Plea Bargain Hearing

Posted: January 4, 2013 in Uncategorized
As Jan 6 approaches, we would be celebrating my brother’s 69th birthday, were he alive to enjoy it.
On Jan 14th, 2013, the young man who killed him, Maxim Hoppens, is scheduled to accept a plea bargain for a 30 year imprisonment at hard labor.
Anyone who wishes to accompany me in attendance at the plea bargain may do so. Won’t blame you if you choose not to. For me, it cannot be a choice. I will represent my brother at the hearing as he will be unable to attend himself in the incarnation of body as his own advocate.
At the hearing, the Judge will explain the constitutional rights Maxim Hoppens will be giving up by pleading guilty: his right to trial by a jury of 12  (10 of whom must agree on a verdict); the right to confront (i.e. cross-examine) witnesses against him; the right to compulsory process (i.e., subpoena witnesses to testify on his behalf); the right to remain silent while no adverse inference can be drawn from his silence; and, finally, that, by pleading guilty, he will be waiving all of his rights guaranteed by the constitution.
The judge will ask another line of questions to be sure that the guilty plea Maxim Hoppens intends to enter was not the product of force, threats, duress, coercion, or intimidation. The judge will determine that no one has induced Max Hoppens’ guilty plea with promises or representations other than that he would receive a sentence of imprisonment at hard labor for thirty (30) years.
The judge will then ask Ernie Chen, the assistant DA who has handled the case against Max Hoppens, to present a “factual basis” for the guilty plea (a summary of the prosecution’s case against Hoppens.Only after the judge has satisfied herself that there is a factual basis for the guilty plea, and after the defendant will have been advised fully of his rights under the constitution and willfully waived his constitutional protections, will the judge accept the guilty plea and impose the 30-year sentence.
The hearing is scheduled for 10 am, and the whole proceeding will take 20 minutes.
  1. Kenneth LeClair says:

    I know this will be a tough experience for you. A sad day for all involved. I know you are not a vengeful person , seeing justice done is not revenge,.. nor will it bring closure by itself.. it is simply the legal settlement of a human tragedy…A trial would have been a horror show so this is less horrible and somehow fairer….I miss David as I know you do and appreciate being kept informed…

  2. Thanks for doing this writing. I can speak only for myself, but it helps me not feel as crazy as I do when confronting the judicial system — and the loss I suffered canot be compared with yours. I picked up on your story late in the process; I can’t use your story to validate the old saying “that the wheels of justice grind slowly” but in my situation, they grind so slowly that it appears we’re moving in reverse. I hope you see justice done, not because any particular outcome may help — as it may or may not — but for the act of seeing justice, if that’s even possible. I will not get — ever — what I lost returned. Justice has ground so slowly it’s given me time to get through much of my grief. I dread returning to the state where the “alleged perpetrator” perpetrated the crime. I despise the way it’s already been turned around to make me look like I’m guity when I didn’t do anthing wrong and the alleged perpetrator has been charged with ten felony counts. I’m not even certain why I’m commenting as there’s so little that can be said other than to do what you’ve done — tell the story through your eyes and let each of us decide what the point of it is for ourselves.

  3. Carey Rosen says:

    The loss of David, and what it is for you and Molly, doesn’t leave my mind and heart ever. Your loss resonates with me even more so in a profound level for, like you, I grapple with the reality of the loss of a dearest brother, and what it has left in its wake. No matter how much time elapses, it is as if it happened today. Or yesterday – at best.
    Thank you for thinking of me in the grief I still struggle with – by sending me the link to Amazon on Melodie Beattie’s book about grieving.
    Reading what Melodie has written here in the blog – and in her book – I feel compelled to share something of my own personal journey in therapy, and how Melodie’s genuine words have affected this journey. Her response to you was so heartfelt, so real. So – been there. Am there – even if “there” is a big place. It is shared, in a profound way.

    I clicked on the link and started reading all the pages of the book Amazon would let me read – with ravenous hunger. I couldn’t get enough. I need to own that book. And so does my mother. The loss she endures daily of her beloved son is incomprehensible.

