2014 MASK Unity Luncheon

The Table settings at the Unity Luncheon.
The Table settings at the Unity Luncheon.

We had the great honor of attending the 2014 MASK Unity Luncheon “Moms Making a Difference” yesterday, March 20, 2014. MASK is a non-profit organization dedicated to educating both parents and children about the issues facing our youth and to empower children to make safe, healthy choices. We are very excited to be a part of MASK Unity Community and to help further both our missions for the community by bringing self-defense, bullying workshops, and more to the MASK community and most importantly to the youth of our community. The Luncheon proved that by working together, bringing all our skills/expertise to the table, spreading awareness, and providing resources to help educate our youth, we can truly make a difference in our community. Look for our logo and events up on the MASK Unity Community page at http://www.maskmatters.org.

MASK publisher Kimberly Cabral's daughter (and future power house/visionary) introduces her mom at the Luncheon
MASK publisher Kimberly Cabral’s daughter (and future power house/visionary) introduces her mom at the Luncheon

MASK Publishe Kimberly Cabral speaks at the Unity Luncheon at The Fairmont Princess
MASK Publisher Kimberly Cabral speaks at the Unity Luncheon at The Fairmont Princess

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“THE MINDSET TEAM”

Tough Decisions

“The liquid burns your innocent throat as it slowly makes its way from the bottle to the inside of your sober mouth. The first swig is tough, the second also does not come with ease, but with each swig the sting decreases along with your judgment. Your vision becomes blurry, your stride is not so steady and your mind is far from clear. You look around yourself and notice that most of your friends are in the same state as you are, if not worse. The party has died down and most of your fellow partiers are now coupled away in the bedroom or heaping heavily over a guest room toilet. You have come to the conclusion that everyone has had enough to drink, or maybe even a little too much.

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Your thoughts, as you applied your make up prior to the party, was to simply have a good time and come home safely. Your thoughts now, inebriated and short of judgment, are scattered so far across your brain that even you can’t tell what they are. The only thing you are thinking of currently is getting home. As the thought of your comfortable bed dances through your brain, your car keys begin to tease you from inside your purse. They invite you to insert them in the car ignition and press your right foot to the gas; bring everyone to their beds. You know that this is a bad idea, although at the time it seems to be the easiest, but when is the easiest decision ever the best? No one wants to wait for a cab, no one wants to pay for a cab and conclusively, none of your friends want to even take cab. You are the most clear headed out of all your friends, although you really are not clear headed at all. It seems a unanimous vote has taken place, and the winner is you, you need to drive everyone home. Hey, you’re only a few blocks from home anyway, right?

You elude the thoughts in your head that encourage you to call home and tell your parents that you need to be picked up. You are scared of the consequences that they may implement if they were to find out you are stranded and drunk at a party. What you are not clearly thinking about enough, however, is the consequences that you may face if you drive while drunk. At first the idea of driving everyone home seems completely ridiculous, you have had way too much to drink and driving your car is just completely out of the question. You decide to call a cab and are put on hold for quite some time, how annoying this all seems to be. As the line holds, the idea of drunk driving rapidly becomes more and more appealing to you. Your stomach is hurting, your head is pounding and all you want to do is collapse onto your bed in the comfort of your own home. Your brain suggests that you call your parents, they always said to call them in an emergency,  but is this really an emergency? Calling your parents is just out of the question entirely; partying, drinking, and boys were not on the agenda you told your dad earlier this evening. Your friends are becoming ill beside you as your phone is still on hold; you become increasingly anxious and unsure of what to do. You begin to regret the drinking that you embarked on earlier and realize that this night was not thought through enough. You are frustrated and annoyed; before you even realize it, you’re on the highway, foot on the pedal and hazy eyes on the road in front of you….”

Everyone, at one point in their lives or another, adults included, think to themselves that nothing can happen to them. One commonality of the human condition, is that at times we believe that we are invincible. Most human beings prefer to be in control of things. For example, many people are afraid of flying. This would seem to be due to the fact that you are suspended in a large object and flying above solid ground, tens of thousands of feet in the air. For some, this is the reason that people are afraid of flying; but for the vast majority, what people are really scared of, is the lack of control over their lives. Many individuals would be completely comfortable flying thousands of feet above solid ground, if they were the ones in the cockpit. This relates to drunk driving in the sense that many people, especially teenagers, falsely believe that while being drunk they still have enough control to operate a moving vehicle. Warning to everyone who has a pulse on this planet; you are not “Superman” and you cannot drive anything while drunk!

Young adults are faced with tough decisions every day. They need support to make these decisions because it is not always easy to make healthy choices and it is especially difficult when you are young. We young people need the support and knowledge of those who have lived longer. Our parent’s mistakes not only to help them grow, but to help us grow. Teenagers should not be afraid to talk to their parents!!! I believe that I can speak for all parents, when I say that if you are drunk and at a party, call for help no matter how “grounded” you think you could be; whether it is a parent, a grandparent or even an older sibling, just call. Every twenty-two minutes a person is killed in an alcohol-related motor vehicle accident! (FirstEagle.com). If there is one thing that I have learned, as cheesy as it may sound, it is that your parents are your number one friends; they will have your back whenever you need it, they will pick you up when you are down lower then you ever thought possible and they will love you through even the worst of mistakes. The one thing your parents cannot do, is help you grow if you are dead. Drunk driving will not only kill you, but it can kill any other person on the road or in the car with you.

