Amplified Voices

Tricia - The Impacts On The Family Are The Same - Episode 12

October 06, 2020 Amber & Jason - Criminal Legal Reform Advocates with Lived Experience Season 1 Episode 12
Amplified Voices
Tricia - The Impacts On The Family Are The Same - Episode 12
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode of Amplified Voices, Jason and Amber speak with Tricia, mother of four and wife of a man who was convicted of a white collar crime and subsequently incarcerated. Tricia bravely shares her experiences, including how she and her children were affected through the process, the shock of the arrest, coping with co-parenting while a parent is incarcerated and public responses to the idea of white collar crime. She speaks of finding humanity in the most unexpected places and highlights how every family is unique.

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Tricia - Transcript

Intro: [00:00:00] Everyone has a voice; a story to tell. Some are marginalized and muted. 

What if there were a way to amplify those stories; to have conversations with real people in real communities; a way to help them step into the power of their lived experience. 

Welcome to Amplified Voices, a podcast, lifting the experiences of people and families impacted by the criminal legal system.

Together, we can create positive change - for everyone.

Jason: [00:00:34] Good morning and welcome to another episode of Amplified Voices. I'm Jason, your host, here with my co-host Amber. 

Good morning, Amber. 

Amber: [00:00:42] Good morning, Jason.

Jason: [00:00:44] And today we have Tricia. Tricia is the wife of an individual who has been incarcerated for fraud. Uh, good morning, Tricia. 

Tricia: [00:00:54] Good morning.

Jason: [00:00:55] We are very happy to have you here today with us from Florida, I believe. Is that correct?

Tricia: [00:01:00] That is correct. Tampa, Florida, yep.

Jason: [00:01:02] So tell us a little bit about your life before getting involved with the criminal legal system and then how you got involved in the criminal legal system.

Tricia: [00:01:12] Okay. 

So, my life before getting involved with the criminal legal system is a little interesting because my husband was an attorney. So, he worked in elder law. So we didn't have a familiarity with the criminal legal system, but we did with the legal system. He was often in court and that was his job. 

So he was an attorney. I was a stay at home mother. I had also owned a brick and mortar natural parenting store. It was something I was really passionate about back then. So, we sold cloth diapers and, uh, you know, did breastfeeding support and things like that.

And it was in his building. He owned the building where his office was. And they had a small section of the building that was being unused, so I opened a little store there. So, it was great because I would bring the kids with me and he would pop in and say hello, or take them for lunch. 

So, our life before getting involved was; it was pretty fairytale to be quite honest with you. Um, we had a marriage that our friends were like, you guys never fight. My friends would say, "Can we do a husband swap?" Cause you know, Adam like takes the kids to everything. He does the dentist appointments. He takes them to practice. He coaches the teams.

Jason: [00:02:28] As an attorney, how was he doing that? I mean, I haven't, any attorney I've ever met is working like round the clock.

Tricia: [00:02:33] So, the reason he had so much time is because he had his own practice. We lived in a smaller town. It wasn't a large city. He made his own hours and he would sometimes work on the weekends. But most of the time he was home by 5:30pm. 

The reason that he had this practice is because he took it over from his father, who in 2010, was arrested for fraud. 

Jason: [00:02:59] What!

Tricia: [00:03:00] Yeah. 

And so that's how he came in control of the law practice. 

It was interesting too, because back then he'd been working for several years for his father, but he never got a raise. And we were like, why are you not getting a raise? This is so bizarre. And now we know why. There just; there wasn't money for the raise because money was; we don't know. We really don't know. That's a crime that is a little bit like a black spot for us. We have never had the details filled in. We just know that money was missing from a trust account. And Almost the same amount of money was missing. 

So his father went to prison and I distinctly remember so many times saying to my husband, "Please don't do that. Whatever you do, please keep good books. Make sure you have an accountant on staff. Please don't let that happen." And he would say," I'm never going to let that happen. That's never going to happen. I would never do that." 

To go back a little bit further to give you a little more foundation for the story. Adam was a scholarship football player for the University of Kansas. He was sought by several southern schools: Florida State, University of Florida. 

He injured his back his freshman year and it was injured so badly it necessitated major back surgery. So, at 19 years old, he had back surgery and he was put on painkillers. So he started on painkillers at 19 years old and that was it. I mean, he was always on them. 

We both come from families with histories of addiction. So that also runs in our family. So it was just dangerous. So he stayed on them, but he was a functioning addict, if you could call it that, because he went to work, he did whatever he had to do. 

But the addiction grew, obviously, because it doesn't just remain stagnant. So, he had that take more and more and more. And then we started noticing he was having these really intense headaches. He would wake up in the middle of the night with these headaches. He was forgetting things. And only after he was arrested, did we realize he had nine, NINE documented concussions in high school alone.

