f/k/a archives . . . real opinions & real haiku

December 5, 2007

wendy cook’s plea deal gives her another chance at rehabilitation

Filed under: Haiku or Senryu,q.s. quickies,Schenectady Synecdoche — David Giacalone @ 1:38 pm

Wendy Cook Update: There’s a new chapter in the sad story of Wendy Cook, the 37-year-old daughter of Funny Cide owner Jack Knowlton, who was charged with performing sex acts and snorting cocaine with her then 2-month-old son and 5-year old daughter in the back seat of her car.

Cook was arrested in a bizarre prostitution sting in Schenectady in early October (see our prior post; scroll down page). According to Channel 13 in Albany, NY, in its noon report “Mom facing sex, drug charges takes plea deal” (WNYT.com13, Dec. 5, 2007):

“Felony charges against Cook were reduced to misdemeanors Wednesday. She is now charged with reckless endangerment and endangering the welfare of a child.

“Under the plea agreement she will spend nine months in a residential treatment center.”

For Ms. Cook’s sake and that of her children and entire family, we wish her the best of luck. If I had represented her children in this case, I surely would have agreed with this outcome.

update (Dec. 6, 2007): Today’s Albany Times Union provides further explanation about the plea and the reasoning behind it (see “Mother pleads guilty to endangerment charges: Wendy Knowlton Cook, 37, snorted cocaine off newborn son’s stomach, police say,” Dec. 6, 2007), saying that “As part of a plea deal, Cook must complete a rehabilitation program in Sullivan County which could last up to two years. Cook faces two years in prison if she fails to complete the program, according to Schenectady County District Attorney Robert M. Carney.” In addition:

“I understand why police investigators were so outraged by Ms. Cook’s conduct, but unfortunately, there was no provable felony here,” Carney said in a statement released by his office. “She was prostituting herself for drugs and using them in the presence of her children, but since no drugs were recovered, no drug charges could be brought.

“Police charged her with reckless endangerment in the first degree which requires proof that her driving created a grave risk of death,” he said. “Police did not see her driving, she did not have an accident, and no one was injured.”

update (April 30, 2008): See “Cook answers to probation violation”  wnyt.com, April 29, 2008).

update (May 30, 2008): See “Mother to be sent to drug rehab” (Daily Gazette, May 30, 2008) “Knowlton-Cook’s attorney, Jake Hogan, explained that her earlier reluctance [to continue in rehab] was that she couldn’t find a program that would allow her to continue to see her children. A program has been found, the DayTop facility in Rhinebeck, Hogan said.”

afterwords (Nov. 8, 2008): Read about Wendy getting her kids back and receiving probation, by scrolling down to the second topic at this post, dated Nov. 8, 2008.

home for Christmas: holy family.
my childhood desk drawer
empty

first Christmas –
our baby sleeps through
the unwrapping of his gifts

………….. by Michael Dylan Welch ..
“home for Christmas” – from Open Window – haiku & photo
“first Christmas” – frogpond XXIX: 2 (2006)


“easy to assemble”
I put it back and
grab a teddybear

…………………………………. by dagosan

4 Comments

  1. I think it is interesting that people feel Wendy Cook deserves treatment and help for her addiction while my husband,a former police officer is scorned sentenced to four years in prison for felonies he committed as a result of the same addiction. I think the public forgets that police officers are human beings too and are subject to some of the problems as the rest of the population. The prostitutes are sent off to rehab while I am left a single mother to care for two small children. No one felt my family deserved a chance at rehabilitation.

    Comment by Tammy — December 5, 2007 @ 4:53 pm

  2. Tammy, I am sorry for what you and your family are going through, and I hope things will work out well for all of you as the years go by. Although I am not sure of the facts behind your husband’s story, I can say that crimes by police officers need to be treated strictly, because police have special responsibilities and powers and can do much harm to the justice system and the public trust, beyond their individual crimes. (There is, of course, room for mitigating factors to be considered, with due regard given to the totality of the circumstances, including the type of misbehavior, its duration, cooperation when exposed, etc.) Wendy Cook’s crimes had little impact outside her own life. Much more than the similar addictions must be taken into account when comparing her treatment as a private citizen to that of a man sworn to uphold and enforce the laws.

    Comment by David Giacalone — December 5, 2007 @ 7:47 pm

  3. Tammy, as a criminal defense lawyer, I’ve gone after many police officers in my day. But I’ve also represented officers, and I know that the system can be very harsh on them simply because they are police officers. On the other hand, he won’t be the only in prison because of addiction driven crimes. Prison is full of people whose crimes were driven by drugs. The system can be harsh on many people, not only police officers.

    This is one of those painful lessons, when everyone wants blood from everyone convicted of a crime. The only time you can appreciate how harsh the legal system can be is when it envelopes your life. Suddenly, everything changes and it’s hardly as fair as it once seemed.

    I wish you and your family luck, and hope that your husband receives the treatment he needs and returns home as soon as possible.

    Comment by Scott Greenfield — December 6, 2007 @ 9:00 pm

  4. Scott, thanks for a thoughtful and thought-provoking Comment.

    Comment by David Giacalone — December 6, 2007 @ 9:22 pm

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