I had to appear in court today. I've only been there one other time. The first time was extremely anxiety-producing, and I can't say that this time is much better. My attackers, however, have the supposed right to face their accuser. That's what I'm called: the accuser.
I don't really understand why I'm the accuser. What about the custodian who walked into the bathroom and found me on the floor, being stepped on and kicked, both on my preveiously healing fracture, in the general area of my right kidney, and in unmentionalble places? Why can't he be the accuser, sparing me the ordeal? He saw enough to put away for a log time any adult who had done whta was done to me. Furthermore, if they had killed me, which I have no way of knowing for certain was not their intent, he would be the star witness and accuser. Why must that change just because I lived through the experience?
Furthermore, the law enforcement and medical personnel who responded at the scene also saw enough to make accusations. What they saw may have been a bit circumstantial, though through the physical evidence and what the attackers did give up in the way of words, those personnel, too, could be the accusers.
Lastly and not insignificantly, the lesser involved of the two girls, on the advice of her attorney, turned on her friend and her friend's boyfriend and agreed to testify against her two former friends in exchange for a lighter penalty. (I won't call in a sentence, because to me a sentence involves mental pictures of doing some time in a correctional facility of some sort. All the actual "time" these people did was a few days plus a few months of wearing ankles monitors.) In any event, since she's accusing her friends of doing the major damage, why can't she be the accuser who must face the other two? For the record, she was present, and her experience with facing the other two today must have been at least as difficult as mine was. Also for the record, she didn't testify at a trial, but her deposition forced the other two into pleading their cases out.
This case dragged on for quite a length of time, but Iv'e been told the situations such as OJ's and Scott Peterson's, where they demand and receive a speedy trial, are the exception and not the norm. They, the accused, have a right to a speedy trial, and most delays can, for the most part, be granted only through motions by them. The judge, however, refused to formally accept any of their pleas until the civil end of the case was settled, because he wished to consider that in the overall impact of consequences levied against them. I'm not totally sure how legal that is. Furthermore, I'm dissatisfied that the financial settlements against them impacted them personally. Their parents will foot the bill entirely. i supposedly could have waited until I turned eighteen to sue, which would have made them over eighteen as well, and therfore personally financially responsible. My parents chose to sue on my behalf instead because they said I wouldn't have gotten anything sy suing them personally because their parents would've hidden what scant assets were actually in their nemes.
Even if I hadn't sued, my parents' medical insurance carriers did. They wished for the bills they've footed to be paid by the attackers. In the case of the male attacker's family wealth, We're talking extremely deep pockets. I've been told insurance carriers usually don't sue, but my costs were and continue to be so incredibly high with remaining in the facility part-time. Still, it was worth the time and trouble for my parents' insurance carriers to attempt to recoup some of their losses. Interstingly, the medical insurance carriers, the secondary of which insures employees at the high school where this happened, chose to sue the school district as well. This could cause the school district to look for another insurance carrier, but I've been told that our school district is costing more than it's paying in at the moment, so the insurance carrier had little to lose by filing suit.
The terms of the insurance carriers' suit were confidential even to my parents. I do know they both my parents' employee-paid medical insurere collected something substatial.
The terms of my settlement aren't mandatorily confidential, but my lawyeer and parents have been told me that I have little to gain by shooting of my mouth about what was collected from them. All I'll say is that my parents' out-of-pocket expenses, such as travel related to my stay, were reimbursed and that punitive dmages were assessed. The deep pocket thing came into effect in that the wealthiest parents of the three parties are paying the lion's share. If those parents wish to go after the other parents legally so that the amounts paid by each parent are more equitable, they have that recourse. None of the parties, however, can appeal any settlement agreement to me without the party or parties' pleas being thrown out and their having to stand trial as originally charged.
They, of course, pled down to lesser charges, and were charged as minors, so their very limited time of incarceration in a juvenile facility already served is all any on them will ever serve unless one of them is caught violating terms of probation. They will spend the summer with ankle monitors. The boy's parents requested that he be allowed to vacation with his family this summer, which would have necessitated permission to violate terms of the ankle monito sentence. They were turned down; he'll have to stick around town this summer. Actually, they're only allowed to leave home for church once a week if desired, to meet with probation officers, and to perform their required hours of comunity service. I'm not sure how this will actually work, because I saw an episode of one of the Law and Order series episodes where a guy beat the ankle monitor system by putting it around his cat's neck. I don't know if that was realistic, but how stupid of me to ask such a question. If Dick Wolfe allowed it to be written into a script, it must be nothing short of realism.
My attorney asked for and got a farily restrictive restraining order. I'm not sure it will hold up, but their attorneys agreed to it, so it will presumably stand unless they hire new attorneys and say their old onse provided incompetent defenses. If they do that, they're tossing out their pleas and may have to face trial, so they probably won't. Anyway, none of the thugs are allowed on the campus I attend. I would have chosen to forfeit that aspect of the restraining order to avoid a formal announcement of what university I will attend, but my attorney said it was common knowledge anyway. The judge reviewed the records of the colleges and university at which the perps had applied, then granted my attorney's request. Additionally, for three years, because they have no ties, family or otherwise, to the county where I will reside, the parties may only be in my new county of residence on highway 101 while traveling through, and may get off the highway only as far as a quarter of a mile to eat, refuel their vehicles, or whatever. This can be revisited for specific instances: if, for example, one of them had a wedding to attend in the county. Regardless, they must stay at least 100 feet (I think it was feet and not yards, but I need to double check). However, the person must request permission from the court and have it granted in order to be able to attend any function in the county.
The girl who turned on the other two showed remorse. She cried on the stand and seemed sincere. She did slap me and step on my leg, so I'm not totally ready to let the matter go and be besties with her, and I'm perfectly content to have her included in the restraining order. Still, the other two, who did worse things, acted sullen and bothered to have to give up their time to appear in court.
I don't know the terms of my end of the financial settlement. I know that a trust will be set up from which I will receive payments once I turn 25, but my dad said that I shouldn't think my last name has suddenly changed to Gates or Buffett, and that it will not be enough money off which I can comfortably live without working. The funds must be in place in three months or the pleas of anyone whose funds have not been turned over to the court will be invalidated and those perps are to face their original charges. My mom is not a lawyer, but she's really smart, and she's talked to my Aunt Jillian, who is a law school graduate, about it. Jillian says, other than the reduction of the charges to which the perps were allowed to plead, the whole thing came out remarkably in my favor. She questions the legality of the financial end of it, but since it was the parents and their lawyers who agreed, and since they and not their children will have to shell out the money, it should stand.
I'm just really glad it's over.