Saturday, December 12, 2009

Elliot’s Education Evasion

A few months ago, I represented a client named Elliot on a probation violation. He had been sitting at home under Mom’s orders not to leave the house when a friend called him up and said, “Hey, Elliot. I just stole a car. Wanna go for a ride?” This made perfect sense to Elliot. Not only did he knowingly go joyriding in a stolen car, but Elliot managed to get behind the wheel himself. Indeed, that’s where he was when the police stopped the car. He ended up in police custody.

By the time I made Elliot’s acquaintance, he had violated probation by repeatedly not showing up for school. (He is rapidly approaching eighteen.) Shortly before our case was called, Elliot showed me his report card, which listed him as earning Cs and a couple of As. I was able to implore the judge not to ship Elliot off to Juvenile Hall as he was doing so well in school. It was not until after we had finished that I took a closer look at that report card. I noticed that the six different grade notations all seemed to be in the same handwriting and I’ve never seen a teacher record a grade in a felt-tip pen. When I confronted Elliot about this, he ‘fessed up. The next day, I called Elliot’s high school and learned that his attendance record was well under fifty percent. He had double-digit unexcused absences in every one of his classes. He had also fabricated the report card.

Elliot admitted as much to me when I confronted him about it. He also seemed quite mystified when I informed him in tones not usually used while addressing children that he was going to inform the judge of his deception at our next appearance, or I most certainly would. Elliot seemed crestfallen to learn that I would not risk my license and a five-year term in jail to protect his right to play hooky.

I had another hearing for Elliot last week. Surprise, surprise, he did not appear. The judge issued a warrant for his arrest. I managed to reach Elliot by phone and recommended he get his gluteus maximus to the courthouse forthwith. His timing was flawless. He arrived in time to get the warrant quashed, but too late to have his hearing, so we’ll be back up in front of a judge this coming week.

No comments: