Friday, November 26, 2010

The Catholic Defender Meets Alabama Law

Traveling the Country and much of the world you get the chance to see and experience many things.

This story is true but the names and places have been changed to protect the local community.

The story began when Matt, one of my wife's Son's, was beginning his deployment to Afghanistan.

Our Daughter-In-Law, Szilvia, remained in a small town in Alabama.

She is an American speaking Hungarian who was determined to keep their two young children and an older mentally handicapped son busy so they wouldn't worry about their father.

It must be noted that two major characters of this story are two dogs: Gypsy (a white Pyrenees), and Riley (a black lab). This is the setting of the story as we begin this lesson of Alabama Law.

Across the street were the "Anderson's" (fictional name) who had a dog that was known for biting anyone and everyone. One day, the Anderson's dog was roaming free when it attacked a young neighborhood boy.

Szilvia was in the front yard and went to the aid of the boy, getting bit herself. The Grandmother of the boy decided to take the Anderson's to court and Szilvia became the main witness for the case.

This is where the action begins, as the Anderson's began to harass Szilvia on an almost daily basis. They called the local Sheriffs Department with frivolous complaints. Because the dog incident was a problem for the Anderson's, they began to call in complaints about Szilvia's dogs.

Both of these dogs are gentle and love attention and would be more apt to lick you to death before showing signs of an angry dog.

One night, "SOMEONE" cut the cable of Rileys chain hoping the dog would get out of the fence. The Anderson's put up a perpetual camera and watched Szilvia's every action (it is still recording at present!) but Riley did not get out of the fence and Szilvia replaced the chain. The camera is a real worry because you read of so much sexual exploitation these days.

On one occasion while Szilvia was at our youngest Grandson's soccer game, the Anderson's called the Sheriffs Department with a complaint. Apparently the man who cut Szilvia's grass turned around in the Anderson's driveway.

The Anderson's continued to place frivolous complaints and the Sheriffs Department continued to respond causing much fear and concern on our daughter-in-law's part because the children were being exposed to a negative view of the "law".

I made a number of trips from Texas to help try and calm the situation. On my first trip there my 10 year old Grandson's first words to me was " What if the Sheriff's Deputy comes"? I couldn't help but think, "What in the world is going on"?

I went to the Sheriff's Office and spoke with 5 Deputies who assured me that they were really on Szilvia's side. That all those calls would actually help her for court.

Every time that they responded there were no issues that had to be addressed. Still, the matter was not getting any better. On one occasion, Mr. Anderson drove up in front of Szilvia's house stopping and motioning for the boys to come to his car window. They were playing in the front yard. He called them several vulgar names (an 8 and a 10 year old!!!).

When the Sheriffs Deputy initially arrived, he was courteous towards Szilvia until after he spoke with the Anderson's. He came back threatening Szilvia, telling her she needed to be a "good Mother".

I felt that Matt needed to keep his mind on what he was doing in Afghanistan, he definitely didn't need to be worrying about what was happening at home.

On another occasion, while Szilvia was gone to another one of our Grandson's soccer game, the Anderson's called the Sheriffs Department making the complaint that someone had pulled into their drive way. Where Szilvia lives, the street dead ends and that is why sometimes people will pull in a driveway to turn around. The School Bus turns around using Szilvia's driveway.

Szilvia came home to find the Deputies coming to talk to them again. On another occasion, the Anderson's made a complaint against Silvia claiming that they were riding bikes up and down the street banging on mailboxes with baseball bats.

The Older Son they were accusing of doing this can not even ride a bicycle nor do they have a bat. When the police arrived, none of the mail boxed were shown to have any damages.

Time after time the Sheriffs continued to give the Anderson's this ability to harass our family. It's quite difficult to try and handle this from 1,000 miles away, but that is what I tried to do.

I called the Sheriffs Department at least 5 or 6 times. Each time I tried to be respectful but this was to be very difficult.

I couldn't help but compare them with the crooked police from the movie "Deliverance".

I could hear the banjo and the guitar clear as day. I'm afraid this imagery did not please the Sheriff at all.

But I was not happy with the events taking place there.

It was clear that the Anderson's were doing this out of revenge and the Sheriffs Department were willing agents of the Anderson's.

To this point there had been approximately 15 to 20 complaints made by the Anderson's and responded to by the Sheriffs Office against our Hungarian Daughter-In-Law whose husband was in Afghanistan.

One day, Gigi reported the news that the Anderson's were able to get an arrest warrant to have Szilvia placed in jail due to her dogs being out. I called the Sheriff and gave him everything I could think of, this was so unbelievable.

