Monday, May 30, 2005

In Placerville, California, mothers have no rights

In Placerville, California mothers have no rights
The tragic story of KT Delettre

It is drawing close to sixteen months since this frail woman with the big eyes has seen her small son. Buddy has been the center of her universe since before he was born. She always knew she had to protect him from harm. His father, Loren Oliver, tried to kill him in the womb. She had endured 13 years of abuse, finally leaving him for good despite her fears, because she wanted a better life for her baby. Loren told her he would kill her, too, if he could get away with it. What he failed to do himself he has gotten the court to do for him.
The worst things KT could have imagined have come true. You and I are paying those who jailed her for six months, sending her into a downward spiral that saw her weight drop to a scant 82 pounds. She looked like she had walked out of a concentration camp when friends and others across the country finally made the half million dollars in bail last December.
Victims of domestic violence are supposed to be extended the protections we, as Americans, want them to have. Instead the DA and the courts in Placerville, CA have treated KT DeLettre like a felon. On the 30th of this month she will stand trial for kidnapping her son for the second time. The first time it took the jury 15 minutes to exonerate her. She was not guilty then. She is not guilty now. Penniless, she is struggling to defend herself as the court ignores her procedural rights, her Constitutional rights, and common decency. They have no shame. They sneer at her when she stands to defend herself. They mock her pain and pile roadblocks in her way. They ignore her pristinely self-prepared motions; refuse to give her the transcripts from her own hearings, and pile on abuse of the judicial kind.
Her accusers have a lot to answer for. They have been well paid for continuing Oliver’s abuse. They have converted the legal system of Placerville into a cash register. What they are selling is not justice. It is a very ugly railroad.
KT and her little son have not been the only victims.
Unfortunately, KT's case is not that rare, for courts across California have similarly punished other victims of crime. The DA prosecuting KT, Gary Lacy, is under investigation for dozens of similar cases. A perusal of the El Dorado County website answers and raises many questions. His do it yourself enrichment scheme has also had passive help from the Office of the Governor – who is much too busy with important things like selling favors – to pay attention to this small time operation to the East of his posh gubernatorial offices in Sacramento.
So, while most Californians watch the recall this small drama plays itself out in Placerville. The bad guys sell favors, in KT’s case to her very nasty and violent former husband who has provided contracting services for some of DA Lacy's subordinates. Sean O’Brien, Lacy's Chief Assistant postures as a Good Guy, looking for donations so he can further his own political ambitions. He wants to move up, just like Gray Davis did. He might not make governor but he certainly hopes for a slot where he can continue to sell favors and rake it in. Gray Davis has a lot of emulators in Placerville. Together they constitute a spiritual brotherhood of butchers that view us as uncut meat.
Every single night KT prays for her son. She knows he is being abused, as he was before, when the court first handed him over to Oliver, in 1998.
Vote YES on the Recall and NO to politics as usual. Small boys need their mothers. They need to know that real fatherhood is not violence, either personal or institutionally instigated.
We need some real changes, in Sacramento and in Placerville. When you lift your eyes to hope for change, remember KT and Buddy.

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