Tag Archives: probation

What’s a LOHAN supposed to do???

 

The Lindsay Lohan saga in criminal court just got even more LINSANE. Really- nobody could make this up. Lohan or a lawyer on her behalf was supposed to appear in Los Angeles court today. But, neither appeared. Well, a “lawyer’ named Mark Heller did. Mark Heller- the formerly disbarred NY lawyer appeared for Ms. Lohan. But, as previously written and talked about, Heller is not a California lawyer and California criminal law and jails are much different than New York’s.

Judge Jim Dabney admonished Heller for not having local co-council and went as far as to state that Lohan must hire local lawyers or appear and state that she understands she has an “incompetent” lawyer and is willing to take that risk. So, what is Lohan going to do? The answer is as complicated as the many issues Lohan has going on.

Lohan faces charges of lying to police and a probation violation. In fact, she faces multiple jail terms and jurisdictions. This is not just a simple misdemeanor case. Lohan also faces allegations of IRS problems and a large UNPAID bill for an amount due to her previous lawyer Shawn Holley. Holley was sadly fired by Lohan after years of helping her escape jail and turn her life around. Many of us who believe in alternative sentences have seen the Lohan case demonstrate what creative options are possible for those who want to work hard to change their lives.

So, again what CAN Lohan do now? The lawyer who takes her on will have to put in many hours and be able to be creative. A global solution involving all of the criminal cases should be sought. But the problem will be who is going to pay the bill, and who is smart enough to structure such a deal. This deal will need to involve rehab, psychiatric help, probation expertise and the respect of the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office. A LOT of work. This legal coach suggests that Lohan get real, get busy and get a solid team together yet again. And Lindsay, I said TEAM. And that will involve a sponsorship by a quality rehab and all of us to believe. Well, it is Hollywood the land of make-believe!

 

Wendy Feldman is a criminal justice expert, crisis manager and family legal coach. She is available for private consultation on how to prepare for a successful incarceration, probation and re-entry. She is also available for media commentary and has appeared on shows from The Today Show, The CBS Early Show, E! News, People.com, Fox News, NBC News, CNN, NPR and Nancy Grace. She is a weekly featured guest on the syndicated America Now radio program. She may be reached at wendy@wendyfeldman.com

Follow @thewendyfeldman

 

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Filed under alternatvive sentencing, Lindsay Lohan, Los Angeles District Attorney, Prison Consulting, prison preparation

Mindy McCreedy is DEAD- as predicted here- RIP…

Sadly singer Mindy McCreedy has died from a gun shot wound that was self inflicted. On January 24, 2013 I wrote about McCreedy and why rehab alone does not work. And here we are. The criminal justice system, reality TV and our mental health system has failed.

McCreedy was under investigation in the death of her boyfriend- hmmmm

The saddest part is that she is a prime example of a person who spent years in rehab and jail and still was NO better. WHY???? Because rehab and 12-step alone does not work. There is such a thing as MENTAL ILLNESS and we need to start treating these people as not simple addicts. Addiction exists, but for many there is a much more serious mental health component. Television shows like the one McCreedy was on- Celebrity Rehab- do a great injustice to those suffering. Mental health treatment needs to be done by a professional not just an ex addict.

Like many of my clients, McCreedy was court ordered to “treatment” many times. But, this NEVER took into account that she needed intensive mental health treatment not just addiction/ DUI classes. Judges must wake up. When I prepare an alternative sentence for a client it always looks at the long term well being for them. Like rehab, therapy and community service. Too often lawyers are looking for the easiest way to “get their client off.” That will backfire in the end. My job is the long term and to help my clients change their lives and ways. Lawyers must open their eyes and this is why many of the good ones now work with me to accomplish both goals.

I wrote a lot about the death of my client actor Johnny Lewis  this summer. He was not an addict at all. He was ill. I have several clients now where I am literally fighting for their lives as the court system is not helping but hurting by sending them to rehab alone. We must stand up and out and educate ourselves and our judges. Sadly, we all know of many more to come. For now, Mindy McCreedy R.I.P.

