A Train Trip to Remember
by: Miguel Sanchez
© 2008 by the author
The author retains all rights. No reproductions are allowed without the
author's consent. Comments are appreciated at...
I quickly signed the report then they took Dr. Moore back to where he belonged. We secured the house then called it a night. After doing our business we got into bed and JC's hands started roaming. "Twice today you said we didn't have time, how about now?"
My little head was taking over and it was hard to refuse him. "Alright son, I can't say no now especially since it is your birthday."
After a very intense love making session we drifted off into a peaceful slumber. The next morning my bladder woke me and try as I might not to, I had to answer nature's call. It was a few minutes before 7 so I got my coffee going then woke JC to his moans of, "Aww Dad, just a few more minutes."
"Come on kiddo, you have to eat and we both need showers before court this morning."
He sat up remembering the emergency hearing. "Dad, I can't go out looking like this."
He was right on one point but it could work in our favor. "Son, I know but I want the judge to see this for himself."
JC was wolfing down his cereal. "You really think it will help?"
I wasn't sure really but it would have a big effect on Moore when his case came up. "We'll soon find out won't we?"
After JC ate 2 big bowls of cereal we got our shower. It was getting late and I was hurrying to get shaved when I nicked myself on my chin. I managed to get it stopped then hurried to get dressed. It was 8:15 when we managed to get out the door. Traffic was a nightmare as he headed to the South District Courthouse. It was 8:45 by the time we got parked. As we got to the front door of the building, we saw Ike waiting for us. "I thought I was going to have to send a cab for you."
We walked up the steps and through security. "No matter what I did, nothing went right today."
Ike laughed as we headed towards the courtroom. "You even managed to cut yourself shaving today I see."
We went inside and sat in the first row of seats. JC was so close I thought he was going to become permanently attached. "Last night Dr. Moore came around perving."
Ike nearly dropped his briefcase. "What JC?"
He covered his mouth so he wouldn't laugh out loud. "Yeah, some how he found out where Dad lives and he came snooping. He got into the back yard and looked in the bathroom window just as I was taking a leak."
I gave Ike the whole story and he pulled a file out of his briefcase. "Well, you won't have to worry about him getting out again."
We talked quietly then a voice boomed out, "All rise, this court is now is session; the Honorable Judge Isaac Gould presiding. All those with business in here shall be heard."
An elderly man walked out and climbed the steps to the bench and sat down, "Be seated. Alright Bailiff, what is the first case on the docket this morning?"
The Bailiff took the top file and looked at it. "Your Honor, this is an emergency custody hearing brought by Mr. Ike Fletcher on behalf of JC Martin."
The judge took the file as I was looking around the courtroom. "Ike, I don't see JC's parents here."
The judge cleared his throat. "Are all the parties here?"
Ike stood, "Ike Fletcher representing the minor JC Martin and his temporary legal guardian Jerry Miles. The minor's parents were informed about this hearing. I had the information sent yesterday to them via private courier. I have the signed receipt showing they received the documents."
The judge motioned for Ike to bring it to him. He took it then looked it over. "Very well Mr. Fletcher, we'll proceed in their absence. Would you state the reasons for this change in custody?"
Ike picked up his briefcase and brought it around on the other side of the rail. "Your Honor, Douglas and Vikki Martin are the adoptive parents of JC Martin. Until about 2 years ago, they were, what appeared on the surface, loving and caring parents but when he was diagnosed with leukemia, all that changed. They had more than ample health insurance to cover any treatment necessary but rather than treat him according to today's medical standards, they decided to give him the minimal care possible, most of which was intended to be placebo."
The judge stopped him. "Sir, they are the boy's parents. Are you saying they don't have the right to treat him as they deem necessary?"
Ike dug into the files he'd received from Dr. Finch and approached the bench. "Your Honor, these are the reports given to them by the head of the Pediatric Oncology Unit. The Martins put JC through 2 chemo treatments then said they only wanted him to receive normal saline while telling the child, he was still getting treatments."
The judge looked at the papers. "Why are you involved here?"
Just then the courtroom door flew open and in walked a woman and 2 men. The woman was ranting. "No one's taking that kid from me."
