Saturday, May 31, 2014

any states closer to wysiwyg legal system?

I talked to X's caseworker at the work camp.  The camp has 100 inmates, 70 of whom are sex offenders; the other 30 get a special deal under which each day served earns an extra day off the sentence. X had also earned "good time" at Springfield. This was why an additional 2 months were knocked off the sentence on top of the 3 earned at work camp. The system is not set up to inform victims.

I then talked to the Director of Victim Services of the DOC, who was very helpful. She said if the DOC had been aware of the background of the case they would probably not have recommended the work camp. If the State's Attorney's Office had told me to contact the DOC early on the circumstances would have been taken into account. She said they would discuss ways to ensure victims were better informed.

Somewhat the worse for wear.  I managed to get police intervention after X's second act of trespass in May last year; since then, a staggering amount of mental energy has been diverted from work to trying to understand the legal system of Vermont.  One is always in the position of finding out too late that there was something one needed to know -- and the more often it happens, the more the mind is taking up with wondering what it has missed, whether one asked the right questions, whether one asked the right person, and if not what more one needs to do.

The problem is, it's easy enough to comparison shop state laws: one can find the stalking laws of all 50 states and DC, for instance, on the website of the Stalking Resource Center.  With a little effort one can track down the law on trespass in any state.  What one can't so easily find out is whether the laws are implemented in a way that is intuitive to someone seeking to claim their protection - whether there are states which have a fairly transparent system that does not require telepathy to negotiate. (I thought at one point that it might have helped to hire a lawyer -- but when I sounded out a local lawyer he seemed to think there was nothing he could have done to get a better or more intelligible result.)

I wondered whether any readers had experience of other states.  Is it standard for a simple case of trespass to take months, perhaps up to a year, to resolve? Even if this forces the victim to move out in the interim? Is it standard for Victim Advocates to withhold information, even if state law specifies that it should be provided? Are there states where the victim of a crime would in fact be told if a sentence was curtailed? 

4 comments:

Nick Keller said...

Why is this dude fucking with you Helen? Is he a crazed fan? You should get a student to live on your property in a shack with a weapon, doing night lookout, (one person is not so hard to defend against if a guard is posted) -- in return you can teach the person writing or languages or maths or any of the billion things you know.

Nick Keller said...

OK, I just read your earlier entries, answering my question of who the hell is this dude. And I see my suggestion is less helpful, since you want peace in which to wor.

alexisshotwell said...

No idea about legal norms, but just really sorry to hear this latest!

Samara said...

In California, victim's rights laws say that the victim must be sent, if they request it, notification in good time of the location, nature, duration/release date, and any changes to the above. I have only ever dealt with this at a juvenile detention center, so I don't know how it looks from the victim's end; I don't know how plainly they offer you the opportunity to make that request.