Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Jude Successfully Defends Herself At Her Sanity Hearing (Part 1)


(Dr. Aronson has already testified that he has diagnosed Jude with delusional disorder persecutory subtype.)

MR. MINERVA:  Morning.

JUDE:  Morning.

Q:  Could you tell us how old you are, please?

A:  43 years old.

Q:  Could you tell us your educational background?

A:  Okay.  Um, I graduated from Bronx High School of Science in 1983 with a Regents Diploma.  I got a Regents scholarship to Hunter College and graduated from Hunter College in 1990 with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology.  I graduated from Lehman College in 1993 with a Master of Science in Elementary Education.

Q:  Could you tell us about your employment history?

A:  From 1990 until the present I’ve been employed by the New York City Department of Education as an elementary school teacher, common branch license.

Q:  When is the last time that you worked?

A:  On June 26, 2008.  I’m supposed to go back on August 28, 2008.

Q:  How long have you been at St. Catherine’s Hospital?

A:  I’ve been there since August 14th.

Q:  What led to your admission there?

A:  I had an argument with my neighbors outside of my house.  They were threatening my daughter and she did report that to the police.  They were threatening me as well.  So I called my ex-husband to the scene, thinking that maybe-- that because some of the things they were calling out about involved him as well, thinking that maybe he could help to resolve the situation.  But the situation continued to escalate after he got there, so I called the police.

When I called the police, the police were basically only interested in my ex-husband taking the children.  So I told the police:  Well, I have custody.  I’m the custodial parent and he’s supposed to call first.  I have to make sure he’s taking them to a safe place...

...And so I was telling the police officers I didn’t –let me call somebody else.  Let me call a cousin or someone to get the children.

JUDE:  So what had happened, the police asked me to get the custodial order, which I went into the house to retrieve.  I brought it back out to the police officers and the police officer that was reading it said that, um, I think you’re – I think you’re schizophrenic.  I think you’re delusional.  I think you’re suicidal and irrational.

I said:  I don’t give a flying “F” what you think.  I didn’t say “F”.  So after that he asked me to go back in and get the marriage license.  I went back in to get the marriage license and he was trying to allow my husband, my ex-husband – and I have been divorced from him for six years, who doesn’t pay child support, to drive away with my children with a man that I don’t know.  And I asked the children:  Do you know this man that your father came with?  No.  I didn’t know him.  I didn’t know him...
So to make a long story short, I was upset about the way that the officers were treating me in front of my own home, which I had built 13 years ago and I own all by myself and pay the mortgage with my job as a New York City public school teacher.

I was very upset but I wasn’t physically abusive.  I did make that statement to the officer.  And um, oh, at that point the officer, because he said I was irrational and I wasn’t thinking rationally, put handcuffs on me.  And I asked him, I said:  Am I being arrested?  He said:  No, you’re not being arrested.

Then he said:  Don’t give him the satisfaction.  The neighbors were lined up outside the house.  They took me, put me in a police car.  I have never been arrested in my life.  I’ve never been hospitalized in my life except having those three children, so I didn’t know where I was being taken.  I was just taken 

It was late in the afternoon and I was in a house dress type of thing and I was taken to the hospital.  When I got to the hospital –

Q:  Excuse me.  What hospital?

A:  I was taken to Stony Brook.  When I got to Stony Brook, I heard the officer telling the admitting person:  she’s paranoid schizophrenic and she’s suicidal.  I sat there chained to a chair as he told that to the admitting person at Stony Brook.

Q:  Do you have any explanation why the police took you away?

A:  Because they wanted to – I believe it was because my ex-husband came and probably told them I was schizophrenic or something like that in his efforts to take the children away, you know, knowing I was having an argument with the neighbors.  That was their way of dealing with the whole situation, just to, you know, make it go away.

Q:  So you went to Stony Brook Hospital?

A:  Yes.

Q:  What happened there?

A:  At Stony Brook Hospital I was chained to a chair with handcuffs and I heard the officer telling whoever is at the desk, I’m sucidal, I’m paranoid schizophrenic and that I’m irrational.  Oh, at Stony Brook later on, I was put into this holding room with a lot of different patients and people that were coming in—taken, whatever.  And they asked me for urine and they were asking me for labs or whatever and having never –

Being a union member for 20 years or just about, they always tell you to call your lawyer first before you do anything.  I knew I wasn’t being arrested, but I had never been hospitalized so I didn’t – I did not want to give them any samples of anything because I didn’t know what type – what was going to happen.

