May 27, 2010

A SIGN OF OVER-INFLATED PROSECUTORIAL BUDGETS: Prosecution for truancy-related forgery.

Shannon Anderson 27, along with her husband, William Anderson, were arrested March 8 and March 9, respectively, on felony warrants charging them with forging a doctor’s note to excuse their third-grade son from school.

Really, prosecutors have time for this kind of stuff? Apparently, yes:

A Corning woman is out on bail today, one day after she was arrested on a warrant charging eight felony counts of truancy-related forgery.

“This is a sad, sad case for the little kids who should have been in school,” Tehama County District Attorney Gregg Cohen said in a statement.

Kari Shannon Brandt, 38, was booked into the Tehama County Jail on Tuesday on six counts of preparing false documentary evidence and two counts of offering false evidence in the course of an investigation, Cohen said. . . . Prosecutors accuse Brandt of forging signatures and creating doctors’ notes on 12 occasions between December 2009 and April. The reported notes were written for three of Brandt’s children, ages 6, 7 and 8, in a reported effort to excuse them from West Street Elementary School in Corning, Cohen said.

I feel comfortable concluding that Cohen’s appropriation is much too large if he has time for cases like this. I encourage the relevant officials to direct the money to more significant priorities in this time of hard-pressed public budgets.

UPDATE: Reader Al Nugent writes:

This is the prosecutorial equivalent of the apocryphal Vietnam ‘we had to destroy the village in order to save it’ incident. In this case he’s burning down the family. Apparently this idiot thinks the best thing he can do for these kids is give their parents felony conviction. I’m sure that will improve their chances of supporting them through college immeasurably.

Indeed.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Steven Den Beste writes: “Why do you need a note from a doctor to keep your kids out of school?” Because now they belong to the state. You just get them on loan, weekends.

MORE: Reader Ronnie Schrieber writes:

Don’t entirely blame the prosecutor. My bet is that he was acting at the behest of school administrators. Certainly the matter was brought to the prosecutor’s attention by public school administrators. In my experience, public school administrators get indignant when parents don’t meekly comply with whatever “rules” they’ve instituted. Recently, when my daughter was questioning why my granddaughter’s school follows Indiana dept. of health guidelines on lice instead of our own department of health’s guidelines here in Michigan (Indiana’s guidelines are more restrictive so they appeal to control-minded types like school administrators), the principal told her that it was “unprofessional” for her to debate the issue in front of my granddaughter. The same principal has told me that sick children must be “symptom free” for 24 hours before they can go back to school. When I told her that was my daughter’s call, not the school’s, she made a sour face. All of these policies come with the implicit threat that the school will contact child protective services if the parents don’t comply.

Good point, and a reason to get out of the public schools — but it’s still the prosecutor who’s responsible for decisions to prosecute.

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