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Norwalk Judge Continues 'Homeless Mom' Case

NORWALK, Conn. – The attorney for "homeless mom" Tanya McDowell says he is furious over the attitude of prosecutors. McDowell, who is facing drug charges and "theft of education" charges, appeared in Norwalk Superior Court Wednesday with her attorney, Darnell Crosland.

Much of the proceedings before Judge Bruce Hudock centered on Crosland's request to see videos and hear recordings made during the undercover investigation that resulted in McDowell's arrest on numerous drug charges. Crosland and Assistant State's Attorney Tiffany Lockshier met with Hudock at the bench before the morning's session began, and Hudock could be heard telling Crosland to take a deep breath.

McDowell is being held at the York Correctional Institute in Niantic on $210,000 bond on drug charges levied in June. She is also being prosecuted for larceny for enrolling her son in kindergarten at Brookside Elementary School last year using the address of her son's babysitter. McDowell maintains she was homeless at the time, although she did not inform school administrators. The case attracted national attention and many supporters, none of whom were in court Wednesday to see McDowell in handcuffs as she faced Hudock again.

Crosland wanted access to the videos and recordings because a police report mentions that the surveillance equipment failed during one alleged drug buy. He quoted prosecutor Suzanne Vieux as saying during a pretrial conference Wednesday morning, "I'll shoot you a holler" when the video was available. Crosland said the remark was disrespectful.

The case was continued to Aug. 24. Vieux said she would get Crosland the recordings before then.

McDowell's now 6-year-old son is being looked after by his grandmother in Bridgeport and is scheduled to attend school there in the fall. Crosland wants McDowell's bond reduced to $50,000 so she can "deal with her child as he starts school." "I don't think she's a flight risk," he said. "She's been here forever."

Crosland said he has heard that the child is having nightmares and argues that the process, as it stands, is creating two delinquents, not one.

Crosland also wants a change of venue. He said Vieux, the stepdaughter of Mayor Richard Moccia, has emotional reasons for seeking a conviction in the larceny case. "I think it's impossible for her not to know how he feels [about the charges]," he said. Vieux refused to comment.

While there have been no demonstrations in support of McDowell in Norwalk since her arrest on drug charges, there will be one in Hartford Thursday. Members of Socialist Action are calling McDowell "the New Jim Crow" and point out that unemployment rates are twice as high for minorities as they are for whites. Crosland plans to speak at the rally, to be held at 7:30 p.m. at La Paloma Sabanera, located at 405 Capital Ave.

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