So I asked them to just wait until I call my lawyer in the morning.  I was brought in and by the time I got in, it was ten o’clock at night or so.  I told them:  Just wait until I call my lawyer.  The lawyer’s office was opened at nine o’clock but by that time I found out that when a new staff came in, there was a new doctor who could have evaluated me and he was fresh, he wasn’t frazzled from being there all night or whatever.  He told me they had already written me up.

After I spoke to the lawyer I was cooperative and ready to give them the samples they wanted.  I gave them blood, urine, whatever they wanted.  But I wanted to talk—I wanted to seek legal counsel because I thought I was being arrested.

Oh and sorry, the person who was at Stony Brook, the doctor, had already written me up and decided I was going to be involuntarily hospitalized at St. Catherine’s and I didn’t know.  Nobody told me until after I gave them the blood and the urine samples, you know; and after I spoke to my children.  If they had told me, I could have let my attorney speak to them.

Q:  Prior to your being taken in to Stony Brook Hospital had you been drinking?

A:  No, no.

Q:  Were you taking any drugs?

A:  No.

Q:  Why are you in court today?

A:  U’m here in court because I would like to ask the Judge and the Court to release me from the hospital.

Q:  If you were released, where would you go?

A:  Oh, boy, I’d have to go home.  I haven’t paid my mortgage since I was in the hospital.  I had to get my sister to deposit my New York City paycheck.  I had to pay it, electronically, over the phone.  The mortgage was due and late by the 15th, the car note was due on the 20th.  I had to pay my homeowners insurance.

When the doctor sees me being agitated or whatever he’s thinking, it is because I’m going up and down the hallway trying to pay my bills from inside the hospital so when I come home I have a home to go to.

MINERVA:  Will you be returning to work?

JUDE:  Absolutely;  August 28, 2008.

Q:  Tell us again where you work?

A:  PS ____________ Queens.

THE COURT:  What grade do you teach?

JUDE:  Last year I taught fourth grade.  This year I’m going into third.  And I have my – you know what the writeups are?  I have them for the last several years, from last year, year before that and a lot of previous years;  I have them all the way going back to 1990.  But I have, you know, the last five years right here.

Q:  You feel that you have a mental illness?

A:  No, I do not.

Q:  You heard the doctor say he believed you have a delusional disorder?

A:  Right.

Q:  You believe you have this disorder?

A:  No, I do not.

Q:  Do you feel you have any problems?

A:  I’m under a great deal of stress, great deal of stress.

Q:  What’s causing you that stress?

A:  Well, I’m a homeowner.  Nobody else owns the home or could pay the mortgage but me, so I’m paying it all by myself.  I’m a New York City public school teacher for the last—I’m going into my 18th year.  I’m raising my children all by myself.  I don’t have any help or any support except for the babysitter; and you know, you have to pay for that type of support.  My ex-husband has not paid his child support.  Joe Henche can tell you that my husband hasn’t paid his child support in the last five years.

He owes me $956 a month for the last five years for child support, which was awarded as part of my divorce and he has not paid me.  Also there’s been things missing.  For instance, my son’s bike got stolen in July off the front lawn while we were in the house.  He’s eight years old.  He rode his bike there, put it down and his bike was stolen off the front lawn.  People were standing in the front of the house and they were laughing about it, but I can’t prove they did it.

Beside that, someone put dog mess on my door.  When I came home, other people were yelling something about that, saying something about “your daughter knows we did it; some craziness.  And then you know these type of things are causing stress.  But mostly it is the financial aspect, the rising cost of gas; um, how will I heat my home for this winter without any extra help other than what the $80,000 New York City school teacher’s salary.

Q:  How are you managing this?

