Tag Archives: melissa smith

Don’t Make Judgment in the Child in Hot Car Case Until the Facts are Known

Justin Harris Mug Shot

Justin Harris Mug Shot

I have been busy and haven’t gotten to update the blog regarding Justin Harris, the man charged with murder for allegedly intentionally leaving his child in a car, who then died from the heat. The facts that have been released so far sound damning: apparently Harris did searches on his computer related to dying from heat, he ignored calls from the child’s day care, and he was sexting with women other than his wife on the day of the incident. He also had life insurance on the child that he is now seeking to collect. However, for as terrible as the facts sound so far, the case is far from proven. Attorney Mark O’Mara, who impressively defended George Zimmerman, filed an Op Ed encouraging people to reserve their judgment. Give it a read, O’Mara is frequently a well-spoken voice of resrevation.¬†http://www.cnn.com/2014/07/01/opinion/omara-hot-car-dad-harris/index.html

Negligence happens, and unless malice or intent can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, the case is substantially different. Just recently in Southwest Florida, Melissa Smith was acquitted of Aggravated Manslaughter when the jury did not find that her negligence rose to that level of criminality. She was found guilty of a lesser charge of Child Neglect and three counts of Culpable Negligence. She was sentenced to eight months in jail and 5 years of probation.

Melissa Smith Acquitted of Aggravated Manslaughter

  • Melissa Smith ran a day care where a child died in a kiddie pool last year
  • She was acquitted of the most serious charges
Melissa Smith Mug Shot

Melissa Smith Mug Shot

The jury found Melissa Smith guilty of one count of child neglect and three counts of culpable negligence this afternoon. She could’ve received 45 years in prison as originally charged, with Aggravated Manslaughter being the most serious charge. She still faces up to five years when she is sentenced July 3. The trial featured tearful testimony from both the victim’s mother and Ms. Smith, in an undoubtedly tragic case.