“You are driving steadily, for what it seems like a couple minutes. Your friends are loudly laughing in the backseat and you are having a hard time focusing. Your head is throbbing uncontrollably and you are beginning to swerve on the icy roads that lead to your house. As you turn around to tell your friends to be quiet, you feel an outrageous spark of pain and suddenly, everything becomes blank. The next time you open your eyes, you’re staring at a broken and blood spattered windshield. You painfully turn around, feeling each of your ribs grind against each other with extreme discomfort. It is at this moment that you begin to weep at the sight of your permanently silenced friends in the backseat of your now crumbled car”.

-ARC

Juvenile Criminal Law Issues

juvenileLaw

by Magnus Eriksson

Juveniles are treated a bit differently than adults under the law. Generally, the juvenile system is geared more towards goals such as rehabilitation and second chances, and the adult system more towards punishment for criminal acts. Usually, juvenile defendants are not entitled to a jury trial, instead their cases are “bench trials” where a judge determines whether they are guilty or not. Here in AZ, the judges in juvenile court are often very experienced judges who spend the last few years of their careers on the bench on a less hectic assignment than heavy civil or adult criminal trial dockets. That for the most part ensures well-measured actions in response to criminal acts. Prosecutors in juvenile court, on the other hand, are usually relatively inexperienced, although a few grizzled veterans are thrown in for good measure. The defendants in Juvenile court are under 18 years of age when the (alleged) crime is committed, (there may be exceptions in some states) but some times they can be incarcerated beyond 18 years of age. In federal court, a juvenile can in extreme circumstances be incarcerated until they turn 26!

The range of punishment for acts of juvenile delinquencies can lead to participation in diversion programs, a period of probation or incarceration in juvenile prisons. “Diversion “is a program where in exchange for successful completion of a class such as substance abuse treatment, shoplifting deterrence programs or violence intervention classes, the charge is dismissed. Juveniles can also be charged and punished as adults for serious crimes. If a crime is initially charged as a juvenile offense, then the state decides to charge the juvenile as an adult, the accused has a right to have a transfer hearing, which could lead to a judge denying the request for transfer. The kind of crimes where juveniles are charged as adults are things like murder, gang shootings, rapes, drugs sales, child molestation, vehicular manslaughter and the like.

Some charges are unique to juveniles, such as curfew restriction violations, under age alcohol possession or use. Other crimes, like criminal speeding are applicable regardless of age, the only difference being the nature of the proceeding.

Juvenile convictions do not count against the person after they come of age. Often the records are sealed and only available to law enforcement entities. This system enables a person who has been in trouble to start anew without a public record of their past. Adult criminal systems usually do not have this type of mechanism. Sadly many criminal defendants commit crimes at the age of just over 18 years old, which can cause difficulties the rest of their lives. In some states, some adult convictions can be expunged after a certain period of time.

This is not an option here in Arizona. Here, one can ask a judge to vacate and set aside the judgment. Voting rights are restored this way and gun rights can be, unless the conviction involved the violent use of guns. Some type of charges are not technically juvenile charges but still deal with offenses where the perpetrator is too young to do something such as minor in possession or consumption of alcohol. Such charges are often dealt with through diversion programs but other related types of charges such using fake ID to get into bars, being considered “a crime involving moral turpitude” can stay on ones record forever depending on how they were charged. Driving Under the Influence charges are another issue that can be charged as a juvenile crime, if the person is under 21, or it can be charged as an adult offense when the person is over 18. The Under 21 DUI requires only the presence of alcohol in ones system the alcohol need not impair one’s driving. These types of offenses typically cause collateral damage such as driver license suspensions, revocations or restrictions such as requiring the installation of an ignition interlock device, sometimes for several years. Additionally, car insurance rates can increase or policies can even be cancelled.

While juvenile misdeeds are mostly secret after the age of majority, contemporary America is so complex and there are laws against virtually all conduct, it is important to be aware that the collateral effects of a conviction are often more severe than the direct punishment. In today’s soft job market a past conviction can make it very difficult to get a job or at least a job to one’s hopes and qualifications. Therefore it is imperative that we teach our children to be alert and cautious and aware about what they should and shouldn’t do. Of course, this can be much easier said than done. Not only is it easy to become a perpetrator of crime, it is also easy to become a victim of a crime. The electronic means of communication are marvelous but they can also be used for nefarious purposes. Adults pose as kids and try to arrange meetings with minors, personal information is stolen or obtained through deception, and then is used to fraudulently obtain credit cards and other financial benefits. Kids take pictures of themselves naked and text them to their boy friend/girl friend and in so doing possess and distribute child pornography. They are both perpetrator and victim of a crime and often don’t realize it! People text while driving and cause an injury accident because of the resulting inattentiveness to what is happening on the road. Such crimes require no Intent to cause harm, just recklessness. Harassment, bullying and other despicable acts are perpetrated using texts, instant messaging and other electronic means of communication.

Sometimes the laws are underdeveloped in these areas, although many “old” laws are directly applicable to these types of crimes and successfully used to punish perpetrators.

-ME