Letter to the Judge
Sorry for the delay in posting the letter, it unexpectedly got a little hectic for me. Following the 8/2 “No big deal” surprise hearing I wrote the following to the judge. I would like to say he did take some action, but I will have to write about that on the next post. The first part of the story that prompted me to write this letter is also found below as well as the video of Tara Isaacson Marilee’s defense attorney talking to the media, such a surprise that this was all going on, the news must have been really slow that day to have so much attention drawn to a no big deal court appearance.
I am contacting you today in regards to the case involving my daughter Maddison Haan who was killed in a crash that resulted in murder charges in which you are the presiding judge of the case against Marilee Gardner.
During the court hearing last Wednesday you were told of the plan to move forward with a plea agreement, you had asked if the family was on board with the agreement. The representative from the Weber County attorney’s office answered yes your honor, I do not personally feel that what has ended up being the finalized deal is what I had given my approval to. I know that ultimately everything is up to the prosecutor as far as how this case is resolved, but I feel that what is being sold by them as being the same agreement is quite different from what I said ok to back in November when it was presented to us, I feel like this is wrong.
I would also like to make you aware of the fact that us family members were called to attend a meeting the second week of July with the prosecutor, during this meeting we were told that they were going to have to drop the charges in district court and re-file them in the juvenile court, we were told the judge in the juvenile court would not handle the case since it was never processed through their court. We were told their would be no hearing on 8/2 as they needed time to get the charges dropped and re-filed in the juvenile system.
I heard nothing back from there office, the morning of 8/1 my daughter called and let me know that our victim advocate had called my step-dad and let him know that there would be a hearing on 8/2. I did not receive that same phone call and either did Maddison’s father or sister who were also on the list as crime victims. I emailed Jamie, she replied about an hour later and stated that I was next on the list, she had taken a lunch. Maddison’s dad also called and was told that yes their would be court, but that it was really nothing but setting a new date with you to go over the plea agreement. She answered me in email at first and told me a similar thing, she made a statement that district court had some confusion and would not sign off on the agreement because of the changes that had been made.
We had never been told of any sort of issue that the 2nd district court had, when I replied asking more questions she called me back, she said there had been some changes in how the agreement was written that you wanted more details on. I asked what changes and she stated there were some wording changes that had meant the same as the previous agreement they had been working on.
I get that the agreement time wise is the same. I do not agree with the fact that the original charges where being completely dropped and new and lesser charges where being filed. I had given my ok on the plea with the understanding that she was charged with two counts of murder and was pleading guilty to the lesser charges of attempted murder. To me the new way wipes out the seriousness and I am not ok with that, I am also not ok with the lack of communication to us about the hearing on 8/2. Because of the way it was downplayed by Jamie family members that would have been there did not show up, in fact I was the only one there for Maddison, this is not right, I don’t understand how something of this magnitude can be handled in such a way. I felt I needed to bring this to your attention, and as a side note we have had similar instances like this, but this is heartbreaking to me, my daughter deserves to have her family there, I feel she was disrespected by what happened.
I also know that there was no notification to some of Tyler’s family as well. I know to some this may seem like not a big thing that happened last Wednesday, but we have already lost so much and this is all we have left that we can do for our kids.
Original Part I Post
Teen accepts plea deal for reduced charges
To recap on the previous post, in early July we were bought in and told of the switch in the plea agreement for Marilee Gardner. It was sold to us or attempted to be sold to us as not a big deal just working out the technicalities, but it was more than that which told me that either A) we were tricked all along or B) the legal system was unfamiliar with well… I guess it was unfamiliar with the legal system. A judge not signing off on a plea agreement that was never charged or seen in her court room makes perfect sense to me now that I am thinking about it, so how could this have been missed by the prosecutor?
Before I get into this current story I would like to say that this might be short compared to my usual long-winded rants, but tomorrow I am going to post a letter I wrote Judge West the weekend after this hearing date, and I will probably still ramble on anyways.
So I copied a link to a post I had to make in order to get the ABC4 news story on here, I hope it works, but as I was attempting that and checking to see if that particular news clip had been put on Youtube for easier uploading I found this wonderful karmic gift from the Universe or from whom or whatever.
