Most criminal matters are emotional issues for North Dakota defendants and their family members, but some hit harder than others. This may especially be the case when the person accused of a crime is the parent of a child who was hurt, or if the accused is a minor.
A recent case that has made national headlines involves both of the above – an Alabama mother who is facing manslaughter charges and an underage child who has been accused of murder. According to authorities, the mother of a 1-year-old girl left to go to a club late at night with her roommate. Her roommate’s five children, all between the ages of two and eight, were left alone in the home with the other woman’s daughter. While the women were gone, the baby began crying and wouldn’t stop. The 8-year-old boy in charge of watching the children allegedly lost his patience and beat the child before putting her in her crib.
Law enforcement said the women did not check on the children when they returned home about 2:00 in the morning. They found the baby unresponsive later in the morning and called authorities about 10:30. The mother of the little girl was arrested, but later freed on bail. The boy accused of murdering the girl was taken into the custody of the Department of Human Resources, along with his siblings.
The mother’s attorney says that ordinarily, manslaughter charges are reserved for those who are reckless or act in the heat of passion, rather than for someone who makes a mistake in judgment. The boy is also the youngest in the city to have ever been charged with murder. The circumstances surrounding this case are certainly tragic. In cases where there are no easy answers, a competent defense is necessary.
Source: CNN, "Alabama police charge 8-year-old with murder in death of 1-year-old," Eliott C. McLaughlin and Ed Payne, Nov. 12, 2015