Aspergers and the Law

police We learned the hard way, that an Aspie should never never never answer questions at a police station without an attorney present.  They want to please and it is sometimes very easy to get them to agree to things they didn’t do if they are approached right. My son, spent a year and a half in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. His life will never be the same from that experience.

A few years ago, a family member by marriage, ask me to keep her two girls for the weekend.   She was meeting a guy she met on the internet for the weekend, but told me she was going on a Christian retreat, so I’d keep her girls. My hands were already full with my three girls as I was a widow at the time, but I was glad she was going to be in a good Christian environment, so I agreed.  Sunday evening I was planning to take all 5 little girls to church with me.  I asked my Aspie son (who was around 30 at the time) to read them Bible stories while I fixed supper.  He sat on the couch surrounded by little girls and read to them for about a half hour.  We have a big open living room, dinning room kitchen area.  They were all under my supervision.  One little girl that I was keeping was a very “streetwise” young lady.  It’s very hard for my son to read.  His focus can only be on one thing at a time. And he struggles with almost every word. So it takes his undivided attention to read.

The next day I got a call from the child’s mom and she said while her daughter was sitting next to my son, he put his hand in her jean dress pocket and touched her inappropriately. So she called the police. All the children were called down to the police station and questioned.  All the children said they were sitting right there and nothing like that happened.  So they let my son go and dropped the charges of child molestation.  We’ve never ever had any problems like that with him.  Anyone who knew him knows that his interest is on scientific things around him, he is very literal and transparent.

My son had a friend from school, he hung out with sometimes, who has similar problems to his.  This boy’s step dad was a town sheriff. So he heard the talk from other police officers about my son being called down to the station and questioned.  He told his son who was married and also had a couple children, not to hang around him because he was a “child molester.”  So this “friend” of my son, comes knocking on my door one day and ask if  my son was a Child molester?  I was shocked at his question but assured him that he wasn’t.  He was satisfied.  Soon after that his neighbor girl, who was working as a stripper at the time and had the child welfare on her case, was talking to her little boy, who mentioned that his mommy’s girl’s boyfriend touched him in the wrong place.  The girl became angry and went to the police. The police ask her if anyone else was there and she said that Levi was working on his broke down truck next door to her house.  The police department  sent two men dressed in business suits, to our house who casually approached  my son who was working on his truck, and ask if he could come with them so they could ask him some questions.  My son likes to please, so he said, “Sure” They looked nice enough!  They ask him if he wanted an attorney and he said, No!” Because he knew he hadn’t done anything wrong to need an attorney. They interrogated him for two hours. I saw the video of the interrogation and was just sick!   They took advantage of his autism.

The interrogator became his “buddy” by talking about going fishing.  My son can feel a real comradeship to fisherman. After about two hours of wearing him down, the interrogator said in a real sweet voice, “I see you’re getting tired aren’t you”  If you’ll just tell us what we want to hear you can go home.”  Since he was emotionally worn out, he was ready to agree to anything so he could go home.  He wasn’t able to realize the consequences of “going along with the “interrogation” crowd.”

They got a confession out of him for something he didn’t do.  Never once in questioning the child, did the little boy mention my son’s name.  The child talked about his mama’s boy friend Jimmy, touching him.  My son has always been very embarrassed about sexual things.  He’s showed very little interest in sex.  I never had any acting out with him as a child, in that area.

He arrested and put in jail, while I was out of the country on a Medical missionary trip.  He was charged with “two” counts of child molestation.  They had two because they picked back up the one they had dropped two years before with the cousin.   He was crying and scared, when I got home and went to get him from jail, after putting up bail.

The courts sent him to two different psychiatrists who apparently had no idea about Aspergers, to have him tested.  After a 20 minute session with each Doctor, the doctors wrote up a report that said he was fine and had “no problems.” This was around 10 years ago and he did not yet have the Autism diagnosis.

Our attorney was just sick that my son hadn’t called him before the interrogation.  We were going to let it go to trial, but our attorney advised against it.  He said a jury is usually pretty prejudiced when called to judge a child molestation case.  And when they played the part of the video where Levi started agreeing to everything they ask him, and they read the reports from two psychiatrists, saying he had no problems, he would probably receive a guilty conviction on both counts, with an eight year sentence.

The prosecutor agreed to drop the charge concerning the little boy (Because they had no evidence anyway) if he would plead guilty to the incident that was dropped two years ago for lack of evidence.  They told him that if he pleaded guilty, he would only get four years which meant he’d only serve a couple years.  The attorney encouraged him to agree to the plea bargaining to keep from getting an 8 year sentence.   We knew he was innocent, and he knew he was innocent and the attorney knew he was innocent, but the cards were stacked against him.  At his sentencing he was handcuffed and led away crying.  I ask if I could give him a hug.  It wasn’t allowed.

