After what Office of Court Administration spokesman David Bookstaver called a "highly unusual" incarceration, a Brooklyn mom has been freed from Rikers. She was originally thrown in on June 10th for refusing to let her 9-year-old son visit his father, a convicted rapist, in prison.
The father, 31, was convicted in 2003 of raping three women in Phoenix and is serving 27 years in an Arizona state prison. A court order mandated that his son, Seon Jones, have twice-a-year visits with his father, and mother Sukhwant Herb originally agreed to the visitation rights in September. However, she later changed her mind. She told the Daily News, "I don't want my son in that environment, seeing the prisoners in jumpers, and the slamming of gates, the noise. My son is 9, and it's horrible, horrific." Brooklyn Family Court Judge Robin Sheares had Herb arrested for the violation, and sent her to Rikers for 50 days.
Bookstaver, the court spokesman, says she was arrested because she missed five court appearances, and that she "was given numerous opportunities to answer simple questions to avoid incarceration." She reportedly could not provide proof of where her son was attending school. But Herb says Sheares was unrelenting, saying "I don't believe you" when she explained she wanted to move to Ohio with her children and fiance Dwayne Waithe. But now, after 18 days in solitary confinement, Sheares changed his mind and ordered her release.
After hearing of the sentencing, High Court officials were reportedly shocked at Sheares' decision to lock up Herb without a chance to post bail. Herb's lawyer, Dale Frederick, said, "No bail in a case like this is really shocking. My client has not been charged with a crime, has never been charged with a crime—and even felons get bail." The judge also made some questionable comments during the sentencing, saying, "Shame, shame, shame, you see how shameful she [Herb] is. She's gonna get arrested and her kids are not gonna know where she is." Sheares released Herb into her lawyer's custody yesterday. There is no word on how her son handled his mother's imprisonment.