Judge Gould banged his gavel, "Order in this court NOW. How dare you to come in here disturbing these proceedings?"
The lady got quiet then started crying. "I apologize sir; we just had to drive all the way from Jacksonville. We heard our son had been kidnapped."
Judge Gould made some notes. "And who are these other people with you?"
There was a man dressed in what appeared to be a hand made suit. "I'm Clark Meadows; I represent Douglas and Vikki Martin. If it pleases the court, I have a warrant."
The Judge banged his gavel, "Order now. Mr. Meadows, your clients were served with papers telling them about this hearing yesterday."
The mouthpiece looked at the Martins and then back to the judge. "I see your honor. I do apologize; now about this warrant."
"Toilet paper," Judge Gould said as the Martin's stood there with their mouths hanging open. "Mr. Jerry Fields has temporary custody of the child."
Meadows came on the other side of the rail. "Very well, his parents are here so they can take custody of him."
"Not so fast," Judge Gould said as he banged his gavel. "There are some very serious allegations against the Martins and I wish to hear everything. You and your clients can have a seat at that table."
The Martins and their lawyer took their seats and Mr. Martin pulled out a laptop computer and turned it on. Meadows stood and faced the judge. "Might I ask what these allegations are Your Honor?"
The judge looked at the file. "To sum it up, your clients have all but abandoned their son."
The woman stood. "That's preposterous Judge, we give JC the best of everything."
The Judge looked at the woman. "Are you prepared to swear to that here in court?"
Her face suddenly lost its color as she looked at her husband and their lawyer. They both nodded their heads as she turned back to face the judge. "Yes Judge, I am."
The Judge looked at Ike. "Mr. Fletcher you can call your first witness."
He called JC to the stand. The boy was sworn in then he took his seat. "Please give your name for the court and the reason you've brought this action.
JC gave his full name and his address. "I've done this because my parents don't give 2 cents about me. Ever since I got sick, they make me go to the hospital alone. I have to ride the train from Jacksonville 11 hours to the hospital. While I'm in the hospital no one sees me. The only one who gives a damn is the head nurse but she's only there 3 days a week for 12 hours. The rest of the time it seems as I'm a burden to the staff. When my chemo is up, it's back home again. I take the train by myself and when I'm home; my parents are always too busy with this event or that one. I have to fix my own meals if they've managed to get to the grocery store."
How long has this been going on JC?"
JC thought for a minute. "Almost 2 years now. This last time, I decided I've had enough. On the trip home I met someone and for the first time in my life, they like ME. He didn't care I was sick, he just liked me for me."
"Was there any other reason you brought this action?" Ike asked.
JC nodded his head. "Yeah, it's my trust fund."
I looked at the Martins who were now in a huddle around their lawyer. "Objection, speculation!"
The Judge looked at JC. "What do you know about this trust fund of yours?"
JC reached into his back pocket and pulled out some papers. "All there is to know sir. You see, this trust was set up and no one could touch it until I turned 16, which was yesterday. Then, who ever my parents were could get certain monies as long as it was for me."
The judge looked at Mr. Meadows. "Your objection is over ruled. Continue son."
JC took a sip of water. "The one thing I didn't tell Jerry was I knew what else my parents had in store."
Meadows stood again. "Objection, relevance."
JC pulled another paper out of his pocket and handed it to Ike who looked it over. "This clearly goes to motive Your Honor."
Martin sat down. "Over ruled, go on son."
"I found out my parents had quietly put our house up for sale and they were looking at a huge one down in Miami. I did some digging and the house was selling for just over 2 million dollars."
The judge was glaring at the parents. I saw Meadows looking over to me while Mr. Martin was busy typing away on his computer. Mr. and Mrs. Martin were firing things at their lawyer fast and furious.
Ike took the papers from JC and handed them to the Judge. "JC did you ask Mr. Miles if he'd look after you?"
JC looked at me then bowed his head turning red. "Well not in so many words. I kinda tricked him but he has agreed to be my new Dad."
"I see," Ike said. "Did he know about this fund?"
JC nodded his head. "Yes, I told him about it when I told him about wanting to divorce my parents."