Prison for the Asperger is a nightmare.  We ask the DOC to please send him some place close so we could visit often.  The attorney also requested it but they sent him to a place over 2 hours away.  Thus began the every other week of the long drive to visit my son.  He was so glad to see me that he locked me in a bear hug and often there were tears in his eyes.  We’d sit and have our two hour visit in the visiting room.  He tried hard to be brave. We surrounded him with lots of prayer and God provided a few nurturing incarcerated guys that seemed to see that he was special and protected him.

Once he called me very upset.  One of the guys in the dorm threw a roll of toilet paper at one of the female guards.  Since they didn’t know who did it they made all the guys lay on their stomachs for the afternoon and all night.  They weren’t allowed to turn over. For a person who has always been hyper, that bordered on cruel punishment.  He pretty much kept to himself and stayed out of trouble.  We wrote a letter to the prosecutor, asking for a modification hearing. Also my son wrote a short note to the prosecutor in his handwriting and I think that convinced the prosecutor to give him the hearing, which resulted in his him coming home early.   What a nice surprise when he was sent home earlier than we expected.  That seldom happens. I believe the “powers that be” probably recognized his innocence as well as his special needs.  I shudder to think of how many other Asperger/Autistics are in prison who have been railroaded into false admissions of guilt.  Soon after he was sent away we got an e-mail from an institution, telling that an Asperger person should never ever answer police questions without an attorney, because they want to please and don’t understand interrogation tactics.

Since his release, an officer called me one day and said real sweetly that they’d like to ask him some questions, for him to give them a call.  I called our attorney.  He said under no circumstances should I allow my son to talk to them.  So I told my son to call the officer back and tell him that he was advised by his attorney that he wasn’t to talk to them.  They seemed satisfied with that and we haven’t heard anything from them since.  I didn’t know that when someone was called to the police station for questioning that they had a choice in the matter.  If we’d have known that a few years earlier I believe my son wouldn’t have gone through this nightmare.

The nightmare didn’t stop with him being released from prison.  He was required to report weekly to a counseling program.    The “counselor” heading up the program, at the first session, sent home a 4 page, single spaced typed, set of questions for him to answer in the autobiography that he was required to write about himself.  I don’t think my son (who’s writing is about first grade level) has ever written more than a paragraph in his life.  He can’t write.  The counselor didn’t care; he said he was required to do it or go back to prison.  There was no way he could do that!  He couldn’t even read it let alone write his life story.  Some of the questions he was required to answer were to describe in detail all his sexual fantasies.  Write about his parent’s sex life, his sexual feeling toward sisters, each of his friends. Etc. Most the questions were like that.  I called the counselor and he wouldn’t budge from his order.  So I took his very personal list of questions and spent hours at the computer writing what the counselor wanted to hear.  For most of the very personal questions I wrote, “I don’t know”. That didn’t suit the counselor so it had to be done over and over.   I was not going to let my son go back to prison for a crime he didn’t commit because he couldn’t satisfy a perverted counselor’s personal questions.  I complained to my son’s probation officer who agreed that the questions were too personal but her hands were tied because these sessions were court ordered. I called his attorney who was also upset and acted disgusted with the writing assignment but was told he couldn’t do anything either because it was court ordered.  He said my son’s option was to go back to prison to finish out his time and he wouldn’t have to take the program.  So I typed up most of his ridiculous assignment.  Usually the counselor wasn’t satisfied so I had to redo them, and redo them.  My son would come home from his every Monday evening session like a time bomb ready to explode. He was so angry at the counselor.   It was also something he had to pay for.

He was also court ordered to attend the Right Program weekly.  I’m still not sure what that was about and he didn’t seem to understand it either. But it was another program he had to pay for.  He was also required to check in with a probation officer monthly, another big expense. (Hundreds of dollars) Plus he has to go to the police station every year for 10 years and register as a sex offender.  He’s not allowed to be anywhere where there are children, so he usually doesn’t go to family gatherings, and has even stopped going to church. He watches his back side every time he goes to town.  When he’s not out helping someone, he’s usually holed up in his tiny place smoking and watching his tiny TV.   In typical Asperger fashion, he watches either PBS or Disney Discovery channel, learning scientific facts.  With the stigma connected to “Sex Offender” his life will never be the same.  But Levi holds no grudges.  This stigma, a “black mark” will follow him the rest of his life.  A person born disabled is made even more disabled by society!

Also he was required to take an expensive lie detectors test which he had to pay several hundred dollars for, and passed!

This has ruined his life.  Now he wears the label of “Child Molester” He was told he would be on the sex offender registry for 10 years, meaning the officers can come to his place any time, day or night to check up on him, he has to fill out yearly reports and his picture is put on the computer.  We have neighbors who have checked it out, printed up flyers with his picture on in and tacked them to other neighbors doors.  Recently he went to the police station and reminded them that next year, his 10 years would be up and was told they changed the policy that he will be in the registry for life.  We need to appeal this but I’m not sure where to start.  He’s known rejection all his life, but this is the ultimate rejection!

