Tuesday, August 8th, 2017
JOE IN THE DOCK
I sat in the Wright County courtroom from 1-3 p.m. yesterday, awaiting the hearing for Joe, one of the inmates I’m mentoring.
He was brought in with shackles on his wrists and ankles, clothed with prison garb, and led to the dock of the courtroom, a secured place to the right of the defense table where criminals stand to learn their fate. It was a sad sight for his family and me to see.
An assistant county attorney addressed the presiding judge and told her of all the chances that Joe had been given and that he had not taken advantage of any of them. It was all true. In the eyes of the law, he was a wretch deserving of jail for a long time. Joe was in tears as the attorney declared he should not be given a downward departure to a treatment facility and should immediately be sent to prison for 24 months. My heart sank.
Then his defense attorney gave an impassioned plea that Joe had changed and wanted to put his sordid past behind him and get the treatment he needed – chemical dependency intervention and mental health healing. It was called a dual diagnosis program. She said Joe would not receive such treatment in jail and would be a hardened criminal in two years. He deserved one last chance, a final shot at redemption.
The judge looked at the county attorney and at Joe. The courtroom stood still. I was perched at the very front of my bench seat. The she looked at Joe and said, “I’m going to give you one last chance.” Joe had been holding his breath, let it all out at once, and broke down in tears. Finally, there was hope for him, and he was ready for it.
Joe will be going to a treatment facility in St. Paul and then to another in St. Cloud. He will be placed on five years’ probation and any violation will send him to prison for the full 24 months. Pray for him that he receives the help he needs and will never set foot in a jail again. Joe has already been redeemed in the spiritual world by the blood of Christ. Now he has been redeemed in the natural world by the grace and (I believe) the intervention of God.
I saw a miracle today. Where man failed, God prevailed.