A few of my friends seem confused about what’s happening with the legal stuff. So, here’s a summary.
There are two criminal cases happening. Both of these are Hennepin County vs Person, not Me vs Person. That’s what makes them criminal rather than civil or maybe that’s an effect of them being criminal rather than civil. (Sorry lawyer friends, I know it is way more complicated than that, but I’m breaking it down to the things I understand.) Because I am not directly involved in the case, I have very little control over anything. The Prosecuting Attorney is consulting me on things because it is the right thing to do and because I want to be, not because he is at all required to do so.
The first criminal trial was against Rahim Meekins. He took a plea deal for 92 months in jail, two-thirds of which will be served, the last third can be served on parole if he behaves well in jail. If he breaks parole, he likely goes back to jail. Likely is not a guarantee. That was the case for which I wrote and spoke the victim’s impact statement on Monday.
The victim’s impact statement happens after the guilty verdict and before sentencing with the goal of influencing the sentencing. In this case, he took a plea deal so it couldn’t influence sentencing because there was already a negotiation in place. All I could do was make him feel really bad. But also, this is the place where my voice, and the voices of Jason’s family and community, can be heard in court. Jason’s mother and my father both wrote their own VIS and those were presented along with mine.
That case is wrapped up for the moment. He pled guilty, got sentenced and is now in a prison someplace. He will stay there for the next 5 years or so, then he’ll probably get out. And if he hasn’t changed in that time, he’ll probably go right back in on a drug possession offense or something else minor. But no matter what, I don’t have to think about it for a while.
The second criminal case is against Chelsea Haynes. She was served with a summons to court for her first hearing two weeks ago. There, she was given conditions of her probation and let to continue living her life in the world. She failed to meet those conditions and a warrant has been issued for her arrest. (I think the conditions are stupid and ineffective. That is neither here nor there in this update.) Her next court date is on Monday.
Let me be clear. This court date is just that – another court date. She was assigned a public defender at the last hearing, so this is the first time her attorney will be representing her after looking at her case. This might be the opening of another plea deal, this might be a continuation hearing in which everyone says we’ll meet later, or this might be her pleading innocent. There is also a chance that she won’t even show up. In that case, they’ll add disobeying a court order to the warrant and I guess then she gets more arrested when they find her. We won’t know until it happens. More than likely, it will be a lot of sitting around and waiting for something that is a relatively non-event.
So, if you want to come, feel free. I don’t anticipate it being anything interesting, but I do plan on attending. I’m going to bring a book. And maybe some grad school reading.