 


Wendy Feldman is a criminal justice expert, insider and family legal coach. She is available for private consultation on how to prepare for a successful incarceration, probation and re-entry. She is also available for media commentary and has appeared on shows from The Today Show, The CBS Early Show, E! News, People.com, Fox News, NBC News, CNN, NPR and Nancy Grace. She is a weekly featured guest on the syndicated America Now radio program. She may be reached at wendy@wendyfeldman.com

Follow @thewendyfeldman

 

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Filed under alternatvive sentencing, drug abuse treatment, Johnny Lewis, Mindy McCreedy, prepare for jail

Will Prison help Lindsay Lohan???

Dare I say it- Lindsay Lohan is back in the news again for legal problems! Shocking no, but this time there are reports that she has been evicted from her Los Angeles home. This may or not be true for now, but it will happen. And here is why…

Lohan-, who I have been a huge supporter of, has never had to suffer any consequences, despite her numerous legal problems. In fact, she was not even ordered to what I would call PROPER therapy or Community Service. Working at the morgue will not help rehabilitate anybody and may make him or her so disengageged that they are worse off.

This is why I always insist that my clients perform Community Service, but service that is matched to them. For example, I have a client who is a young man who loves music; hence he is teaching music to at risk youth. The benefit is obvious to the kids but for my client it has helped him build some much-needed self-esteem and learn Gratitude. Everybody facing prison has low self esteem.

There are two key words for being in criminal legal trouble- gratitude and respect. Both lead to finding the often-elusive humility. In the Lohan case, as in many, the lawyer feels her job is done by getting the client “off”. The reality is that is short sighted as people like Lohan need much more than just to get out of trouble. They need to learn the life skills needed to STAY out of trouble. That’s where I usually come in unless I have also worked on the alternative sentence being presented. Obviously, that has not happened with Lohan. She needs an Incarcervention and not just for her crime sprees.

I do believe that Lohan will not serve jail time for her probation violation and probably not for her new charges of lying to cops. In that case she may face some LA County jail time that may be done under house arrest, as LA is so overcrowded.

But, I do see Lohan being sent to The BIG HOUSE- aka Fed town for her many IRS issues. This is not unusual and would not be simply because she owes back taxes. It is more likely that she is under investigation for not reporting cash that she receives for events etc…In normal cases this is called Tax Evasion or even money laundering, and this is where the Feds have the power. If I were Lohan’s lawyer I would look for a federal specialist before my predictions come true.

On the other hand, the question of prison actually being helpful is a likely one. In cases of people like Lohan who just have so much entitlement, a tad of mental health problems and substance abuse, prison may be the only thing that helps her turn her life around. The time needed to do this would fit right in with a year or so in a Federal Prison Camp. Lindsay, you may not agree now, but you will thank me later- well that is if you had some gratitude.

So, there you have it. I DO think that in some cases prison is a transformative experience and this is one of those cases. I know most of my clients with shorter sentences feel the same way. It’s when we get into the multi year drug sentences that we can all agree there is NO benefit.

For now an eviction for Lohan is not the point as BIG HOUSE ready or not, here she comes!

Wendy Feldman is a criminal justice expert, insider and family legal coach. She is available for private consultation on how to prepare for a successful incarceration, probation and re-entry. She is also available for media commentary and has appeared on shows from The Today Show, The CBS Early Show, E! News, People.com, Fox News, NBC News, CNN, NPR and Nancy Grace. She is a weekly featured guest on the syndicated America Now radio program. She may be reached at wendy@wendyfeldman.com

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Filed under alternatvive sentencing, incarcervention, jail, Lisa Bloom, prepare for jail

How our system failed actor Johnny Lewis and his victim…

 

Actor Johnny Lewis, who was on the TV show Sons of Anarchy has died in what is a most tragic and yet predictable ending. Not only did Johnny die, he sadly took the life of an 81 year old woman as well. First let me say that I knew and worked with Johnny. In fact, I stopped working with him when it became obvious that I could not help him He needed very strict MENTAL HEALTH care.

