It's a heart-breaking reality that already has happened 22 times nationwide in this year of record-breaking heat: A child left in a hot automobile dies of heatstroke.
Have you seen this in your jurisdiction? How do you prosecute it?
JB - didn't you have a case in Williamson County last year? I think the guy was indicted for endangering and criminally negligent homicide. Personally, I think he should have been shot, but I don't know the facts of the case, and it could have been just a horrible accident. Not criticising in the least.
For the person who does more than leave the kid for a minute or two - I mean the ones that really don't care and their kid gets baked? Felony murder. Manslaughter at least.
This just strengthens my argument that you ought to have a license to reproduce.............
We haven't dealt with it in Collin County that I'm aware of. I heard of Dallas County charging an injury to a child in a similar situation, but I don't know any details about the case.
The Court of Criminal Appeals has acknowledged that leaving a child in a hot car will qualify for a deadly weapon finding for the car. Rice v. State, 333 S.W.3d 140, 145 (Tex. Crim. App. 2011).
My recollection of a number of these from Dallas and Collin County is that the Grand Jury will not always indict. I can remember at least two where parents on "autopilot" cruised right on by the day care and went into their work places, leaving babies strapped into car seats--both no billed. Such tragedies. I remember a different case that ended up as a plea to negligent homicide where the family unloaded other kids but left the special-needs-child strapped in. These cases seem different to me, however, from those cases involving day care personnel transporting children. Those seem to result in charges. It seems like an area that would be both worthy of study and have data available to study.
A Travis County grand jury on Thursday declined to indict an Austin father whose 1-year-old daughter died after he left the baby inside his pickup on a hot day in May.
Last year, a Williamson County grand jury indicted Kesen Hu, the father of an 18-month-old boy who died when he was left in a car, on two felony accounts of criminally negligent homicide and endangering a child. Hu pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of endangering a child and was sentenced to two years of probation.
How about, as a starting point, a Pulitzer Prize winning article from the Washington Post?
Denton County indicted one in 2006, but that father had left his kid in the car once before (got him out after a couple of hours when someone told him his kid was in there), about two weeks before the incident when the child died. Don't recall what the actual charge ended up being though, and I don't know what happened to the case.
So, I wonder if the child would still be alive if someone had prosecuted him the first time it happened...
Yeah, but Brody, I would trust your research. I don't know if I'll be able to sleep after reading that article.
[This message was edited by JohnR on 08-19-11 at .]
The child's death in a hot car marks at least the fourth in Texas this year, including cases in Sugar Land, Brazoria and Dallas. Across the country, at least 25 deaths have been recorded, according to Golden Gat Weather Services.
I prosecuted a mother for criminal negligent homicide in 1985 in Sherman Ross' court in Harris County for leaving her child in a car on a hot day in May. She got to doing other things when she got to her destination and remembered the child was in the car about an hour later. Jury convicted her but ask the Judge to give her probation. Ross gave her 1 year unsupervised probation.
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