Amarah's Corner: Judge's words provide dose of reality
Hi! My name is Amarah. Kids are important to me, and they’re important to Jesus, too.
Jesus said in Matthew 25:40 (KJV), “Whatever you’ve done unto the least of these (kids), you’ve done it unto me.”
“Kids like me” are kids and adults of all ages whose parents are, or were, drug addicts, and alcoholics; kids who have suffered, or who are suffering, abuse and neglect on multiple levels; and kids who are victims of bullying.
Hey, kids like me! I found a dose-of-reality for a ‘kids-like-me’ dad a few months ago and I believe it should be shared again:
Judge tells dad to 'wake up'
ALAMOSA — A day after Father’s Day, District Court Judge Michael Gonzales added a message about fatherhood to his sentencing of a 24-year-old with two preschoolers at home. “If there’s one thing you should be focusing on it’s being a father to your 1- and 5-year olds and not being a father when it’s convenient for you,” Judge Gonzales told Randy Gonzales when the judge sentenced him to three-years in community corrections on forgery and burglary cases. “Being a father is 24 hours a day, seven days a week … every day of their lives.” Judge Gonzales added, “You are missing out on the best years of their lives.”
The judge told Gonzales if he is not there for his kids because he would rather take meth and heroin and hang out with people who are doing that, “quite frankly, they are better off without you until you decide they are the number one priority in your life.” The judge added, “If you don’t start showing them some love and some care, they will say to heck with you. Wake up before it’s too late. Wake up before those kids don’t want anything to do with you. That would be the biggest loss of your life.”
Judge Gonzales pointed out that the defendant had racked up six-different felony cases in five-months, which would normally be unusual, but the judge was seeing more and more of this type of situation as the drug problem increases in the community, he said. Judge Gonzales said probably all of the crimes Randy Gonzales committed were while he was under the influence of meth and heroin, probably trying to get money for his next fix. The judge added that while on pretrial tracking, Randy Gonzales had missed 15-UA’s (urinalysis) and tested positive for drugs such as meth, opioids and marijuana on eight other UA’s.
“Your parole officer described you as a functional heroin-user. You could use and function in the community. That is scary as heck, someone who could be a functional heroin-user and be a part of this community,” Judge Gonzales said. “Clearly you have a problem, and clearly you need help to address that problem.”
Randy Gonzales pleaded to three of the cases, ranging from 8/18/16 to 1/26/17, with the other three-cases dismissed. Some of the charges related to money stolen from Atencio’s Market, for which Gonzales was required to pay $923 restitution. Gonzales’ attorney Peter Comar told the judge that drugs were his client’s primary problem, and he recommended a sentence to community corrections where he hoped his client could receive help for that problem.
Randy Gonzales admitted his problem to the judge and said he had tried working on it with some success, but when he was laid off he had too much free time and started getting into trouble. “I am a single father,” Gonzales told the judge. “I haven’t done the best job, but I still do what I can.”
The judge agreed that Gonzales had not done a very good job as a father to this point, and if he didn’t change, his children wouldn’t have anything to do with him in the future. Judge Gonzales also told the defendant he would face temptations during his community corrections sentence, but if he failed in community corrections, he would go to prison. If his crimes had been violent, he would have gone to prison at this point, the judge said, adding that a previous defendant sentenced on Monday did go to prison, rather than community corrections, because the crimes he committed while under the influence of drugs were violent.
Judge Gonzales sentenced Randy Gonzales to concurrent sentences but stressed that if he failed in community corrections and was re-sentenced to prison, the sentences would be changed to consecutive. The judge sentenced him to three-years on two of the cases and two-years on the third, to run concurrently. Judge Gonzales told Randy Gonzales he was not too old that anybody would give up on him yet, but if he didn’t change, “you are going to wind up in a gutter somewhere and nobody’s going to give a damn about you … You’re going to be another statistic on a computer somewhere.”
Thank you, Judge Gonzales, for not being afraid to say things that need to be said to parents of kids like me. Please, don’t stop! Parents of kids like me need to hear what you have to say!
Thank you for reading my column. Write to me at Amarah’s “Kids Like Me” P.O. Box 354, Alamosa, CO 81101.
My goal is to help kids like me, and I want to help their parents, too. Until next time, remember, Jesus Loves You, and JESUS IS LORD!