Twenty Four Months
I remember it like it was yesterday. It was during my final REM cycle when I was dreaming about when I was a kid, in elementary school, and about how much fun my friends and I used to have. All of us so innocent. You could see it in our eyes. That’s when I awoke to a bright florescent light and a hard bang on the steel door, which sounded like a wristwatch repeatedly coming into contact with glass, not any glass though, the kind of glass you see at gas stations used to protect the clerk from a firearm discharge. I immediately noticed that I was lying on a hard, steel cot. It was then that I realized that I was not a kid anymore.
“Longmire, get up,” the man said. “You’ve got court in two hours.”
It was Tuesday, July 19, 2005. I was incarcerated at the Johnson County Juvenile Detention Center. I had been at the detention center for 23 days now, while waiting for the district judge to announce my fate. I was lodged in the detention center due to my lack of respect for the court system, and the high degree of partying I had been exhibiting. I had been to a number of hearings before this date, although nothing had been accomplished. My proceedings had just been continued.
Today, June 19, 2005, I was going to hearing to deliberate on sentencing for my belligerent, defiant behavior. I had high expectations for today’s hearing. I was under the initial belief that I was going to be released Tuesday, June 19, 2005. All parties, which were participating in the hearing, had insinuated the probability of a release.
“Brian, what time is it now,” I uttered to the guard, who was pounding on my cell door.
“It’s 9:15,” he said. “Longmire, get up. Today’s your day. Good luck, pal.”
I proceeded to get up just as Brian directed. When I stood up, I observed the six by eight cell, in which I was held captive. Then, I did what seemed natural, proceeded to look at the plush green grass and blue summer sky, through my small foggy window. It was approximately 10:00a.m. My 11.30a.m. hearing was approaching quickly. I needed to think of what I was going to say to the judge. Typically I have no idea what I’m going to say to the judge until I’m standing in front of her Honor’s mahogany bench. I had a different feeling about today’s hearing. It was different then all the previous hearings. It wasn’t a good feeling.
I looked out my cell window into the dim cell block. I saw a short, heavyset woman approaching my cell door.
“You Longmire?” she said.
“Yeah, are they ready for me?” I retorted.
“Yes, they are. Lets go,” she replied.
I heard the keys drop. My cell door abruptly opened. I sauntered out of the cell and followed the guard toward the front of the facility. When we reached the intake area, there were a number of other juveniles sitting around, all with the same grim looks of anticipation on their faces. I quickly took at seat. Abruptly, another guard confronted me with a set of leg irons and shackles in his hands. He ordered me to stand up. I did as directed and watched this colossal man proceed to attach these freezing steel shackles to my legs and arms.
I am in the van now. There are five other juveniles in transit along with me, two girls three boys. Our destination: Division 13, the honorable Brenda Cameron’s courtroom.
The ride to the courthouse from the juvenile detention center is approximately six minutes. For some reason, this time it seemed significantly longer. It felt like an hour.
We’re at the courthouse now. Suddenly, while pulling in to the secured garage, I scary thought entered my head. It occurred to me that this judge has the authority to do whatever she wants with me. I quickly dismissed the thought, and returned to thinking about the situation. I exited the van and shuffled over to the elevators, which would lead us to division thirteen.
I stepped off the elevator and proceeded to shuffle towards Judge Cameron’s courtroom. I entered the courtroom through the back, offender custody entrance. I immediately glanced around the courtroom and saw a number of attorneys. I saw both my mother and father sitting there, on those so familiar wood benches, with a look of accumulated stress on their faces. After acknowledging my surroundings I took a seat.
“Cases 04JV01836 and 04JV01046 please proceed to the defense,” the Judge said.
This combination of letters and numbers belonged to me. I stood up and proceeded to shuffle to the defense table. My powerful lawyer stood there awaiting my arrival.
“Your Honor, we’re here today for my clients sentencing,” my attorney declared.
“State of Kansas what’s your position?” Judge Cameron questioned.
“Your Honor Mr. Longmire as continued to act as a defiant youth,” the prosecutor began. “He has not complied with the wishes of your honor. The state recommends that Mr. Longmire be sentenced to a Youth Correctional Facility for a period of 24 months.”
Defense, what’s your position?” the Judge asked.
“Your Honor, there’s no doubt that Alex has not been a model for probation. Alex has not re-offended and he continues to remain positive despite all he’s been through. The Longmire family and I would like to see Alex go into a residential treatment facility, until the court deems it necessary to release him back into society…” my attorney persuades.
“Does Mr. Longmire have anything he would like to say to this court?” the judge asked.
“Yes, Your Honor I do.”
I proceed to articulate the usual. “…based upon the preponderance of my perpetually positive attitude…” Speaking in my increasingly persuasive tone of voice. “…and the nature of my probation violation, I don’t believe that incarcerating me for 24 months would be an appropriate degree of punishment nor would it accomplish anything. I deeply apologize for any inconvenience I’ve caused this court. I can assure you that if you release me to a residential treatment facility, you will not see me back in your courtroom.”
“Thank you, Mr. Longmire,” Judge Cameron sighed.
This is the absolute worst part of the entire hearing. Waiting to hear the Judge’s decision. The deliberations are pretty much over now. It’s time for the judge to announce my sentence. I can see her shuffling papers around on here bench. Then I see is: the sentencing grid. It’s the only piece of paper that’s laminated. I can tell this isn’t going well.
“…taking all parties recommendations into consideration, Mr. Longmire, you will be sentenced to a Youth Correctional Facility for a period of 24 months, with 12 months after care,” The Honorable Brenda Cameron declared.
At this point I didn’t know what to say I just stood there, at the defense table for about five more minutes. The proceedings lasted for a few more minutes. Some final pleas were made to try to get the Judge to retract her sentence. None was successful. I didn’t say much. I didn’t say anything, actually. I was later told that I had such a blank expression on my face it didn’t even look like I was there.
So started a new chapter in my life. A chapter that would lead me to places and thoughts that I would have never anticipated.
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