Lawyers, Drugs and Mourning

Cook County prosecutor charged with drug use, possession —

“He lost both of his parents to cancer in the past two and a half years,” Rendler-Kaplan said before leaving the courthouse.

There is something about this article, and the closing line in particular, that pissed me off.

Juvy Court Scuttlebutt is that Chad worked in the Juvy Court. He did have a number of ties (family, professional) to my job, but I don’t remember him. I think it is unfortunate that instead of getting the help he desperately needed, he turned to drugs (and probably a lot more). One would hope that the State’s Attorney’s Office would have provided him with the support he needed to get his shit together.

I also wonder how hypocritical he was in regards to his prosecutions–did he prosecute users more severely than others? Did he push for maximum sentences for dealers? Did he give his suppliers and their relatives breaks? From the article, it appears as if he’s been out of the court room for at least two months, so it would be possible to chart his downwards spiral. I’m sure as the court date approaches and the media devours this case, more details will become clear.

While I feel for the guy, the parting shot by his lawyer makes me want to scream. I lost both of my parents to cancer (and a grand parent) within eighteen months. While my parents were sick, I know my work performance (remember, I work with Juvenile Sex Offenders) decreased significantly. I also drank a lot more, especially after chemo appointments. Oh, and I cried myself to sleep a number of nights. While I did some fantastically stupid things, I didn’t start using heroin to cope with my grief. I saw a therapist. I dragged my ass to work and was honest with the folks around me. I didn’t use my parents as an excuse to why I missed court appointments or wasn’t my ideal clinical self when being yelled at by mothers who should have had their parental rights terminated. I took responsibility for fucking up and worked a lot of overtime to make up for it. I cut down on drinking, terminated a relationship with someone who made things worse and got back into the swing of things.

I know I am being unfair about this. I also know that I am not being sufficiently compassionate in regards to this guy’s story. I probably did have better support in dealing with my grief than he did. The similarities between us, however, are so strong and our outcomes are so different, I cannot help but get frustrated about it. I’m furious that Chad’s lawyer invokes his parent’s untimely death. I’m pissed that there is no discussion of what sort of mental health support Chad received in order to deal with his grief. He should have received some sort of grief counseling. Now, he’s probably going to lose everything that he (and his parents) worked for. He could have been helped, instead, he’s going to go to jail.

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