So, we're pretty sure that he suffers from at least level two CTE. So, when you talk about CTE,  look at all of the things in the news with CTE. People doing things that they would never do; completely uncharacteristic things. 

You know, there was just one in the paper the other day of a young man, a high school kid, who had been playing for several years. He was 17 and he killed himself.

So these are the two factors that really contributed, I think, to this crime was the fact that sprain is damaged and he had an addiction to a pain medication that was altering his thought.

Amber: [00:05:37] So, just for people who may not know what CT (E) is, could you explain that a little bit?.

Tricia: [00:05:43] Yes. 

So, CTE is Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. And what that is, is that it's a degenerative brain disease that occurs after, and this is the scariest part, it can occur after one concussion. It doesn't have to be repeated concussions. It can begin with one concussion. The more head trauma you have, the worse it is.

So, because he had so many documented concussions, it's severe. If you look up the symptoms, it's headaches, it's forgetfulness, it's inappropriate response, it's people doing uncharacteristic things, propensities for violence. 

Aaron Hernandez is a perfect example. There was the violence and then he killed himself in prison.

When they autopsied his brain. It was, so I think there's four grades of CTE. And his was past grade four. People in science had never seen anything so bad. They'd never seen a brain so atrophied from CTE. 

And it's also a controversial subject because the NFL, for a really long time, didn't admit that it existed.

Jason: [00:06:52] Right. And there was a whole movie with Will Smith about it.

Tricia: [00:06:55] Yes, that's right. There was a whole movie with Will Smith. Exactly.

Jason: [00:06:58] He's working as an attorney. He's picking up the kids. He's having headaches. He's taking prescription drugs. But you're going about your life at this point, right? So you're not suspecting anything.

Tricia: [00:07:09] Never. And I never suspected it because after what happened with his father, he had assured me this was never gonna happen. But I will say this: I'm a pretty intuitive person and Adam and I are pretty connected as far as, you know, being connected to one another. About a year prior, I just had a bad feeling and I couldn't put my finger on it. And I would ask him at night, "What is going on? Like something's going on. I can feel it." 

And at first I thought he was cheating, but my husband is not a cheater. It was the only thing I could go to because it was so foreign for me to think he's committing a crime behind my back. But I did have a feeling.

He was more stressed than normal. When my husband gets super stressed at work, he would like rub between his eyes with his finger and he would come home and his head would just be like, raw.

Jason: [00:07:56] So, your father-in-law went to prison in 2010. When, when did he get out?

Tricia: [00:08:01] He got out in 2013. He did three and a half years, for the same crime.

Jason: [00:08:06] So, his was three and a half years. And then when was your husband caught?

Tricia: [00:08:10] So, my husband was arrested in June, 2017. My daughter, our youngest was four months old. I was asleep in my bed. She had been up nursing all night. She was not gaining weight well, so we were really focused on that. 

I was asleep and I heard this really loud banging on the door, which I ordered a lot of packages for my store, so I thought it was FedEx. And I thought, they'll just leave a note. I'm not going to get up and go down there. And I kind of drifted again and I heard a really relentless banging and it woke me about 15 minutes later. 

So, I went down and I, I always joke that like the moment before I looked out that people, um, it was like the rift between two worlds. I go back to that moment a lot, like, standing there, not knowing what was about to happen, but. 

So anyway, I looked through the peep-hole and it was just lined with like, and the FBI was involved initially. So, there were FBI agents, there were Sheriff's Deputies. I mean, it was like, my first thought was, Oh my God, there's like a gunman loose in our neighborhood. And like, it could be in our back. I mean, I really had no clue at that point. 

I opened the door. He said he had a search warrant. I said, "For what?" And he said "The business." So, My first thought was, Oh my God, I didn't do my licensing, right, for my little store. I didn't pay some tax. Like, they're here to get me. And he was like, "No, the law office." And I was like, "The law office." And I immediately, like, I just knew. And I said, "Where is my husband?" And they said "At his office." I said, "Is he being arrested?" They said, "Yes." 

They destroyed my home; I mean, destroyed it. 

The funny thing was, our garage was kind of like a hoarder's mess because we had just so much stuff. They were so agitated trying to go through this garage. And I'm like, I kept telling them, first of all, you're not gonna find anything. Anything that's related to the office isn't here. It's all at the office. But they don't care. So, they rifled through my home. 

I had a detective speak to me with an FBI agent. I have to give you the scene too, because my husband is tattooless, straight edge, you know, attorney/football player. And at the time I had dreadlocks all the way down my back. Covered in tattoos. Nose ring. And I'm nursing my baby and this FBI agent is like, "Do you want a blanket?" I'm like, "No, I don't want a blanket. No, I don't care." 

