I never dreamed I’d need to know anything about how bail works or the process of navigating the legal system to get a loved one out of jail. But as soon as John was taken into custody, I knew I was about to learn. So I stood up on shaky legs and left the courthouse to call the number I’d been handed by the bail bondsman.
The young woman on the phone said she would meet me outside the courthouse and asked if I had my checkbook with me.
Sitting outside in the sunshine at a picnic table, I couldn’t help thinking about the stark difference of that beautiful warm summer day and the cold reality of John behind bars.
A young woman with long painted fingernails, too much makeup and short mini skirt came up to me and asked if I was Loretta. I said, “Yes,” and she sat down.
She had all the necessary paperwork for me to sign promising that John wouldn’t run; and that if he did, I’d be stuck paying back the $8,000 in bail. I handed her a check for $800, and walked over to the jail with what I hoped was all I needed to get John out.
I didn’t want him to spend one night in jail.
After talking to a clerk and signing more papers, I sat and waited. Three hours later John was released through a metal side door. He walked up to me with a smile that failed to hide the worry in his eyes.
Our next stop was to the office of the public defender.
John was assigned a young attorney who was very polite and gave us instructions in a matter-of-fact, no-nonsense way. As she scribbled notes on a legal pad, she asked John what he wanted from her. John stated just as matter of fact that he wanted the felony charges dropped.
Her pen stopped mid-scribble, and she looked up and said that would be nearly impossible to accomplish. Looking back down and writing more notes, she said, “We are going to have to show the district attorney and judge that you’re a good guy who made a mistake.”
She told us to bring her everything we could find to help prove that he was in fact an upstanding citizen.
On the drive home, my mind started racing.
I have this process my brain goes through whenever I’m in a situation that requires a solution. It’s like I’m standing before a never-ending filing cabinet filled with possibilities, and all I need to do is find the right answer.
By the time we arrived at my house, I had formulated a strategy. The event planner in me had just taken on my most important “event” to date and if I had my way, John would reap the benefits.
I spent several days locating all his military records: every letter from his commanders, each recommendation for promotion, awards for being best in his unit and citations for going above and beyond the call of duty.
John had worked at the White House and the Pentagon. He’d had the highest security clearance and was authorized to carry a weapon around the President of the United States. How more upstanding is that!
The next task was finding and assembling his college transcripts. As I gathered all the information I could, John asked for and received several Letters of Recommendation from people who knew him.
I put everything neatly into a binder labeled for easy accessibility, and we dropped it off at his attorney’s office.
And went back home to wait.