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Old 04-25-2012, 03:25 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by pb4uski View Post
I agree that consulting with a lawyer makes sense. The lawyer may be able to negotiate a plea to a lesser charge.

My son got into trouble as a juvenile and was offered participating in a 'diversion" program where he was on probation and did some community service as I recall. You may want to ask about that.

As an aside, the climate today is ridiculous. If every fight that happened when I was in school was treated the way they are treated today we would not have had enough judges.

To your aside... I agree... I was in a bad middle school... I was told that we were on the list of the 10 worst schools in America when I was there.. we had fights every day.... one day a friend counted 21 fights, which were only the ones he saw....

True, this is the opposite extreme... but from the article that was posted, the school has gone WAY overboard the other way... Our school district has increased their police force over the years and recently built them a new facility...

I think the appropriate punishment was detention and some community service.... no fine, no crime, end of story.... neither kid had any previous problems, even though the other kid was verbally bullying my kid... if handled properly, this would have been addressed earlier and no fight would have occured...
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Old 04-25-2012, 03:33 PM   #22
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....I think the appropriate punishment was detention and some community service.... no fine, no crime, end of story.... neither kid had any previous problems, even though the other kid was verbally bullying my kid... if handled properly, this would have been addressed earlier and no fight would have occured...
+1

However that would have required the use of common sense and more importantly, the teachers and administrators making the judgments as to what consequences fit the circumstances would be exposed to second guessing by parents, school boards, etc.
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Old 04-25-2012, 04:37 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by SecondCor521 View Post
"I can not see the videos unless we go to court."

IANAL, but there is this thing called discovery, where you can legally require the prosecution (in this case that sounds like the state) to share with you the evidence they plan to use at trial (which would probably include the two videos) before trial. The legal idea here is that you have a right to see that stuff so you can adequately prepare your defense at trial. They can't just spring the video at the trial and leave you unprepared; that's viewed as unfair.

So what I'd suggest is talking with a real lawyer and find out what you need to do discovery-wise to see the videos yourself. Then you can make a more informed decision.

Good luck,

2Cor521
I was going to say the same thing! I'm not a lawyer. But you have the constitutional right to examine, and cross-examine, the evidence against you. A ticket is just an accusation from a cop. It had not real effect beyond that if you challenge it. A prosecutor will need to decide whether to pursue the matter before there is a court date. Until there is an actual charge, I don't think you have discovery rights.

Not that you have suggested in any way that you want to try to get your son out of this, I suspect that if you communicate that he is not going to go down easy, they might decide not to pursue it. If they know that you're going to demand discovery, demand an examination of the original "tapes", cross examine school officials about whether they might have witnessed the bullying incidents, cross examine many other students, etc. they might decide it is just not worth the hassle.

I also don't know which state you are in. If it is Texas as you name suggests, your son might have rights that are "inconvenient" to the school. I know here in Arizona we have some rights to defend one's self, cattle, property, etc. that make it difficult to enforce a policy of punishing both parties in a fight that many schools and so forth try to implement now.

One option might be to try to drag this out so that it becomes unbearably expensive for the prosecution and the school. The trouble though is that they could come back and play hardball and arrest your some of worse. They could charge him with a felony for example.

These kinds of things are especially annoying to me because I know from previous experience that things like this can be really twisted and spun out of control later in life. Try to get a security clearance or sensitive jobs with an arrest record for example even if you were exonerated.

I mean, it was a simple school fight! That's what boys do. If the school wants to make a federal case out of it then perhaps you could make it difficult for them. If you choose that route then I think a lawyer would be a good idea. Maybe initially a public defender?
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Old 04-25-2012, 04:44 PM   #24
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From what I know, the school can not show the video to me since there are other students.. I have read that on their site, so probably is a school rule.
That could be a serious problem for them. Besides, the school's rules don't matter. If they want to video to be evidence they have to show it to you and allow you enough time to prepare a defense. A judge might decide it can't be shown publicly but that is not the school's choice. That's probably why they are hoping you just pay the ticket and go away.
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Old 04-25-2012, 04:56 PM   #25
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That could be a serious problem for them. Besides, the school's rules don't matter. If they want to video to be evidence they have to show it to you and allow you enough time to prepare a defense. A judge might decide it can't be shown publicly but that is not the school's choice. That's probably why they are hoping you just pay the ticket and go away.

You might not be understanding what I am saying....

The school can not show me the video because of their rules... so until it gets to court, I can not see anything.

If they pursue the legal case, and I challenge them, I will be able to see the video.
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Old 04-25-2012, 04:59 PM   #26
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When my son was 17 he was accused of stealing money from a cash register in a dept. store. The store had seen the two boys fooling around and left the register open. The friend took $100. My son said he did nothing. I refused to have him plead guilty. It went to a juvenile arbitrator as the prosecutor did not want want to deal with it. He was assigned a small amount of community service which I agreed with. There was nothing on his record. they may be trying to scare you . I did not have to have a lawyer to settle it.
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Old 04-25-2012, 05:29 PM   #27
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Criminal lawyer used to juvenile cases. Do not handle this on your own, as school/police interactions have become absurd. There is no even mild hope of good sense being shown, as you can already see. He lawyers up.

