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UPDATE: Manslaughter Charges Filed Against Father who left child in car

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Horse with no Name Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 11:14 AM
Original message
UPDATE: Manslaughter Charges Filed Against Father who left child in car
This is the thread from yesterday:
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

With all this being said, this man was eventually treated like any one else would have been treated under these circumstances. Apparently many in the area felt that his position as a reserve officer was going to be his free ticket out. I demand equal justice. It has been served.
Now, he has been arrested and formally charged.
I hope the facts show (and they seem to) that this was just a tragic accident and that justice is tempered with mercy.


http://www.tylerpaper.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=17035937...
>>>>>>>snip
A Lindale reserve police sergeant who admitted leaving his 4-month-old daughter in a pickup in temperatures near 100 degrees was charged with second-degree felony manslaughter Wednesday afternoon.

Smith County sheriff's Lt. Larry Wiginton said Kevin Petty, 34, was arrested after investigators reviewed evidence with the district attorney in the death of Kerrigan Petty.

Wiginton said his office received numerous phone calls from citizens Wednesday asking when and if the officer would be charged.

"The sheriff's office treats everybody the same, and this case was handled the same as if he hadn't been an officer," he said.
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enlightenment Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 11:29 AM
Response to Original message
1. Taking into account the area of the country,
I suppose tragic accident is fair.

Still, I live in the southwest, where temperatures are normally in the triple digits six months out of the year -- and every single year, someone leaves their infant/toddler in the car and the kid poaches in their own juices.

The parents almost always get a pass -- and we're supposed to feel sorry for their tragic accident.

I'm sorry. I raised a child and never - not once - FORGOT he was in the car. I'm not super-mom; but I managed to remember that I had a kid. If you put them in the car, how can you forget to take them OUT??

When do we get to use "stupid git" instead of "tragic accident?"

Apologies -- rant/off

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Kailassa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 11:38 AM
Response to Reply #1
3. I once left my 2 sons at the supermarket,
and went home without them. It took an hour to get back there,
but luckily they were still looking at the toys and hadn't
noticed my absence.

When I was 4 my parents left me in the park we had stopped off
at for lunch and drove 50 miles before they realized soneone
was missing.

Anyway, either that now ex-parent is the arse-hole from hell,
or he'll be calling himself far worse than a stupid git
every day of his miserable life from now on.
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enlightenment Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 12:10 PM
Response to Reply #3
11. You're right, of course.
I just get so tired of this type of thing.

And it doesn't seem to sink in. A couple of years ago, a dad left his infant in the car; interior temperature in the car, when someone walked by, noticed, and broke a window to get to the child, was probably in excess of 140 degrees (Las Vegas in the summertime).

The child died. Parent is arrested, but not charged (tragic accident). Within 3 months, another news report about this one -- oh! happy, happy, joy, joy!! Parents of recently dead child are expecting again -- "we missed our baby so much, we decided to honor his memory . . ." or some such rot. I couldn't believe what I was hearing.

It just doesn't seem right, particularly since the dad didn't feel that he should be blamed for forgetting his kid in the car and vehemently protested his innocence when it initially looked like the DA might pursue charges.

Kids aren't accessories, but some folks treat them as such.

I was lucky to have my child, and he was the only shot at it I got. Maybe that made me more cautious - he's 26 now, and I still wonder what he's up to!!

Regardless, you have offered some much needed common sense to counter my hyperbole. Thank you for the reminder.
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OzarkDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 11:43 AM
Response to Reply #1
4. Punishment may also be different for moms vs dads
Edited on Thu Aug-10-06 11:43 AM by OzarkDem
I'm only speaking anecdotally, but it appears the dads who make these tragic mistakes are often treated better than mothers. The judicial system seems to be more forgiving with men, perhaps assuming women should know better. The media also tends to give dads a pass more than mothers.

If someone were to research sentences, I supsect they would find mothers doing more jail time than dads.
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Lars39 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 11:43 AM
Response to Reply #1
5. I agree.
If someone is so busy/distracted/involved with a project...whatever,that he/she cannot put the child's safety first, he/she needs to step back and rethink his/her priorities and actions.

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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 11:47 AM
Response to Reply #1
6. I forgot mine AT day care
I can sort of see how someone might forget if they don't usually drop the baby off. Although car seats are awfully big but maybe there was one in the mom's car and the dad's so he was used to it being there, but empty. I didn't used to forget anything in my twenties, but as I've aged and have forgotten some pretty basic stuff in my older days, I've gotten a little more understanding about these things. But my husband and I have both thought the other one was going to pick a kid up from day care and forgot them, and I was supposed to pick up a friend's child from school and completely forgot about it. Luckily another mutual friend was there and realized what happened and picked him up. So these things do happen, unfortunately.
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elehhhhna Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 12:17 PM
Response to Reply #1
13. We ALMOST left the house to run to the store when our
daughter was about 1 month old & alsleep upstairs...then looked at each other & went "SHIT!" before we'd left the house.

