Hall County, Ga. - According to reports from the Hall county Division of Family and Children Services, two individuals have been arrested and are being held without bond in relation to the death of their five-year-old child.
Authorities and medical professionals reported that the child was brought to the Northeast Georgia Medical Center after being reported as unresponsive. The child died a day later. She weighed a total of seven pounds at the time of her death. The child's autopsy confirmed that she died from malnutrition and dehydration.
The parents have been arrested on charges of first-degree cruelty to children and felony murder. As a Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer, I will focus today's post on cruelty to children in the state of Georgia.
Cruelty to Children in Georgia
The crime of cruelty to children in Georgia is outlined in the Georgia Code in O.C.G.A. § 16-5-70. The statute, as I mentioned above, breaks down the offense into three different degrees.
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.
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.
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.
Cruelty to children is considered a felony in Georgia. The penalty can include up to twenty years in prison. The only exception is with third-degree child cruelty - a judge has the discretion with this degree to charge it as a misdemeanor instead of a felony.
If you or a loved one has been arrested, contact our offices now.