Nassau County Family Law Blog

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Woman Sentenced to Probation For Leaving Kids in Car

What are the consequences of being accused of child abuse?

In 2014 a jobless and allegedly homeless mother made national news for leaving two of her kids in a hot car in Arizona with the windows cracked for an hour in 70-degree temperatures while attending a job interview at an insurance agency.  The woman claimed she was unable to afford a sitter or childcare for the children and was arrested immediately after the interview for felony child abuse.   

After the incident made the national news, strangers donated over $100,000 to the family which the mother allegedly spent the money on nonessential items such as cell phones, cable TV, and other entertainment for the family.  The court initially agreed that it would dismiss the felony abuse charges if the mother put some of the donation money into a trust fund under all of her children’s names.  The mother missed deposit deadlines relating to that court agreement because she was concerned that the trust was written to restrict the children’s access to the money to use only if they attended college.  After she missed the deadline, the court reinstated the felony abuse charges, and the mother recently pled guilty to the felony abuse charges.  

The court was concerned about the mother’s apparent lack of responsibility and determined the mother lied during trial regarding her status as homeless and jobless.  During the trial, the court found the mother was living with family and had turned down job offers prior to attending the interview where police arrested her.  Attorneys for the mother argued she is a military veteran, which makes it hard for her to admit the reality of her situation.  The mother also requested a transfer to Chicago where she expects to have better familial support.

The court referred to the mother’s decisions as “criminally poor judgment” and developed a probation sentence to coincide with her children’s status as adults based on the youngest child’s age.  The mother will serve 18 years supervised probation, which includes a court’s monitoring of the trust funds and she must attend a parenting class and a treatment program for domestic violence offenders.

While tough to be a part of, child abuse and other family offense situations are never easy for family members or those associated with family members, and can have a huge impact on family law cases such as custody battles. Also, donations made towards the welfare of the children need to be properly managed according to court requirements and using this type of money improperly can reflect on a litigants character.

Howard B. Leff is an experienced New York family law attorney who can help you through the process of defending yourself or complying with court orders regarding children’s trusts or alleged abuse cases and any other family law issue.  Please contact his office at (516) 729-7500 for a consultation. 

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