DO NOT LET YOUR ASPIE TALK TO AN OFFICER WITHOUT AN ATTORNEY PRESENT!!!!!!!!!

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”  Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

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0 thoughts on “Aspergers and the Law

  • March 1, 2011 at 2:35 pm
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    For an informative article on how Asperger’s Syndrome, Autism, ADD or ADHD all raise the risks of being arrested and what those with these disabilties and family members of theirs should know – including what to do even before a police makes an arrest but “suspects” possible wrongdoing – see the websiteFLDUI.com.  The website was written by a Florida attorney, who worked as a prosecutor in the Brooklyn, NY District Attorney’s Office.  Florida residents can request a special ID Supplement so that just by handing over a Drivers License or other ID card to a police officer, someone with Asperger’s Syndrome, Autism, ADD or ADHD will automatically invoke their right to remain silent and other legal rights they likely don’t know they have. Persons with disabilites often become overwhelmed when confronted by a police officer and even if they intended to remain silent, they fail to do so, and often become easily confused and more nervous than most other persons would. Also, people with Asperger’s Syndrome and other disabilties are prone to making false confessions.

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  • May 17, 2010 at 12:42 am
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    I have been visiting various blogs for my Thesis writing research. I have found your blog to be quite useful. Keep updating your blog with valuable information… Regards

    Reply
  • April 4, 2010 at 2:30 am
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  • March 28, 2010 at 1:59 am
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    That’s really a sad story.  I got into a similar predicament, same type of crime, similar sentencing, etc. (Plus other extenuating circumstances). however, at the time I was sentenced, they (Meaning the Psychologists) at that time could not find or Diagnose me properly with asperger syndrome. i didn’t get diagnosed until a year after my sentence was completed. The psycologist that did my last evaluation is actually the one who found out about my aspergers.

    Unlike what you seen in the story above. I’m under NO SUPERVISION WHATSOEVER (No Parole, Probation, or RESTRICTIONS OF ANY KIND !! i MAXED THE SENTENCE OUT TO PREVENT RESTICTIONS WHICH MADE THE d.o.c. VERY ANGRY!! I too was FORCED to admit to things that I didn’t do!! (In the Prison treatment Classes). Just to satisfy them!! Totally unfair!! The last psychologist that did the evaluation that Diagnosed aspergers. Told me that if i would have been PROPERLY DIAGNOSED years ago, that i wouldn’t have done any time.

    Aspergers, along with this type of felony, makes it very hard to find decent paying jobs, (Or ANY Jobs for that matter)!! It’s like 2 Kicks in the Teeth!! Plus..10 years have gone by,, there’s so many things that have changed You feel LOST in the world. I’m not even restricted from working or going anyplace. But..GOOD LUCK trying to get a job somewhere!! THANK’s to the IGNORANCE of those EMPLOYERS who THINK that BACKGROUND CHECKS are NECESSARY!! Asperger syndrome (For those who were Diagnosed Too Late or After the Fact), is a Major Dissability. Us “Aspies” fall VICTIM TO SOCIETY in many Ways. As we are often Judged by what others SEE or WANT TO SEE. (Much depends on Politics). But just because it Quacks like a duck, looks like a duck, & walks like a duck.(.meaning what something appears to be) DOESN’T necessarely MEAN it Is that way, Because if One THINKS LIKE THAT, YOU’VE Got It ALL WRONG!! You have to THINK & SEE things through an “ASPIES” eyes to understand!!

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  • March 22, 2010 at 10:20 pm
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    I’m so sorry for you. My 12  year old Aspie son is currently being charged by a witch of a mother at his school. While in the lunch line he was pushed, and bumped into a girl. People laughed at him and he  was so uncomfortable that he made some inappropriate gestures and movements, just silly things to him. The mother has filed charges, and he will have to appear in juvenile court in four weeks. What injustice. This is nothing more than abuse of a child with a disability. My son has never had any offense in his life and is now going to be dragged into a court like a common criminal. We are in shock. He is attending counseling, but it doesn’t matter. All it takes is one ignorant asshole to file charges and ruin your family. I feel for you and will pray for your son. The stress of dealing with our son has also caused our family great stress. I am his father, and I too had a stroke less than a year ago, and now this. I feel like suing the bastards for abuse of  a child with disabilities. 

