I was so nervous sitting for ever in the court bench. My rear was nearly completely numb by the time the Judge called for a recess. The A.D.A and her public defender had to meet with her to confirm her acceptance of the plea bargain. They came back in and told me we were ready to go ahead. Once the Judge came back, they brought her in. Before she was locked up, she had cut off all her hair herself b/c she had lice. It was past her shoulders today and I made a mental note to remember to tell the kids, this has been a huge issue for them but I am not privy to the why. I could tell her eyes were red and swollen from across the room.
The Judge did his thing. There were a few things that really stuck out to me. He warned her that he didn't have to stick by the agreement she made with the A.D.A. he was free to make his own choice with regards to her sentence. If she plead guilty today, she could be forced to testify next week. He told her she was a lucky woman to have the A.D.A let her drop the 5 charges that could land her in prison for 100+ years. As he went over each of the charges, he described the act and she had to admit guilt. She was sobbing as she did each one.
When she was done, I was called over and I was asked to make a statement to her and to the Judge. I said, "Our children have been crippled by this abuse but through it all they never stopped loving you. They are grateful you have chosen to stand up for them now when you couldn't for all those years." She nearly doubled over sobbing. My voice was breaking and tears came down my face. All I could feel for her was compassion. She was wrong but more than anything, she was afraid to stop him. I went back to my seat and waited. Before they finished, I asked the Victim's Advocate if I could hug her. She walked up and asked the A.D.A. They waved for me to come up and pointed in her direction. I walked over to her and squeezed her tightly. I thanked her for telling the truth and told her they were safe. I saw some movement out of the corner of my eye but paid no attention. She didn't let go so I didn't. After I went back to my seat I found out that the deputies had run from all over the room to tackle me. They thought I was going after her. Luckily her very large public defender stepped in the way to protect me. I overheard the Judge chewing the A.D.A and the public defender out for doing it. Apparently, it is a big no-no. They both smiled at me and the Victim's Advocate told me they all gladly took one for the team.
They are all so moved by the kids. They told us they are well known around there b/c of being in the system for so many years. Sadly, their cousins are the other group that are known by all the court staff. They called just a few minutes ago and told me to keep track of all the mileage and meals with the kids. They want to reimburse us.