Please look to the sidebar, this is a clip from that day with Marilee’s lawyer, you can see her going over the plea agreement and also discussing how hard this has been for all of us including Marilee… while that might be kind and all but we don’t really need anyone to talk for us, at least I don’t … She also spoke for us during the court appearance, I am not sure how she was able to do that seeing as though she’s never spoke a word to any of us and we haven’t given her any statements of any sort, but whatever. Also in the back ground you can see Marilee’s happy and relieved parents, you can’t see their faces very well, but I did and they were elated. And to me and probably Marnie who I don’t think has seen this Gem this video is priceless because it shows exactly what we came into that day, which was super confusing considering the day before myself and others had been told this appearance was nothing really, no bid deal, it was just the judge setting a new date for the finalization of the plea agreement where he would sign off on it.
Let’s rewind a day. I had been telling friends and family that the 8/2 date was not happening, I told them we were going to be given a new date once the charges were dropped and filed in the juvenile system. I was leaving a Drs. Appointment and had received a text message from Marcos Ortiz asking if their was still going to be a hearing, I didn’t reply right away I was waiting until I got back to work and situated, but on the way back my daughter calls me, she tells me mom they called Grandpa (they being the victims coordinator) and they are having court tomorrow it was never canceled, hmm…. ok….
I text Marcos back letting him know that I had heard there would be court, but was confused because I had been told there wasn’t going to be anything for our case that day. I was also extremely confused as to why I hadn’t been called, but my step dad had. I would like to say that I don’t mean to make the grandparents sound unimportant, but there is no order that I can figure out that has him being notified before I am notified, and not to mention the prosecutor had been a complete jerk last winter when another grandparent inquired about why he had never been contacted being as he had filled out all of the proper paperwork and all. The prosecutor in a very rude tone told him ” My job and the job of my office is to notify parents and siblings, anyone else is not my responsibility”, but now a grandparent is being called and not a single parent or sibling had been called, not on our side anyways.
I called the coordinator myself to find out, this was already a couple of hours after the message was left for my stepdad, she did not answer so I sent an email. About 45 minutes to an hour later she replied back letting me know that I was next on her list to call, hmm really? I called Madi’s dad and he had not been called either, but like me had called himself, there was also another common thread coming up in all of these conversations we are having with her, and that would be that it isn’t really going to be anything. There’s a little more detail in the letter to the judge that I will post tomorrow, but that common message is being “sold” to all of us, we are all being told that we can come if we want, but it’s really going to be nothing just the judge setting a new date. Later that night I message Marnie, I really sincerely thought she had to have known, but nope…not a clue, I did share with her the message of it was really just to set a new date for the plea to be finalized blah blah blah, lies, lies, lies…
I get to the courthouse the following morning and it is CROWDED, it is open court on this day so that does happen, I see Marcos Ortiz in the second row, but I was coming in late and not paying a whole lot of attention. Marnie is in the back row so I make my way over, I am by myself, no one else on our side was there due to the message of unimportance that had been given, once I sit down Marnie points in front of her and guess who??? Scott McKane directily in front of us (and yes we start talking to him) and next to him are some Newspaper reporters, there is a camera guy off to the side and my confusion starts to set in, WTF…
Well it so happens that the Judge is going to hear of the new revised plea deal on this day, and it also so happens that Marilee is going to state her intentions of pleading guilty to the two counts of attempted murder on this day…. the judge asks the attorney who was there, which was not the actual prosecutor if the families had been told about this change and if we agreed to it and she stands up and says yes your honor…… Ok so yes we were told, but we were not asked if we were ok with the changes, I was not, others were not… I didn’t say anything on the day we were told because I was frustrated and knew it was a waste of my breath, they were going to do whatever they wanted and they did not need our buy off, but don’t speak for me, when what you are saying is untrue… After every hearing us families get taken to a separate room to be briefed and also to be kept away from the other side and any media if we choose to be kept away. I am furious, FURIOUS, the same coordinator says that it was unexpected what happened (yeah for us) then she says the media is here I would advise you against talking to them and that was it. I of course walked right out the door and started running my mouth, but the news people are very good at editing out what they feel they need to.
I hope you enjoy the video clip, and I hope it works. Letter to the judge coming up tomorrow, like the actual word for word letter…