I hate reading these posts..."where I've been"..."why I haven't been writing." Generally, I don't care why my favorite bloggers are having trouble writing. I just want them to write so I'll have something to read. I'm selfish that way. So I won't blame anybody if they really don't care about my reasons for being less-than-interesting these days. But I promise this isn't one of those posts. This post...my reason for not posting...is more than a lame excuse...it is something that gets to the very heart of me and my emotional well-being these last couple of weeks. (If you are particularly sensitive, you may not want to read about this.)
I work as an assistant prosecutor in the civil division of a county prosecutor's office. I do any legal work for the county/townships/departments/agencies/boards that isn't legal. It's generally a good job and the emotional investment is minimal. There are some cases that take more out of me than others, but they are, thankfully, kept to a minimum.
I am in "the old courthouse"...an ancient building that has the remains of a cinder block jail in the basement and the old courtroom with the vaulted ceiling that we use as a conference room. My boss...the elected official with the title of "county prosecutor" has his office in the same building. When he has a big trial, he works at the big table in the conference room. Such has been the case for the past month or so. And this one has us all more than a bit rattled.
A father stood trial, accused of shaking his four-month-old baby girl to death. He was on trial for the second time for the crimes...murder and child endangering. The first trial resulted in a mistrial (Because a juror lied about his ability to be objective during jury voir dire and reportedly made statements during jury deliberations about how the prosecutor's office "railroads people" and "there are too many innocent people in prison." Yeah. Love the jury system.).
The allegations were that the father picked the baby up at the babysitter's in the late afternoon, stopped at the grocery for beer, went home, and drank himself into a stupor. When the baby's mother arrived home that night, she found daddy drunk (he admits to drinking eight beers that evening and taking three more with him to the children's hospital) and she immediately knew something was wrong with her child when she found her with a “fixated eye” stare, making a “moaning sound." The mother testified of trying to get the baby to drink milk, then noticed the “soft spot” on the baby’s head was bulging. She took the baby to the hospital. The baby died several days later at a children's hospital. The autopsy report found the death to be a homicide. Medical experts testified that the cause was Shaken Baby Impact Syndrome. The father denied any wrongdoing and his defenses included blaming the babysitter and claiming the child had a stroke. Creating reasonable doubt.
The carseat was sitting in our conference room for the past month with an evidence tag on it.
I can say the obvious. I can say it over and over and over. But I just don't have the strength in me. It took all I had to just walk past that open door and see that carseat sitting there each morning.
During the trial, I would see the mother around the courthouse complex during breaks. She has that look about her...even though this happened more than three years ago...she still has that look. I recognize that look as my own. We smiled at each other and I saw the fleeting awkward looks toward my belly. I "ran" and hid in my office, not knowing exactly how to react.
Wednesday the jury returned a verdict of not guilty on all charges. Everything remains the same...but (hopefully) at least the carseat will be moved from the conference room.