Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Latest on Heavenlee's Condition

Our son-in-law returned from a visit with Heavenlee at Methodist Hospital where she now resides undergoing rehabilitation. He tells us that she is doing well for her current condition. The Trach tube, which replaced the breathing tube is doing well for her. She has become fairly comfortable with the new means of breathing.

In addition, a flap was installed which allows her to begin the process of relearning how to speak. I look forward to the day when her and I can sing "All You Need Is Love" once more.

We are told she can now eat ice cream. I know for a fact that she loves ice cream and so this is but one small step that can help to make her life a bit more tolerable.

There is some twitching of the nerves which control her arms and legs. We are told this is a good sign but only time will tell how much function she will regain.

Sadly, as mentioned before, we are not allowed to see her. This was not unexpected as the mother has sole custody at this point and refusing us permission to visit Heavenlee is the mother's only means of control. The one who suffers the most is Heavenlee, who we know from our conversations with her father misses us terribly. We miss her as well and pray for her daily.

It seems sad that someone would deny Heavenlee the Love and affection that we have for her. As we have stated before, we firmly believe that Love is a healing power and we hope that the mother would understand Heavenlee's need for as much Love as possible.
Time and justice will tell.

Per Ardua Ad Alta!

James & Amanda Wallace

Saturday, March 20, 2010

What is the value of a single word?

Last week, I found myself sitting across from several legal folks who know much more about the law than I do.

I had asked for this meeting in order to better understand why the driver of the vehicle in which Heavenlee had been improperly secured in was immune to more serious charges resulting from the accident of Dec. 13, 2009 in which our beloved granddaughter was critically inured.

This is what current Indiana Law states:

The Indiana law of Neglect of a Dependent is the criminal law equivalent of Child Endangerment/Reckless Endangerment. One of the subsections of that law reads “A person having the care of a dependent, whether assumed voluntarily or because of a legal obligation, who knowingly or intentionally (1) places the dependent in a situation that endangers (my emphasis) the dependent’s life or health, commits neglect of a dependent, a Class D felony.”

Since the accident was not the driver of Heavenlee's vehicles' fault, and due to the fact that the driver had attempted to secure Heavenlee in a standard seat-belt restraint, even though this was not the proper action, it was an attempt to secure her safety and therefor did NOT "knowingly or intentionally (1) places the dependent in a situation that endangers (my emphasis) the dependent’s life or health."

The only other law that is relevant to this issue is that of Criminal Recklessness. It reads “a person who recklessly commits an act that inflicts serious bodily injury upon another person commits criminal recklessness, a Class D felony.”

Again, the conduct by Heavenlee’s driver of that car did not inflict the injury upon her. So this charge would not apply to the driver.

It comes down to this...

The actions of the driver did not cause Heavenlee's injuries. Her injuries were the result of the driver's actions, not the cause.

It all comes down to a single word... Cause or Result.

This difference is reflected in the fact that the driver face only a $25.00 fine rather than more serious charges.

That is the value of a single word!

The law, as it now reads, depends on actions which cause injuries to a dependent, rather than actions which result in injuries to a dependent.

As such, a single word now places us in the position of having to address that missing word and update the current law in order to reflect our concern for child safety.

We now focus our attentions on developing new legislation which will require more stringent punishments for offenders where injuries to dependents occur as a result of non-compliance with the law.

Again, we ask that each of you reading this please contact the following state senators and representatives and convey to them your opinion about this matter.

Senator Timothy Skinner(D)
District #: 038 Staff Contact: Brent Stinson
Phone: 800-382-9467
200 W. Washington St
Indianapolis, IN 46204
Representative Clyde Kersey(D)
District #: 043 Staff Contact: Christina Cesnik
Phone: 800-382-9842
200 W. Washington St
Indianapolis, IN 46204

Please refer to this specific posting when addressing your concerns to them.

Thank you and God bless each one of you.