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  • May 22, 2009 at 1:02 pm
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    that’s so sad and unfair.  It really sucks how one lie from a child can cause so much harm.  As well as how flawed the justice system is. -_- fucking government

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  • May 22, 2009 at 11:55 am
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    Seriously, call the news station. This is something people all over the world would want to hear. If he really didn’t do it, there are ways to get it undone. And that way is to get enough people behind you. It really is NOT fair, and if they do this to him, they’ll be able to do it to other people, too. DON’T let them get away with this! I have a brother who’s autistic, too! He’s SO tender hearted! If he had to go to jail, it would KILL him! He’s a good kid, but I’m afraid he might do something like that, too! If YOU don’t stand up for this, WHO WILL? I don’t want something like that to happen to my brother, and I KNOW you don’t want something like that to happen to anyone else. Call a news station. Stand up for this. It’s NOT right.

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  • May 22, 2009 at 11:10 am
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    i wanted to add that you only need high school diplomas to become a cop, some not even. they often abuses their power in the streets, driving, and many are lazy. While we do have some great cops, many of them are just there for the paid, with our tax dollars!! I hate it when they tried to tell me what to do because i think a lot of them are uneducated and abusive. Sorry to vent – but they seriously need to hire high quality people to do work that is SO important to the lives of the people. 

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  • May 22, 2009 at 11:05 am
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    Thank you for you post – i think everyone needs to be aware of issues like this. This is a huge issue that our nation does not take seriously; the quality of the cops, who are suppose to protect us and help us at all times.

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  • May 22, 2009 at 10:50 am
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    Oh, this is such a terrible and sad story! It’s a sad fact of life that society has become so obsessed with child molestation and sex crimes that even being accused of that crime is enough to have all your constitutional rights thrown out of the window, I’m sorry your son was a victim of that.

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  • May 22, 2009 at 1:58 am
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    I honestly haven’t the slightest idea on where you should start. I will be praying for you and for your son. I will pray that you find some way to clear your son’s name. These days, people are constantly jumping on lawsuits and any possible way to convict those around them. I’m sorry your son was a victim.

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  • May 22, 2009 at 1:21 am
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    I have a cousin who has Asperger’s syndrome.  He is now serving his second year in prison on a five year sentence.  Why did he go to prison?  For patting a 9 year olds butt.

    My cousin has always had trouble with social boundaries and making friends.  I felt so bad for him growing up because he really wanted friends.  Unfortunately that never really happened, and his friends turned out to be close family members like me.

    Anyway it killed me inside when I found out his charge.  It ate me up worse when I found out why the people accused him of it, and that was to get to the family money.  In the end they received no money, but my cousin’s embarrassment and ruined life.

    So here is my advice.  Watch out for not only law enforcement but people that will use him/her to their benefit.  There are really a lot of sick people who will stop at nothing to get ahead.   

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  • May 22, 2009 at 12:33 am
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    My younger brother has been diagnosed with Aspergers, and while he has many symptoms he doesn’t fall neatly into it.  He is high functioning enough that he can hold down a job and go to college, but has terrible social skills and tends to talk to himself and pace.  He has very limited logic and reasoning but if he trusts a source of information, he will commit it to memory and believe it forever.  I definitely understand what you mean by having no sexuality, being afraid of and uncomfortable by it. I could not imagine him in any way groping or molesting a child. 

    It is incredibly frustrating to those of us that have survived sexual assault to hear of those that make it up or pin it on others.  It makes everyone’s testimony seem less reliable when actual victims do have the courage to speak up about it.  And it really does seem like the innocent get charged and the guilty go free.  How the heck does that happen?

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  • May 22, 2009 at 12:11 am
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    This is a very touching entry and I truly feel sorry for your son.  He has probably got to put up with a lot of injustices before this event even took place and then to add this to it.  As common as it is to see people prosecuted for crimes they didn’t commit it does hurt to hear these stories.

    Your a great parent for going through all of that and still working with him to get out of this mess.

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  • May 21, 2009 at 10:08 pm
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    You should check out unlawfool‘s xanga.  She is studying law, I don’t know if she can help you or what.  She is busy a lot.  I don’t know her personally, just on Xanga, and only that she is studying law.

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  • May 21, 2009 at 8:12 pm
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    That’s disgusting and inexcusable.  I hate people who prey on the weak and defenseless. They think just because they wear a uniform and carry a badge it gives themn the right to treat people differently at will.  People are people period.  I thought cops took an oath to serve and protect.  Who is protecting the public from the corrupt cops?  Stepping off my soapbox now.

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  • May 21, 2009 at 6:41 pm
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    When I hear stories like this, it makes me sad- and it horrifies me that our justice system is so broken.

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  • May 21, 2009 at 5:14 pm
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    I would have notified the biggest media i could get ahold of. This kind of stuff is the reason we have the institutions of higher courts in this country.

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  • May 21, 2009 at 2:29 pm
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    This is indeed a tragic story.  However, the police had no way of knowing your son was Asperger’s when they asked him if he wanted an attorney.  How are the police to know who is competent to be questioned without an attorney, and who isn’t? Aspies can be so high-functioning, sometimes they merely seem “odd” to the uneducated person.  I’m not defending the police, just wondering out loud … I can see this happening with mentally ill people as well. 