So, afterwards my husband said he could hear them talking about me, like, "Dude, did you see that attorney's wife? It's like Dharma and Greg over there.", which was funny cause it really was. But they were very concerned about me covering up and I'm like, my husband's being arrested. I don't care if my boob is showing, but. 

So, they asked me, "Did you know?" And I was like, "Know what? I don't even know what's going on." And the detective explained it. I said, "No, I'm a stay at home mother of four. Do you think that I'm looking at my husband's books?"

Amber: [00:11:04] So, I just want to take a pause to kind of appreciate a little bit the scene that you're setting. 

So, a lot of people who have never experienced the criminal legal system don't have an idea of what it's like when you have multiple officers standing on your porch. You have no idea what's going on. 

And just, when you heard that it was about the law office, just being kind of what you had already been through, how did that make you feel?

Tricia: [00:11:36] Amber, it's so true. Like, it's hard for people that have never been through that to understand. 

I was angry. I was scared. I had told Adam so many times I could not live without you. Couldn't do it. If anything happened to you - anything - I wouldn't be able to live without you. And so that's my thought, I'm going to have to do this without him. 

Jason: [00:11:55] Yeah.

Tricia: [00:11:56] And I was scared. I was angry. I was angry at him. But I was angry at them, even though it was a ridiculous thing to be angry at people doing their job. I was angry at them and I was shocked. I mean, the shock I think it's hard to appreciate, that what shock really is. 

Shock like, "Oh my God I'm in shock" It's not, it's an absolute changing of your physical chemistry. Like, the shock left me sleepless. It left me; I was in shock for about a month after. Couldn't sleep. Losing weight. Couldn't eat. It's physical. It's a visceral, physical thing to be in that kind of shock. And that's what it was. It was a combination of every emotion you could have; every negative emotion.

And then of course, this is the person you love more than anything else in the world. So you're hurting for them. It was an amalgam of awful emotion and it didn't stop for a really long time. A really long time.

Jason: [00:12:49] So, do you think that, looking back on it now, they could have handled it differently.?

Tricia: [00:12:53] Yes.

Jason: [00:12:54] And still gotten the same result without traumatizing you, who is really not at any fault.

Tricia: [00:13:01] Yes. But, this is a small town police force. The FBI agents were actually the ones that handled it the best, to be honest. They were the ones that were the most gentle, the most like, listen it's okay. They were the ones that, you know, must've had some sort of training in how to be a human when doing these things, because the local police department, the Sheriff's Office, didn't

Amber: [00:13:23] This must've been big news, right?

Tricia: [00:13:26] Huge news. I took my children and left that night. Took them and left. 

So, I called my sister-in-law because she's an attorney. And so, she came from Tampa to where we were and she was like, "We're going to figure this out." My aunt at the time, who recently passed away, she was a County commissioner, so she came too. 

We went across the street to my neighbor's house and my sister was like, "Let's just figure out what his bond is. We'll get him out. We'll figure it out." And, I got a text from a friend that was like, you're not going to be able to pay the bond. And they said his bond is 1.3 million dollars.

Jason: [00:14:02] Oh, 1.3 million. Okay.

Tricia: [00:14:05] So, there were two separate feelings that day. So, the beginning of the day it was like, it's okay, we're going to get them home. You know, we thought he'd get what his father got because he did the exact same thing and it was the exact same amount of money. So we're thinking, okay, three and a half years, whatever, like we can do that. 

So, as the day progressed, okay, he's not getting out. 1.3 million dollars is essential to a no-bond. I mean, you're not getting it now. So, then the second part was okay, we're not getting an out, he's not coming home, at all, until this is over like years from now.

That was the separation of that day, like understanding. And then it just was a landslide after that point. We had like a Facebook group that ended up becoming a website and they caught on, they had pictures of all the officers. They had gone to my husband's office and taken all these pictures of all the police cars there. It was all over the news. It was splattered on every paper for 45/50 miles. I mean, it was a disaster.

Jason: [00:14:59] Yeah.

Tricia: [00:15:00] Yeah.

Jason: [00:15:00] When that was going on was the social media, like, the worst.

Tricia: [00:15:04] The worst.

Jason: [00:15:05] And people saying things and everybody's weighing in and passing value judgments on you and your family.

Tricia: [00:15:11] Absolutely. And the worst part was people that were my friends saying I was involved. To which I had to say, "Hey guys, this isn't an episode of CSI. When someone commits a crime, their whole family isn't in on the gig." 

That was the most disheartening part was, people that I knew, that I had helped - to have a little money was to help people. I grew up poor. I didn't have any money. People that I had gone out on a limb for, that I had gotten jobs for, that I had given jobs to, you know, "She was in on it. I know."

And that's the salacious gossip part of it. It's a runaway train. And people really just love to get in on it if they can, which is sad.

