Tag Archives: child abuse

Diana Alvarez Suspect Sentenced to 40 Years in Prison, Faces More Charges

diana alvarez

Diana Alvarez, still missing

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office has filed additional charges against Jorge Guerrero, but not yet for her disappearance. LCSO has filed additional sexual felony offenses against Mr. Guerrero, which are based on the charges for child pornography for which he was convicted in Federal court. Undersheriff Carmine Marceno spoke at a press conference this afternoon, and stated that investigators feel confident that Guerrero was involved in her disappearance, but they are going to continue to investigate. There are two very good reasons for them not to rush kidnapping or murder charges: First, Guerrero was tried and convicted in Federal Court, and has now been sentenced to 40 years in prison. He’s not going anywhere, there’s no need to rush. Second, once he is arrested, the clock starts running for his speedy trial right, and LCSO does not want to give him an out. LCSO indicates they are still investigating the disappearance of Diana Alvarez, and Marceno says he expects more charges to be filed.

jorge guerrero

Jorge Guerrero

The search still continues for Diana Alvarez, but as time goes, it is increasingly unlikely that she will be safely returned. At this point, it is not clear if kidnapping or murder charges are appropriate, and hope remains. Meanwhile, the investigation continues. Marceno indicated the LCSO Detectives are going to speak to Guerrero this afternoon, potentially finding a loophole in that since his Federal case is closed, that he does not currently have an attorney appointed. Whether or not he says anything actionable, remains to be seen.

 

Advertisements

Accused Babysitting Killer was Fresh Out of Prison

rafael-carrionThe first thing that sprung to mind when I saw the mug shot of the man accused of beating to death a baby he was watching was, “Who would let that guy watch their kid?” I looked a second time, and thought, those sure look like prison tattoos… I wonder if that guy has done some time.

Sure enough, a quick search on the DOC website indicated he has just finished serving time for Burglary out of Hillsborough County. He was just released on October 31, less than 2 months before his new arrest in this tragic case. The Lee County Sheriff’s database indicates he has been arrested 14 times here in Lee County, including a couple juvenile arrests related to sex-offense charges. Presumably he was not convicted as charged on those offenses, as he is not a registered sex-offender.

ID Photo

Carrion’s prison photo

His bond has been set at $600,000 on manslaughter and second-degree murder charges. The mother who left her child with him has had her other children placed into foster care by the court until it can be determined that they can be safe. Carrion’s father disputes the charges, saying the mom bears some responsibility and that Carrion tried to save the child. His arraignment is set for December 27, and I’d expect the charges to be amended to one murder and one child-abuse charge if the state determines to go forward.

Miami ‘Baby Lollipops’ Child Murder Conviction Overturned

ana cardona

Ana Maria Cardona, via DOC

Ana Maria Cardona, the first woman on Florida’s death row for killing her own child, has had her conviction reversed a second time. While the Florida Supreme Court found that ample evidence was presented to allow the jury to find her guilty, the Court ruled that Prosecutors erred by using inappropriate, inflammatory arguments. “As we have stated for decades, we expect and require prosecutors, as representatives of the state, to refrain from engaging in inflammatory and abusive arguments, to maintain their objectivity, and to behave in a professional manner…” Cardona will be given a new trial, though the death penalty will be in question as the death sentencing procedure in place at the time of the offense has been found to be unconstitutional.

This was Cardona’s second trial, and the first was also thrown out for prosecutorial ‘error’. The court found that the prosecutors failed to disclose additional, contradictory statements, which is a clear violation of the discovery rules. Cardona will still face a third trial, and mandatory life in prison if convicted, even if the death penalty is reinstated.

None of these opinions say that she did not do it, nor that her actions were not horrible. The poor child was found beaten and abandoned, dubbed ‘Baby Lollipops’ by the press as investigators sought to determine who the child was. While the facts are atrocious, and supported the Heinous, Atrocious and Cruel [HAC] findings, the court is simply requiring the state to make appropriate arguments. It often seems that the prosecutors are held to a higher burden of decorum when presenting their case than defense attorneys… I certainly felt that way when I was a prosecutor, but it’s appropriate to ensure that the government act in an appropriate and ethical manner at all times. Any time the freedoms, and especially the life, of a citizen is on the line, there must be no indication of improper influence to obtain a conviction.