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  • May 21, 2009 at 1:11 pm
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    i think police like to just screw things up. i had a rape case a little over a year ago. i went and reported it—very hard to relive it all, and i sat through a rape kit at the hospital–4 hours!! the police at first sounded hopeful and like this guy was going to be punished. i got him to confess on tape that he had sex with me and didn’t stop when i didn’t respond. i was drugged and couldn’t move. i was also told that the hospital tested me for the drug, rohipinol (sp?) in my system—never occured. after about 2 months of constant questioning i was told that the sex was undisputed. it was admitted to happen. they said there was not enough evidence to say it was not consensual however and it was dropped. this guy is now in medical school going to be a pediatrician. this came from the exact same city that when they were trying another rape case the defendent was not allowed to say “rape” or “unwanted sex” during the case. i think our justice system is perverse and needs to be fixed.

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  • May 21, 2009 at 10:14 am
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    This is extremely depressing and…I feel so heart-broken and helpless for your son! I’m so sorry that he has to go through this!

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  • May 20, 2009 at 11:31 pm
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    The best part is – you wouldn’t believe how many actual sex offenders get let off the hook – while people like your son get locked up with no evidence. Justice has become a joke.

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  • May 20, 2009 at 10:57 pm
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    Thank you everyone for your support. I feel encouraged by your comments and I may use this post with the comments and take them to an attorney next year when my son was suppose to be taken off the registry. I may threaten to publish this post with the comments publicly only add the names of the officers and the interrogators if my son’s name isn’t removed.

    Another issue, while he has gone to many councillors, doctors and therapists when he was young, he has never actually had the Asperger diagnosis. Back then it was unknown. Since I’m raising his three daughters, and two of have the Asperger diagnosis, I know beyond any doubt that he is very Aspergers. He would have no problem getting that diagnosis today.

    It took me a only year of working with the system to get him qualified for S.S.I. The fact that he’s been on S.S.I. for mental disability, since he was around 20, should be enough to cause the officers and interrogators to question their tactics. He’s very obviously mentally challenged.

    @scrambledmegzntoast@hardestlevel Our attorney was running for judge while he was working on my son’s case. Afterwards I realized it probably wouldn’t have looked good in his campaign for him to be letting a “child molester” off the hook! 🙁

    Aspies are usually very honest. While the attorney was trying to convince him to take the guilty plea to keep him from a long term sentence, my son kept saying, “But why should I plead guilty when I didn’t do it?”

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  • May 20, 2009 at 8:45 pm
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    Wait, so you can’t catch Aspergers?

    Oh, thank God. I was so worried that I wouldn’t be able to talk to police officers without having a lawyer present any more. Sorry if I offended anyone who is or knows an “aspie”. God bless you in your constant struggle for great justice.

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  • May 20, 2009 at 8:36 pm
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    theres something way similar that happens in the movie I Am Sam & its really fucking sad & unfair for ppl to take advantage of other ppl who are in a different state mentally.

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  • May 20, 2009 at 8:27 pm
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    This is terrible. Did you go to your city’s police commission or anything? I know people say that people sue too much, but that is how cities and police departments learn not to do this. They need to have to pay money and be publicly humiliated or they just keep treating people like trash. Also, I told my dad, who is an attorney, about this, and he said your lawyer sounds like he may have “committed malpractice at worse and was incompetent at best.” Unfortunately I think @ordinarybutloud@xanga – is probably right. This type of thing happens to so many people all the time. 

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  • May 20, 2009 at 8:24 pm
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    Your son’s autism, while unfortunate, is the only aspect of this story that is unique.  Many many many typical adults don’t realize they have the right to refuse an interview and eventually confess, for whatever reason.  Your son should have gone to trial.  My guess is your lawyer probably thought he was actually guilty, and didn’t have the heart or the nerve to say that to you.  It is a violation of ethics rules for a lawyer to plead a client guilty if the client is not guilty.  It was not submitting to the interrogation that caused the biggest travesty;  it was pleading guilty if he wasn’t guilty.  A jury could have seen and heard from your son and made its own determination about the merits of the “confession.”  If a jury convicts an innocent man, it’s unfortunate, but it’s due process.  If a person pleads guilty, he short circuits the whole constitutional scheme that purportedly protects him.

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  • May 20, 2009 at 8:01 pm
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    I know a lot of people rap attorneys for the stereotypical money-hoarder attitude, but this is an example of a story of why I would like to become one. That’s terrible that the law was used against you in a situation like that. *sigh* My sympathies. 