Amber: [00:15:55] And so, at the time that this happened, obviously this is something that is very public. You're dealing with your husband being away. You're dealing with the public nature of it. You're dealing with all sorts of feelings of betrayal. How did this translate to the entire family?

Tricia: [00:16:14] So, my children now are fourteen, nine, six, and three. So, at the time, my oldest was 11. And that was the worst part because my husband was really their best friend. I know people say that, but it's the truth. They did everything together. They were inseparable. 

And as soon as I was allowed to leave my house, I picked them up from school because I knew it would start. I didn't want them there. 

So, Ezra was kindergarten at the time and Henry was in third grade or fourth grade, I can't remember. And I picked them up and I - this is another thing that people don't understand. A lot of people don't tell their children that truth. And so, they make up something. And they make up, like, a lie, "Oh, daddy had to go away for work, or daddy is sick?" or, you know, they'll make some sort of story up to protect their children. But from the beginning we knew that was not the way we were going to go; that telling your children the truth is the right thing to do. And it was. And it has been the right thing. 

So, I told them, and Henry started crying and said he wanted to die. And Ezra just, he was crying and he said he wanted daddy. And I mean, you can't imagine what that's like.

And our therapist afterwards said, "It's the same exact grief as someone dying." And that's true. It's the same grief. It's a loss of a human in your life. And no, he isn't dead, but it feels like it to the kids. He's not here. He's gone. He's a voice on a phone.

Jason: [00:17:50] Trisha, what you're sharing is so important because we see people calling to lock em up, you know. And just talking about the impact on all of those people in your husband's life, the impact on you and your children - I don't think anybody can really appreciate, uh, the disruption, the pain that you well gone through, and you've really paid a tremendous price. And I'm so sorry that our system has done this to your family.

Tricia: [00:18:22] Thank 

Jason: [00:18:22] you.

Amber: [00:18:24] I just wanted to echo that and thank you because I know it's not easy to tell the story. And sometimes people are asked to tell their story more than once and it is a very difficult thing to do. And we appreciate your bravery for sharing it. We want to really understand the human impact. So, thank you very much for being here and sharing. 

So, as Jason alluded to, it's very difficult to appreciate what happens to someone. And then we've also talked a little bit about this idea of white collar crime being different than other types of crime, less sympathetic, things like that. But the impacts of the system are the same

Tricia: [00:19:15] Absolutely.

Amber: [00:19:16] And the impacts to the family are the same.

Tricia: [00:19:21] It is. And It's a good point you're making. 

It wasn't just me and my four children. My parents had to fly from Washington to move us to live with them. We had nowhere to go. We lost everything. We lost our home. We lost everything that was anything of worth, we lost. So, now we've disrupted the lives of my parents and they had to help us monetarily with housing. It Interrupted the life of my sister-in-law, who we live with now.

So, it's more than just the people involved. It's a ripple effect that covers way more people than it seems on the surface. 

Adam had two secretaries. They lost their jobs. They had no intention of not working. They needed that dog. It's such a deep wound that really traverses so many groups of people. 

As far as white collar crime versus this crime versus whatever. When someone you love is arrested, it doesn't matter what the crime is. When someone you love is taken from you -  if it's fraud, if it's assault -  the grief is the same. It's the same grief, no matter what the person did. 

And you're right, there's no sympathy for white collar crime, which is interesting to me because human lives are effected, but not in the way of other crimes. So, it's interesting that there's so much less sympathy for white collar crimes. So when they go down, it's like, "That's restoring a right, that's writing a wrong, because no one should live with more money than they need. And so, that's a good thing, it'll teach them a lesson." 

You know, it's sad that we categorize crime at all. That one crime is more deserving of sympathy then another. Because the people that are left behind in the wake of that are broken, sad people, that are never, ever the same. Ever. You are never the same. 

So, it impacts you for the rest of your life. It changes your life forever from that moment on. Whether that's white color or whether that's second degree murder, it's the same exact feeling of loss. It's the same feeling of pain. It's the same feeling of betrayal. It's the same feelings of hopelessness. Because at the beginning, you feel hopeless. You feel like this is never going to be better. This is always going to be awful. 

Um, for those people that think, "Well, you know, white collar crime, fraud, they're fine, they had money." We didn't have money. There was no money. And the money that was left in my trust was taken. That was it. 

There was no money stashed away, which they believed by the way. They believe that there was some large amount of money stashed in some offshore account. That's why the trial kept getting delayed is because they were looking for this money. If there was any money, we would'nt have lost everything we owned. We wouldn't have been living in another family member's house. We had nothing. 

So, it took me a year and a half to feel okay again.

Jason: [00:22:26] What was the timeline from when he was arrested to when he was convicted and then what happens next?

Tricia: [00:22:36] Okay. He was arrested in June, 2017. Of course it ended in a plea, because that's what we do. So, he was in county jail for a year and a half before he took the plea. 

