When anyone in the state of Illinois or elsewhere faces felony charges, their possible conviction can affect many others. Especially for families with young children, the prospect of a prison sentence can be very concerning since it may disturb child custody arrangements. Fortunately, reasonable accommodations can be made in some instances to allow parents to retain custody of their children while fulfilling the terms of their felony conviction. One recent case illustrates how the genuine interest and efforts of attorneys and judges alike can work in the best interest of the child in these difficult situations.
The case in question involves a mother of two that is currently waiting for the final judgment in her custody hearing, sentenced to home confinement until a decision is made on whether or not she is fit to care for her kids. The woman is convicted of a felony offense and the terms of her sentence depend largely on the pending custody ruling.
In her criminal case, the woman’s defense developed a plea agreement with prosecutors to allow her to keep custody of her kids by avoiding a prison sentence. It was agreed that she could receive an extended probation sentence of two years instead, but the presiding circuit court judge will not grant such terms until the custody ruling is made. The circuit court judge feels that the family court judge should determine whether the woman is a fit parent before he considers the option of her avoiding a prison sentence.
If primary custody is granted to the children’s father, the defendant may be sentenced to one year in prison and one year of probation on a felony sex crime conviction for possessing child pornography.
Source: theintelligencer.net, “Custody Hearing May Decide Prison Time for Teacher,” Tyler Reynard, August 6, 2013