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Birmingham Bar Association Bulletin Fall 2016

Mediation Using Mediation Skills to Assist Victims of Crime The Crime On March 16, 2013, Aundra Boykins shot and killed his 2-year old nephew Nazario. He also shot his sister, Nazario’s mother, Miranda, six times. Miraculously, she survived. The Phone Call “Hello, Ms. Lane1 my name is Cassandra Adams. I’ve been asked by the defense counsel for your son, Aundra Boykins, to reach out to you. My purpose is to be available to you and your family, to offer support for whatever you may need during this legal process. Let me stop and offer my condolences on the loss of your grandson.” “Um-huh,” replied Ms. Lane. “I’m available to answer any questions you might have,” I continued. “I don’t have any d--- questions and don’t ask me any d--- questions,” Ms. Lane yelled. “Ma’am, I don’t mean to upset you and I’m not going to ask you a bunch of questions,” I said. “GOOD,” she shouted. “No let me correct myself, there’s one question I want to ask you,” I interjected quickly. “WHAT IS THAT,” Ms. Lane yelled. I knew I was skating on very thin ice and I opened my mouth and I couldn’t believe what came out. Cassandra W. Adams “Ms. Lane, how do you make a good pan of cornbread?” Silence…then a giggle…then laughter from both of us. “What ya cooking?” She said, “Girl, something I don’t need…neck bones!!” As she and I laughed and talked about cooking meals for our family, Ms. Lane then made a request. “Cassandra, there is one thing you can help me with.” “What’s that, Ms. Lane?” “You can help me get out of this place before the anniversary of my grandbaby’s death.” “Oh, ok, I can do that, but wait a minute Ms. Lane, what place are you talking about? Are you still living where the shooting happened?” The sound of her answer is something I will never forget, “Yes.” Admittedly, I have never in all my life been told something so horrific. I couldn’t wrap my mind around the multiple failures that must have occurred that would leave the victims of a crime to live in what I immediately characterized a tomb. Rather than saddle up my “high horse,” I chose to embrace “The Call ” by responding, “Yes ma’am, I will help you with that.” This was my initial victim outreach contact with the Boykin/Lane family in my role of Victim Outreach Specialist. Little did I know that this was the beginning of a life changing journey. The Call I had no idea that my professional training would be called to task in such an intense manner. In 2009, I was trained as a Victim Outreach Specialist (VOS) and since that time, I’ve been called in on cases involving intra-family victims and cases involving diverse communities. However, this case struck me in a deep and significant way. It made me focus on what is happening in my home community. I found that giving a ride to a victim looking for a place to live was a privilege, because I and members of my family lived without transportation for many years. I realized that stopping by the supermarket so that the victim could grocery shop was not an imposition on my time. I learned that deep love between siblings can exist, even in the face of horrific trauma. I was moved to a deeper life calling – to be truly neutral, not only in the intellectual space, but also in the spiritual space. I learned to walk the truth of Micah 6:8 – I learned what was good and what was required of me. I learned how to act justly, how to love mercy and how to walk humbly with my God. For all that I learned, I am forever indebted to the Lane/Boykin family for allowing me to serve them. Victim Outreach Services– The Work Victim Outreach Services is a victim centered process, initiated by the defense counsel in a criminal case. The VOS is a 30 Birmingham Bar Association


Birmingham Bar Association Bulletin Fall 2016
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