 

Florida Couple Gave their Kids Drugs, to Get Them to do Chores

Chad Mudd

Chad Mudd

Police allege Chad and Joey Mudd gave their 13 and 14-year-old daughters drugs as a “bargaining tool” to entice them to do chores and go to school. Apparently, marijuana and even cocaine were involved. They face Child Abuse charges, and the father also faces cocaine possession, they have been released from the St. Petersburg jail on bond.

And now I have Primus in my head

Joey Mudd

Joey Mudd

How Old Does a Child Need to be Before They Are Left Alone (or Trick-or-Treat)?

  • Most state laws are unclear how old your child needs to be before they can be left alone

A few months ago, Florida mom Nicole Gainey was arrested for child neglect. Her offense: letting her seven-year-old walk a half-mile to the park by himself. The arresting officer noted that there were several convicted sex offenders living in the area. However, in Florida, most sex offenders are prohibited by law from living within 1,000 feet of a park. A search of Florida’s sex offender registry list only one registered offender within a half-mile of the park, in the other direction. That man is not designated as a predator and his offense occurred way back in 1993.

Nicole Gainey and her Son

Nicole Gainey and her Son

Additionally, it was during daytime hours, and Ms. Gainey had given her son a cell phone, that she would call to check up on him. Also, she trained him well, because when he was approached by a concerned citizen at the pool, he became concerned and went ran away. Mom had just checked in with him a few moments before police arrived.

There is no clear law in Florida about how old a child has to be before they are allowed to go to the park alone, or be left home alone, or anything like that. Indeed, most states don’t have such laws, and those that do, vary greatly from state to state, from 6 to 14. That leaves the law open to interpretation: legal a prosecutor could file charges if they felt there was a risk to the child that amounts to neglect. Conversely, it will be hard to win a conviction, as many people on the jury are likely to say, “Shoot, my mom left me home sometimes… and I don’t think she should have gone to jail.”

Arguably, the law leaves a lot of discretion to parents to determine when their children are mature enough to stay alone, and for how long. Parents probably should not be prosecuted, except in cases of clear risk to the children. And an officer should not immediately make a felony arrest in such a situation, he should first refer it to the Dept. of Children and Families for further investigation by specialists to determine if charges are warranted. Unlike a theft or a DUI, this is probably not a judgment call an officer should be making on his own in the field without having a child-care professional weigh in.

This doesn’t tell us how old a child must be to go, say, trick-or-treating by himself or herself (or with friends). The rule of thumb should be to use common sense. The realty of our risk-averse law enforcement system is that a nervous cop could jump the gun and make an unwarranted arrest: so you are better safe than sorry and ought make sure the kids have a chaperon tomorrow night.

The case did end well for Ms. Gainey, the Port St. Lucie Clerk’s records indicate the charges were dropped by prosecutors. That does not spare Ms. Gainey the expense of posting a bond and seeking legal representation, not to mention the degradation of being booked into jail for child neglect and having her name dragged through the mud. For anyone who is arrested for such a charge, seek representation right away, so you can have an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side to convince prosecutors charges are not warranted.

from latchkey-kids.com via http://lifehacker.com/the-age-kids-have-to-be-before-you-can-legally-leave-th-1652321850?utm_source=recirculation&utm_medium=recirculation&utm_campaign=wednesdayPM

 

Florida Cop Arrested for Burning Child with Hair Dryer #badcops

Cody Marrone Mug Shot

Cody Marrone Mug Shot

I didn’t have time to post this the other day, but a Hernando County corrections deputy was arrested for burning his child with a hair dryer. The burns were intentional because the boy would not let him sleep: it sounds like Cody Marrone has admitted to the allegations. Marrone faces charges of aggravated child abuse and child neglect. #weirdbattery #badcops

Ryan Costello Guilty of Manslaughter

Ryan Costello

Ryan Costello

A Lee County jury has found Ryan Costello guilty of manslaughter, a lesser-included charge to the second degree murder he had been facing. He was also found guilty of child neglect causing great bodily harm, and tampering with evidence. The jury also found him guilty of two counts of child neglect without harm, but the court did not accept those verdicts, and granted judgment of acquittal. It would be difficult to find him guilty of neglect with and without harm, which is likely the court’s reason for throwing out the lesser counts. I’m sure sentencing will be set several weeks down the road, after a pre-sentencing investigation can be conducted. Mr. Costello is no longer facing life in prison, which he could have received if convicted of second degree murder.

http://www.nbc-2.com/story/21534241/Costello-found-guilty