I called the Governors Office, I called the State Senators Office as well as the office in Washington. I called Birmingham's FOX News and the local news papers. I was wanting to get Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reily involved because this was just totally not right.

Szilvia went in to the Sheriffs Office with her two Children not understanding why or what was happening. The Sheriff's deputies at first were very rude as they frisked her.

It was about that time I received a call from the Governors Office responding to my calls. I walked out of a meeting at Fort Hood to explain what was happening. What followed is very interesting .....

The Governors office responded and called the Sheriffs Office. From that point the Deputies totally changed their tune with Szilvia. They became very nice calling her "special".

They placed Szilvia in a jail cell for only a moment to the surprise of the prostitutes, the pimps, and the druggies. She was then given a court date of 10 August 2009.

I was able to go there in time to get the date changed to 14 September when I knew I could be there. At that point the Court appointed a lawyer for Szilvia.

I spoke to "Mr. Smith" for about an hour as he informed me that he would meet with Szilvia later in the week.

Then, in the latter part of August, Matt came home on R&R from Afghanistan.

At this time they lodged another frivolous complaint and, because Matt was home, they sent out 4 deputies. Instead of thanking Matt for his service and encouraging him to have a good time while being home on leave, they threatened him telling him they can put him in jail.

Can you believe this? The lawyer, "Mr. Smith" met with Szilvia a couple of times, then he met with Matt and Sylvia along with Gigi (my wife) about one week before the court date.

I arrived there about two days before the 14th of September. Matt had to report back to Afghanistan about 2 days prior to the court date.

On the morning of the 14th, we arrived at the court house by 08:45.

The lawyer had not shown up yet so I called his office to find out what was going on.

The secretary had no knowledge of anything. She couldn't say where he was so we continued to wait thinking the lawyer had things in control.

Another 30 minutes and I am getting really upset. I ended up calling the lawyers office another 5 to 6 times.

It turns out that he had taken his wife to the beach!!!?? If I ever wanted to break someone's neck it was then. The Court appointed another lawyer, giving him about 15 minutes to look at the case.

He told us the Anderson's wanted Szilvia to pay a few hundred dollars for court costs and reparation. Szilvia began to feel pressure not having her lawyer.

I was there with her and began telling the lawyer the story. We were not going to give in here. I strengthened Szilvia's resolve and the lawyer informed the Prosecution that we would see them in court.

To our surprise, the Anderson's were ready to go. All the chips and marbles were on the table and going to fall right then.

As it turns out, all those complaints and all those police reports were for naught. None of them were used against Szilvia.

It all was based on a photograph that the Anderson's presented for the court as their prime evidence-- a skinny black lab! Riley happens to be a very FAT black lab. Alas, they had the wrong dog!

Mr. Anderson told the Court that Szilvia's dogs were vicious and chased him on one occasion. (Editors Note), I recently spoke with the lawyer who handled the case for us, he has been very much a help and support for my family there in Alabama. The case has been moved to 15 Feb and this lawyer vows to be there!!! He truly did an outstanding job especially for the time of preparation he had been given. Our 15 minute lawyer was able to show several discrepancies in Mr. Anderson's testimony that caused the Judge to turn a jaundiced eye on him.

The Judge basically told both parties that if there were no more issues the case would be thrown out 2 Feb 2011. The Anderson's do not want this, they still want revenge. Mr. Anderson had to pay $1,000 to stay out of jail when his dog bit the neighbor child and they wanted Szilvia to do the same.

Since the day of the trial, Szilvia has had someone steal her license plate off her car (at night), her mail box was damaged (at night), someone tried to let the dog outside the fence (at night) and she has been stopped by the local "mounties" for driving a "reported" stolen vehicle...(this accusation was shut down in a hurry with the presentation of her registration. HELLO!! Wonder who reported that..........

As we await for 2 February 2011, what should the Catholic Defender do?

I ask for all of you to pray for the Anderson's. They seem to be unhappy people who need Jesus in their lives.

Please pray for all our Soldiers deployed in harms way. It means a great deal for Soldiers to hear words of support. Also for Military families who struggle trying to keep the home fires burning.

Szilvia had done a great job keeping the boys involved in soccer and martial arts training.

Please pray for our police officers and firemen and those who hold public service.

Please pray for America, we need the Lord's presence in our lives.

2 Chronicles 7:14 states, "if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and forgive their sin and heal their land".

Justice is truly justice when the ways of the Lord are followed enforcing it.

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