In Others' WordsIn Others' Words

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Mom: right or wrong?

Motherhood is all about choices--beginning with the choice to become a mom.

And the choices keep on coming.

We've all heard horror stories about parents--moms and dads--who left their toddlers in the car. Often times, the parent somehow forgot the toddler--until too late.

A mom is going on trial for deliberately leaving her 2-year-old daughter in the car.

According to news reports, last December 8, Treffly Coyne, 36, took her two older daughters and a friend to put money they had collected in a Salvation Army Kettle. Her 2-year-old was asleep in her carseat. Rather than taking her daughter out of the car and into sleeting weather, Coyne pulled up in front of the store, turned on her emergency lights, locked the car, activated the alarm--and then walked the other girls over to donate the money. Coyne said she could see her car--and her daughter at all times.

After taking a couple of pictures of the girls, Coyne returned to her car, where she was confronted by a community service officer. Although Coyne explained that she never went into the store, she said the officer refused to listen. Ultimately, Coyne was handcuffed and arrested. She faces misdemeanor charges of child endangerment and obstructing a peace officer. If convicted, she could be sentenced to a year in jail and fined $2,500, even though child welfare workers found no credible evidence of abuse or neglect.

Did Coyne make the right or wrong choice? Some would say police over-reacted. Others would say the mom never should have left her toddler in the car--for any length of time.

I think it's all been blown out of proportion and should have never gotten to the courts ... I certainly don't think Coyne is a criminal. Maybe she would do things differently if she had it to do over again. But I think her choice was to protect her youngest child from the bad weather while letting her older daughters have fun donating money to the Salvation Army. Maybe she should have waited until another night, when the weather was better.

But hindsite is always 20-20.

I'll be taking Friday off while I'm speaking at the Hearts at Home Conference. See you Monday!

Labels: , ,


At 8:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it's absolute insanity to have arrested her in the first case. I also believe that she acted absolutely correctly under the circumstances.

I realize that US is almost as dangerous as Iraq (and apparently the law enforcement is possibly more hostile to the populace than the one in Iraq is), but come on! Putting safety ahead of absolutely everything is just insane.

I mean if someone truly believes it, I can respect them for being steady. Insane, but at least steady.

If we go this way, I believe kids under the age of 14 should not be allowed in cars. Or they CAN be in cars, but anyone driving over 30mph with an under 14 year old in the car should be arrested immediately.

While that of course sounds insane to everyone, I do wonder about the statistics between car accidents and car jackings... I'd happily play ball on the statistics game.

At 9:57 AM, Blogger Beth K. Vogt said...

Statistics, anyone? I skipped that class in high school and college! So far the conversations I've had offline agree with the "This was overkill" view of this.

At 5:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Treffly Coyne is a fine mother who happened to be out on an excursion planned by her children to donate to charity. A lesson we would all do better to be taught by her kids. Unfortunately the government, very concerned about the welfare of her child stepped in. Somehow the officer saw that a sleeping two year old in a warm and safe locked car with the alarm activated would be better off without the mother who cares for her.

The police would not listen to her story, they refused to listen to witnesses, they did not investigate by going into the store to look at the security video.

Instead, they arrested Treffly Coyne, took custody of her two year old child, broke up her family, and most disturbing, the police abandoned three little girls at the Walmart… left them to their own luck, crying on the curb.

All because the government decided Treffly Coynes family needed its “protection.”

Her children were never in any danger until the representatives of the government showed up.

The police chief of Crestwood, Timothy Sulikowski, knew that there was no evidence that Ms. Coyne had done anything wrong, yet he still decided she needed to be charged and prosecuted.


For 97 days she was labled a child abuser by the state, investigated by the DCFS or CPS, paid expensive legal bills and suffered the public humiliation brought on by the unsubstantiated charges of the Crestwood Police.

Even when the prosecutor dropped the charges for lack of evidence, the police chief and Mayor Robert Stranczek continued to make public statements against Treffly Coyne.

Treffly Coyne is now suing the Village of Crestwood, police officers James Ciukaj, Forrest Wondolowski and Angel Brudnicki in federal court.

She would have preferred to have won in criminal court.

All she asked for was an apology and that the charges would be dropped. Thousands of dollars later, and hundreds of thousands of posts on the internet, the Crestwood Police cannot even give her that.

A terrible mistake was made that night at the Walmart and the Crestwood Police and Mayor Stranczek refuse to acknowlege it. Until they do, all citizens, all families in Crestwood are in danger of these kinds of police abuse.

Her fight is not over. The federal Judge will hear the case and has the power to direct the Crestwood Police to make changes in their policies and procedures.

Hopefully she will prevail in her fight, which is a fight for all of our civil rights and her case will create stronger boundaries between the family and the police.

It was wrong to arrest that mother and subject her children to witness in terror the actions of the police.

What is more wrong is that the woman has to fight such wrongdoing in federal court.

A victory for Treffly Coyne will be a victory for all American Families. The civil rights she is fighting for our your civil rights as well.

At 6:32 PM, Blogger Beth K. Vogt said...

I thought about deleting this "comment." It reads more like a "commentary." I would have liked Anonymous to have stepped up and let me know who he/she was. From the tone of the comment, Anonymous feels strongly about what happened--and supports Treffly Coyne. A close friend, perhaps?
I did not read of the other three children being left at the curb without their mother ... nonetheless, I do feel this was mishandled.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

e-newsletter signup
Free Resources
Books and CDs
For Writers
For Moms Over 35