Hail Mary!… Arrested for spewing “F “ Words – Proving Innocence

Peter says he met Michelle MacDonald the day after he gave himself to the Lord.  Not a good thing – since Peter’s mother asked MacDonald, a lawyer, to help get her only son out of jail.

MacDonald s was “relaxing” criminal court, shadowing the best defense attorney in the state, helping her family law client.  “I was dressed in jeans and didn’t have to say anything. Other than that,” MacDonald says, “it was the same as the last time she was there.  A repeat video of a Judge explaining the state must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. A court room full of defendants.”

But when the Judge in the video said “you need not prove your innocence,” for some reason that got MacDonald’s attention, whispering out loud “Why not?”

After the video, a “scripted process” continued  with a live Judge and  clerk,  calling out numbers, and attorneys helping clients plead not guilty.  Until one case, MacDonald says, where “Everyone in the courtroom stopped relaxing.”

A man in scrubs, handcuffed behind a glass wall, pled “guilty” to a felony charge of burglary. Through an interpreter, Alberto testified he was knocking on the door of his home to visit his baby.  When his  child’s mother  didn’t answer, he  saw her and her boyfriend  holding his baby through a  window, and  broke it.  As attorneys questioned Alberto, “Everyone knew he was not responding as expected.”

When Alberto continued to testify that the home was where he had lived, the Judge ruled he would not accept Alberto’s  guilty plea.  “For a moment  I thought  ‘this is justice’” says  MacDonald. But when  Alberto  insisted  he was  pleading “guilty,”  the Judge  fired question at him about his house key, his  lease, and his emotions when he broke the window.  “The most we heard was that he was mad and broke a window,” says MacDonald.

MacDonald was stunned, when  the  Judge, still getting wrong answers, abruptly accepted Alberto’s guilty plea, said  something like he didn’t want to spend more time, and scheduled  a sentencing hearing two months out.

When they moved on to the topic of bail, Alberto’s attorney argued $5,000.00 bail was too high; Alberto’s family did not have that kind of money; and Alberto was a hard worker, with a job and paycheck waiting for him, and  kids to feed.  But the Judge agreed with the prosecutor who argued charges were “serious”, kept bail at $5000,  sending Alberto back until sentencing.

Still shocked, MacDonald “ jumped up from the audience,” to follow lawyers into a back room, stopped  by deputies, who let her go, after  she said she was a lawyer wanting to bail out the last defendant.  MacDonald was not able to witness her own client’s hearing, as she was introduced to Alberto’s public defender, who thought Family Innocence dealt with divorces.  MacDonald, its founder, explained she thought so too, until Alberto’s attorney ran out of the room because her next case had started without her.

At the jail, waiting for Alberto’s to get out, MacDonald was more appalled when the bail bondman, Mary, reminded her it was Christmas that Sunday.   As they filled out the paperwork, Mary answered a phone call.  “All I heard Mary say was ‘I have an attorney right next to me.’”

Peter’s mother called MacDonald at home, telling her  Peter was a single parent, whose father died when he was a teenager.  She worried Peter would not be out of jail in time to take his grandmother to church on Christmas as planned, and her grandchild’s mother would withhold Peter’s visits due to the arrest.

They exchanged calls through Christmas Day, when MacDonald learned that Peter was rushing to get his daughter to school, so her mother would not be mad, unaware that an unmarked police car was following him.  When he noticed a squad car with lights, Peter stayed put at the stop sign, apologizing to his daughter that “Daddy might get a speeding ticket.”

Instead, guns drawn, police swarmed his beat up vehicle, as Peter screamed  “My little girl’s in there!”  Peter was immediately arrested for fleeing police, and child endangerment.  Another officer drove his daughter to school, without a car seat, arriving late.

After visiting www.FamilyInnocence.org, Peter asked MacDonald how  she “met the Pope.” MacDonald explained she had met a Pope as a teenager, prayed to a different one for a miracle, and “Abolish Court for Families”  and her client, Benedictus, would not leave her mind.

After MacDonald said she was  “freaked out” when she learned Benedictus was confirmed as a teenager by the Pope she prayed to, Peter confessed that instead of reading a book his half-brother gave him, and doing it on Christmas Day as planned, he impulsively gave himself to the Lord the night before his arrest.

Peter spewed “F” words his brother warned the Devil would take away once he did, like “Family,” “Friends,”  “Finances” and “Freedom” – telling her all four were taken the day of his arrest.

While MacDonald remembered to tell Peter that ”God is Love”, and the Devil is another “F” word – “Fear”, as she heard Peter’s story, she confesses  phrases  came to her mind like  “What the F?”, “This is F-ed up” and the system “Doesn’t give an F”.

In jail,  Peter says, he experience powerfully that God – and his own Father – were with him there, and when he was released without bail, and even now.  Peter used another F word – “Faith,” saying the only moment he was afraid was when another inmate elbowed him, hitting his head against a wall, to take his bread.   Peter added he had not played guitar since his father died 27 years earlier. Peter says he is no longer angry, started playing again, and will teach his little girl.  He’s going back to a church he visited as a kid, and will bring his daughter if her mother agrees.

While talking to Peter,  MacDonald  took  a call from Alberto, insisting on  refunding the bail she paid.  MacDonald told Alberto to contact Mary who had discounted her bond fee for the $5,000.00 – to $350.00 – for Christmas for Family Innocence, a non-profit dedicated to families.  Hail Mary!

About Family Innocence

Family Innocence is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit, dedicated to keeping families out of court, resolving conflicts and injustices peacefully.