It has been a long and eventful day in L's world. I thought I'd give the Public Defender one last shot via e-mail first thing this morning. Imagine my surprise when almost immediately I got a response! He told me that L's hearing tomorrow was a preliminary hearing for a pleading and that he was going over to see him this afternoon. If L would "plead out" (say he was guilty) the PD was pretty sure he could get him released in the morning. At first this seemed pretty exciting. One little plea and he would finally be free! There was just one little glitch in this simple plan. L said he would not plead guilty...because he is not guilty and he will not say he is. Not to get out of jail, not to play the system, not to please the PD. He will take his chances in two weeks with a trial. He explained it all very patiently to me tonight, this street and system smart young man to his seriously naive but quickly coming up to speed pastor.
If he takes the plea, they tell him he can get out, but they don't have to keep their word. He has had this happen before as a juvenile. They promised amnesty on a plea, he pled, and they locked him up for four years anyway. He says he doesn't trust the system. I'd say so! If he goes to trial he may be found guilty, but he has already served a big chunk of his sentence while waiting to even go to trial...so he has about four months left to serve....he says he thinks he could manage. I told him I'd be there. The worst part of going to trial he says? The PD wants him to cut his hair! But the good news? The PD is getting him some clothes after all! He says this has NEVER happened in all the times he has gone to court in his life. He is literally scratching his head and asking me "Why is this happening now? Why is my PD getting me clothes for court? He even asked me what kind I liked!" I told him I thought it might have something to do with all these praying women.
So tomorrow morning at 8:30 he will go before the judge briefly and plead "not guilty." This will earn him the right to a trial on January 15th. C will be there for moral support for him in the morning. I'll talk to the treatment people and change the bed reservation...and the visits to the jail will continue for a couple more weeks....as will our need for your prayers.