Archive for Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Father apprehended at Walmart on suspicion of child abuse ordered to take blood test, seeks to represent himself in court

June 19, 2012


A Douglas County judge has ordered a suburban Chicago man who faces charges of child abuse and aggravated child endangerment in Lawrence to take a blood test so that three police officers who helped apprehend him could be inoculated if needed.

Adolfo Gomez Jr., 52, and Deborah M. Gomez, 43, of Northlake, Ill., were arrested last Wednesday in the parking lot of Walmart in west Lawrence after two of their children, ages 5 and 7, were found bound and blindfolded near the family’s vehicle. Lawrence police said Adolfo Gomez initially resisted officers, so they used a Taser to take him into custody.

Chad Sublet, an assistant city attorney, said three officers were exposed to Gomez’s blood during the incident so the city asked District Judge Paula Martin to order Gomez to submit to a blood test under the state’s infectious disease testing statute. The law is aimed at protecting law enforcement, corrections officers and emergency services workers. Gomez earlier had refused to submit to the test.

“We just want to know what cautions the officers need to take,” Sublet said.

Sublet said during the hearing that if Gomez tested positive for Hepatitis B, the officers would need to be inoculated by Tuesday afternoon. Three police officers and two detectives observed the hearing.

Gomez said in court that he saw no reason for the blood test because he had told officers it was possible he had Hepatitis C and that it was impossible he was infected with Hepatitis B. Martin said that was irrelevant and that the officers have the right to know what precautions they need to take.

Sgt. Trent McKinley, a Lawrence police spokesman, said three officers were taken to the hospital per department protocol last Wednesday after Gomez’s arrest outside Walmart, 550 Congressional Drive. He said Gomez did bleed at the scene because prongs of the stun gun do slightly pierce the skin.

“They were checked for potential blood exposure,” McKinley said.

After Gomez said during Tuesday’s hearing that he wanted to represent himself in court, the judge ordered that he undergo an evaluation by a Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center worker.

Gomez criticized his appointed defense attorney, Elbridge Griffy, because he said Griffy used curse words during their initial meeting.

“I don’t feel that I want counsel to represent me based on religious beliefs,” Gomez said.

Griffy said he might have been overzealous in his initial comments to Gomez.

“That wasn’t my intention,” he said.

Griffy said that during the conversation he expressed his own dissatisfaction with the state sentencing guidelines, although he said he refrained from cursing after Gomez became upset.

“You obviously got off on the wrong foot with one another for whatever reason,” Martin said.

Instead of agreeing to have Martin appoint a new attorney, Gomez said he preferred to represent himself in the case.

“I believe I’m competent enough to do that,” he told the judge.

Martin instead delayed the hearing on the attorney issue until next Tuesday because she said she wanted a third party to find that Gomez understood the nature of the charges he faces.

Adolfo and Deborah Gomez are charged with two counts of child abuse each after the two children were found with their hands and feet bound. They also face five charges each of aggravated child endangerment against the two children found bound and their three older children who were in the vehicle, ages 12, 13 and 15. Adolfo Gomez also faces a count of felony obstruction because he’s accused of resisting officers.

Police said the family was traveling from Illinois to Arizona when their Chevrolet Suburban broke down on Interstate 70 and had been in the Walmart parking lot for two days before the incident with police.

Police have said extended family members who saw nationwide media coverage of the event have contacted them about the children, who were taken into protective custody.

A judge conducted a custody hearing Monday, which was closed to the public, and District Attorney Charles Branson said his office does not comment on those hearings.

The parents remain in the Douglas County Jail in lieu of $50,000 bond each.


Hooligan_016 6 years ago

I'm sure that's going to proceed smoothly ...

puddleglum 6 years ago

man who << ALLEGEDLY >> blindfolds and binds his infant children

he hasn't been convicted yet, once the court finds the truth -and if you are correct, I agree with you 100%

BarryHalls 6 years ago

Really? They found him in a parking lot with his kids that just happened to be bound and blindfolded. I would want you on my jury. However, you might be the victim.

Irenaku 6 years ago

Wow. He does not want representation from this particular lawyer because the lawyer used profanity, and that is against this a-hole's religious beliefs? WTH??? Reminds me of a woman I saw on Dr. Phil years ago who had multiple affairs on her husband and children, wound up pregnant with one dude's kid, then pregnant later with another dude's kid and because she was also a compulsive spender that had sunk her family into serious debt, Dr. Phil asked her if she would be willing to look for work. Her response: "It is against our religion for women to work outside of the home". How convenient.

tolawdjk 6 years ago

This has the potential to be some fine, fine drama. Someone que up the Law and Order theme song.

whats_going_on 6 years ago

I'd say "let him represent himself" but I wouldn't wish that upon ANY lawyer or judge. I question the man's ability to put together coherent would be a humorous, yet disturbing, circus.

Russell Fryberger 6 years ago

Between Oprahbama and the Lawrence homeless coalition this guy could come out with a new house and a bunch of government funds.

George_Braziller 6 years ago

Oh, only possible that he has Hep C. My cousin's husband contracted Hep C when he was working as a restaurant manager and eventually had to have a liver transplant.

The doctors said he most likely picked it up when he was clearing a table and came in contact with it from a customer who who accidentally cut himself with a knife. While clearing the table the virus probably found an opening from a cut on Bob's own hand.

"Gomez said in court that he saw no reason for the blood test because he had told officers it was possible he had Hepatitis C and that it was impossible he was infected with Hepatitis B. "

patkindle 6 years ago

this just sounds like the typical pot smoking lawrencian he could get father of the year from the pta i bet he hates to pay taxes, but wants all the benifits the county and city will provide

Tongie_soccer 6 years ago

that is just an asinine comment - the PTA is a hard working group that educates parents on how to be active in their children's education and fights for appropriate funding for public education...

Also - perhaps you missed the part where he was from Chicago...not Lawrence.

ljwhirled 6 years ago

Real winner.

Wonder how much we are going to have to shell out to incarcerate his children when they turn 18?

patkindle 6 years ago

heck yes , i noticed he was from chicago, the old home of our pot smoking nobel prize winner sounds like two peas in a pod didnt mean to chap your fanny about the pta you are kind of ouchy

George_Braziller 6 years ago

What the hell are you talking about?

Robert Wells 6 years ago

Did you say POT????

I am not sure that there is a lot of people at Walmart that shouldn't be Tasered and arrested.

Bob Forer 6 years ago

In Faretta vs. California, the U.S. States Supreme Court ruled that a defendant had a constitutional right to self-representation.

In his dissenting opinion, Justice Harry Blackmun concluded:

"If there is any truth to the old proverb 'one who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client,' the Court by its opinion today now bestows a constitutional right on one to make a fool of himself."

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