Felony forgery of excuses

Prosecuting parents for forging doctors’ notes? The DA must have too much money and an acute shortage of crime, writes Instapundit.

A mother in Tehama County, California faces eight felony counts of truancy-related forgery.

Prosecutors accuse (Kari Shannon) Brandt of forging signatures and creating doctors’ notes on 12 occasions between December 2009 and April. The reported notes were written for three of Brandt’s children, ages 6, 7 and 8 . . .

In nearby Glenn County, two couples were charged with felony forgery of excuses.

William and Shannon Anderson were accused of altering the date of a doctor’s note in January, but Glenn County Superior Court Judge Peter B. Twede said the penal code section cited by Glenn County authorities — the same cited by Tehama County prosecutors — did not apply because the note in question was handed to a teacher and not an investigative body.

Another local couple still face the same charges.

In my day, a note from the parent — or from a student with adult handwriting and diction — was enough for an excused absence. I used my writing skills only for good — to help out my sister when she forgot to ask Mom for a note. I didn’t realize it was a felony.

About Joanne

Comments

  1. The real issue driving these situations is not concern over the children’s education but rather $$$$. The school loses funding from the state for every day that an enrolled child does not attend.

  2. Michael E. Lopez says:

    Parental say-so SHOULD be all that is required.

    Some days I wake up and I really hate the world that I’ve found myself living in.

  3. parental judgement vs. judging parents: the choice is clear.

  4. Richard Nieporent says:

    Obviously he is trying to win the Nifong Award. It is given to the District Attorney that prosecutes someone on the most outrageous charge.

  5. This is interesting. I’ve had mentally ill parents who have kept kids out of school for spurious reasons (one simply to keep her company — she rotated through her three children). They are kept out 30 or 40 days of the semester, which makes their graduating on time or at all nearly impossible. Of course, this is all parental choice, and the parents are the best judge of what is best for their children.

  6. Miller Smith says:

    Make me responsible for your child’s performance in my evaluation and as a condition for continued employment and I WILL be all over that parent if that kid has too many absences from my class. I kid you not.

    If I am the one responsible for a child’s performance, then I have the responsibility and the RIGHT to get into the business of what goes on in that family.

    And I will get in that family’s business like you have never seen before. Anything that a parent or child does that puts a ding on my evaluation will result in a lawsuit against the parents for not following my orders…since am in charge and held totally and individually liable for the success of a child in my class, I will have a legal “cause of action” in the form of harm to my evaluation due to parent failure to follow my orders.

  7. georgelarson says:

    Miller Smith,

    Wouldn’t a lot of families you would be suing be judgement proof?

  8. Cynical says:

    Judgement proof means they can’t make bail when the truant cops get them.

  9. Miller Smith says:

    georgelarson,

    The moment I file the lawsuit against a parent for tortuous behavior, I will also file for an injunction against the school system to prevent it from using data from the child of such a parent for the purpose of evaluating me.

    If you are going to hold me responsible for the behavior of other humans not otherwise under my complete control (the government can’t even get complete control in prisons!), with parents who will buck me and my admin, then I have a constitutional right to sue for such tortuous actions.

    Do we really want this? I don’t. But I’ll give it to you like you never imagined if we go forward with this silliness.

  10. Tsiroth says:

    Miller: If my child is in your class, can I sue you for not knowing the difference between tortious and tortuous?

  11. I can’t stand that line of reasoning. If it’s not important then it shouldn’t be a law.

  12. georgelarson says:

    Miller Smith

    Can you afford all these lawsuits? Do you know a lawyer who works for free?

  13. SuperSub says:

    I’d say that the schools and DA’s are perfectly reasonable for pushing for criminal charges.

    These are not simply cases of parents writing notes to excuse their child for being absent… these parents are forging documents and passing them off as doctor’s notes, which are virtually invulnerable to any criticism or suspicion by schools, employers, or courts of law. These notes carry the same legal weight as prescriptions… would you have problems with DA’s charging individuals for trying to pass off forged prescriptions.

    The issue here is not what the notes were used for, but it is a misuse of a doctor’s licensed authority by forgers.

    We have a student who has been on school-paid home tutoring since October due to a questionable psychological condition. Because we have documentation from a psychiatrist, the boy is not only excused from attending school but the school is obligated to pay for home tutoring. Ten hours a week at $25/hour for 30 weeks, the school is paying roughly $7500 extra to educate this student. I’m not sure how home tutoring affects school funding, but the school might be losing out on even more money due to the student’s absence. All because of a doctor’s note.

  14. Miller Smith says:

    Tsiroth said,
    Miller: If my child is in your class, can I sue you for not knowing the difference between tortious and tortuous?

    Sure…be my guest.

  15. Miller Smith says:

    georgelarson said:

    Miller Smith

    Can you afford all these lawsuits? Do you know a lawyer who works for free?

    There is a small filing fee for such lawsuits and applications for injunction. No lawyer needed.

    Second, the union-to whom we pay over $500 a year-would have a fiduciary duty to protect and pay for those lawyers once the legal right has been established in court the first time. Then you sue the union for recovery of all legal fees due to their failure to do the job they were supposed to do.

    Really, you think there will be no money to cover these test cases? Deep pockets all around.

    If I have THE responsibility, then I the RIGHTS that go along with it.

  16. George Larson says:

    Miller Smith

    “There is a small filing fee for such lawsuits and applications for injunction. No lawyer needed.

    That onky initiates the action, what about research and discovery and an advocate for trial?

    No parent hired a lawyer and actually contested your action?

    So you have done this before? How do you sue a parent whose child was absent from your class? How was this personally tortious to you? Isn’t it the school district that will be the offending party?

    “Second, the union-to whom we pay over $500 a year-would have a fiduciary duty to protect and pay for those lawyers once the legal right has been established in court the first time.”

    Where have these rights been established? Can you cite a case?

    If you can sue a family for poor attndance and performance, can they sue you if their child attends your class and fails to learn?

    Rights and responsiblity do not always mirror each other.

  17. Miller Smith,

    Employees are regularly held responsible for variety of actions over which they don’t have complete control. And even a child that comes to school is not under your complete control — other teachers, the other 17 daily hours, etc. So calm down please. Even when there will be some kind of performance pay one day, it will not have 100% association with student achievement. And if the school or district can’t use absence of a student as a reason not to include student’s results, they don’t deserve you anyway — walk. Go to another school or district that will appreciate you.

    Oh, you mean you can’t walk because you have tenure? I rest my case.