Willis Humphrey, a 35-year-old man from Hall County, has been arrested and accused of committing first degree child cruelty against a 5-year-old boy.
According to reports, he allegedly beat the boy to the point of severe and visible bruising on his back, arms, and neck. Fortunately, the child has been reported as doing well in the custody of his biological father. As of right now, the relationship between the child and Humphrey is unknown.
In today's post, as a Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer, I will outline the different degrees of child cruelty so as to give a better and clearer understanding of what Humphrey has been accused of in the story above.
Cruelty to Children in Georgia
Cruelty to children in Georgia is broken down into three different degrees. The degrees by laws are as follows:
According to O.C.G.A. §16-5-70 (a)-(b), first-degree cruelty to children occurs…
When a parent, guardian, or other person supervising a child under the age of 18 willfully deprives the child of necessary sustenance to the extent that the child's well being is jeopardized. In addition, cruelty to children in the first degree includes when a person maliciously causes a child under the age of 18 cruel or excessive physical or mental pain.
According to O.C.G.A. §16-5-70(c), second-degree cruelty to children occurs…
When a person with criminal negligence causes a child less than 18 years old cruel or excessive physical or mental pain.
According to O.C.G.A. §16-5-70(d), third-degree cruelty to children occurs…
When either a person, who is the primary aggressor, intentionally allows a child under the age of 18 to witness the commission of a forcible felony, battery, or family violence battery; or a person, who is the primary aggressor, having knowledge that a child under the age of 18 is present and sees or hears the act, commits a forcible felony, battery, or family violence battery.
Both first and second degree cruelty to children are considered felonies. The penalty for being convicted of first-degree cruelty to children in Georgia is a prison term between five and twenty years. The penalty for being convicted of second-degree cruelty to children in Georgia is a prison term between one and ten years.
Third-degree cruelty to children in Georgia can be classified as a misdemeanor or a felony. The first or second conviction will be treated as a misdemeanor. The punishment will include a period of confinement and a fine. Upon a third or subsequent conviction to cruelty in the third degree, the defendant will be guilty of a felony. The penalty will include a fine between $1,000.00 and $5,000.00 and incarceration between one and three years. A defendant could receive prison time, a fine or both.
Society typically views crimes involving children even more negatively than other types of crimes. The majority of the time an individual accused of child cruelty is deemed guilty from the time of the arrest.