James & Amanda Wallace

Monday, March 15, 2010

We are beginning to see a disturbing trend here as we respond to comments and clarify our position regarding Heavenlee's situation.

The situation seems to be de-evolving into a tit-for-tat, he said-she said, this & that type of dialogue which really serves no purpose other than to inflame emotions and distract from the overall goal of developing a new law which will bridge the gap now present in our current law as it relates to child endangerment and neglect. In addition, those types of comments are merely unsubstantiated claims which could be echoed by ourselves.

We choose not to engage in this type of dialogue.

We will, therefore, finish up our comments with this posting and return to a more focused goal of achieving new legislation.

It has been suggested that we are stating that the mother of Heavenlee purposely chose not to secure Heavenlee in a proper child safety seat.

Do we feel this is true? Of course not...

To suggest such a thing is just plain silly. We are certain that the mother loves Heavenlee as much as we do.

We would agree with the family however that it is more likely that the driver of the vehicle in which Heavenlee was riding were, in fact, just ignorant of the need to secure Heavenlee more correctly than was done. This fact is supported by the ISP Accident Report, which states that the mother was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident.

Apparently, they just didn't know any better. We can accept that and that is why we are engaged with C.H.A.N.C.E.S. For Youth in developing greater educational programs and outreach designed to educate people about the need for more vigilance in protecting our most innocent citizens in Indiana.

Our one concern is that if the mother, as a result of not wearing a seat belt, had been killed in the accident, this would have denied Heavenlee the love of her mother and we would never want that. Heavenlee deserves all the love she can get, be it from the mother and her family, or from her father and his family, including us.

We firmly believe in the healing power of Love and hope that everyone agrees with us that Heavenlee should be surrounded by Love... and not Hate or anger.

Secondly, it has also been suggested that we have no connection with Heavenlee and that we were not present during her newborn stage.

That too is just plain silly. We actually knew the mother during her pregnancy and subsequent birth of Heavenlee. Shortly after her birth and knowing that Dane, Heavenlee's father was to be wed to our daughter Jamie, we gladly accepted Heavenlee into our family without reservation. She instantly became our granddaughter, one of 12 and no finer granddaughter could we have asked for.

We do not use the term "step" when referring to any of our children or grandchildren. We find that word offensive and discriminatory. We do not label our family members with irrelevant titles. For us, we love all our family as one.

After all, The Beatles said it best... "All you need is Love!"

Having cleared the decks, so to speak, of our responses to concerns from others, we now preclude ourselves from any further discourse that does not further the cause we advocate. We are certain others will continue to do so and that is their prerogative. After all, it's a free country and we support free speech.

Scientia est Vox!

James & Amanda Wallace

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Accident or Choice!

I thought I would take moment to address an issue which has surfaced in postings on our Facebook page; Justice for Heavenlee!!!

To begin with, numerous people have commented to us privately regarding our decision to allow unlimited postings on the Justice for Heavenlee!!! Facebook page.
If you take the time to read through all the comments, you'll notice a number of postings from both the mother of Heavenlee, as well as other family members.

We are firm believers in free speech and we welcome their comments as it allows them to speak their minds and give us a glimpse into the mindset of those who do not see this situation as we do.
Everyone posting an opposing opinion makes it very clear that this situation was an accident. In fact, most make it a point of capitalizing the word ACCIDENT in order to emphasize their position.

Having read the accident report from the Indiana Sate Police; having talked to Indiana State Trooper Finney (the responding officer who filled out the report) and members of Station 8 who were the primary emergency responders responsible for rescue operations at the scene of the crash; having seen the crash scene photos; having talked to legal folks who are familiar with the legal aspects of this situation, I can definitively state one unquestionable fact.

The car crash which Heavenlee-Angle Johns was involved in was an accident! Pure and simple. Automobile accidents happen all the time. I, myself, have lost a number of family and friends to automobile accidents.

