Common sense and child abuse

Editorial

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price arial,sans-serif; font-size: 12pt;”>By Leo G. Alvarez

Intelligence, a University degree and a Title are no guarantee of common sense.

Alicia Quinney of Sherwood, Oregon left her 1 year old son, Jacob, in the care of a babysitter, a family friend, while she went on a date.( www.Katu.com/news/local/parents-seek-justice-turn-to-social-media-in -child-abuse-case)

Arriving home from the she and her date found the babysitter asleep and Jacob crying hysterically.  By morning Jacob had developed bruises on his face and a black eye.  Jacob was rushed to the hospital.

The District Attorney says a final decision has not been made on filing a case.  A police Spokesman says Oregon law makes it difficult to prosecute the case.

The onus lies in a ruling by the Oregon Court of Appeals that a case cannot be prosecuted where the victim cannot speak and where “substantial pain” cannot be proven.  A one year old child, the victim and sole witness, of course, cannot speak. So, we have a ruling by college educated  and experienced legal minds that if no testimony can be given there can be no  prosecution.  Where is the common sense in that ruling?

And, it is obvious, that the Author of the law in the Oregon Legislature gave little thought to the fact that children are also victims of assaults and some may be unable to give verbal testimony.  But, forget that, what about the elected representatives of the Public who voted to pass the law?  And what of the Governor who signed the law?

I don’t suppose the Prosecutor has given any thought to the fact Circumstantial evidence is recognized and accepted in trials.  The circumstantial evidence, which is not direct testimony, is that the child had no injuries prior to being left with the babysitter but, hours later, had developed bruising.  The only person who had custody and responsibility for the child was the babysitter,  The mother, on discovering the bruising and black eye, took the child to the hospital which are not the actions of a guilty person.  Therefore a reasonable Juror can conclude that the babysitter is the culprit. 

The mother took the child to the hospital, certainly not the actions of someone trying to hide evidence of a crime.  A guilty mother would have let time take its course and let the bruising heal.

This is clear cut evidence that the Justice System is Just A System when it comes to protecting children.  Children are sometimes re-victimized when a law mentions the word child.  Take for instance the laws regarding incest which is no more than rape. 

Penalties for incest in some States are bargained down to misdemeanors if the Perp admits guilt.  The result is mandatory counseling, probation, but no registration as a sex offender, AND, the child and its molester can remain living in the same house.  Were it prosecuted as a rape there would be prison time and lifetime registration as a sex offender.

The prosecution of Jacob’s assault may not be as impossible as it has been made out to be.  What it boils down to is the prosecutorial maxim that without a confession there can be no conviction.  The reasoning:  once tried, the defendant cannot be re-tried.

This is a no-brainer slam-dunk case if common sense is used.  A person was obviously assaulted (treat the child as a “person”, not a child) and the case can be prosecuted.

I say, let the Jury decide on the guilt, not the Prosecutor.

Jacob

Leo Alvarez retired from Law Enforcement after 33 years and is the Co-founder, with his wife Jane, of The Children’s Wall of Tears™ www.thecwot.org

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