Olivia Groomes has been arrested in connection with the death of her three-year-old child. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation began their investigations of the child's death after he passed away in the Gordon County Hospital in May.
In today's post, I will focus on the charges faced by Groomes as they are very specific. As a Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney, I will break down the law and show how it applies in this situation.
Cruelty to Children in Georgia
The Georgia Code divides cruelty to children in Georgia into three separate degrees. Groomes is facing a second degree child cruelty charge in association with the second degree murder charge. The law defines second degree cruelty to children as:
When a person with criminal negligence causes a child less than 18 years old cruel or excessive physical or mental pain. O.C.G.A. §16-5-70(c).
Second degree cruelty to children is classified as a felony in Georgia, and the penalty can include a prison sentence of one to ten years.
No further facts have been released regarding the alleged treatment of the toddler, so all that can be inferred as of right now is that she is being accused of causing the child excessive mental or physical pain that is associated with her death.
Second Degree Murder in Georgia
The Georgia Code also divides murder in Georgia into two different degrees. However, we rarely see the second degree charge brought against people because it is a highly specific statute. The law defines second-degree murder as:
A person commits the offense of murder in the second degree when, in the commission of cruelty to children in the second degree, he or she causes the death of another human being irrespective of malice. O.C.G.A. §16-5-1.
Second degree murder is classified as a felony, and the penalty can include a prison sentence of ten to thirty years.
As you can see second degree murder in Georgia only refers to a situation where cruelty to children is involved. Other states define this offense very differently, but here in Georgia, we only see second degree murder with a charge of child cruelty.
As a Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer, I always point out that there are two sides to every story, and that no one should be automatically assumed guilty just because they have been accused of a crime.
Groomes is facing some serious allegations with some very serious penalties. However, we don't know all of the facts, and we don't know if she is guilty of causing the death of her three-year-old child.