The tale of Johnny Lewis should be a lesson to everybody in our criminal justice system and to those who profess to work in rehab and treatment. The past year was not a good one for Lewis and his family. He was in a custody battle, he was not working and most telling, he was arrested several times. These arrests, and his subsequent jail time were all indications that things were very out of balance in his life. What is very misunderstood is that this was NOT a simple rehab/addiction matter.

Despite being sentenced to “treatment”, Johnny received anything but. This is where I hope his death, and the death he caused can be used as example of how the system failed. I often write that judges need to sentence people to Community Service along with a jail, probation or treatment model. I also write that rehab is NOT the solution to everything that ails us. The Johnny Lewis I knew was not addicted to drugs nor does being addicted to drugs mean that one will act in such a violent way.

The simple truth is that Johnny Lewis had been held on the 7th floor  of Los Angels County jail for a period of time. Any of us who works in alternative sentencing knows that only those with a severe psychiatric disorder are held there. The judge should have known that. But, Johnny was ordered to a “treatment” facility and program. This is often the case and yet these “programs” are one size fits all and there simply is no such thing.

Mental Illness is not the same thing as addiction. A 12-step program will not work and often gives false hope to the participant and society. In this case a lack of understanding has led to the death of two people. How tragic and senseless. It is time for our courts and judges to practice what they preach and take responsibility for their actions and look towards solutions.

For now RIP Johnny Lewis and his victim. Let’s not allow this to happen again.

 

Wendy Feldman is a criminal justice expert, insider and family legal coach. She is available for private consultation on how to prepare for a successful incarceration, probation and re-entry. She is also available for media commentary and has appeared on shows from The Today Show, The CBS Early Show, Fox News, NBC News, CNN, NPR and Nancy Grace. She is a weekly featured guest in the syndicated America Now radio program. She may be reached at wendy@wendyfeldman.com

Follow @thewendyfeldman

 

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Filed under addiction, alternatvive sentencing, Johnny Lewis, Los Angeles District Attorney, prison consultant

Once again the winner is Community Service…

Recently I have several clients who have not done well on pre trial or after their cases have been resolved. There is ONE reason for this- these people lack passion. Low self esteem and fear plague everybody who is dealing with a crisis such as lack of freedom or newly restored freedom.

In every case I have urged Community Service to both empower my client, and to learn about new people and develop a passion. Yet, in every current case I have, the courts have FAILED to order Community service. Despite my best efforts the clients do not finish or participate at all.

The other aspect of Community Service that works so well is the Accountability it provides. Most people flourish under such accountability. People who are under great stress do well with structure. So, why do judges fail to understand this? Simple, our system is not only broken but also way out of date. It’s no wonder that recidivism is so high. We give people re-entering society very few tools, and without these tools success is much harder. I often say that Prison is easy, re-entry is the tough part. I firmly believe this. I can get anybody and their family prepared for a prison term, it is what happens after that matters. In fact, the moment that I prepare a person for prison I am also preparing them and their family for re-entry.

So, what can we do? Simply keep pushing forward, raising awareness to our system and what works and what doesn’t. The more we shine a light on how to succeed, the more we will get others to believe and succeed as well. For now- JUDGES- ORDER COMMUNITY SERVICE IN ADDITION TO THE ORIGINAL SENTENCE YOU WERE CONSIDERING.

 

Wendy Feldman is a criminal justice expert, insider and family legal coach. She is available for private consultation on how to prepare for a successful incarceration, probation and re-entry. She is also available for media commentary and has appeared on shows from The Today Show, The CBS Early Show, Fox News, NBC News, CNN, NPR and Nancy Grace. She is a weekly featured guest in the syndicated America Now radio program. She may be reached at wendy@wendyfeldman.com

Follow @thewendyfeldman

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Filed under Criminal Justice, prepare for jail, prison coaching, prison consultant, prison preparation, prison re entry