He's a model inmate. He's never had a DR. He's only been there for less than a year. He's got the best job you can get at the work camp because he just wants to get home.

Jason: [00:22:57] So tell us a little bit about what he tells you his experiences are like, and then a little bit about what it's like to go visit him and what that's been like during COVID. So that's three topics.

Tricia: [00:23:09] So, the experience for him: Luckily, he's very adaptive person. He's also very quiet. He's also almost 6'7", 270 pounds. So he's a giant human. So, the experience for him has kind of been like, it stinks, the food is awful. But like, he's a happy person. 

Like, he loves his children. I think his biggest fear obviously is that I'm going to leave him and take our children, which I'm not going to do. But he said in prison, it's all you think about. You know, because it happens every day where people's wives disappear with their children and they never see them again. 

So, the experience for him has been, the first 10 days were the worst because they had him on suicide watch. So, that was the worst. And he was also withdrawing from pain pills from a ten year addiction. So that's super fun when they give you no medication, because Florida is a state that doesn't believe in medication assisted treatment. Very few states do and very few municipalities within those states actually help people with addiction. 

So, he withdrew. It took weeks for him and to feel better, again. Throwing up. Literally just the worst human can feel: can't sleep. Restless legs. Feels like your skin is crawling. I mean, he went through that for weeks.

And the jail was overcrowded, so when he did get out of suicide watch, he was on a pad on the concrete, for weeks-on-end, vomiting, the whole nine yards. 

The experience so far for him has been that County was much more cruel, was much more disgusting, was much more horrific. His experience has been better in the state system than it was at County. The CO's can be wonderful and they can be awful.

Jason: [00:24:47] Do they give him a hard time because of his education, "You think you're better than we are?" And that sort of thing.

Tricia: [00:24:53] No, he hasn't gotten a lot of negative feedback in that way. So that's good. There was one CEO in particular that did that kind of, "Oh, you must think you're better than us." And he was like, he didn't say anything and just moved on. 

As far as visiting. So, the first time we actually visited him in person, it had been a year and a half since we'd seen him. Because at County it's video visitation. So you go to the jail, but you're sitting in front of a video screen. It's not in person. So, I'd seen him on a video screen, like twice. 

So, that was intense to say the least. Um, my kids, you know - seeing my 12 year old, who is not an emotional kid, just cry, you know. 

And leaving him. That's the other thing they don't tell you. Leaving is just... it's gotten better. And time does kind of sooth those crooked edges a little bit. When we leave now I'm okay, mainly because he's 45 minutes away.

Jason: [00:25:55] When I would drop my daughter off at college and know that I wouldn't see her for a couple of months, those were really emotional times. It was really tough as a parent and the whole idea of having the freedom taken away and being behind bars and then seeing your child, and then not knowing when. I could imagine what he was going through and for your children.

Amber: [00:26:20] So, I'm really glad Tricia, that you're bringing this kind of piece of it up, in terms of children and visitation and families. So, what I heard you say was a year and a half went by where your children could not visit your husband. You could not visit your husband. Well, you visited, but you weren't able to touch him. You weren't able to see him in person. And when you finally had that opportunity, it was very emotional. 

So, I have to say that this for me as well was one of the things that I found hardest about having an incarcerated loved one. So, I do remember the first time that my, then 13 year old, went to see my husband. And I remember standing on the line waiting and seeing them bring him in. And my daughter just crying to the point where it was almost uncontrollable. And, a, a wonderful woman standing next to her on the line, who clearly had more experience with this situation, reached over to her, touched her on the shoulder and said, "You're gonna be okay."

And she still remembers that today. 

Tricia: [00:27:46] Yeah.

Amber: [00:27:47] And it's important for people to understand what happens and the trauma that children and families go through, through this process.

Tricia: [00:27:56] And Amber, as you're telling that story, like, it's just bringing me back. It's so strange because it's so similar. There was a family that clearly had been doing this longer than us. The man who was incarcerated, it was his wife and their three daughters and then his parents were visiting. And we were leaving and I was balling like, couldn't breathe, you know. And she said to me, "It gets better. It's really hard at first, but it gets better. You won't cry every time you leave." 

But I remember her looking at me with such compassion and thinking: Look where we are. Look where we are. We're in a prison. We're in a prison with people that other people hate. And all that I have ever felt from other families is this feeling of like, we're going to be okay, and we're in this together, and compassion. 

It is horrible, but there's those moments where, and I'm sure this happened for you too, throughout your process. There's these moments where you're like, there's good people in this world. And even in the worst places, the places that nobody ever wants to go, there are good people. And I've realized that. That's something that's been really life changing for me. 

This was an instance of that. I wanted my husband's wedding ring when he was in County. And it was in property and I couldn't get it out, couldn't get it out, couldn't get it out. And I was moving. We're leaving to go to Washington. And no one would listen to me. No one would give -  it took weeks. 

