Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Back in Hell Again

Court date was today.  I drove up with D and went in with him for his meeting with the PO, which, though I was extremely apprehensive about attending given my reaction the last time I went, was actually alright.  The PO was not as intense as last time, in that he didn't ask personal questions of me or anything like that, but seemed more disconnected, which worried me a bit since we were gearing up for the court session later in the afternoon.  Last time we were there and D asked about what would happen in court today, the PO had been very open and kind about answering his questions, telling us what he was going to recommend to the judge, telling us what D would/would not be doing on this date, etc.  Today, he seemed rather distant and just told us that he couldn't give advice, and when D stated that from what he remembered, he would just go in, plead not guilty for the time being, and request a public defender, the PO's response was a gruff, "Well, she (the judge) doesn't have to grant you that.  If not, when you come back the next time you might have to hire a lawyer or just wing it on your own."  And then he really wouldn't say much else.  When D asked if the PO would be coming up to the hearing, he said he "might swing up there" but was usually not needed at such things and so probably would not be there.  We left the appointment, got lunch, and came back for the hearing.  

D counts things as a relative success, but I'm not so sure...and here's why. 
We arrived in the courtroom with the ten or so other people who had hearings to revoke probation or something similar at the same appointed time.  The judge was half an hour late in getting started, and by the time she did arrive, several many other probation officers were also in attendance.  Those people whose probation officers were present were called up to the judge first.  With each one, the judge brought them up, stated that they were up for petition to revoke sentence, and then asked the PO what they were recommending in this case.  In almost every situation, the judge didn't even have the person give a plea, but went with what the PO recommended right off the bat.  Even in a case where the person had apparently violated probation several times by not showing up to meetings and failing a urinalysis--a case where the PO stood up there and recommended that this person should probably go to jail for a little while because he seemed to have no motivation to correct himself and the external motivation they had given him wasn't working--even then, the judge told the guy to report daily for urinalysis between now and december 1, and if he stayed clean throughout that time, she would consider alternate sentences.  She seemed nice, kindly, and like she believed that each person there was a good person who could do better if they just tried. 

Then, at the end of the hour, those without POs present were called.  The first girl went up, stated she wanted a public defender, was asked about her income and told to go make an appointment.  Quick and clean and easy.  Then, it was D's turn....
When D's name was called, the judge told him that he was there for a petition to revoke suspended sentence, asked him if he had any questions about the petition, and saw that he wanted a public defender.  She opened his file, saw that for his initial offense he had a (very good, and quite expensive) private lawyer to represent him, and asked (rather accusingly) why he was not using that counsel this time.  He stated that he did not have the money to pay for a private counsel, and when the judge asked why, he answered that he had a new job that did not pay as much as previously, and that he was paying off a house, his car, his student loans, and my (his wife's) current schooling.  The judge's response (again, rather harsh and accusing sounding to me, compared with how she had dealt with those before us)..."Those are not reasons for getting a public defender.  How much do you make?"  When D answered, she simply told him he did not qualify for a public defender and that his next hearing would be next Monday and he needed to either get a lawyer or represent himself by then.  The only positive thing was that D requested to have the next hearing moved so he could provide adequate notice to his employer that he would be missing work, and though the judge at first said no, reconsidered and moved the next hearing to December first.  That was it.  We walked out with nothing to go on, no money for a lawyer, and (for me) a distinct feeling that the judge was not feeling very inclined to be kind, merciful, or lenient in his case.  

D felt like things were a success because he had at least gotten the next hearing date moved and will now at least have time to find a lawyer.  I felt like we were back in hell because of the judge's attitude.  I'm extremely angry at his PO right now, because everyone else who was there with their PO was simply granted the PO's recommended sentence without even dealing with a lawyer or another court date.  We know that D's PO is recommending another year of probation and some community service, so I can't help feeling that had he been present, we wouldn't even have to worry about anything else.  But here we are.  We really don't have money for an attorney...right now we're using my student loans to pay for D's student loans and even a couple of assorted small bills each month, because D's salary doesn't really cover all of our expenses.  Yet because we aren't living out on the street, we are going to either have to come up with money to get representation, or have D represent himself.  I can't help but feeling that representing himself is not a very good idea, given the judge's disposition today and the fact that the ultimate "bad" that could happen here if he does a poor job is that the judge ignores the PO's recommendation and sends him to jail.  

