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8/22/2014 1:30 am  #1

Connecticut Boy’s Death in Hot Car Is Ruled a Homicide

This is incredibly sad. Unintentional. A tragic mistake with extreme consequences. An accident. Genuinely. Dad forgot.
Still "homicide." Adults are responsible for the well-being of babies in their care. Period.

20 children have died from heat, left in the car, in 2014. There was accountability in all these cases. That's the role of a district attorney. Why is Cherokee County, Texas different?
If this is a reflection of local community values, perhaps the communty should seriously examine what they stand for and how they want to be represented.
Freedom is important. Religion is important. So are children. It isn't necessary to choose one over the other - religious freedoms in the United States ARE protected. But the judicial system and district attorneys have a sworn duty and obligation to uphold the rights of human beings. This is unquestionable.

Connecticut Boy’s Death in Hot Car Is Ruled a Homicide
AUG. 21, 2014

The death of a 15-month-old boy who was left alone for hours in a hot car in Connecticut last month has been ruled a homicide, the Connecticut state medical examiner’s office said on Thursday.

After a six-week investigation, officials at the medical examiner’s office determined that the boy, Benjamin Seitz, of Ridgefield, had died of hyperthermia because of environmental exposure.

In the early evening of July 7, the police in Ridgefield received a report about Benjamin’s death from the staff of Danbury Hospital, where the boy’s father, Kyle Seitz, had taken him after finding him left alone in his vehicle on a day when the temperature reached 88 degrees. Mr. Seitz, the police said at the time, was supposed to have dropped his son off at a day care center but instead drove to work at a Ridgefield computer technology company and left the boy in the car for “an extended period of time.”

Stephen J. Sedensky III, the state’s attorney in Danbury, said the investigation into Benjamin’s death was continuing and declined to comment on whether any charges would be made.



8/23/2014 2:25 am  #2

Re: Connecticut Boy’s Death in Hot Car Is Ruled a Homicide

August 21, 2014

No criminal charges have been announced in the boy's death, but state prosecutors said Wednesday that the criminal investigation is "ongoing."

From a statement released by State's Attorney Stephen J. Sedensky: "The autopsy report is one factor to be considered by the state's attorney in the evaluation of the incident once the investigation is complete."

Despite the medical examiner's ruling, the decision about whether to press criminal charges is made by the state's attorney, said CNN Legal Analyst Paul Callan.
"The use of the word 'homicide' in an autopsy report, though often seen in connection with criminal cases, does not necessarily mean that criminal charges will be lodged against the father.
In legal parlance, the term means that death was caused by another human being rather than by strictly natural causes.
The criminal law generally does not punish for accidental events absent evidence of gross negligence, recklessness or a depraved indifference to the value of human life."

About 50% of cases involving deaths of infants abandoned in automobiles result in criminal charges, Callan said, adding that each case is "highly individual."

Laws and procedure vary some, from state to state. But pretty much the same. This may shed some light on Cherokee County's handling of Faith's case. The autopsy report states "natural causes." Does this give the prosecutor an 'out' in bringing negligence or reckless endangerment charges?

I get it that this is complicated and the absence of a charge doesn't mean the Cherokee County prosecuting attorney is intentionally giving anyone a pass. Regardless, it's concerning that the judicial system isn't transparent, that no one has to answer for decisions made, or even make case disposition available to the public. That's some scary lack of accountability in a public system.

   ► Was Baby Faith's death caused by an action, or failure to act, by a responsible adult? Yes.
   ► Would an average citizen in the same circumstances, act, or fail to act, similarly? No.
   ► Would an average citizen likely seek medical attention for the baby? Yes.
   ► Was the action, or failure to act, based on a belief that medical treatment would violate protected religious practice? No.
While we inherently know that the parents' decisions about the welfare of this baby were indeed influenced by religion and membership in this group, and that they may have been acting under the direction of its leaders, they didn't say this was the reason. It is their perogative to use that as a mitigating factor and a defense to a charge.

District attorneys and prosecutors are never inclined to find a defense for defendants. Even when they know of something, they're not required to disclose to the defense any facts that make their case weaker and a defendant look less guilty.

There is a process to have a cause of death reviewed and potentially changed on an autopsy report. Perhaps that should be considered.  

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