So, finally I went there and I just prayed. I was like, "You know what, God, please just let me get this ring back. I just want to have his wedding ring." And I went to the property guy. I said, "I really need to get my husband's wedding ring. It's in property." And he was a young CEO and he was like, "Okay, hold on a second." And he comes back with the ring. And this had been weeks and weeks and he was like, "Here you go." He's like, you know, "Keep it close." 

And so it's all these little moments in between the horror, that you're reminded of humanity. And that's why I'm so glad you guys are doing this podcast because I tell people: Imagine one day that you wake up and your spouse or the person you love most in this world is just gone. Gone.  No matter how they're gone or how you lost them, it leads you in a state of disrepair. 

And so, you know, the COVID has been awful as a matter of fact, because we haven't seen Adam since March.

Jason: [00:30:14] Today is September 12th, just for reference.

Tricia: [00:30:17] Yes. 

And Jason, you were saying like, about Adam. When we were dating, all he ever wanted was children. That's it. He just wanted to be a father. It was like the number one thing in his life. Adam lived for his family to the point where like work would go by the wayside. Like you said, like, I know attorneys that work like 15 hour days. Adam was like, "I'm not going to do that because I want to see my kids."

So when he sees them, he just, he's a hugger and a kisser. Like, he's an affectionate dad. He's not like a handshake kind of guy. He just picks them up and like squeezes the life out of them, you know. And they're like, dad, I can't breathe. Stop squeezing me. 

But, um, it's the light in his life. Even when we're there, and at the time Louise was a baby, you know. She was a baby baby. Like, everything that they do is okay, because he only has this little, tiny bit of time to be their dad. And so, all it is is laughs and happy and like, if we spill something, you know, we pick it up. 

And the best part was the second time we visited. So, we had to drive six and a half hours to visit Adam the first time. So, the first day they were there, Louise, the baby was like kind of standoffish because she doesn't even know who this person is. I mean, she was four months old when he was take,  when he was arrested. I say taken, but that's my own vernacular that makes me feel better. 

So the second day Adam and the boys were going to go to the canteen to like get snacks and she put her arms up and wanted him to pick her up. And you know, you worry, like she doesn't know who he is, you know. This is a foreign person to her. But she knows it's her dad. Like, he delivered her you know. There's no denying that.

And I saw his face like, Oh my God, my daughter who really has no clue who I am, like wants me to pick her up and take her. And now of course, like every time the phone rings, she's like "Daddy. Is it Daddy?" And that's the other thing, even through all this. He's still their dad. They talk every single day. 

I got to a point where like, I didn't feel angry anymore. No matter what's happened to us, my husband and I still love each other and our kids still have their mom and dad. And I said, it's kind of like the end of Mrs. Doubtfire, you know. Where she is saying "Families come in all different shapes and sizes. Some have two mommies. Some have an aunt and an uncle." Our family is different and it looks different than other families, but the love is there and that's all that really matters. And so my kids know.

Jason: [00:32:43] When is he scheduled to come home?

Tricia: [00:32:45] So he got 10 years. This was Adam's first offense. First time being arrested. First charge. So, we were shocked at 10 years. 

It was the same judge. He felt like he got slighted in my father-in-law's case, because my father-in-law's defense attorney kind of got him off kind of easy because of a mistake the prosecution made. And so, they weren't going to let that happen again. 

So he got 10 years. I believe he has to serve eight and a half. So, I think that's December 2025. But hopefully he'll get work release. Hopefully he'll get that. A lot of guys wait for a really long time. You're supposed to be eligible in Florida, 18 months out from the end of your sentence. But guys who have like six weeks left still haven't gotten their work release, so.

Jason: [00:33:32] So, fast forward to 2025. What do you expect life to be like?

Tricia: [00:33:38] Honestly, I don't think about it. When you're living this life, you take it day by day. And I mean, I can take it week by week. Month by month. But I live one day at a time. I can't even think that far ahead. You know, it's been over three years now and I thought it's gonna take forever. I really can't even think about that. I mean, it'll be wonderful, but it's an abstract concept to me. 

I try to live every day as it comes and concentrate on being really honest with my husband. You know, for a long time, I got angry with him and I would yell at him on the phone and I would scream at him, "Why did you do this to us? Why did you do this to us? You ruined our children's lives." You know. 

So getting out of that anger; getting into a place of like understanding and peace with where we are. But if I were to look forward, um, we have a story to tell. And I hope we'll have a marriage that survived something like this and came out on the other side to tell people: when you love someone, if you really love someone, you don't have to walk away. Which a lot of people told me, "You know, you can leave. You can leave." Yes. I'm well aware of that. I'm not chained to my husband. I know I can walk away. I don't want to walk away.

