IEP Answers - Susan E. Williams

Susan E. Williams
The Law Office of Susan E. Williams
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Liz Weaver:          Hello and welcome to IEP answers. I'm Liz weaver of learning success and I'll be your host for this exciting video series. IUP answer is an initiative to help you understand individualized education plans, otherwise known as IEP and this video series you will hear from educational professionals and parents alike giving you a well-rounded perspective from a variety of viewpoints. This information will help you determine if an IEP is needed at all, and if so, how to work with the school to design an IEP that is scaffolding to building a better student rather than a crutch for them to lean on. In today's video, we have Susan Ie Williams. Susan is a South Carolina criminal defense lawyer and handles cases involving IEP. In her video, she's going to tell us about things to look out for if your child has an IEP and is facing a criminal charge.

Susan Williams:          Is it a school resource officer, whoever it is that's interrogating your child? Do they know that the IEP is something that's applicable for this child? And if so, do they follow the IEP Procedure, the procedures that are in place for this plan. So that's going to be an important factor. I'm just from the very start of this case. And um, you wanna make sure that the person who's dealing with your child knows about this plan because it can affect how your child is comprehending what's going on. Um, and if your child ends up getting charged with something, it is very important that you as a parent or Guardian, get that child's mental health records to the proper folks. I would recommend sending them to the child's lawyers so that the child's lawyer can look through, review those notes and them on to the proper folks, whether it be a department of juvenile justice or the prosecutor.

Susan Williams:          But I would let your attorney go through those records first so that the attorney can determine what needs to be distributed. And, you will definitely be speeding up the process by signing for these records. And because they're HIPAA rules that prevent even, well, they don't prevent them, but they, they put up a lot of red tape for even lawyers. So you would be doing everyone a favor to allow the attorney access to these mental health records. So then, going back to the interrogation, let's talk about the Miranda rule here. So if your child is making statements, we want to look at whether or not your child understood the waving of their rights. Did your child understand that what they were being questioned about could later be used against them if they made a confession, do they know that this would be used in court?

Susan Williams:          Did they know that they have the right to an attorney? A lot of times people will say, well, I didn't know who my attorney was going to be. And the thing about Miranda is that you don't have to name an attorney. You just want to say, Hey, I want to stop questioning. I need an attorney. And all that stuff can be sorted out later on. But it should stop questioning. And if your child doesn't understand that and they've given a confession or they've said things that are against their best interest, then that's something that can make or break the case. Because, um, during pretrial motions and attorney advocating for your child may be able to get those statements suppressed during, through a suppression hearing. And so, you know, the IEP certainly comes into play here because we would be looking at whether the child understood their Miranda, their warnings.

Susan Williams:          So going on now to the arrest, in South Carolina, we have a pickup order. Your child or your child may not, you may not be Sania pickup order because your child may remain detained. But, when I'm looking at defending folks who have IEP, I always look at the child have the requisite intent. An evaluation may be in order, a competency evaluation, maybe something that an attorney can do before the detention hearing or the adjudication hearing goes forward. If you're, if the attorney has questions about the child's competency, whether they had the way of knowing right and wrong, and there are many other things to this an attorney should add an abundance of caution. Do you get this type of examination or evaluation done? So if there are co-defendants that were arrested for the same thing at the same time when your child was arrested, what is going on with their case or are they being treated the exact same way that your child is with an IEP. And you know, a lot of times I'll separate my defendant if I can from the co-defendants so that I can see what is going on, what happened, how are they synced. And uh, you know what, what happened with their case and detention hearing is when your child will be in court with their lawyer, judge, partner, juvenile justice, the prosecutor and you as parents or guardians will also be allowed to be present. And the judge may hear from you on, on what you think should be the best outcome on this case. And the judge will hear from the attorney, the judge may hear from my client, from DJJ, from the solicitor's office. So a lot of players, come, come in here to this detention hearing. And one of the things I want to go over or zero-tolerance policies that those are things that are put in place. Certain certain courts have them, I'm sorry, certain solicitor's office has them or prosecutor's offices. Um, one of the counties where I prosecute, they have a zero-tolerance policy for weapons on school grounds and that means that they will not dismiss this case is they will not recommend anything other than a 45 day detained evaluation.

Susan Williams:          So it will be my job to convince the court otherwise and use your child's IEP as a mitigating factor if those are applicable. I personally go over the Co Colona Kuti with my client so that they understand what is going to be happening. If I get a feel for that, the child doesn't understand what's going on, then I will go over the [inaudible] with them, uh, just before court so they don't forget, I don't go over the Co cola luckily with all of my clients, but I do find that they're more comfortable with knowing, you know, what is the judge going to ask me? How should I present myself in court? And I always give a handout to my clients and the children, uh, so that they, the clients and their parents rather so that they know like what to expect. You know, nonverbal answers are not gonna work because we have a court reporter, you know, stand up when addressing the court.

Susan Williams:          Those things are very important in presenting in court. So then, you know, just looking at and sentencing in placement, if your child is going to be detained, then we want to look at whether this place that they're going to is going to be able to meet the Prereq, the prerequisites of the IEP. Ideally, the placement would be consistent with the child's IEP and special needs. Of course. You know, we don't always have that choice, but that's something to take into consideration. Spaces are limited in places and you know, unfortunately, we don't, we don't always have the ability to pick out where your child is going, but that's something that should always be in the back of your mind. Finally, an IEP should be reviewed at least once a year. Doesn't matter where your child is, whether they are incarcerated, whether they're not incarcerated, um, where they are. It doesn't matter. Parents should be involved with these IEP and incarceration or placement. Boys or girls home or DJJ facility, the department of juvenile justice facilities should not have any. They should not, you know, stop parents from doing this.

Liz Weaver:          Thanks, Susan. Those are all really important tips. This video has been part of the IEP answers initiative and initiative to educate parents about IEP IEPs from a variety of viewpoints. We've created this because this is an important subject that so many parents need to understand. Please make sure to share the video and when you do use the Hashtag IEP answers, we would love to find you on social media. If you would like to be a part of IEP answer's initiative and share your story or your expertise on this subject, please get in touch with us. You can use the contact form and put IEP answers in the subject line. Thank you for taking the time to watch and taking the time to share in case no one else has told you today. You are as an amazing parent, I appreciate you for showing up and doing the work it takes to embrace your child's brilliance and help unleash their potential. I am Liz weaver from learning success, and we'll see you in tomorrow's video.


Susan E. Williams, SC Criminal Defense Lawyer handles cases involving IEP’s


Susan E. Williams graduated from the University of South Carolina, cum laude with a BS in Criminal Justice in 1998.  In 2002, she graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law.  Susan began a career as an assistant state prosecutor in Dorchester County, SC in 2005.  Around 2009, she opened her own firm and has been managing it ever since.  The Law Office of Susan E. Williams focuses on criminal defense cases.