What If This Were Your Grandmother?

Jan. 12, 2010
A Florida grandmother was arrested for driving on a suspended or
revoked license and spent 15 days in jail — including Thanksgiving —
before being released, the Miami Herald reported on Tuesday.

The 78-year-old woman, Gabrielle Shaink Trudeau, was initially pulled
over in September for driving too slowly. She was then issued a
ticket for driving on a suspended or revoked license. After failing
to show up for a court appearance, a judge issued an arrest warrant
for the criminal charge that carries a penalty of up to a year in
jail and a $1,000 fine.

Ten days after the ticket was issued, Shaink Trudeau received a
letter from the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles,
saying that her driving privileges were restored pending further
review. While she believed her driving troubles were solved, the
letter was actually in response to another incident.

In November, police arrested Shaink Trudeau at her home.
“They came on real strong, like I had killed somebody or something,”
she told the Miami Herald of the arrest.

Public defenders failed to appear at her initial court appearance,
and no assistant public defender met with Shaink Trudeau at the
Broward County Jail, the newspaper reported. On the morning of her
initial appearance, the pretrial services division found that Shaink
Trudeau was eligible for pretrial release on her own recognizance,
but failed to alert the judge of that, the newspaper reported.

Finally, at her arraignment on Dec. 2, 15 days after her arrest,
prosecutors dropped the charges against her.

“She’s handcuffed like Houdini, for the record. She’s got chains
around her waist, and she’s got handcuffs in front around her hands
as if she was some kind of a violent criminal,” the judge said at
her final hearing on Dec. 2, according to the newspaper. “I want her
released. I think she’s suffered enough at our system’s mistakes.”

© 2010 msnbc.com


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