Jason: [00:34:54] My ex wife had people that were close to her; a couple of people whose husbands had gone to prison for similar crimes as your husband.

Tricia: [00:35:04] Okay.

Jason: [00:35:06] One of them in particular said, "You're stupid if you stay with him."

Tricia: [00:35:09] Yeah.

Jason: [00:35:10] Right. And she didn't, you know. But that was a joint decision. 

There's a lot of pressure. I saw it. I witnessed that pressure that came fast, hard, furious. Like, you got to cut this, you got to end this. And you're talking about years of marriage. 

What's amazing is that you talked about one of the contributing factors was this sense of fear that you might leave at some point. And that's why he wanted to make sure he was extra good at providing, you know. So, if you stay around when there's nothing, as you rebuild, that foundation becomes that much stronger.

Tricia: [00:35:44] Absolutely.

Jason: [00:35:46] It's hard to see right now, but down the road, things can be better than they would have been on the initial path.

Tricia: [00:35:51] Well, and you're right, Jason. 

Something that I just feel is important to add. We've had four children had been married 11 years. I could have left. Um, there's nobody else in the world that I ever want to be married to. Even in the situation we're in. 

And you're right, going through this and surviving this, there's literally nothing.

I mean, we lost a child too.

Jason: [00:36:14] So sorry.

Tricia: [00:36:14] Before Adam got arrested, the worst thing that ever happened to us was, we were pregnant with our third and we went to our 20 week ultrasound to find out the gender and she was dead. So, I was halfway through a pregnancy. 

If we can make it through these two things, really there's nothing that could come at us that we couldn't handle.

We've got a lot of time left. I can't predict the future, but I know that I'm not going anywhere. And that I love our family and our children, and I know how much he does. And that will be okay. And I have faith in that, that we will be okay, and that someday this will be over. 

That's what I tell myself a lot too. "Someday this is going to be over." In the big scheme of things, if you marry someone and plan to spend your whole life, eight and a half years, not like a huge deal. It's not the end of the world. We can do that.

Jason: [00:37:06] Tricia, let me tell you something. It's never over.

Tricia: [00:37:11] You're right. It is never over. The incarceration ends.

Jason: [00:37:15] However, the bad part of it will be over. 

Tricia: [00:37:19] Yeah.

Jason: [00:37:20] So, it becomes part of who you are. It becomes part of your family's fabric. It's part of your story. 

And when you tell the story, that contrast between the people who you thought were your friends and then the people you found in the strangest places, who have become like lifelong friends.

Tricia: [00:37:37] Yeah.

Jason: [00:37:37] You know, I think your life can be enriched.

Tricia: [00:37:39] Yeah.

Amber: [00:37:41] I really want to highlight, really the resilience, right? The resilience...

Tricia: [00:37:46] Yes.

Amber: [00:37:47] ...of families that experience anything having to do with the criminal legal system. And several points that you made in terms of being married for a significant amount of time when this happened. Because there is significant pressure, particularly for women. 

Tricia: [00:38:08] Yes.

Amber: [00:38:09] Because people say, "Well, this is your choice." You're complicit because you're making the choice to stay with this person who is now the other, right? 

Tricia: [00:38:22] Yes.

Amber: [00:38:23] This is now the other type of person. This is a criminal. This is somebody that we can cancel and throw away. But it's important to understand that this is not something that you just say, "You know what, that's it." People just don't understand how that really works in real life. 

Tricia: [00:38:43] Right.

Amber: [00:38:44] In concept, everybody woulda-coulda-shoulda if they were in the situation, but they don't understand what those choices look like. So, I'm very glad that you highlighted it.

Again, kind of to Jason's point. The people that you meet and the people who you connect with and the relationships that you find - because you wade through. Hey, I thought this person meant something to me, or I meant something to them, but when the going gets rough, you really find out who it is that you can connect with. 

And the sheer resilience of families is amazing. And showing that hope for our listeners, I think is really important, because the day-by-day is important. Figure out what you have to do today: how you're going to get through, how you're going to connect with other people, how you're going to show kindness. 

And that's really important. So, thank you so much for highlighting that.

Tricia: [00:39:44] You hit the nail on the head. You're married to this person that is an other and this pressure to leave. For me, if we abandoned every loved one that made a mistake, what would that look like for family? For love? For marriage? 

People make mistakes. This just happened to be a really big mistake that he got in trouble for.

Jason: [00:40:07] When you peel back and you look at drivers for what led to his actions: he had this head trauma, he had this addiction to these drugs, you had lost a child, there's tremendous amount of stress. 

Tricia: [00:40:20] Yeah.

Jason: [00:40:21] All these things led to an outcome...

Tricia: [00:40:24] Yes.

Jason: [00:40:24] ...that, once you face all those things and you address them, you lessen the chance of something bad happening again. 

