn't want to see her punished all that much if at all. They just wanted a message sent that what she did was not acceptable.

But unfortunately, certain community and political factions picked up on her case, weighed in, and turned it into a debate about race, privilege, and inequalities in the public education system. Then the NAACP got involved. Next Al Sharpton showed up. And in the meantime, her story had become national news. After all that, nobody involved was about to back down. There was too much "face" at stake to do otherwise.

So...did Tanya McDowell break the law?

Yes, she did.

Was she convicted of what she was charged with?

No
she was not. She plead under the Alford Doctrine - that weird little legal fiction that allows you to plead guilty while still maintaining you are innocent. This is the so called "I'm guilty but I didn't do it!" plea.

How stiff a sentence did she receive?

12 years, suspended after 5 years served. Plus she was ordered to pay "up to" $6200 reimbursement to the City of Norwalk where he son was attending school.

Was that sentence just for sending her child to the wrong school?

No. Once you read past the headlines you'll discover her twelve year sentence also included time for her guilty plea on four separate counts of possession and sale of drugs.

Did she deserve to go to jail?

Purely on the charge of sending her kid to school where she shouldn't have? I personally don't think so. And neither does anybody else I've talked to.

As far as the drug possession and sale charges go, reaction is mixed. Almost everybody I talked to thought 12 years was very harsh, but that automatically suspending it after 5 actual years served was reasonable. I still think it's a little heavy. But I'm dubious about the value and effectiveness of incarcerating people for long periods of time unless they've committed an act of extreme violence and we're concerned they'll do it again if released. But that's just me.

 Cool

Logged

Don't you see? It's turtles all the way down!
Renegade
Charter Member
***
Posts: 10,826



Tell me something you don't know...

see users location on a map View Profile WWW Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #11 on: March 01, 2012, 06:41:10 PM »

As far as the drug possession and sale charges go, reaction is mixed. Almost everybody I talked to thought 12 years was very harsh, but that automatically suspending it after 5 actual years served was reasonable. I still think it's a little heavy. But I'm dubious about the value and effectiveness of incarcerating people for long periods of time unless they've committed an act of extreme violence and we're concerned they'll do it again if released. But that's just me.

But, but, prisons rehabilitate people, and they come out happy, well-adjusted, and ready to contribute to society! Wink

(Couldn't resist!)
Logged

Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker
wraith808
Supporting Member
**
Posts: 6,073



"In my dreams, I always do it right."

see users location on a map View Profile WWW Read user's biography. Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #12 on: March 01, 2012, 07:11:45 PM »

Did she deserve to go to jail?

Purely on the charge of sending her kid to school where she shouldn't have? I personally don't think so. And neither does anybody else I've talked to.

As far as the drug possession and sale charges go, reaction is mixed. Almost everybody I talked to thought 12 years was very harsh, but that automatically suspending it after 5 actual years served was reasonable. I still think it's a little heavy. But I'm dubious about the value and effectiveness of incarcerating people for long periods of time unless they've committed an act of extreme violence and we're concerned they'll do it again if released. But that's just me.

Let's not forget that there is a child here.

True story.  My cousin was shot and killed by his wife.  They showed that though it might have started as an argument, that she put the gun against his head and fired after she shot him from across the room and severed his spinal cord.  She was found guilty.

His own mother plead for leniency.  Why?  Because she was not a career criminal.  Because sending her to jail wouldn't bring him back.  But most of all, she had come to know the woman, and knew that her four kids would be put into the system while their mother was in jail for a crime that she would never commit again.

If we're really about rehabilitation, and getting people out of the system, the effect on the children should be considered.  Should these people not be punished?  No.  But is jail an effective punishment or deterrent in cases like these?  Studies have proven otherwise....

...and what about the child?  After being in the system, there is a higher than normal chance that he will stay in the system, either as a dependent of the social services program, or incarcerated just like his mother.

We are all of us pieces in many different hidden games.

*sigh*  Sad
Logged

Renegade
Charter Member
***
Posts: 10,826



Tell me something you don't know...

see users location on a map View Profile WWW Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #13 on: March 01, 2012, 10:04:20 PM »

If we're really about rehabilitation, and getting people out of the system, the effect on the children should be considered.  Should these people not be punished?  No.  But is jail an effective punishment or deterrent in cases like these?  Studies have proven otherwise....

Dammit wraith... Nobody wants to hear reason or logic or any of that nonsense! BLOOD BLOOD BLOOD! That's entertaining! The crowd is thirsty, and only 1 thing can sate that unquenchable thirst...

But seriously -- I'm with you. It's sad that the system is a mindless automaton... Prisons do not make the world a better place. Sad

Logged

Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker
40hz
Supporting Member
**
Posts: 10,391



see users location on a map View Profile Read user's biography. Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #14 on: March 01, 2012, 10:47:32 PM »

...and what about the child?  After being in the system, there is a higher than normal chance that he will stay in the system, either as a dependent of the social services program, or incarcerated just like his mother.

Spot on. My GF works for our state's social services department. She can tell you all about how well that version of cat's cradle works out for many kids.

