The Uphill Slide

There is always something.

If You Go Back To Jail

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“If you go back to jail.”

Who ever thought I would say those words so calmly? I make so many statements that seem to be in some foreign language. Can I really be saying this? But those are the words as we prepare for a polygraph in the next month or so and contingencies. We will be better prepared this time for jail than the first time. Jacob will lose his job possibly, although they really like him there; maybe they’ll take him back when he gets released. I’ll have to move into his house or just go every day to let Boots out and feed her. His cats demand less attention. I could take all these animals home, but Roy wanted to get rid of Boots anyway. My husband’s time is splintered. He texted me he is having fun, so I can’t ask him to take care of pets.

Perhaps I will have to go home to live until Jacob gets out. Because he will get out again to begin again. The judge told him as much, as she expressed disappointment at his last hearing after learning he had not made admissions. The so-called ‘they’ need a confession. ‘They’ speak for society, for you and I, except that I no longer feel a part of “they’. I am alienated from ‘them’. Isn’t this alienation what has happened in this country? So back on track, why do they need it? To prove there is no mistake in the jury’s conviction? Juries do not make mistakes, even without the rational logical probing mind of Juror #8, Henry Fonda.

Why do they need this confession? To boost their success rates for sex offender treatment plans? Jacob’s life will continue with obstacles until he gives them the confession or returns to jail to finish his sentence. He has years of probation left. They’re looking for more now. They’ll always be looking and accusing. His PO told him something that was reported in August on some screenshots. That was in January when he mentioned August. Really? Six months? Who sent those screen shots? Is it a credible source? Can it be fabricated? Does it have Jacob’s name? As I ask also, who made an anonymous call to Jacob’s former employer? Who called CYS? Or why suddenly after Jacob saw the accuser’s sibling at the bus stop on a downtown street, did the PO ask if he was reaching out to the ‘victim’? He asked if Jacob has seen his son, He has not. He asked what Jacob did for Christmas. Jacob had already told him what we were doing. Doesn’t he listen or take notes of the conversations? Doesn’t Jacob’s sister have a child? Yes, he was at his father’s. He reportedly seemed incredulous at that. Why? Cary and Caleb’s father have a very amicable relationship and don’t fight about money or time. My husband wanted Cary to ask for more money, go to court. Hadn’t we had enough of the court system? Domestic Relations? Divorce Court? Civil Court on a land dispute? Probate? And now the Criminal Court of Allegheny County? Did we really want to ride another merry-go-round? I told him it was best not to make this about money. Amicability and cooperation are the best when possible. That was what was best for our grandson.

Do you follow the innocently convicted? Convictions sometimes come from false confessions.  Do you remember that our President once called for the death penalty to be reinstated in reference to the Central Park 5, men who were eventually exonerated of those crimes? I cannot advocate for the death penalty, though I understand a desire for revenge against those who take someone precious from us, sometimes in the cruelest and most despicable way. But to think that one innocent person among the guilty might be executed is not acceptable to me. For some, it may be acceptable. For companies who weigh the cost of the recall of some faulty product over the cost of lawsuits for harm and death, that reasoning is acceptable. Human life is less important than money. Human life may be less important than revenge for individuals. But for the innocent person sitting in jail, neither he/she or the victim gets justice. Are there some who believe anyone paying for a crime, whether guilty or innocent, satisfies our need for justice? Does an innocent man paying with his life satisfy our need for revenge?