Tricia: [00:40:32] Absolutely.

Jason: [00:40:33] He's already gone through that. So, what are you going to do? Leave him and go to another man who hasn't dealt with his issues? To me is like, you want people who have been through it. Who have come out the other side and are still breathing and who say, "You know what? That was awful."

Tricia: [00:40:50] It's so true. And my husband has not only dealt with his issues, but talk about really gone through the wringer. I mean, this person withdrawed from a decade of prescription pain pill addiction. And he took a long acting - I'm not going to name it - but not a short acting opioids. A long acting opioid, which leaves you in withdrawal for months.

And not only did he do that, but Adam really, truly worked on himself, especially in County. Because County really offered a lot of programs, as awful as it was, they offered a lot of programs. 

Like, Adam tells me all the time, "All I do is think." What else do you do but think? 

And so, it's true. We've really worked through a lot of this together and walking away now, not only would I not do it because I love him more than life, but he's put in a lot of work to make sure that he has healed those wounds.

Jason: [00:41:43] We're gonna start wrapping up, but let me ask you this before we do.

Tricia: [00:41:47] Okay.

Jason: [00:41:47] Is there anything you want to make sure that you capture that you haven't and is there anything you'd like to plug? You have a cause that you want to talk about? Do you have anything that you want to say to the legislators in Florida?

Anything that you want. This is your moment to give your plug.

Tricia: [00:42:02] There's a lot of reform that needs to be done in Florida. We're kind of like the archaic dinosaur state, as far as criminal justice reform goes. 

I think sentencing reform is one of the biggest issues in our country today that people are really kind of starting to like look at. And I think that sentencing reform is something that is not only a human aspect. It would reform our entire system because long sentences don't equal rehabilitation. The longer you're in prison, the higher the likelihood for recidivism. 

So, I really want the Florida legislature to understand that we're not asking for like, you know, "Oh, just take away everything and just pay some fines." But sentencing reform is really important and we're ruining decades of people's lives for really no reason. Because there's nothing positive that comes out of it. 

Our system is revenge based, not justice based. We do things out of revenge. And until we flip that and stop sentencing people because we want revenge, we're going to live in a really sad, backwards place.

And there needs to be more resources for people leaving prison; for people that are coming out; for people that didn't get any on the job training while in prison, because while they tout all these programs in prison, none of them really exist. 

So ,that's my big two things sentencing and really helping people when they come home.

Amber: [00:43:23] I appreciate those, those two points that you make, because I think they're really important. 

I think that when we talk about sentencing reform, we need to talk about sentencing reform in terms of outcomes and evidence. Because a lot of our sentences are just arbitrary. Like you said, they're revenge based. They're not based in this is, you know, the amount of time that somebody needs, or these are the outcomes that we've seen from it. 

But I think it's really, really important when we talk about that to talk about it for everyone and not compare crimes. And also we should not be calling out, "Okay, we need harsher sentences because that wasn't fair that they got less." We hear this a lot, right? "Well, this person got off light." Recalling judges because they didn't give a harsh enough sentence and things like that happen quite frequently, right. 

We should be calling for humanity all the way around. And when we're talking about accountability, we're talking about accountability that leads to healing. 

Tricia: [00:44:36] Yes.

Amber: [00:44:37] Not accountability that is revenge based. 

Again, thank you so much for your willingness to share. Everything that you do. I think it's important that people understand the aspects, especially when it comes to families. I really wish you all the best. I know it is a day by day thing. You are very inspirational in the resilience that you have and showing hope for those who may be going through it.

When you take that day by day approach, you have that love and that stain power, things are gonna be okay and you're gonna be okay.

Tricia: [00:45:12] Thank you so much, Amber.

 You know, you inspire me. You show me the way that this is going to be okay, that we're going to make it through, and that we can do this. 

If I wouldn't have found you it'd be a lot different. You helped me every day with the things you say and what you do. And you're a living example of how it can be.

So, thank you.

Amber: [00:45:32] I really appreciate that. That makes me very happy.

Jason: [00:45:36] Good job, Tricia, you got Amber crying.

Amber: [00:45:38] Which I do a lot.

Jason: [00:45:40] Thank you for being here, Tricia. Thank you for sharing. And hopefully people listen and really take it to heart and you're able to change some opinions out there.

Tricia: [00:45:51] Thank you so much, Jason.

Jason: [00:45:52] And maybe some of the people who gave you that hard time will listen because we want them to become better people too.

So, thank you for being here.

Tricia: [00:46:02] Thank you for having me. Thank you so much. I really appreciate it.

Jason: [00:46:06] Until next time, Amber.

Amber: [00:46:07] We'll see you next time.

Outro: [00:46:18] You've been listening to Amplified Voices; a podcast, lifting the experiences of people and families impacted by the criminal legal system. 

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