Old habits, etc.
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noonwitch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 11:35 AM
Response to Original message
2. They should have charged him with second degree murder
If he was in Oakland County, MI, he'd be facing much more serious charges. A woman left her kids in the car when she got her hair done there (in Southfield) a few years ago. The kids all died, and she got charged with 1st degree, initially, and was eventually convicted of 2nd degree. In that case, she was at a salon that was kid-friendly, and still chose to leave her kids in the car when it was 90+ degrees out.
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Kailassa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 11:49 AM
Response to Reply #2
8. It could be that the circumstances were different.
Firstly, she obviously was aware the children were there, and left them intentionally.
Secondly, she knew she would be gone for an hour or more.

For all I know, the policeman concerned might be an uncaring fool or a murderous arse-hole, but it is also possible that he made a simple mistake any of us could have made.

Perhaps he had so much on his mind that by the time he'd driven to work he'd forgotten he had a baby sleeping quietly in the back. Or perhaps he was only getting out of his car for a minute and something terrible needed his urgent attention and he ended up forgetting the baby.

Personally, if I forgot my baby and it was left to die in that horrible manner, I'd hope the state found me guilty on murder and shot me. That would be a far milder punishment than having to live the rest of my life with the terrible memory of what I had done.
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sgxnk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 12:10 PM
Response to Reply #8
12. it also could be
and is always important when looking at criminal cases, that the LAW in the state of texas is different than michigan

this is a democratic republic. laws vary WIDELY from state to state

in some states, certain acts can put you in jail for 20 years, that are legal in other states

as an extreme example

before you can ever conjecture as to criminal charges, in specific, you gotta know the penal code of that state, although a model penal code gives good general guidance

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sgxnk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 11:48 AM
Response to Original message
7. and i was proven RIGHT ha ha
i said (despite some silly commentary to the opposing view) that merely because the article said he had not been charged, this was NOT evidence that he WOULD not be charged

but as soon as the article came out, every donk was kneejerking an automatic "they're giving him special treatment because he's a cop", various racial identity excuses e.g. if he was black they would have charged him, etc etc.

this shows, yet again, the need to read for actual (lord forbid) CONTENT before kneejerkign

ideology should always take a backseat to facts

and there were NO facts in evidence to say he would not be charged

only that he hadn't been charged YET

as i tried to explain

not that i'm gloating

(rolls eyes)

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Kailassa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 12:04 PM
Response to Reply #7
9. Oh yes, he has you to thank, does he?
You rang the local police commissioner and said:
"look buddy, the force is copping a bit of flak
over here at DU, so I need you to prove a point
for me"?

And five minutes later this poor fellow is
frogmarched into the station and charged?

Way to go; I hope you don't have to prove too many
points to protect the reputation of cops everywhere.

:evilgrin: :toast: :evilgrin:
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sgxnk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 12:08 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. not at all
it was just that everybody was kneejerking sans facts

it's oh so typical of political discourse - where facts don't matter, except to prop up ideology and prejudice

NOWHERE did the article say that no charges would be filed

numerous people claimed that he was getting special treatment

others played the race card

i explained, based on experience in dozens of death and accident investigations, that this did NOT appear to be the case

i just get so tired of ideologues who use every news story as an excuse to spout prejudiced rhetoric (prejudiced as in to PREjudge) vs. looking at fact patterns dispassionately

this is (as i explained) ROUTINELY how cases like this are handled

and it's always nice when history vindicates you

note i never said he would or wouldn't be charged. i said that there was no evidence that said he would not be charged, and that the case was handled as cases like this are routinely handled

despite the political ideological fact-averse wanking

:)
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Kailassa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 12:41 PM
Response to Reply #10
14. I just get mad when I see a person or group knocked
on the basis of prejudice and generalizations,
rather than on the basis of facts relating to
that case.

I've known guys who were capable of stewing their own children to get revenge on their ex, but I also know how terrible the consequences of one instance of forgetfulnes can be. I hope the people dealing with this can find the truth.

And I would never expect the force to cover over an incident like this, just because it was a policeman involved. Not in Victoria, Australia, anyway, which is the police force I'm familiar with. Fuck-ups that happen in the line of duty, like shooting unarmed people in the back, and drug thefts, those they will cover for, but not things that hurt the children. ... Oh, except for a kiddie-porn ring with police connections that operated several creches for years in Australia, but these things happen.

It's the same everywhere. The arse-holes will always find someone to cover for them while the good ones are hung out to dry for the slightest mistake. (I'm not calling forgetting the baby a slight mistake, I'm just thinking of stories cops I know have told me.)
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sgxnk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 01:04 PM
Response to Reply #14
16. i agree
i am a member of several groups (some by choice, some by birth) that get knocked on the basis of prejudice

i was defending the cops based on the evidence though. not based on ideology

admittedly, i am a cop, so i have a bit more insight into how accidental death investigations are actually conducted vs. the armchair experts who were oh so convinced of corruption in this case
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Blue Diadem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 12:45 PM
Response to Original message
15. My heart goes out to the family and to those who found the
little girl.

I can't imagine how awful it must be for that officer, knowing that he was responsible for his own baby girl's death.



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