Rarely has an author given away the main idea of his book so quickly as philosopher Richard Weaver did with his 1948 title “Ideas Have Consequences.” There’s the big concept right in the title: What you think and believe matters.
But as some stories develop over time, we sometimes see that the ideas underpinning them weren’t what we thought they were. Then our outrage fades away — or focuses on something else entirely.
Just consider this headline from WISH: “Mom in court for taking phone from daughter.” Sounds utterly outrageous, doesn’t it?
Well, it is. Jodie May, a divorced mother from Grandville, Michigan, did take her daughter’s phone away, and she did almost land in jail because of it.
Yet the tale has less to do with a bureaucratic state run amok and more with a vengeful family member. According to WOOD, based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the whole thing started when May’s 15-year-old daughter started getting in trouble at school.
So in April, May took away the girl’s iPhone 6 in April. “I was just being a mom, a concerned parent, and disciplining my daughter,” she said.
But others disagreed. WOOD reported that May got arrested on a misdemeanor larceny charge after she confiscated the device.
A judge also leveled another charge against her, namely larceny by conversion. Each charge carried a maximum sentence of 93 days in jail, meaning that May faced 186 in the joint, more than half a year.
How in the world did that happen? Well, it turned out that the county didn’t have a problem with May taking her daughter’s phone in and of itself.
Rather, her ex-husband contracted the authorities and said that the phone actually belonged to him. Suddenly parental tough love had turned into theft.
Fortunately, things changed when Ottawa County Assistant Prosecutor Sarah Matwiejczyk actually talked over the case with May’s ex-husband. As the trial began, she approached the judge and asked for a moment.
It turned out that the ex-husband didn’t actually own the phone, according to WOOD. The daughter did. And that meant May was in the clear.
“I’ve had an opportunity to discuss this case with the victim in this case, or at least the person we believed owned the property,” Matwiejczyk said, according to WOOD. “The mother defendant being the mother of the minor child, I believe that changes the case significantly.
“Therefore we’re requesting that the charges be dismissed.”
May walked out of the courtroom without a single blemish on her nonexistent criminal record, yet she wasn’t happy about it.
“I think it’s ridiculous,” she said. “I can’t believe I had to be put through it, my daughter had to be put through it, my family.”
Her court-appointed attorney Jennifer Kuiper-Weise added, “We knew this was parental discipline. … The case was authorized on a probable-cause basis, and unfortunately at times there are misdemeanor cases that are not thoroughly vetted, and unfortunately Miss May was a victim of that.”
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