Court is failing a disabled man

Published 9:49 am Thursday, December 15, 2011


Recently there was an arrest in Albert Lea due to a man not registering in a timely manner. The story was in the paper. Yet his parole officers knew where he lived and worked, and they visited him three to four times a week. This is a man who has adult attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder and a severe learning disability. He has a second-grade reading and writing level. Also, most of the time, when things are read to him, you have to explain it to him because he cannot comprehend what is read to him, even though it would appear he can fully understand.

It goes back to Oct. 27, 2007. His estranged wife who had an order for protection on him at the time had convinced him into coming to their house, and because of his love of her and their children, he went thinking they would work things out and get back together. They even went to an event for their son together, and to see his father in the hospital. That night he watched his two little ones while she went out the next day. She called the cops about a man at her residence with an OFP violation and shotgun. He was so distraught at the thought of losing her and his kids he said just shoot me, and he had a shotgun.

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He was arrested for numerous counts of OFP violations and having the shotgun, then they threw in the rape charge. He sat 317 days in the Freeborn County jail before taking a plea agreement, which was not properly explained to him. It did state if he took the lesser of the charges, criminal sexual conduct of fourth degree, he would be able to drive his semi again. (Being a trucker was his job for the last nine years.) That lasted 10 months, and the Department of Corrections and courts took it away from him, even though the judge granted it.

How can you be charged with a crime with no evidence? It’s just her word. The courts have been messing with him since, and the police twisted up his injured knee. He has to have another surgery on it.

The court system is making him the victim now. Where are the rights of adults with disabilities? This has been going on for four years now. He has filed an appeal to withdraw his plea agreement, which was denied last month. He will continue to appeal this.

Every time he went to court he should have been represented by a human rights advocate for adults with learning disabilities.


Willi Wagner

Albert Lea