Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Hopeful, but Wary

Short version: We're home. I think it went well. I know it didn't go badly. We'll have a decision in 30 days.

Long version: JP took Landon to Maya's this morning (one more bonus day with the babies for him!) while I got ready. He returned home an hour later and I was still not dressed - absolutely nothing in my closet fits. I tried on every suit I so proudly purchased for my firm job 1L summer and they looked ridiculous. I could pull them down without unbuttoning them, and I just couldn't have my pants falling down in court. Thirty minutes later, and 5 minutes after we were supposed to leave, in the deep recesses of my closet I found a cheap brown suit from the Juniors section of Macy's 6 years go, threw it on, and we ran out the door. There was traffic, parking was impossible, and we raced to the building to meet our attorney a few minutes before the hearing. While it was a little crazy and I might have snapped at JP while driving through downtown, I think all the rushing and throwing of clothes all over the bed kept my mind off the impending hearing.

We met with the lawyer representing DCFS and the administrative law judge who would be hearing our case. It always amazes me how informal much of law is, especially in an area like this where the same lawyers see each other over and over again. Our "court room" turned out to be a conference room and we gave our testimony from a folding chair at the front. The only witness from DCFS was our investigator (Dr. K declined to come and just wrote a statement reiterating her earlier report saying Landon's injuries could only be caused by intentional abuse; it was barely even mentioned in the hearing since it didn't agree with DCFS's theory or ours). I was excluded from the investigator's testimony so I sat in the hallway and edited my cyber law paper. When she left the room she asked how Landon was and said "I hope you win this thing," which was nice. JP later told me that her testimony helped us more than them because she emphasized that anything done was playful and unintentional and there was no proof of anything.

I came back in the room for my testimony. I swore to tell the truth and then immediately panicked that I had forgotten all the details and doctor appointment dates and would end up lying under oath on accident. Our lawyer asked me questions, the DCFS lawyer cross-examined, our lawyer followed up, and then I was done. You know how on TV shows and movies you yell at the witness to "STOP TALKING" and just answer the question because he's just hurting his own case? (or is it just law students who do that?) Well, turns out, it's really hard to stop talking; especially when you're innocent because you want to show that you're open and honest and have nothing to hide and see, look I'm just volunteering information over here! I was only moderately successful at answering only what was asked, but I tried and I don't think it mattered much. The DCFS attorney did her job of defending her client, but she wasn't overly zealous about it.

JP then testified, was cross-examined, and answered a few follow-ups from our attorney. There were some short closing statements and we were done. Our lawyer emphasized the fact that while we don't know what happened to Landon, that doesn't mean that JP should be indicated. The "theoretical" possibility that tossing a baby in the air could break ribs is not "proof by a preponderance of the evidence" and there is absolutely nothing else in the record to support their decision to indicate him over anyone else who had contact with Landon. Our lawyer thought things went well and said he'd call when he got the decision. The DCFS attorney and judge wished me luck on the bar exam, and we walked out the door.

And because the court room (conference room) was on State Street we went to Macy's to use up the last of my gift cards on lunch and I bought a pair of capris so I'd have something to wear all summer that fit. JP is taking a nap, Landon is playing with his baby friends, and I'm about to start another paper. I think we both secretly expect the indication to be expunged but we're afraid to say it, so our official statement on the day's events is: "we'll see." But I have to admit, it's a hopeful "we'll see."

Update, July 28: We won.

18 comments:

  1. :::HUGS:::

    I bet the investigator really told it like it is--she seemed so fed up with the whole mess.

    Regardless the outcome, we know the truth. JP dotes on that boy as much as any father has ever adored his firstborn son.

    Citations

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  2. I've been checking this non-stop today. I'm glad to hear there's hope. And I love that they all wished you well on the bar. As if these people don't realize the gravity of what they really do on a day to day basis.

    Good luck on the paper!!!!

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  3. I've been compulsively hitting reload for the news!

    Testifying *is* hard! I'm so sorry you guys had to go through it, though. It sounds like - God forbid - that you guys created really good record if you have to appeal from this decision.

    Good luck!

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  4. Hopeful is good. I'm glad it went well.

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  5. That sounds great! It doesn't seem like anyone really felt that you and JP were at fault.

    We're all hoping for good news in 30 days :]

    ~ps

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  6. Sounds very promising! Keeping my fingers crossed for you.

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  7. Best of luck to you. I know you deserve to win this thing, so let's get some of our faith in the justice system back.

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  8. *phew* probably not ready for a sigh of relief yet, but at least you're breathing a tiny bit easier for the next month. :)

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  9. Keep your chin up! Knowing you, I am quite certain that all will end well for you, and that this whole nightmare will end. You three are in my prayers.

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  10. How do you feel about the fact that the ridiculous Dr K didn't show up? I'm kind of disgusted by it -- if she felt so strongly about her position last fall to put the three of you through such a nightmare is seems extremely unprofessional and callous to now not show up for the appeal. But I guess that's what one should expect. She's no model of integrity, that's for sure. I was also sort of hoping you could shoot her some mean looks or at least convey the impact that her action has had on your family.

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  11. I am SO GLAD that things went well. I will keep my fingers crossed that you will FINALLY be able to put this nightmare behind you!

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  12. You're gonna win, I know it. I'm so glad JP fought this thing - bravo for pushing back.

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  13. Sounds like it went well; hopefully it's all over soon.

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  14. I'm so glad to hear that it went well and am happily waiting to hear that they all recognize what we know to be true. It will be so good to have all of this finally, officially behind you!

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  15. so glad to hear it went well and that it's basically over and done with forever.

    30 days seems like a long time but I'm sure you'll fill it up with giggles and smiles and summery things. (and moving stuff, and bar exam stuff, but we don't want to mention stressy things!)

    Just glad for you both, hon. :)

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  16. I've been off in my own little world and haven't kept up on your blog, so now I'm going to go read all the posts I've missed.

    But I'm really glad to hear it went well. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

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