A:  Okay, I take the children on a lot of vacations.  As a matter of fact, we just came back from the Bahamas on a Saturday prior to the incident.  Prior to that Wednesday we just came back from the Bahamas and that was very relaxing.  The children and I flew out of La Guardia airport;  we took Delta and flew to Florida.  From there we took the boat over to the Bahamas, just me and my kids that live with me.  Then we went over to the Bahamas and stayed in Port Lakaya for three nights, we stayed in Freeport for three more, few back to Florida, stayed there and flew back to New York.

Q:  Do you have pictures from that?

A:  Absolutely.

MR. MINERVA:  Could I have those marked for evidence?

THE COURT:  Any objection?

MR. STERN:  No Your Honor.

THE COURT:  Thank you.  I’ll take a look at the pictures.

Q:  Those pictures are from this vacation?

A:  From right now; from days ago.  And I have more, I have a whole pack, so you’d be able to see it’s Port Lakaya, the Freeport post office…

THE COURT:  Show the other side.  Next question.

Q:  Is there anything else you’ve been doing to help manage your stress?

A:  Okay, I took the summer off.  I could have worked to get more money this summer and teacher’s pay is $40 something dollars an hour for summer school.  But I took the summer off to be with the children.  I’ve made sure that they had swimming lessons this summer and that we’ve been going on—I got a beach pass to _____ and town beaches.  We’ve been going to the beach a lot, boogie boarding, hanging out with the children all summer long to alleviate the stress that built up over the school year.

We’ve been hanging out together all summer long.  Also, I took exercise classes sometimes to try to alleviate the stress.  Like I went through a kick boxing program and I went through—I was going five days a week, one hour a day.  So these things, these type of things, that’s what I do to try to alleviate some stress going on.  Oh, another thing I wanted to do to alleviate the stress, I was planning to take my ex-husband to court to try to get the money back that he owes me, because you know, getting back $60,000 that somebody is owed in back child support payments, that would alleviate a great deal of stress for a single mom.

Q: Are you taking steps to do that?

A:  Yes.

Q:  You feel you need any help managing your stress?

A:  Only legal help.  “Legal help” in terms of achieving the money I’m owed.

Q:  While you’re in the hospital, are you cooperative with the hospital’s routine?

A:  Absolutely.

Q:  What activities do you engage in?

A:  Well, everyday I walked a mile, everyday, on the treadmill in the recreation room.  Sometimes I play cards with some of the patients.  I played Spades with some of the patients.  We watched television together and I go to the community meetings.

Q:  Do you take any medication?

A:  Absolutely not.

Q:  Has the doctor asked you and offered you to take medication?

A:  Yes, he has.

Q:  Why aren’t you taking medication?

A:  Um, I left – well, I have very – first of all, I don’t believe that I have what he thinks that I have, okay;  I don’t believe I have that.  Secondly, even if I did have some kind of paranoia or paranoid disorder that medication is for—is an antipsychotic and so that’s not—it’s used to treat schizophrenia, used to treat manic depression, used to treat a lot of different disorders he didn’t tell me that I had.

Also, the fact that I’m a teacher, I couldn’t drive—I can’t drive around on Vicodin.  I have a herniated disk and I can’t even take Vicodin; I can’t take it and drive.  How will I take antipsychotic medicine and then be able to teach?  Teaching involves your whole brain.  You have to breakdown the lessons, write up lesson plans; you have to think and plan.  I can’t take something that will affect the way that I think.

So for the reason why when he indicated about the job, I might as well just quit if you put me on something and I can’t do the job anyway.  You’re going to medicate me out of it anyway so—and another thing was that—sorry, what he said about…

Q:  How did you come by this knowledge of the medication?

A:  Oh, because I asked for a printout at the nurse’s station. 



Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this story. What goes on in the DOE on a daily basis would be considered human rights violations anywhere else. I hope everything works out for Jude.

You can moderate this part:

Would you be interested in a link exchange? Maybe some of your readers would like my blog, and vice-versa.

Moriah Untamed said...

I have added your site to my links. I have been concerned about this country's move toward fascism for quite some time. You did a good job of analyzing this on your blog.

Just a suggestion: Add personal anecdotes from your teaching experience to illustrate theoretical points.

Good luck, and blog on.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Ms. Untamed. I have also added your site. Thank you for the tip, it is gratefully received. You are right. It is all about drawing on your experience to find your voice. I will be checking in often.