I was on a conference call this morning, taking notes, moving papers on my desk (multi-tasking, of course) when I looked up to see a familiar face, one of our former writers. I jumped up, gave him a hug, signaled to him to take a seat while I finished the call.
Jeff was in jail for the past three months on charges that he abused his girlfriend and stole her purse. He denied the charges and refused to “plea bargain” insisting he was innocent. His bail was set extremely high which made it impossible for him to be released while awaiting sentencing. Jeff had the good fortune to be assigned a caring public defender that investigated the charges and ultimately found the girl’s story inconsistent and unreliable.
The judge dismissed the charges. Jeff was released.
Does the justice system work? Sometimes yes, most of the time no, if you’re poor and non-white. Jeff grew up in foster care another example of a dysfunctional bureaucratic system.
End of story? Jeff has a long way to go – finding a job, buying a car, eventually renting his own apartment but he has lots of caring friends at L.A. Youth.