Monday, August 6th, 2012
A 4-year-old Virginia girl’s chalk drawings on rocks at a park near her Richmond, Virginia home have earned her mother a ticket for vandalism and a punishment of 50 hours of community service, news sources are reporting. The Belle Isle city park had reportedly recently been vandalized with graffiti, which prompted police to give 29-year-old Susan Mortensen a ticket for her daughter’s drawings. From NBC 12, the Richmond station:
Outside the courthouse, people support Susan Mortensen with their own chalk on the sidewalk. However, in court, the officer who reprimanded her back in March says she responded with an attitude and curse words.
“I don’t think I should comment on that,” said Mortensen after the trial. I agree that the outcome is something I would agree with and I thought it would help as far as doing community service.”
Mortensen has since then apologized. She’s agreed to complete 50 hours of community service through the James River Park System.
Mortensen will have to paint about 200 boundary posts west and east of the Boulevard Bridge. Before she even starts, she’ll have to scrape off the old paint and remove surrounding weeds. It’s vital to finish the project before the weather gets too cold for the paint to stick.
The parks manager says he’d like to set a date before Thanksgiving. Mortensen’s supporters say they’re still upset she was charged for letting her daughter draw on the rocks. Police and park leaders say chalk is the same as graffiti.
Image: Sidewalk chalk, via Shutterstock.
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Tuesday, February 7th, 2012
A Virginia couple must face a judge in March for bringing their children late to school too many times. Amy and Mark Denicore of Waterford, Va., have both been charged with three misdemeanors, which carry a fine of up to $500 each.
A USA Today blog reports that since September, the Denicores’ three children, all under age 10, have been tardy 85 times, usually arriving minutes after the bell. The family lives just a few blocks from Waterford Elementary School, and Amy Denicore either drives them, or the children walk to school.
Mark Denicore, an attorney, told reporters that his children have missed less than three hours each since the school year began. He called the charges “pretty extreme.”
A spokesman for the school district says that schools are “charged by the state” to deal with problems like tardiness. “If somebody is coming in after the bell when everybody is seated and on task, the teacher then has to repeat the lesson and it is disruptive,” he says.
Readers, are these charges fair? How often are your kids late for school? What do you do to make sure they’re on time?
Image: Woman holding alarm clock via Shutterstock.
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Wednesday, August 10th, 2011
A recent New York court case in which a 15-year-old girl accused her father of raping and impregnating her has opened a wider debate on the role of service dogs in courtrooms. Rosie, a golden retriever therapy dog trained to comfort people under stress, sat at the girl’s feet as she testified, providing her with warmth and nuzzles during the most upsetting moments of the testimony.
As The New York Times reports, though, the girls’ father is appealing his conviction on the grounds that Rosie was an undue influence. The newspaper reports:
The new role for dogs as testimony enablers can, however, raise thorny legal questions. Defense lawyers argue that the dogs may unfairly sway jurors with their cuteness and the natural empathy they attract, whether a witness is telling the truth or not, and some prosecutors insist that the courtroom dogs can be a crucial comfort to those enduring the ordeal of testifying, especially children.
Arizona, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana and some other states have also allowed comfort dogs to accompany children to the witness stand. The ruling in this appeal will likely impact the use of courtroom dogs in the future.
(image via: http://www.nytimes.com)
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