Child abuse charges in a New Mexico compound case have been dismissed on a technicality. The District Attorney's office failed to obtain a preliminary hearing within ten days; therefore, “Judge Emilio Chavez said that he had no choice but to release the three defendants,” who were all being held on multiple counts of child abuse. A cache of weapons was found on the compound, along with several underground tunnels and 11 children in the care of the defendants, including the body of a 3-year-old who was the son of one of the defendants. A separate judge later ordered that all charges be dropped against the remaining two defendants. However, as soon as the charges were dropped they were immediately charged again with child abuse resulting in death.
Child Endangerment or Mistreatment in Washington State
In Washington, there are several things that may be considered child endangerment. The state criminalized many of these activities as “abandonment” or “mistreatment” but these are by no means exhaustive and several laws on child abuse are scattered throughout the Washington Code. Let us take a look at the criminal mistreatment of a child as it might apply to the story above. It is important to know that there are four degrees of penalty pertaining to the criminal mistreatment of a child. First degree, of course, being most severe. So, what does Washington law tell us about the criminal mistreatment of a child in the first degree? Criminal mistreatment in the first degree takes place when one of the following people are involved.
- “A parent of a child,
- the person entrusted with the physical custody of a child or dependent person,
- a person who has assumed the responsibility to provide to a dependent person the basic necessities of life, or
- a person employed to provide to the child or dependent person the basic necessities of life.”
Any of the above listed “is guilty of criminal mistreatment in the first degree if he or she with criminal negligence causes great bodily harm to a child or dependent person by withholding any of the basic necessities of life.” The criminal mistreatment of a child in the first degree is a class B felony.
Contact the Law Offices of Steve Karimi Today
Washington holds a number of adults responsible when it comes to the welfare of children, not just the parents. Moreover, Washington criminalizes many activities when children are involved. In fact, many activities can have elevated penalties if committed upon or in the presence of a child. For this reason, if you or someone that you love has been charged with the criminal mistreatment of a child or any other criminal offense that may be elevated due to the involvement of child, you must contact the Law Offices of Steve Karimi today. Steve Karimi is a former prosecutor for King County who uses his knowledge and insight into prosecution strategies to protect your rights in criminal court.