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Reading is difficult. As a writer, I help the reader every way I can think of. As a reader, I work hard not to miss the big things in the middle of the road.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Child Murder Acquittal Fails to Bar Medical Care Omission Child Injury Prosecution

A twenty-one-month-old child dies of  blunt force trauma of head with closed head injury when in the care of his father and his stepmother. The stepmother is tried for murder of the child and is acquitted. She is then put on trial for injury to a child by omission for failing to get medical care for the child. She applies for a pretrial writ of habeas corpus on the grounds that the State is collaterally estopped from the second set of charges on account of her acquittal. The appeals court refuses the writ on the ground that the injury to a child statute is explicitly differentiated from the murder statute, and that on the facts of the prior case, a person could be found to have not killed a child, but that non-killing would not necessarily rule out that she failed to get the injured child needed medical care when she was in charge of the child. Ex parte Crystal Desormeaux, No. 09-11-00035-CR (Tex. App.--Beaumont Nov. 16, 2011) (orig. proceeding). This opinion was written by one of our favorite justices, Montgomery County's own David Gaultney. Hat tip to the Texas District and County Attorneys' Association for the case

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