Child Protective Services, police and prosecutors run amok

Do you recall that, a couple of months ago, I wrote a lengthy post about the fact that the apparently benign sounding Child Protective Services has become a vicious scourge assaulting good parents because they’re easy targets? If you don’t recall that post, I recommend that you read it either before or after you read this news story about a good, middle-class Chicago Mom who did nothing wrong by any normal standards, and who certainly didn’t do anything tons of us haven’t ourselves done because we know it’s not the wrong thing, but who is nevertheless being dragged through the criminal justice system, with all the horrible threats that entails:

Treffly Coyne was out of her car for just minutes and no more than 10 yards away.

But that was long and far enough to land her in court after a police officer spotted her sleeping 2-year-old daughter alone in the vehicle; Coyne had taken her two older daughters to pour $8.29 in coins into a Salvation Army kettle.

Minutes later, she was under arrest — the focus of both a police investigation and a probe by the state’s child welfare agency. Now the case that has become an Internet flash point for people who either blast police for overstepping their authority or Coyne for putting a child in danger.

The 36-year-old suburban mother is preparing to go on trial Thursday on misdemeanor charges of child endangerment and obstructing a peace officer. If convicted, she could be sentenced to a year in jail and fined $2,500, even though child welfare workers found no credible evidence of abuse or neglect.

The hysterics who support her prosecution are waffling on about the fact that there are kids who are abandoned in cars and who are kidnapped or die as a result. The problem with that kind of “logic,” if you can dignify such nonsense with that term, is that the facts of this case show that the child was not abandoned and quite manifestly was not at risk:

On Dec. 8 Coyne decided to drive to Wal-Mart in the Chicago suburb of Crestwood so her children and a young friend could donate the coins they’d collected at her husband’s office.

Even as she buckled 2-year-old Phoebe into the car, the girl was asleep. When Coyne arrived at the store, she found a spot to park in a loading zone, right behind someone tying a Christmas tree onto a car.

“It’s sleeting out, it’s not pleasant, I don’t want to disturb her, wake her up,” Coyne said this week. “It was safer to leave her in the safety and warmth of an alarmed car than take her.”

So Coyne switched on the emergency flashers, locked the car, activated the alarm and walked the other children to the bell ringer.

She snapped a few pictures of the girls donating money and headed back to the car. But a community service officer blocked her way.

“She was on a tirade, she was yelling at me,” Coyne said. The officer, Coyne said, didn’t want to hear about how close Coyne was, how she never set foot inside the store and was just there to let the kids donate money, or how she could always see her car.

Coyne telephoned her husband, Tim Janecyk, who advised her not to say anything else to police until he arrived. So Coyne declined to talk further, refusing even to tell police her child’s name.

When Janecyk pulled up, his wife already was handcuffed, sitting in a patrol car.

Crestwood Police Chief Timothy Sulikowski declined to comment about the case. But he did not dispute the contention that Coyne parked nearby or was away from her car for just a few minutes.

He did, however, suggest Coyne put her child at risk.

“A minute or two, that’s when things can happen,” he said.

These self-righteous, self-serving busy-bodies are evil, super-duper idiots who are using vague ideas about societally achievable perfection to prosecute and persecute the good guys. I’ve talked before about the ridiculous trend of “legislating to the fringe,” by which I mean enacting far-reaching legislation that hampers people and business severely, and that is enacted merely because of a story about something bad that happened to (or could maybe have happened to) a handful of people.

The Coyne case is a perfect example of arresting and prosecuting to the fringe: people with the power of the government behind them have taken some extreme and unrealistic scenarios of bad behavior and applied them to a manifestly different situation. This is the gross tyranny of petty bureaucrats and power-mad prosecutors, wannabe Spitzers in the making. I am, as you might have guessed by now, disgusted, angered and, as a good and loving parent, very, very afraid.