Heartbreaking

Houston criminal defense lawyer Randall Kallinen posted the link to this story on the newly formed Texas defense lawyers listserv:

Omaha, Nebraska (KMTV) - A 10-year-old Nebraska girl is slowly losing her life to brain cancer. She has one wish will put her to ease: to see her dad. But it may not happen.

The little girl's name is Jayci Yaeger.

"The tumors are growing and hemorrhaging and right now nothing there's nothing they can do for here, just keep her comfortable," says Vonda Yaeger, Jayci's mother.

Cancerous brain tumors have taken over, and Jayci moved into a Lincoln, Nebraska hospice center this week. Her mother can only watch as her daughter slowly disappears--a girl who just six months ago was vibrant and energetic.

"She needs to be where she can be peaceful and happy and not in pain," says Vonda.

However, Jayci isn't ready to go just yet. She's got one more thing to do before she dies. Hug her daddy.

"She's very scared," says Vonda. "I think she's holding on for her father."

The thing is, Jason Yaeger is sitting in a federal minimum security prison camp in South Dakota serving five and a half years for a drug conviction. He's got one year left.

Jason and the Yaeger family have appealed many times to the warden for a 30-day supervised release. He's been denied, and they say the prison tells them the circumstances are not "extraordinary."

Jason is scheduled to be released to a local halfway house in August, but doctors and her family believe by then it will be too late. Now, they're just waiting, hoping something will change.

A quick skimming of the comments section, and I only totaled 3 out of 98 comments - so far - that were of the “DO THE TIME DO THE CRIME” variety. (Sorry for all the caps, readers, but I thought it was appropriate even while paraphrasing to keep the anonymous idiot internet commenter code of always yelling.)

So, does that mean there’s roughly three percent of the population that wants to hammer your client on a drug case, and ninety seven percent that are at least capable of compassion for a non violent offense? In Texas, where we have the option of jury punishment, even for the slam dunk guilty defendants, it’s something to think about…

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Simple Justice - March 21, 2008 8:54 AM
Some days, there's just too much good stuff out there for one blawg to handle.
Comments (4) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Bennett & Hernandez - March 21, 2008 9:27 PM

Bennett & Hernandez
Phone: 210-320-8351
http://www.southtexasdefense.com/
South Texas criminal defense attorneys committed to providing the highest caliber criminal defense services in San Antonio and the State of Texas.

T. Rex - March 24, 2008 12:28 PM

As someone who is a believer in the laws of this state and I also believe in 'If you do the crime, you do the time'. But in this certain case, I do believe these circumstances are 'extraordinary', and while maybe a 30 day release might seem a little too long to myself, I do believe he should be granted a short 'supervised' release to see his daughter one last time. The girl is 10 years old and won't live to see her father again, I do believe those are 'extraordinary' circumstances considering the fact that the people making the judgment of not releasing him are at least in their 30's.

M.J. Larsen - March 29, 2008 11:20 AM

Jayci passed away Friday night. I have followed her story since first learning about it a week ago.

Mr. Yaeger is housed at a minimum detention facility in Yankton, South Dakota, the lowest security in the federal prison system that ranges from minimum, low, medium, to high. This facility is a former college campus and as I understand it, has a two foot fence around it. He is scheduled for release to a halfway house in August. FOX News reported he has no prior convictions. And lastly, all indications are that Mr. Yaeger has been a model prisoner.

One regret I have is he was not housed in our county jail here in Texas. As a law enforcement veteran of 25 years, this is appears to be a disgraceful decision on the part of USBOP.

Everything is not black and white when it comes to making exceptions. An exception probably should have been made here.

M.J. Larsen
Chief Deputy
Titus County, TX Sheriff's Office

Terry Nelson - June 1, 2008 1:57 PM

This is just another example of how our drug policy has led to our enforcement agencies dehumanizing our citizens because they choose to think they should have control over what goes into their bodies. Prisons should be for violent people that cannot live in peace in our society not for citizens whose infractions have caused no harm to anyone. I am a retired police office that now speaks out against the failed public policy, forty years of failure back up by ignorance, called the "Drug War". www.leap.cc /tln/

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