Thursday, October 17, 2002

John sends this story followup:
Charges dropped against woman whose kids were sunburned

Steubenville, Ohio-AP -- Prosecutors have dropped all charges against a woman who was jailed for eight days after her children were sunburned at a county fair in Ohio.
Eve Hibbits was originally charged with three counts of felony child endangerment -- but those charges were later reduced to a misdemeanor and she was released from jail.
Her attorney says prosecutors went to court last week to have the charges dropped.
A prosecutor says Hibbits is cooperating with children's services workers.
A sheriff's deputy arrested her in August after noticing her two-year-old girl and twin ten-month-old boys had severely sunburned faces at the fair.

Some people would say that cooler heads prevailed and justice was done, but I am still outraged. Getting a sunburn from a day at the fair is not evidence of a felony. The mom spent 8 days in jail. The prosecutors probably knew all along that they'd never get a jury to convict her of a felony, so they punished her as much as they could without convicting her of anything. Note the statement about "cooperating". That is a euphemism for "we told her that if she wants her kids back, she'd have to agree to submit indefinitely to the dictates of some 22-year-old childless social worker". That way the authorities can punish the poor mom without ever proving anything in court. And they can rationalize it to the media by saying that she is voluntarily cooperating.

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