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Case Results

Dismissed - Reckless Endangerment of a Child and Permitting Injury to a Child

June 2019

Our client was charged with Reckless Endangerment of a Child and Permitting Injury to a Child in Massachusetts. We made an argument that even if you were to believe the allegations in the four-page police report, there was not enough to show probable cause for both the crimes of Reckless Endangerment of a Child and Permitting Injury to a Child. The officer articulated what he believed to be probable cause in a separate paragraph in the police report. We argued that the incident was a mere accident and that the Prosecution had to show much more than what was alleged in the police report for the crimes of Reckless Endangerment of a Child and Permitting Injury to a Child. 

For the crime of Reckless Endangerment of a Child in violation of M.G.L. ch.265 § 13L, the law punishes, “whoever wantonly or recklessly engages in conduct that creates a substantial risk of serious bodily injury or sexual abuse to a child or wantonly or recklessly fails to take reasonable steps to alleviate such risk where there is a duty to act.” 

The law further goes on to define “wanton or reckless behavior” as follows: “when a person is aware of and consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that his acts, or omissions where there is a duty to act, would result in serious bodily injury or sexual abuse to a child. The risk must be of such nature and degree that disregard of the risk constitutes gross deviation from the standard of conduct that a reasonable person would observe in the situation.” 

The law for Permitting Injury to a Child in violation of M.G.L. c. 265 §13J(b) states the following: “whoever, having care and custody of a child, wantonly or recklessly permits bodily injury to such child or wantonly or recklessly permits another to commit an assault and battery upon such child, which assault and battery causes bodily injury, shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than two and one-half years in the house of correction.” 

We made arguments to the court that mere negligent behavior will not suffice. See e.g. Commonwealth v. Ford, 424 Mass. 709, 711 (1997). We also argued that “proof of recklessness requires more than a mistake of judgment or even gross negligence.” Commonwealth v. Dragotta, 476 Mass. 680, 686 (2017) quoting Commonwealth v. Michaud, 389 Mass. 491, 499 (1983).

Our arguments that the Prosecution could now show more than an accident happened to a child were successful. Therefore, we argued that no probable cause existed to charge our client, and the Judge agreed. The case was dismissed. 

Practice area(s): Criminal Defense

David Ellison

David Ellison, Criminal Defense Lawyer and Personal Injury Lawyer in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, is an aggressive, honest & affordable attorney. 

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