Thursday, January 17, 2013

Thank You

I was numb when I arrived at FPC Duluth. The sentencing in United States of America v. Trent Christopher Jonas (how's that for an attention getter if you happen to be the named defendant?) had occurred two months to the day earlier, on July 7, 2011. Sentencing itself was a relief. I had waited seven months to find out where I was going and for how long.

The plea agreement I signed in December 2010 had a "box" of 51 to 63 months for the crime to which I admitted. This meant that my family and I waited more than half a year expecting that I could spend as many as five years in prison, all the while hoping, of course, for less. I felt detached from almost everything. I couldn't make plans more than a few weeks out because I never knew what was going to happen or when. Nothing but the most important -- my children -- mattered. I drank a lot.

Prison Issue # 23 (Google Affiliate Ad).        

Ultimately, Judge Montgomery, who was very kind throughout the process and empathetic at sentencing, determined my own stupidity was considerable punishment in itself (it probably helped that I admitted everything along the way; which makes me either a nightmare or dream client depending on my attorney's point of view) and decided that a downward departure was in order. In sentencing me to 24 months, and recommending the nearby minimums security camp in Duluth, Judge Montgomery made reference to the extraordinary letters of support she had received on my behalf. I was not given a chance to see most of them, and still don't even know who all wrote to her.

To know about such letters, though, was bittersweet. Not only did it show me the quality of friends that I have, letters or no, but exposed the level of disappointment I must have caused in those who care about me. As one friend expressed it in different correspondence, I had suffered a precipitous "fall from grace." Realizing that so many are willing to stand by me in spite of my toxicity still blurs my eyes. More importantly, it gives me an imperative to live a better next chapter in my life. To my friends and family (including ex-family) who are reading this, thank you.

I promise more interesting prison-y bits in the next post, but this one had to be written.

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