"What did he say?" Ike asked.
Meadow's stood. "Objection, here say."
JC was shaking his head. "He didn't say anything; he just listened as I told him everything."
Meadows sank down into his seat again as the Judge looked at JC. "He didn't say anything about your trust."
JC shook his head. "No sir, he just said it should be mine and no one else's."
Ike looked at me then back to JC. "That's all I have for now but I reserve the right to examine him later."
Ike went back over to the table and sat down. The judge looked at Mr. Meadows. "Do you have any questions?"
He stood up and glared at JC. "In deed I do."
Judge Gould looked at the lawyer. "You remember he's a child sir."
Meadows' face quickly changed expression. "That's quite a story JC. You're trying to get us to believe your parents never once came to the hospital?"
JC nodded his head. "Except for."
"I knew it," Martin interrupted. "Expect for all weekends they were there, isn't that right."
JC shook his head. "Except for,"
"All the weekends," Meadows interrupted again.
JC looked at the judge. "Sir, would you tell him to shut up so I can finish a sentence?"
Meadow's glared at JC. "You, young man, are lying."
The judge banged his gavel. "And you sir are in contempt, that will cost you $50.00. You WILL allow him to complete his answer BEFORE you ask another or interrupt him. DO I MAKE MYSELF CLEAR or should we go for double. Now finish your sentence son."
JC glared at the lawyer and spoke very slowly. "The only time they were at the hospital was the very first time. They met with Dr. Finch then left after I was admitted. The only regular visitor was the Social Worker."
Meadows waited until he was sure JC was finished. "Then they returned to visit, sleep there and take you home."
JC shook his head. "Can't you listen? They left and went home. The social worker called them when I was ready to go home but all they did was buy a train ticket for me online. I had to pick it up at the train station."
Meadows then got snide. "Oh, I suppose they made you walk to the station?"
"No," JC said sarcastically. "They did send money for a cab but the hospital started picking me up and taking me there because a lot of the times I was sick to my stomach."
Meadows looked at the judge. "I'm through with him. His parents will set the record straight."
The Judge banged his gavel. "That comment will cost you $100.00 Mr. Meadows. JC you may step down."
The lawyer turned around and looked at the Judge. "I'd like Mrs. Martin to rebut that boy's statements."
Ike looked at me. "That'll work right into my hands. I have a signed statement from JC's Social Worker so we can just let her hang herself."
Judge Gould looked over at Ike. "I know this isn't normally done but do you have any objections Mr. Fletcher?"
Ike looked at me and JC then back to the judge. "No objections Your Honor."
Mr. Meadows looked over at the woman who stood up in a huff and marched towards the witness stand. The Bailiff stopped her putting the Bible out in front of her. She placed her hand on it as he gave her the oath. She huffed again, "Of course I will, I'm no liar."
The judge looked at her. "And I won't tolerate sarcasm like that in my court."
She stared at him then sat down as Mr. Meadows walked over. "Before we get to you visiting your son in the hospital, can you explain about this house?"
She smiled over at JC. "Yes I will. First off, we haven't signed a contract with any agent to put our house on the market. Yes, we did look at that house in Miami but that's all we've done."
"Why a house of that size?" Mr. Meadows asked.
Now she started playing the caring mother. "JC is ill; he's going to have needs as the disease progresses. This house is big enough so that when that time comes there will be room for all the equipment needed to care for him. No expense will be spared for him."
I looked at JC and he put his finger towards his mouth. I had to keep from laughing as Ike turned and glared at us. Mr. Meadows nodded his head. "You are a good mother. Now, what do you have to say about your son's accusations that you never visited him?"
She shook her head. "That's not true. I was there as much as I could be. I did have things during the week so I wasn't there as much as I really wanted to be but I was there on the weekends."
Meadows nodded his head. "What about what he said about you never being home when he wasn't in the hospital?"
Again she shook her head. "There were times my husband and I had to go out. He's a respected man in the community and he has functions to attend. We made sure he had food or he would have money to order something."
I looked at Ike. "That last thing is going to be tough to disprove. It's one person's word against another."