Ha
Yes, times have really changed, HA. Now I must preface I was always at rural schools, but I remember the good old days of 15 years ago when I would have occasionally a couple of kids in a normal run of the mill fight. I would paddle them and send them back to class and the problem was over. One time I found out a " go between" stirred it up between the two combatants so he got the board also. Would always notify parents first and give them the option to take them home, but they always wanted them to face the "board of education". As far as the high schoolers go, if you could catch it before it happened you just told them to take it to the field across the road after school, and they always would. Its all where you are from, I guess. Very few times was the law involved. They had their own problems and expected you to deal with it. Different times now most certainly.
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Old 04-25-2012, 05:48 PM   #28
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Im not a lawyer so I cant give legal advice but I am a police officer in Texas so I answer most of your questions. First of all, how old is your son? There is a HUGE difference between him being a minor (under 17) or an adult. Sounds to me like the ticket is for disorderly conduct. In that case, it makes no difference who started the fight. Fighting in public is considered "disorderly" in Texas
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Old 04-25-2012, 06:12 PM   #29
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The assistant principle's comment that the judge would be lenient if your son pleads guilty is ridiculous. The guilty plea IS the thing you should be worried about.
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Old 04-25-2012, 06:23 PM   #30
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Under no circumstances shoud you be talking to the prosecutor. Keep your mouth shut and hire a lawyer immediately. Get a good lawyer experienced in these matter regardless of the cost. I know what I am talking about. I know someone who been through a very serious false allegation. He hired a lawyer immediately, kept his mouth shut and did not discuss with even his closest friend. Check out the video on line by the Harvard prof on why you should always keep your mouth especially when dealing with the police. You've already said too much on here and admitted that your son did things that you should not. Speaking to the principal was also not a good idea.
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Old 04-25-2012, 09:05 PM   #31
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No guesssing on this one, considering everything that is at stake. A good lawyer will know the exact steps to take to get your son out of the situation or to have the least impact on his citizenship. That is the #1 priority. Don't believe anything anyone at the school or the police department tells you. Not saying they would lie but the waters get muddied and the lawyer should sort this all out, not you.
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Old 04-26-2012, 06:14 AM   #32
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Sorry to hear of your troubles.

I have no legal expertise and will leave that matter to others to comment on. However, I am an immigrant and I think that, were it my case, I would pursue all legal options to avoid being convicted of a crime. Even a misdemeanor conviction can have serious consequences on one's immigration status.
+1

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Criminal lawyer used to juvenile cases. Do not handle this on your own, as school/police interactions have become absurd. There is no even mild hope of good sense being shown, as you can already see. He lawyers up.

Ha
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Yes, yes, yes, get a lawyer.

A guilty plea will be on his record; even though he's a minor, it could follow him forever in background checks, besides the immigration issues.

Ridiculous that it's come to this.
+1

Pleading guilty is terrible advice. Going through life with a record is a disadvantage no one needs, especially when they have done the same things the rest of us did. Get an attorney that will help this child.
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Old 04-26-2012, 08:02 AM   #33
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As you have been advised by others, absolutely you will need an attorney to handle this. My guess is the attorney should be able to resolve the matter with the prosecutor out of court and very likely might be something that can be expunged since he is a minor so there is no record of a crime.

Good luck and hope this turns out well, as your son sounds like a good kid that got sucked into this by a jerk.
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Old 04-26-2012, 09:08 AM   #34
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Meaningless anecdote - When I was a kid I got into an argument with another kid in gym class. The coach had us meet up after school, strap on the gloves, and have at it. Three rounds. It worked. We both got a few bruises, forgot why we were fighting, and went on with life. Probably both of us, the coach, and all the people watching would end up in prison these days.
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Old 04-26-2012, 09:56 AM   #35
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Im not a lawyer so I cant give legal advice but I am a police officer in Texas so I answer most of your questions. First of all, how old is your son? There is a HUGE difference between him being a minor (under 17) or an adult. Sounds to me like the ticket is for disorderly conduct. In that case, it makes no difference who started the fight. Fighting in public is considered "disorderly" in Texas

Thanks for the information.
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Old 04-26-2012, 09:29 PM   #36
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I dont know anything about how this would affect citizenship, but a disorderly conduct ticket is a Class C Misdemeanor which is the same thing as getting a speeding ticket. Pleading guilty is no big deal at all. Pay the fine and be done with it. Other than the possible citizenship issues.
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Old 04-26-2012, 10:42 PM   #37
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I would speak with an attorney.
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Old 04-26-2012, 11:18 PM   #38
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The Assistant Principal is not your friend or lawyer!! He/She should not be telling you "The judge would be more lenient if your son pleads guilty". It sounds to me like the Assist. principal is BULLYING or attempting to INTIMADATE you & your family. How would they know such information about any judge! BEWARE of the school system. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE speak to a lawyer. Ask about legal aid if you cannot afford one. I am not crazy about lawyers either but...dont go it alone.
P.S. Speak to your son so this does not happen ever again. Best of luck!
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Old 04-26-2012, 11:35 PM   #39
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Scorched Earth.

First you need to get good legal help. If this is partly a result of a pattern of bullying that went on for an extended time and the school did not adequately protect your son, you may have an action against them. A good lawyer will be able to tell you what your rights are and where the school is lying to you. The school's interest is very different from yours and they would love a guilty plea to absolve them of liability in the fight. There's nothing like a pit bull lawyer explaining the action that's about to be filed against the school to make them suddenly interested in dismissing the whole thing. Don't let them bully you, too.
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Old 04-27-2012, 03:13 AM   #40
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Yes, absolutely. Protect your son first.
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So, should I hire a lawyer
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