Below is a letter written by a retiring CASA to the Judge who was on her CASA child's case.
Dear Judge Michie,
I am leaving the CASA program after 10 years. I’ll be 74 in April and need to prioritize my activities. Since AAAAA will be 18 next month, I thought this was a good time to pass on the gauntlet to younger and more energetic volunteers.
I want to thank you for being the judge in her case. I’ve worked with several judges in 3rd District but I like your approach best. You’ve been amazingly understanding, positive and kind with AAAAA for a lot of years. When you gave her a ‘reality check’ a few months ago, I silently applauded! AAAAA has been the most difficult case I’ve had…and the longest. She was my first one, ten years ago. I’ve learned to love AAAAA and see her many good qualities. To survive, she’s learned to be a tough young woman but with a tender heart.
For ten years, I’ve sat in your courtroom and listened to you trying to reach AAAAA. You’ve been forgiving and unbelievably patient. You’ve given her many thoughtful, wise and practical words of counsel over the years. I know she respects you and we can only guess what she actually internalizes. But you’ve kept trying. I’ve admired the way you are confident enough to ask others on her team if we had any suggestions or ideas. You’ve tried to think outside the box with her treatment. I was amazed when you traveled down to the State Hospital in Provo to talk to their director and visit with AAAAA. As she’s grown older, you’ve asked her for her thoughts about her future. You’ve challenged her, advised her, encouraged her.
When I think about all the troubled youth we have, I am so grateful for the professional people in our state who genuinely care about them and try to help them...you being one of those people.
Thank you Judge Michie, for the time and thought and energy you put into your judgeship. Our community is the better for having you on the bench.
Below is Judge Michie's response.
Ms. Donna Peterson
You are so kind to have sent me your letter. I rarely get any feedback from those in the courtroom and when I do, it is often not so nice! Your words were so kind and meant more to me than I can express. I must, however, register a bit of a complaint. It has been you that has been remarkable. I sit behind a bench, wearing a robe. You have been in the trenches. Meeting after meeting. Hearing after hearing. Crisis after crisis. Visit after visit. You, Donna, have been the only real, consistent emotional connection she has had for the last ten years, perhaps for her entire life.
I’ve decided, after all of the heartache I have seen come in and out of my doors, that what kids really want, perhaps all they really need, is for someone to consistently and safely love them. That shouldn’t be too hard to arrange for every kid. I am sad we couldn’t get AAAAA to that person. I have learned a great deal from her. I’ve learned a great deal from you. Your compassion and care of AAAAA have truly been one of the most touching things I have witnessed as a judge. To thank you sounds much too shallow and insignificant. What you have done for AAAAA, both in and out of the courtroom, matters. It will matter to her for the rest of her life.
Best wishes to you as you focus on new challenges. I have no doubt you will continue to serve those who need our help.