My mom’s hearing was today and, while not the full dismissal we were hoping for, there were some good points. I do not have all the information, transcripts, etc. but only what my mother reported from her perspective. A number of people have already asked for updates so here is what I know:
The good: The judge dismissed all three counts of identity theft – with my mom’s name on the checks there was no evidence of intent to steal the woman’s identity. The judge also dismissed all three counts of “Access device fraud” because my mother never had access to any credit or debit cards and the plaintiff confirmed this.
The bad: The final 9 charges (Forgery x3, Receipt of Stolen Property x3, and Theft by deception x3) stand and must now move to the Court of Common Pleas. The next arraignment date is set for March 12, 2014. According to her lawyer, my mother does not need to appear at this since it will be a simple presentation of charges and plea of guilty/not guilty. Another hearing date will then be set, probably 4-6 weeks later. Thus this lawsuit has extended at least into April, maybe longer, and the $$$ required to continue the defense is sure to increase.
My thoughts: Well, you have to look on the bright side here and at least 6/15 charges were dropped. We are talking felonies here, so that is good news. Also, the plaintiff apparently contradicted herself on several occasions and it seemed from my mother’s perspective that the charges should have been dropped.
I am no legal expert and this is entirely my opinion but it seems plausible to me that the judge may not have dismissed all charges because of the at-risk nature of the plaintiff. Senior abuse is not unheard of and elderly persons are not always able to defend themselves well. So even though there is no clear evidence and the plaintiff’s contradictions question the validity of the charges, letting the case pass to another court is a safe bet.
Unfortunately for my mother that means paying more attorney fees and missing more work. Not to mention the mental and emotional stress that is being dragged out for another two months or more…
Thank you everyone for all your support. I will post any new information as it becomes available. While we do not yet know what costs will be associated with this continued defense, I can assure you the financial burden and uncertainty is no small cause of my mother’s stress. As always, you can continue to help by donating here. And your moral support goes a long way too!