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  • May 20, 2009 at 7:02 pm
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    That is absolutely horrible. Isn’t there something that can be done to  expunge his record now that the system is(or at least should be) more aware of the characteristics of Aspergers? I never knew that things like this happened to Aspies and it absolutely horrifies me. Do you think that if we made stories like this more known among people who don’t know Aspies that we could do something to stop things like this from happening? Because, really that is just so terribly wrong and just upsetting. 

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  • May 20, 2009 at 6:48 pm
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    The legal system is incredibly flawed and biased.  Guilt is always assumed.

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  • May 20, 2009 at 6:07 pm
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    This is so unjust. Have you told your story to law makers and such? This case seems it should be taken to a higher court. I can’t believe no one would understand. Unfortunately it happens so often. My younger brother (high-functioning autistic) would always be blamed for things he hasn’t done (not to this degree though, this is just sickening). You should honestly get his story out there. Call. E-mail. Get it out there so people know what this court system is unjustly doing to people in this country. I am extremely serious.

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  • May 20, 2009 at 6:06 pm
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    You should definitely appeal this and make the state pay him reparations for all the damage they’ve caused. This is just sickening.

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  • May 20, 2009 at 5:54 pm
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    my brother has aspergers, and if this happened to him, i would go absolutely nuts. that was a load of bull shit on the cops part.

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  • May 20, 2009 at 5:12 pm
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    I am very sorry to hear about what happened. I have come to believe that I may have a slight touch of AS but I am unsure of who could make a proper diagnosis.A psychiatrist,I guess.Being about 39 years old I don’t know if it matters now.I hope your son is holding up in spite of this horrible travesty.

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  • May 20, 2009 at 5:10 pm
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    :[ omg, that;s so sad… i;m sry! i hope you can make it through this, i really do. :[ my second cousin has aspergers too… i don;t see him at family gatherings anymore. :[ *sighs*

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  • May 20, 2009 at 4:24 pm
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    I can’t believe the police still use interrogation and confession as much as they do. It’s good that they at least avoid physical torture (for the most part), but otherwise their reliance upon interrogation is more reminiscent of the Salem witch trials than any genuinely rational approach to justice. It’s not just people with Asperger’s who are harmed by this; it’s anyone who is easily persuaded—or anyone who was the victim of a crime committed by someone who wasn’t easily persuaded enough. (There are similar reasons we should be much more skeptical of eyewitness testimony, and much less skeptical of physical evidence.)

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  • May 20, 2009 at 4:12 pm
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    I have Asperger’s, and even though I am comparatively high functioning, I have had a few close calls, though nothing of that magnitude, the scariest moment happened when I was out taking a walk on my University Campus a few days after graduation and was accosted by some police officers who were absolutely convinced I was up to something just because I was walking alone at night, they couldn’t find anything to accuse me of but their questions were cruel and extremely personal, and my difficulty answering some of them made them angry and almost violent… I am incredibly sorry about what happened to your son, and I am very grateful to the warning. I have always been worried about something like that happening just because I tend to get along much better with people younger than me (which seems fairly common for most people with Asperger’s). Know that your story has been taken to heart by at least one person with the same disorder. Thank you.

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  • May 20, 2009 at 4:12 pm
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    This is beyond messed up. Those police officers and court officials are incredibly corrupt and ignorant to any sort of psychological disorder. This is one of the reasons that I am a psychology major. Too many people are not aware of “hidden illnesses” and don’t know what people really go through when you’re diagnosed with something. Being treated in such in unjust manner is simply disgusting. I hope more people get into action to change the system.

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  • May 20, 2009 at 2:52 pm
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    NOBODY should allow the police to interrogate them without an attorney present. You also don’t have to sign that you understand your rights. If you don’t sign, they can’t use anything you say as evidence. Unfortunately, most people much more worldly than your son assume that since they didn’t do anything wrong they don’t need an attorney. What a sad story this is, and a sad commentary on our “justice” system. 

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  • May 20, 2009 at 2:46 pm
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    This is horrible. I can’t imagine what this must be like. I would look into have your son’s case reopened, especially with the diagnosis he has received and the facts known about aspergers.

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  • May 20, 2009 at 2:12 pm
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    This story makes me sick to my stomach.  To even think about what that poor soul had to go through on top of dealing with what is already on his plate.  And as far as being his mother ?  You are one strong woman… I freak out when my kids scratch themselves on their bikes… I couldnt imagine this.  I honor you all.

    @Schristian@xanga – I didn’t know you were autistic…

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  • May 20, 2009 at 2:07 pm
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    Just so you know, this isn’t about MS, so this site should be taken down. Pertinent information like this isn’t needed for Autistics. We can do just fine on our own without knowing about the horrible treatment others like us get.

    Nor do we need blogs to tell us all about the ways we can deal with our issues.

    http://haloed.xanga.com/701642691/why-is-autism-so-special/

    I’m bringing this up simply because of how harrowing this entry was to read…

    Taking advantage of someone’s disability is flat out FUCKED UP. It’s sad to see that those with disabilities are STILL treated like second class citizens; and discredited so easily.