However, having read the accident report from the Indiana Sate Police; having talked to Indiana State Trooper Finney (the responding officer who filled out the report) and members of Station 8 who were the primary emergency responders responsible for rescue operations at the scene of the crash; having seen the crash scene photos; I can definitively state one unquestionable fact.

Heavenlee-Angel Johns was not restrained in a proper, state-mandated child safety seat, despite the fact that the law; IC 9-19-11-2 requires that any child under 8 years of age must be restrained in the correct child restraint system or the driver is guilty of a class D traffic infraction and thus subject to a $25.00 fine. Any child less than 8 years old but over 70 pounds may be restrained in a booster seat and therefor satisfy the law.

Heavenlee was 5 years old and weighed 35 pounds at the time of the crash.
Had she been properly restrained, her injuries would have been far less severe, resulting in only some bruising or perhaps a few lacerations. The fractured cervical vertebrae and spinal cord injuries resulted directly from the blunt force trauma encountered due to her upper body not being properly restrained and impacting the seat as she reacted to the basic Laws of Physics. This analysis is based upon detailed research from both NASCAR and NASA, as wellas JAMA.
As parents of 5 children and grandparents of 12 grandchildren, we couldn't imagine ever going anywhere in a car with our children or grandchildren and not ensuring their safety to the best of our ability.
Someday, this may happen again to some other family and when it does, the actions we take now will ensure that someone is held responsible and justice is served on behalf of the injured/killed child who trusted someone to protect them from harm.

God bless all of you reading this!

James & Amanda Wallace

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Updates from the previous week...

It's been over a week since our last update and many people have been asking about Heavenlee's condition. It has been a week of madness involving a number of issues and projects but I shall endeavor to give as good an update as I can, given our limited knowledge.

Following Heavenlee's surgery last week, she has shown significant progress with regards to movement, nerve function and the like. Her surgery was intended to fuse several of the damaged cervical vertebrae and eventually allow for the removal of the HALO device which now confines her head movements.

Prior to her surgery, there was no movement of her extremities. She was unable to move either arms or legs and could only move her eyes and mouth. Since then, there is now sporadic nerve impulses throughout her body, resulting in occasional twitching of the arms, legs, hands and feet.

Although there is no controlled movement, the doctors are optimistic that some feeling and motion may return over time. It seems that the spinal cord, which was originally thought to have been severed was actually only crushed, resulting in the paralysis she now suffers from. For what it's worth, this was a bit of good news in an otherwise lousy situation.

She has also been fitted with a Trach tube and a device which allows her to begin relearning how to speak. In time, she should be able to regain her voice and speak to us.

In addition, we have been in contact with the Christopher & Dana Reeves Foundation and they have provided a wealth of information regarding Heavenlee's condition and have offered their support.
Unfortunately, they are unable to assist us as we deal with the legal issues regarding Indiana law: IC 9-19-11-2, which provides for only a Class D Traffic Violation with a $25.00 fine.
As a non-profit organization, I can understand their position as they are specifically prohibited from direct lobbying on behalf of any legal actions. Having worked for a non-profit myself many years ago, I have a better understanding than most regarding the limitations imposed on non-profit groups.

In all of this, it seems odd that this issue has never been addressed before. As such, there is virtually no reference material, legal precedents or the like to draw upon as we navigate through the legislative system.
It would seem that we are meant to lead the way in providing our children and grandchildren a safer world in which to grow up in and holding those responsible when they fail to provide our children and grandchildren a safe environment, be it in a car, home or in public.

Over the next few days, I will also address several issues which have been brought up by others and attempt to explain our position, although I suspect that no explanation will satisfy those who question our motives.

As I have said in the past... Crimen est verus penintentiarius! (Guilt is the truest confessor)

Please continue to spread the word and increase our exposure as we work towards our final goal of achieving some measure of Justice for Heavenlee!!!

God bless each and every one of you reading this.

James & Amanda Wallace