Jacob has already been convicted. Why do they need the confession? The claim is likely that healing and rehabilitation can only take place upon acceptance of responsibility. Perhaps so, but what to do if you are not responsible? Do they care that he is appealing his convictions? No. Did they think he and our family went through a trial and now an appeal just because we wanted to give money to the justice system and ancillary services? There were fees to lawyers and courts and GTL telephones (hundreds a month) and care packages (about $200 a quarter)  and polygraphs ($400 per) and parking fees to the City of Pittsburgh along with all the other hidden costs. Do they think that Jacob’s life would not have been so much easier and possibly even netted years instead of a lifetime of Megan’s Law had he taken a deal, sought out a deal? Counselors and parole officers have to be reminded that you didn’t take a deal; you exercised your right to trial. Why? Because many people take deals which assume guilt. So once you reach these people, you are legally guilty; and actual innocence is no longer a consideration. Yet one counselor says that possibly 5%-10% are actually innocent. It’s just not you, though, Jacob. It can’t possibly be you. So if there is that small percentage who are innocent, then who are they if not those who assert innocence? How will they recognize them? And when they do, what can they do for them? Nothing! That person has been convicted and must continue to fight through the court system.

Money. Polygraphs, not admissible in court, but used for sex offenders cost $400 a pop. Jacob makes that payment. He and others are keeping the polygraphers in business for something not admissible in court. He actually will be paying for two, a maintenance and a denial. He has one paid for. Which one, is a toss-up? It started as the denial but may switch to the maintenance. Just think of the blow to polygraphy businesses if the specious use of polygraphs, for sex offenders especially, and others in this system ended. Jacob is lucky that he owns his own house. On barely above minimum wage, it does become a challenge to pay his bills and his $5000 court costs and his polygraphs and whatever else they may come up with. Jacob owes me money. He owes his father money. We have not issued a demand notice to him. I never will. As my father said when he forgave the rest of our mortgage on our Cowansville house, it will be yours someday anyway. At his death, he meant, and at mine now. My money will flow to my husband and hopefully down to my children. If there is any left. Fighting for justice is not cheap. Nothing takes precedence over that, although other things stand equally beside it. My life is not just about this. I want to have fun too. 

And why does this system of probation for sex offenders use this tool that is not accepted in Pennsylvania courts? Did polygraphers advocate for its use? Are all polygraphers created equal? A legal expert told Jacob you don’t want to do a denial polygraph. He knew more than we did about the curve of it. Does that sound like conspiracy theory stuff? Well, I know how people rationalize and can create the situation to get the result desired? Isn’t this the problem in scientific research now? We are not able to recreate results because we are not following the same guidelines and protocols. So if we cannot recreate results, does it not follow then that we can create results we want by using the protocols and guidelines to get there?

I read an article a year or more ago about how law enforcement officers dread taking a polygraph. I can’t find that article, so consider this as simply anecdotal, and discount or accept it as you will. Anyway, my question is, did they dread it because it might reveal wrongdoing or did they dread the polygrapher and the inherent inaccuracy of the test?

So we talk about if. If you go to jail…. I will take over the bills until you get out. I will take care of the animals. I will visit you in jail. I will call you in jail. I will send you a care package and more books to read. The toll on our lives has been immense. The toll on my life has been harsher than I could have ever imagined. I went into this blind and now I see. Not everything yet, but so much more.

The Polygraph Examination

Undergoing a polygraph examination is voluntary. So you will never be forced to take a test.

If you do volunteer to take a test, you should know that the average examination lasts about two hours. In the first phase, you will perform a pre-test interview where the polygraphist will ask you about things like your medical history, physical condition, psychological background, and other details of your life, says the Attorney General.

Next, the polygraphist will explain how the test works and will then ask the questions relevant to the criminal matter. In the actual examination regarding the suspected criminal matter, you will only be asked about five to ten questions that directly relate to the crime. You will know in advance what those questions will be.

This is from an article written by Andrew Lu on February 28, 2013  titled “Using a Lie Detector Test in Pennsylvania” in the Philadelphia Criminal Law News. This is not after conviction. So read “Lie detector tests being used to monitor sex offenders and guide treatment” written by Paula Reed Ward from the May 17, 2015 Pittsburgh Post Gazette and post-gazette.com. When Jacob tells people about the polygraph and what happens on failure, go to jail on revoked probation, then go before the judge with no evidence, get released again, and start all over again. Of course, this would seem illogical to most people who say in response, “That doesn’t make sense.”

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