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A Client Expresses His Gratitude through Artwork

A Maryland Legal Aid client created this beautiful painting of the Eiffel Tower using only Q-tips and cotton balls.

A Maryland Legal Aid client created this beautiful painting of the Eiffel Tower using only Q-tips and cotton balls.

Wicomico County Department of Social Services contacted Maryland Legal Aid’s Lower Eastern Shore office about a middle-aged client with severe autism who had married a woman with four children who evidently believed it would benefit her to marry a United States citizen. The client’s autism was so severe that the client did not understand what was happening during the marriage ceremony. He and the woman never lived together and had virtually no contact after they were married.

The woman also evidently believed that it would benefit her if she obtained a protective order against her husband, and so she filed five separate petitions on behalf of each of her children and herself. When the petitions were served, again because of the severity of his autism, the client did not understand the concept of the petition. Consequently, the client did not appear for the hearing and the protective orders were granted.

Ashley Mariner, staff attorney in Maryland Legal Aid’s Lower Eastern Shore office, represented the client and appealed each protective order. On appeal, each case was dismissed. Ashley also filed a complaint for annulment, which was granted.

When the client met with Ashley over the course of his case, he always noticed items in her office and whether they had been moved, added, or removed. A short time after the case ended, the client brought a painting to Ashley’s office. He had remembered that Ashley had several decorations in her office that referred to Paris and the Eiffel Tower. In appreciation for the assistance that Ashley had provided him, the client painted her a picture of the Eiffel Tower using only Q-tips and cotton balls. C’est magnifique!!