I just read about a story where a father was arrested for taking his daughter’s IPhone as a punishment and then getting arrested in Texas for doing so. I thought I was reading The Onion, but it’s true.
A man named Ronald Jackson discovered things that he thought were inappropriate on his daughter’s cell phone. At the time, she was 12 years old. I totally understand why a father would do something like that. I have done it from time to time with my daughter. I want to make sure that I check up on her from time to time. It is just what parents do who care about their kids.
The problem is that when he decided to take his daughter’s phone away, the child’s mother stepped in and called the police. The mother of the child, Michelle Steppe, was never married to Ronald, but they had their daughter together. Michelle later married a police officer from Grand Praire Texas.
A citation was issued after Steppe called the police and Jackson refused to give the phone to the mother. Court filings indicate the attorney’s office requested the case be dismissed but was refiled later with the Dallas County District Attorney’s office with a more stringent misdemeanor which is punishable by six months in jail. The city’s attorney’s office offered a plea deal if Jackson returned the phone. Instead, Jackson and his attorney refused the plea and requested a jury trial. Jackson never knew a warrant had been issued. Then one night at 2AM, he was arrested. Jackson was charged with theft of property.
He stated, “At that Point, I decided the police don’t interfere with my ability to parent my daughter.” The mother, who paid for the phone and paid the cell phone bill saw things a little differently. “As a mom, I’m upset because -number one-the property belongs to me,” she said. He was taken to jail and posted a cash bail of $1,500.
At the trial, the daughter testified and in the end, Jackson’s case was dismissed because the state failed to present evidence to continue the case.
Jackson says the ordeal has permanently ended any chances to have a relationship with his daughter. Steppe said she was confused by the verdict because, “Even if you purchase something with your own money and have a reciept, it’s not yours.” “Someone can take it away from you.”
Jackson’s lawyer said the case is not over. He plans on filing a federal civil rights violation because of the way the police department and the city attorneys office’s treatment of his client.
I am wondering why this even made it so deep into our court system and onto any docket. If the mother of the daughter has the “best interests of the child’ in mind, she would have listened to the father and discussed this between themselves. I’m sure that it was something they probably could both see as inappropriate. They could have dealt with the problem as two adults who are trying to guide their young child in a world full of rapidly shifting technological advances. But no. It seems as if there are two children and one adult in this case.
Running to the police is not the best way to co-parent. In fact, I’d say the police are most likely to cause more problems that they liable to fix. I guess the mother of this child doesn’t care. Since she is married to an officer, it must not bother her that law enforcement was called. I wouldn’t doubt that her police department connections had something to do with the warrant, the 2AM arrest and the charges being filed.
Was this man a dangerous criminal? Was he a threat? Did the department harrass this man intentionally?
It seems like more of the petty nonsense that comes up after a separation or a divorce. Many parents seem to miss the bigger picture after a break-up. The parents must realize they have a child to raise. They have to get along eventually. There are challenges that pop up from time to time, especially as they get older. Having a mother and father on the same page to back each other up during the rough seas of adolescence is crucial.
This story seems like a relatively minor incident that turned ugly rather quickly. Now, there is a broken relationship and a daughter who sees the police as the first resort when it comes to the resolution of interpersonal relationship conflicts. I feel the daughter will regret this whole ordeal in the long run. I also think the step-dad needs to stay out of any parenting issues like this in the future and let the biological parents work out things like this on their own. To even rise to the level of a court case where tax dollars are wasted is ridiculous.
In 20 years or so when the daughter has kids of her own and her kids ask where grandpa is, she can explain that when she was 12, she had her phone taken away because of her sexting. Grandma and mommy had him thrown in jail because he was trying to do the right thing by disciplining her. Mommy hasn’t had a relationship with him since because of that incident.
I wouldn’t doubt that the grandmother will probably be on the sidelines telling the grandkids he wasn’t good for anything anyway.
What a mess.
Here is the link to the story: http://www.khou.com/story/news/crime/2016/01/26/dallas-dad-not-guilty-taking-tween-daughters-phone/79355512/