Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Representing Decamom

The Octomom has been much in the news lately. This wretched creature, after having six illegitimate kids, managed to get fertility treatments and had eight more in one shot. In my legal career, I have represented two sextomoms (six children), and one septomom (seven kids). This past year, I met Decamom. Yes, that’s right, ten children.

In response to my collaborator's facetious question about why the state would want change of custody on her youngest, after having already received Permanent Changes of Custody on numbers five, six, seven, eight and nine, the answer is that the tenth was found to have cocaine in her bloodstream. By the time I got to the case, I learned that Decamom had failed two drug screens and had failed to appear for over 100 others. I discovered, to my considerable surprise, that, legally speaking, her children were not illegitimate. She is married and her husband is doing a lengthy prison sentence in the federal system for drug trafficking. I met her paramour and did not inquire as to his thought process in choosing such a woman as the mother of his child. (After all, she only has one conviction for soliciting prostitution.)

I did everything I could think of as a professional to represent her. However, she lost her case. If the child hasn’t suffered permanent brain damage as a result of her mother’s drug use, maybe it has a decent chance in life. What I find terrible disturbing is the thought that I am one of 260 lawyers doing assigned counsel work in Franklin County. I find the long-term implications for our civilization to be cause for despair.

(A friend of mine once asked, upon hearing about this case, “That’s stupid! (expleteive deleted) Hasn’t she thought of having an abortion?” Let’s not have a discussion about abortion. I should, however, point out that after her second or third or fourth illegitimate child, I’m pretty sure that Decamom knew exactly what she was doing.)

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