June 2004 Issue
Judge Alex Calabrese is concerned about the 13-year-old boy sitting in the courtroom gallery.
The youth came to court with his 47-year-old mother, who now stands before Calabrese after testing positive for marijuana, violating her plea agreement.
She has a long rap sheet with lots of arrests for drugs, particularly cocaine, and for prostitution.
“She’s been doing a lot better,” Calabrese whispers to a visitor seated next to him on the bench, explaining that in other courts she had been on a wheel, repeatedly serving about five of every 30 days in jail. “I don’t like to see she’s been using marijuana, but it’s a heck of a lot better than cocaine. And she has significant mental health problems.”
Federal court jurors received little guidance when they considered whether to award punitive damages to a Canadian brother and sister who suffered hundreds of bites from bedbugs as they slept in their Chicago motel room.