My two sons (14 and 19) were served with a "do not trespass" notice from an apartment complex next to our condo complex. The apartment complex has had a lot of problems with vandalism etc and has decided to crack down on non-residents being on the property. My kids are over there constantly because most of their friends live there. After being warned not to be on the property without a resident, we were served via certified mail with the do not trespass notice. The next day, my 19 yo son went onto the property and even entered the clubhouse (using a friend's passcode) in order to help another non-resident friend locate her 3 year old brothers who had run off (the door was left ajar earlier and the sister thought they might have gone in to hide from her). The resident manager saw them, told them not to leave and called the police. In the meantime, my 14 yo son cut across a corner of the property to catch up with friends on the other side. The property manager told me she hadn't planned on filing a complaint on the younger son because she could tell he simply forgot. Unfortunately, he did this just as the police rolled in to deal with the older son, so they got the younger one as well. The older son has been charged with criminal trespass and has pleaded not guilty in mayor's court. He is scheduled for trial in a week. I guess I have several questions:
1. Can the 19 yo qualify for a public defender if he has a wrongful death trust? He cannot touch the money in the trust until he is 25 without court approval. Does the county research a defendant's ability to pay? It has been suggested that by requesting a public defender the prosecutor is more likely to drop the charges in order to avoid charging the county to defend such a minor charge. It is also worth mentioning that he has never been in trouble before and is a full-time student with a part-time job.
2. Would we be better off having the case moved to the county court rather than mayor's court and if so, how do we go about that?
3. Is an affidavit from a 14 yo admissible in court? I want to get a statement from the girl who lost her brothers to submit to the court in support of my son's reason for being on the property.
Another point of interest: I spent about a week in negotiations with the management company trying to get them to drop the charges. Initially they seemed agreeable but in the end would not. They stated to me that because of all the problems in the complex, they intended to make examples of my kids. When asked if they had sent "do not trespass" notices to any of the other non-resident kids who hang out there they told me they had sent several. I have talked with most of them and not one has been served.
I understand the apartment complex's right to ban anyone they choose from the property, fair or unfair. However, I believe the nature of the reason for my son trespassing outweighs the crime itself. His intent was to help locate some lost children, not cause the complex harm. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.