    The fact he’s Autistic should have him exonerated of all charges; and the police precinct should be fined out the ass for this. Those who “interrogated” him should be dishonorably discharged from the force.

    Disgusting!

    And yet people still discriminate against us. Amazing…

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  • May 20, 2009 at 11:29 am
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    @Im_McLovin_It@xanga,

    Like bluejacky@xanga, I too am wondering about your comment? If you really are uninformed, Aspergers/Autism isn’t something you catch. If you are a police officer making fun, then you are like the other bullies who pick on the weak.

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  • May 20, 2009 at 7:12 am
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    Having a son with Asperger’s, and knowing how vulnerable he is, we’ve pounded and pounded into him that he should NEVER allow officers to question him without an attorney present. However, even with as high functioning as he is, and with a near-brilliant IQ, I’m not sure he’d remember that were he under stress!! We have a local police officer who is a friend of ours, and he took sort of offense when I told him once that we’d told our son that again and again. He said that he’d never do any thing to our son to try to trick him or take advantage of his Asperger’s to use against him. I said, “YOU wouldn’t, but can you tell me that none of your felow officers would try to take advantage of him?!” He actually looked kind of shocked and then his face fell and he’s like, “No, I can’t say that.” And I just looked hard at him and said, “That’s exactly why I’m teaching my son to never trust any of them–and to always have an attorney present!” It’s sad we have to do that, but your story is similar to ones I’ve heard before–and that “just tell us you did it and we’ll let  you go!” line or something similar almost always is what fells the Aspie because they are so literal and so believing. . . . .

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  • May 20, 2009 at 6:37 am
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    I think I’m just as disgusted at the parents of the other children who lied in the first place as I am at the officers involved.  As an aspie myself, I’ve spent decades learning how to weave through social disparities that I don’t understand.  My psychologist says I’m ‘easy to lead’ with questioning and has had to coach me on how to stay on track with doctors and other people, how to focus on my own needs and not simply automatically answering questions, which gets me nowhere and leaves me feeling really frustrated without realizing what happened.  My IQ is through the roof, but I’m so naive that I’m taken advantage of continually, and finally decided I can’t even have friends any more.  I feel for your son, and hugs to you for having to watch him go through all that.  This is just another story among many that convinces me NO ONE can be trusted, even God-fearing Christians and law officers.  People want to ‘fix’ autism, but they don’t appreciate that we are generally the honest ones, and don’t understand dishonesty and deceit and being framed.  The most difficult part of being aspie for me growing up was learning to pretend to be like everyone else– mean and dishonest– just to survive.

    @Im_McLovin_It@xanga – “Catch” Asperger’s?  Are you a cop who didn’t like the article or making fun of Asperger’s like it might be contagious?  I have Asperger’s, I don’t ‘get’ comments like this.

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  • May 20, 2009 at 1:53 am
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    Wow, that is truly abhorrent. I’m so sorry for all you guys have had to go through.

    I wonder if you guys would be able to go back and appeal his conviction, now that more is known about autism and aspergers. Kinda like they do with DNA for innocent people convicted of murder 30 years ago. Get a new psychiatric examination, and have them testify and all that. Or maybe that would just be too much. But it might be worth it if it gets him off that list.

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  • May 19, 2009 at 11:37 pm
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    I can’t believe that they done that to your son. They shouldn’t have been able to put him in prison. The charges were dropped, there was no proof of anything. It’s like they were simply out to get him. Nobody deserves to be done that way when they’re innocent.

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  • May 19, 2009 at 9:38 pm
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    incrediblely sad, and disheartening that a couple of people would go out of their way to see a clearly autistic man go to prison. I can’t even imagine the heartbreak you must be going through or your son for that matter. Depending on the state, your son might have legal recourse. They would just have to open the case back up since they inccured false testimony without a lawyer, and abused the situation. It should be on record that it is KNOWN that he has aspergers with the state. If it is KNOWN, then he can say he was cocered into signing that confession when two men showed to the door.

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  • May 19, 2009 at 7:59 pm
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    I’m crying for your son. I am so, so sorry that he and you have to deal with such disgusting injustice. It makes me unbelievably sick to my stomach that people can be so ignorant. I’m praying that you’ll find a way to make things better.

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  • May 19, 2009 at 5:52 pm
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    wow… that’s incredibly sad.  I think it speaks to the fact that the justice system isn’t always just.  That’s unfortunate.