    So much of what Melodie wrote resonates with my own pain and loss. Things I thought were mine alone, suddenly anchored me to holding a membership in the grieving club. Suddenly, I wasn’t crazy for feeling the urge to talk about his death with anyone I had a conversation with for more than a few sentences (which I mostly hold back from acting upon that urge). Suddenly, I wasn’t losing my mind when I found myself back where the initial grieving stages put me – all these 5 years later. Reading the excerpts from her book has given me permission to be normal and human again. Normal – under a new definition. Human – to be allowed to grieve – and be where I am. Not where I’m not.

    But more than that. Her pages have unlocked in me a prison gate that has been chained for all the years of my life. The prison gate that bars entry to a validated inner existence; into a world of painful experiences that I gave no credibility to for the havoc they’ve discreetly wrecked in my life. Suddenly I have the permission to see how nontrivial my many painful experiences are. There is worth and meaning to all the vague unverbalized pain in me.
    And there is a good reason to be in analysis. There is work to do. Real work. Meaningful work. Hard work. Painful work. Courageous work. Heart-rending work. And heart-mending work, too.
    Melodie’s journey through her own loss of her dear son Shane has validated for me that there is honest meaning in my tangled complicated insecure insides. And there is cause for the life-altering trauma that sneaks into every miniscule level of daily functioning.
    I want to share with you Jane, and with Melodie, how meaningful the exchange is for me. How much clarity the “elephant on (her) plate” expression brought to me. How much light it shed on my unsuccessful struggle to remain internally composed. I can honestly say now – how much more so – if on my plate there is not one elephant – but many. Huge ones. Not just of losing my best friend and brother, my pillar of strength and unconditional love, but all the childhood, teenage-hood, and adulthood pain and trauma I’ve been through in my life.
    Melodie has unknowingly slipped me a hand in a clouded existence, leading me to understand my position now in brilliant clarity. She verbalized emotions I never knew I had. I only knew I felt. I do need to even get to know the other hundreds of hidden emotions that I have yet no language for, that are swimming within me, toxifying my blood stream.

    Reading those excerpts enlightened me to something much deeper, still. Her pages hinted to me that there are worlds of pain, of loss, of grief, of confusion, that are hidden in the folds of my unconscious. They are woven into the hundreds of suppressed memories that have yet managed to etch their imprint into the walls of my broken heart. Suppressed – because I thought I dealt with them internally, as I always have been astutely aware of my internal state. I thought I FELT them all already – and that feeling them was enough. But they never were given language; still today, they have no access to words. I do not even know all of those feelings today, because they are buried with time and with redundancy of surviving emotional trauma.

    Melodie’s own journey has taught me to seek to out the existence of WHY I am in SO much pain – so often – and WHY I struggle so much in my internal world.
    I cannot thank Melodie enough for the depth of life folded within me – the depth of the work – she has unveiled for my soul to see.

    And now I understand Jane, the work of analysis. That woven within the wordless pain that I battle at the loss of my brother, is a reality concealing even from my consciousness, a myriad of feelings and emotions that I thought were nonexistent – yet need to be looked at, worked with, and tucked away without the venom inside of them. I need to learn to grieve for more than a few minutes at a time.

    And that there is pain. There is sweat and toil in therapy. But there is a great deal of purpose. There is a goal. The goal is to live. Live in every moment we are given, whatever that moment holds. Live…the way our loved one would want us to live, had he been here to see to it.
    David, Shane, and my brother – their souls are watching us from their places in Heaven. Their spirits live on with us. They see. They feel. They know. Their love – and our love – never dies.

  4. Carey Rosen says:

    Jane, our hearts and thoughts and prayers are with you as you move on to the next step of this legal process. I am with you there in court – 10am New Orleans time – heart and soul and spirit.
    May it go smoothly and according to what is best for you and your family. And more so – our hearts and thoughts are joined with yours, as the myriad of winding steps of grieving for David are being brought to you – as life comes and folds itself under the ground we treck. Ours, the ones who grieve, alongside you.
    May the world see more good people like you.

  5. Gene Morgan says:

    Best of luck today Jane. You and your brother are on my mind all day. I hope the news you receive helps to comfort you a bit. All the best. Gene

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