Time to Bail?

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!

3rd down on the left – John

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.

Reader Comments

  1. Amy Kennedy

    Oh my goodness! Oh my stars! I can definitely imagine as I have trekked a similar path, and it is so stressful (and expensive!). Like you, I never imagined many of these things in my life. And yet it has made me so much more sensitive to what people go through. Every time I drive passed a courthouse I now think of how many stories are unraveling or coming together inside those walls at that moment. It marked me… I will never forget it. Fantastic post, Loretta.

    • Loretta Sayers
      Loretta Sayers

      Wow, Amy I am sorry you know too well what this is like. The process is so daunting and filled with unknown. It does leave a mark on a person.

      You are one of the most empathic people I know…I’m sure a fair amount of that empathy comes from your own life experiences.

  2. Barb Cowle

    You are such an amazing writer Loretta! I’m just hanging on to ever word.
    Thats an awesome photo of John with President Ronald Regan & his wife. Nancy. Such a privilege and honour.

    Can’t wait for the next chapter……

    • Loretta Sayers
      Loretta Sayers

      Thank you Barb…you are so kind and supportive and I so appreciate you. Xx

      It was great to find that photo of John with the President!

  3. Angie

    Hi, Loretta
    When I read this, I had to get the rest of the pieces of the story bit by bit by going back and reading the story backwards in your last four blog posts, one by one. That was interesting. In the end, I hope John will be forgiven and that the two of you will be happy…
    Wishing you a happy ending,
    Angie, http://www.yourtrueselfblog.com

    • Loretta Sayers
      Loretta Sayers

      I agree…our legal system is scary to me too. Too many unknowns!
      Thank you Angie. It was a strange time, indeed. Xx

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