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  • May 19, 2009 at 5:27 pm
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    anyone who trusts the law,,, regardless of any condition,,, is asking for trouble.

    if you will step back and look,,, anyone can be arrested at any time for just about anything,,,

    thats the way the laws were designed…

    to serve and protect,,,,, hahahahahahaha,,, i dont think so….

    dont get me started on law enforcement…

    my source,,, other than just being an anti law radical,,, hahahahaha

    10 years in law enforcement…

    not saying all cops are evil,,, most begin the job with good intentions,,,  then the training begins…

    gotta love the law,,,, what for i dont have a clue,,, our law books could,,, and should,,, be written in the space of one piece of paper…

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  • May 19, 2009 at 5:06 pm
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    Excuse the language, but that’s fucked up. What assholes – the people who accused your son, the two cops, the court, and then that idiotic counselor. There are no words to describe how angry I am at these sorts of people.

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  • May 19, 2009 at 4:58 pm
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    imcalm_happy_clear@xanga

    Thank you for your compassion! My son bears all the marks of an ADHD or Asperger person, from his unkept appearance, to his speech, his shuffle gait when he walks etc. It takes a real coward to make an example out of the handicapped person just because it’s easy to do while letting the bullies run free. They probably made jokes about him back at the station over coffee. My husband once said, “you can’t make yourself look good by degrading another, but an insecure person will try.”

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  • May 19, 2009 at 4:50 pm
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    @imcalm_happy_clear@xanga,

    You sound like a survivor, a very storng person from all you’ve been through. Even your xanga handle tells a lot about you.

    So many kids with learning disibilities/Aspergers, suffer abuse because folks think they are deliberatly being bad.

    Your story is a lesson to us parents not to back our children in a corner. It’s human nature to either fight or lie our way out, which ever is safest.

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  • May 19, 2009 at 4:48 pm
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    @abh816@xanga

    I could never have imagined my son spending a year and a half in prison. It really is a family’s worst nigthmare. To further complicate matters, a couple years ago at age 37 he suffered a stroke. His cartited artery was so blocked that he was lifelined to an Indianapolis hospital. I believe it was brought on by stress. Since his stroke his thought proces is slower and kind of messed up and his left hand hangs kind of limp and he doesn’t seem to have much use of it. Thank goodness he’s on S.S.I. because he couldn’t make it otherwise. I am very frustrated at a judicial system that would allow this to happen to a mentally challanged person. But I know that our prisons are full of people much like my son.

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  • May 19, 2009 at 4:41 pm
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    @mom1945@xanga – I felt worse for your son; I was trying to relate. People with labels are automatically at a disadvantage.  It’s even worse when people can sense things, and there is no way those cops didn’t know your son had a problem, and they have “a good time” while incriminating someone who doesn’t have the ability to defend themselves.  I hope they rot. 

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  • May 19, 2009 at 4:33 pm
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    Oh my God. I am shocked and horrified by your story. I’ve been in tears since the 4th paragraph. I am absolutely disgusted by this injustice that your son will always have to live with for the rest of his life. I am so sorry that this happened to you and your son. I can’t even describe how disgusted I feel with the entire judicial system. This is absolutely inexcusable. My younger brother is a high functioning Autistic, and the thought of him even spending one night in a county jail is terrifying to me… I can’t imagine him spending a year and a half in prison. I can’t imagine how scarred your son is from that terrible experience.

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  • May 19, 2009 at 4:31 pm
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    @black_lie@xanga

    I agree, it is depressing. After almost 10 years I still find it terribly depressing! And I feel sick just thinking about all he suffered at the hands of those he should be able to trust.

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  • May 19, 2009 at 4:28 pm
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    @abilene_piper_lg@xanga

    My son didn’t realize he was being questioned for anything, because he knew he hadn’t done anything. These men acted real nice and friendly and were dressed in suits and being the trusting person he is my son went along to accomodate them. I wasn’t even aware of what was happening until after the fact. Yes he was legally an adult but he is a child in so many ways.

    These guys came out to our house where he was working on a car in the front yard and buddied up to him. I don’t know if they even showed him their detective badges. Being Autistic he doesen’t look for a hidden motive behind someone’s niceness. He takes everyone at face value and these guys acted friendly enough and “needed his help” He loves to help folks!

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  • May 19, 2009 at 4:21 pm
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    While I was growing up, I had a lot of terrible things happen to me, but I had a “learning disability” and anything I said, thus, was a lie.  And after telling a lie to cover the lie that I hadn’t told, I was beaten for “lying” once I got home and/ or locked in the basement by my stepmother.  I guess, in all reality, I did end up lying. LOL  I’ve grown up and am so used to lying to cover a lie or making up a story as compromise because I’m always backed into a corner and seen as less that I often confess to things I haven’t done or end up lying about a situation just to get out of it or to take the path of least punishment.  That’s a lot of ramble, but it’s so wrong to mess with people ANY PERSON. 

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  • May 19, 2009 at 4:07 pm
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    Having an attorney is one of our rights guaranteed to us by the constitution. Why anyone (autistic or not) would answer questions in an interrogation without an attorney is beyond me. 

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