We went through three court hearings and more than a month of house arrest before we got to an ajudication hearing (the juvenile court equivalent of a trial) at which the DA stood up and said that the prosecution could not proceed, on the basis of a lack of evidence of his guilt and a preponderance of evidence of his complete and total innocence.
I have almost nothing to say about the experience now. It was brutal and racist the way he was presumed guilty of something that logic and common sense proved he could not possibly have done. I have always been someone more prone to carry on in righteous indignation than to change the subject. But I find that certain events, and this is one of them, just defy my ability to comment. The stark fact of it is enough: my teenage son was taken out of his own bed in his pajamas by seven police officers who invaded our home with guns one morning, handcuffed him in the courtyard in front of the neighbors, took him to juvenile hall, and held him for nearly a week. He returned home on house arrest for a month awaiting trial, only to be told in the end that it was all a big mistake. He had been falsely identified, and there was no case against him.
He stayed calm through the whole thing, and I was proud of his forbearance. The only thing I will add here is that T observed after the fact that "had I still been in the system" (by which he means in a foster group home, rather than with pre-adoptive parents), "I would have stayed in juvenile hall and probably nobody would have believed me that I didn't do it." I think he's right. His arrest was enough for child services to decide that he was no longer their problem - at the time of his arrest, his social worker assumed he was guilty and told us that he belonged on probation and they would not help us get him home. We had to implore the juvenile court judge directly to get him released to us. It was stunning to see how quickly a child in his position can get swallowed up in the juvenile justice bureaucracy - and how much difference parents (and, eventually, a good volunteer attorney provided for us by a friend) can make in slowing down a voracious system.