In Hallendale Beach, a father was sentenced to 20 years in prison after leaving his 9-month-old daughter in a car outside a Florida race track. He returned to find her dead. On the advice of his attorney, he pleaded guilty to aggravated manslaughter of a child. His sentence of 20 years is the longest sentence handed down for this type of crime anywhere in the country.
The sad reality is that these types of cases are not terribly uncommon. In fact, as of mid-October of this year, 49 children had died this year alone after being left in cars for too long. Eight of those cases were in Florida, and about one-sixth overall occur in this state.
Further, the law is enforced inconsistently across different counties. Some caregivers are never charged, while others, like the 27-year-old father mentioned previously, are sentenced to jail time. Miami-Dade prosecutes every case, while other jurisdictions do not file criminal charges in similar cases. It’s a complicated issue, because in most cases, the parent had no malicious intent. They may be otherwise loving parents who regret that absentminded moment for the rest of their lives.
Source: Babies left in hot cars: Accident or crime?, Miami New Times, October 14, 2010
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