No simple solutions here. Best you can hope is that the chosen remedy isn't worse than what it's meant to cure.

In this particular case I think some form of supervised release would have been preferable and worth a try. Unfortunately, the drug charges are federal and and are burdened with mandatory sentencing rules a judge is required to follow. So much for creative or innovative sentencing, right?
 Sad
Logged

Don't you see? It's turtles all the way down!
Stoic Joker
Honorary Member
**
Posts: 5,093



View Profile WWW Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #15 on: March 02, 2012, 06:40:10 AM »

The woman has committed no crime. The prosecutor should be shot for concocting such a stupidly trumped up charge.

Actually she did. At least according to current laws.

Just to keep the record straight ... The statement you quoted above was mine, not Target's.

Having a law against something doesn't make it a crime, as the books are full of special interest/blue 'law' nonsense. Just because there is a text based rationalization...doesn't make it (criminal) 'right' ... I just further proves how totally broken the system really is. Murder is a felony. Rape is a felony. However, Florida has decided that letting your tag get 6 months out of date...is now also a felony ... Which is completely stupid. As it detracts from the whole point of having certain acts identified as felonies.

As a rule I detest the "what about the children" defense ... however I believe it does apply here as mentioned above. No 'justice' has been done by incarcerating this woman. The situation has simply been made worse ... Much worse.
Logged
40hz
Supporting Member
**
Posts: 10,391



see users location on a map View Profile Read user's biography. Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #16 on: March 02, 2012, 07:47:29 AM »

The woman has committed no crime. The prosecutor should be shot for concocting such a stupidly trumped up charge.

Actually she did. At least according to current laws.

Just to keep the record straight ... The statement you quoted above was mine, not Target's.

Having a law against something doesn't make it a crime, as the books are full of special interest/blue 'law' nonsense. Just because there is a text based rationalization...doesn't make it (criminal) 'right' ... I just further proves how totally broken the system really is. Murder is a felony. Rape is a felony. However, Florida has decided that letting your tag get 6 months out of date...is now also a felony ... Which is completely stupid. As it detracts from the whole point of having certain acts identified as felonies.

I hear you. But definitions are important when dealing with the law. A criminal is someone who has violated the provisions of a law. It has nothing to do with whether they caused any harm or did any wrong. Which is something you always need to keep in mind. Because the only thing you can be prosecuted for is breaking a law.

Way back in my civil activist days we got instructed by some very smart attorneys who explained to us that the only thing that can make you a criminal, or make some act a crime, is a law. Which is a lot more than a simple text justification for something. One of the attorneys likened it to a magic spell. Something that moved reality in accordance with one's will. The example she gave was how one on quiet afternoon approximately 500,000 otherwise harmless heroin addicts became criminals overnight after an Act of Congress. As did marijuana users a few years later. And as did alcohol drinkers a few years earlier.

The attorney said that while we may disagree or dispute the morality or justice of a statute, it doesn't change the fact that a law establishes "a new reality."

And our agreement or disagreement with that reality doesn't factor into the 'justice' system's function - or the actions they're allowed to take in response to a violation.

As she so nicely put it: Maybe you think your reality or morality is superior to theirs. Maybe you refuse to accept their definitions of what's real. But if you do, just keep one thing in mind. The law is a form of magic. And those who write and enforce it are magicians. They alter reality. And if you think that's all just a pile of bullshit, try walking away from an armed police officer who just has given you an order to 'stop.' I think you'll be amazed at  how quickly and definitively his 'reality' overrides your 'reality.'

She made two suggestions for more effective confrontation:

  • Given the choice, "bust balls" rather than break laws. It makes it difficult for them to hit back without bringing the issue to the fore. Something they're usually loathe to do since they count on public inertia and short attention spans to smooth things over. (Out of sight - out of mind.)
  • If you decide you really must break the law, pick your venue and make it worth it. Because going to jail is no walk in the park no matter where they send you. And this country loves to put people in jail.

Wise words. Especially if you're trying to force an issue or foment change. Not to say you should never break the law. But it will make you a 'criminal' even if you are doing no wrong. Our jails are full of 'criminals' who have done no wrong. Just as our businesses and institutions are loaded with people who do nothing but wrong and cause harm to others - but have committed no crime.

Far from ideal. But that's the way it works. smiley
« Last Edit: March 02, 2012, 08:54:07 AM by 40hz » Logged

Don't you see? It's turtles all the way down!
wraith808
Supporting Member
**
Posts: 6,073



"In my dreams, I always do it right."

see users location on a map View Profile WWW Read user's biography. Give some DonationCredits to this forum member
« Reply #17 on: March 02, 2012, 08:08:38 AM »

As a rule I detest the "what about the children" defense

I had to take this opportunity to inject this PSA:

Logged

Pages: [1]   Go Up
  Reply  |  New Topic  |  Print  
 
Jump to:  
   Forum Home   Thread Marks Chat! Downloads Search Login Register  

DonationCoder.com | About Us
DonationCoder.com Forum | Powered by SMF
[ Page time: 0.053s | Server load: 0.15 ]