So now tomorrow we have to call a) D's previous lawyer to see if he will represent him again for a reduced price since the case is so short and simple and b) as many other lawyers in town as possible to see who can represent him decently without charging out the wazoo.  Also, I'll probably be heading up to financial aid to take out a further loan to pay for all this.  Again.  Back at square one.  Back in hell again.  Meanwhile, I'm terrified of what will happen on December first and between now and then, and so it's hard to act normal now that we're back home.  I'm trying to just not think about it and to take one step at a time--call the lawyer, etc.--because I can't just focus on nothing but this for the next month.  But it just seems that this time it might be even harder than ever.  

Meanwhile, D has another opportunity to go to SAA tonight, but doesn't seem to be going.  When I asked this morning if he planned on going tonight when we got back from everything, he said he would see depending on timing of everything.  When I asked him half an hour ago, he said he was hoping to just spend the night with me since we actually have some time together, because he had told everyone that he really wouldn't be able to start attending regularly until next week due to his work schedule.  I find this a little discouraging because today at the PO appointment he made a really big deal out of how much he got out of his first meeting and how he hoped to be pretty regular about going on Mondays and Wednesdays, but at least this time I'm not super stressed about it.  He said he would go if I want him to, but I told him it has to be something he wants to do himself, so it was his decision.  We'll see from here, I guess. 

Right now I am fighting my own battle, because throughout this process I have been able to remove myself enough to keep from truly experiencing the kind of fear and pain I am now.  Right now I feel a bit like a wounded animal...alone and unsure where to turn.  I know there's a month to go before our next step, and I know I will probably (hopefully) feel much better before then, but right now all I know is that my husband--my beautiful, thoughtful, gentle, caring, compassionate husband, who (though flawed) remains at some deep level the charismatic teenager I fell in love with--is making me dinner.  He is taking care of me at the most basic level, because I am so engrossed in my growing depression that I feel like I am only functioning halfway.  I have spent my night studying (making up for the fact that last night and today I have not done what I should, being consumed by our other activities), yet only half of my brain is concentrating.  The other half cannot stop hearing the judge.  Cannot stop picturing some indefinable future scenario when my husband calls and tells me that this is his one phone call because he is going away for six months, or a year.  Cannot stop wishing with every fiber of my soul that we could just wake up from this nightmare and go back to three years ago and prevent this from ever happening.  

I have often, throughout this long and harrowing process, thought that I should just give the whole thing up and leave.  There were several times, back when it all first began, that I came very close.  It would have been so much easier then, before we were married, to just break it off in the name of incompatibility or boredom.  But I stayed, believing that if half of our relationship was wonderful, I could maybe live with just that half.  Things are so much more complicated now, being married.  I fear that if things turn for the worst, I will be left alone and friendless.  That I will have to disclose the secret life I have led for the past two years to my family, and be humiliated.  That I will have to sell my home, that we have worked so hard for, and move in with my parents.  These are the fears that I struggle with every day, and these are why in my mind I sometimes wish I had left long ago before things got so deep and crazy.  But then, like yesterday, I look through our wedding pictures, and I remember how insanely, irrationally happy we both were (and still are, aside from this mess), and our promises to be here through everything.  For better or worse.  How much worse?  

 I read stories of other women whose partners are sex addicts and have participated in sex with prostitutes for years before they discover the addiction.  The very saddest thing about all this is that sometimes I wish, if it were going to be dictated that I travel this journey, it could have been so simple as that.  I almost wish that my husband had told me he had been with a hundred different women in the privacy of our own lives rather than one "less serious" action that has cost us so much to the legal system.  

Things are so very dark right now, but we both continue to pray.  Eventually, things have to get better--or so I must believe, or lose myself. 

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