Elegy - Cover


Copyright© 2023 by Lumpy

Chapter 25

The next morning my alarm went off early. Well, it’s not exactly fair to say it was very early since I had set it for seven-thirty in the morning, which was later than my usual time to get up for school. However, considering the emotional strain I had been under, and the lack of sleep, I hadn’t gotten much rest during the previous week. After showering and eating the night before, I had only stayed up for another hour before going to bed and crashing hard. I was completely exhausted. Apparently, I still hadn’t gotten enough sleep because I felt incredibly groggy when I woke up, finding it hard to shake myself awake.

I had also decided not to go back to school this week. Although I guess I was within my rights as an emancipated minor to make that kind of decision, I still had wanted to run it by Mr. Eaves, Chef, and Mrs. Philips, just to be sure. They all agreed that it was okay. For one, I still needed to recover from the ordeal I had been through, and I had my mom’s funeral which was set for Friday. It had already been a week since ... since everything had happened, and I didn’t want to delay it any longer. Additionally, I still needed to deal with the conditions of the pretrial release and find out everything I was required to do, and not allowed to do, while I was out on bail. I didn’t realize it until I was being processed out the day before, but there are as many, if not more, conditions for someone out on bail as there are for people on parole, and the judge is allowed to add as many conditions as they see fit.

It was after their office hours when I was released the previous day, but I still had to contact my pretrial case worker within twenty-four hours of my release, and it was up to me to make sure I reached out to them. I had been worried that I might have to try multiple times, which is why my alarm was set so that I would be up and ready to call them at eight when their office opened.

Thankfully, I didn’t have to try a lot of times to get my case worker, maybe because I called just as she was getting into the office.

“Karen Dubinsky,” a voice said when I called.

“Ms. Dubinsky, this is Charlie Nelson. I was released from jail late yesterday, and they said I needed to call your office within twenty-four hours.”

“One second,” she said, and I could hear the clacking of a keyboard, which was probably her looking me up. “You’re calling to register your pretrial address?”

“Yes, and I was told I also needed to get my conditions for pretrial release.”

“Are you still at this address?” she asked, and read out Mrs. Philips’ address, which was the one that had been on my booking sheet.

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Do you live there alone?”

“No, ma’am. The house is owned by the family of a friend. Currently, my friend’s mother, Jennifer Philips, lives here, as well as a seventeen-year-old currently placed in her care by Child Protective Services.”

“And you’re also a minor, correct?”

“No, ma’am. I was emancipated late last year, just before Christmas.”

“I see,” she said, followed by more clacking.

“And you still attend high school, correct?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Okay,” she said.

“Okay. I’m going to read off your conditions for pretrial release. If you have complaints about these restrictions or wish to change these restrictions, you will have to take that up with the judges and clerks for the court where your case is being held. This office is solely a monitoring agency that reports to both the prosecuting attorney and the judge in this case on your adherence to your required guidelines, and as such, has no ability to alter, waive, or extend your pretrial conditions. If you violate any of these conditions, those violations will be reported to the court, and the district attorney, and can result in your return to pretrial confinement while you are awaiting trial. Do you understand these stipulations as I have read them to you?”

“Yes, ma’am,” I said again.

Considering the district attorney in my case and his demand that I be held without bail, I had no doubt he wanted me to end up back in jail if anything happened. I was just thankful Sheriff Gibbs wasn’t in his pocket. Otherwise, I also had no doubt he would be going out of his way to make sure I did something, or was accused of doing something, to get my bail revoked.

She continued in a monotonous drone, “You are not permitted to carry any firearms or weapons. You must avoid any notable contact with police, such as being subject to investigation where law enforcement has probable cause that a crime has taken place. This does not include talking to law enforcement outside of their duties, nor interactions with them at established places you are required to visit, such as the courthouse, unless those interactions include the law enforcement officer having probable cause to suspect you of committing a crime.”

That was a lot of “in the case of,” “unless,” and “ifs,” but since this was clearly written down somewhere and she was just reading it to me it was probably drafted by a lawyer to be thorough rather than easily understandable.

“No use of intoxicants, including alcohol, is allowed. You will be subject to periodic and random drug screenings. If you fail these screenings or fail to comply within a twenty-four-hour period, you will be considered in violation of your pretrial release, which will be reported to the court and the district attorney. You will also not be allowed within any premises that primarily sell alcohol. This would exclude restaurants without bars and stores that have, but do not primarily sell alcohol, such as grocery stores. This does include restaurants with bars, standalone venues that sell alcohol, and stores where their primary or majority product is alcohol, such as liquor stores. You are not allowed to consort with known criminals or anyone with a criminal record, not including simple moving violations.”

My head was spinning as I tried to process it all. When they’d said restrictions, I was assuming a somewhat shorter list, and she wasn’t even done yet.

“Finally, you must make all court-mandated appearances, and you are restricted from traveling out of state. Should you violate any of these conditions, your pretrial release could be revoked, and you will be returned to custody until your hearing. Do you understand these conditions as I have given them to you?”

“I do, but I have some concerns about these restrictions in regards to my career and livelihood. I’m an independent musician, and playing shows at venues that primarily sell alcohol, as well as some travel, are key parts of how I support myself.”

She made a noncommittal noise and then said, “I understand this may present difficulties, Mr. Nelson. However, the terms of your pretrial release were set by the court, and this office has no ability to alter them. We can only monitor your compliance with the conditions as they have been ordered.”

I closed my eyes and lay back on the bed, trying to keep from sighing or doing something else she might construe as me not cooperating. Complaining to her wasn’t going to get the terms changed, since she’d already made it clear she couldn’t change my release conditions, but it could result in her reporting my non-compliance to the court, and me being thrown back into jail.

“I understand.”

“If you move, are unable to meet any of the conditions of your release, or any of the information on file with this office changes, you are required to notify us within twenty-four hours. You are not currently on home monitoring and can move about freely as long as you adhere to the other conditions of your release. You must check in with this office once every seven days while awaiting trial to re-confirm your information with this office.”

She paused long enough that I thought maybe she was waiting for a response.

“Okay,” I said.

The source of this story is Finestories

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