Ike shook his head then looked at JC. "How often would your Social Worker see you during the day?"
He thought for a moment, "At least twice sometimes more especially if I was having a really rough time."
He patted JC's hand smiling. Ike stood then went over to Mrs. Martin. "Good morning Mrs. Martin, can you please tell the court why you, your husband and your lawyer were late to court this morning?"
Meadows started to stand but then decided against it as the judge was looking right at him. "Umm well, we didn't get informed of this until after midnight."
Ike thought for a moment, "After midnight, Mrs. Martin?"
"That's what I said sir," she spat. "Some man started banging on our door waking us up out of a sound sleep."
Ike went over to the bench. "Can you hand me that receipt Your Honor?"
The judge hand him the paper he presented to him earlier. "Here you go Mr. Fletcher."
Ike went back over to the witness. "I want you to take a look at this receipt signed by you. Please read the time you wrote on it for the court."
She snatched the paper out of Ike's hand and looked at it. "This isn't my hand writing, it's obviously been forged."
The judge looked at the woman then handed her a piece of paper and a pen. "Mrs. Martin, I want you to sign your name, put today's date and the time on it."
She looked at her attorney. "Objection Your Honor, I fail to see the relevance of this."
Judge Gould was beginning to lose his patience. "Sit down Mr. Meadows and if you can't see the relevance you're blind."
The woman scribbled something on the paper and slammed it back on the bench. "There."
Judge Gould wasn't impressed. "I'll give you one more chance to comply with the court's order. If you fail to do so, I will hold you in contempt."
Mr. Meadows looked at her and nodded his head. I heard her let out a sigh then take the paper and do as she was instructed. She handed it to Ike then looked down as he compared it to the signature on the receipt. "These two signatures are identical. Now, would you like to amend your earlier answer to my question?"
She knew she was beaten. "Oh all right, it came Monday about 10am."
Ike handed the receipt and paper back to the judge. "So I ask you again, why were you late?"
"We got held up in traffic. We didn't leave until later than we wanted to."
Ike went back over to the table and got the Social Workers affidavit. "Now, you say you've been to visit JC every weekend when he's been in the hospital, is that your testimony?"
"That IS what I said sir."
Ike smiled. "Very well then, please tell us the staff you've met?"
She thought for a minute. "Well, I know some of the nurses that care for him."
"Anyone else," Ike asked.
She got this smirk on her face. "Of course, I know his doctor very well."
"And which doctor would that be?"
She puffed her chest out. "Dr. Stephan Moore."
"Did you ever meet the head of Pediatric Oncology?"
"That quack," she shouted. "He doesn't know anything."
Ike went over to his table and picked up 2 files. "Your Honor, at this time we would like to submit these 2 files into evidence. They are the medical records of JC Martin."
Meadows quickly stood. "Objection, those are confidential records. How did he end up with them?"
The judge looked at Ike. "They were given to me by Dr. Liam Finch; he's the head of Pediatric Oncology at Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital. Mr. Miles signed a medical release form."
Meadows became irate, "OBJECTION, HE'S GOT NO RIGHT TO GIVE COUNSEL ANYTHING."
"On the contrary," Ike smiled. "Mr. Miles has every right as he is JC's legal guardian and as the head of the department, every patient in the oncology unit is under the supervision of Dr. Finch and as such, he has the right to release medical records."
The judge looked at Ike. "Is Dr. Finch willing to testify to this?"
Ike nodded his head. "Yes Your Honor. I can place a call to him and he will gladly come down."
The judge nodded his head. "Place the call Mr. Fletcher."
Ike took out his cell phone and called Dr. Finch. After a short conversation, Ike finished the call. "Dr. Finch is finishing up with his last patient. He can be here in about 30 minutes."
The judge nodded his head. "Very well, this court is in recess for 30 minutes."
He banged his gavel then we all stood as he left the courtroom. Vikki headed over to her husband and lawyer. Meadows looked at her and I could tell he wasn't pleased. "What the hell is going on here? Why would someone have 2 files?"
She glared at him. "Now you listen to me, you shut your mouth right now and do what we're paying your for."
To be continued...