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Ron and June Spiels (not their real names) had two daughters, ages nine and 11, and a new baby boy, age 8 months. The marriage had been a little rocky since the new baby arrived, but Sally, the eldest daughter, did a great job of taking care of her baby brother whenever it was needed, to help ease the tensions in the household.

June had recently returned to work after spending the first seven months at home with their son. Now her days were filled with work during the day and taking care of the family and household chores when she got home. June had started doling out those chores to other family members, so everyone could help instead of her doing all the work after a long day at work.

Ron returned home on Thursday evening, knowing that it was his turn to watch the children and, particularly, to look after the baby with changing diapers and feeding him too. Ron prepared the baby’s meal of soft vegetables and mashed meat. Later, the baby would have his formula milk to round things out. Meanwhile, June had gone to her regular Thursday evening meeting at the local book club.

Child abuse should be carefully investigated before jumping into a criminal charge

When Ron went into the room to get the baby, he noticed the child was abnormally pale and appeared to be sleeping. He decided he would pick up the baby to wake him up and change the diaper which smelled. The baby seemed groggy but when Ron picked him up, the baby began screaming and crying as if in pain. When Ron undid the diaper, there was blood in the stools and he also noticed bruises around the baby’s lower extremities.

Ron bundled up the baby, put him in the carry basket and headed for the car. On the way, he yelled for Sally, who was doing her homework, to come with him. She came running out, and seeing Ron in a panic with the baby, grabbed her coat and they all got into the car, heading for the hospital. When they got there, Ron gave what information he had on the baby, and the nurses took the child into the emergency area. Meanwhile, Sally called her mother to come to the hospital.

After examination, the medical staff called the police and then came out to meet with the parents. The child had apparently been beaten in the lower extremities with some type of object and that had caused internal hemorrhaging.

The police took Ron to the station for questioning as he was the last person alone with the baby. Ron, finally understanding what the police were thinking, refused to answer any questions and called a criminal defense lawyer he knew, to come to the station to help him.

California Penal Code § 11164

This code deals with the investigation of potential child abuse and the medical staff was correct in calling the police to come to the hospital and to view the child. Ron, however, knowing he had not caused the injuries, now faced the realization that someone in his family had caused them. Yet, he was under suspicion of being the perpetrator of the injuries and would need expert help in being cleared of any child abuse charges. The question to be solved next was who did assault the baby.

If you have been charged with child abuse, call us at once for a consultation. (619) 234-2300

Author Photo

Kerry L. Armstrong

Attorney Kerry Armstrong opened up his law firm, the Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, APLC, in June 2007. Prior to that, he was employed as the senior associate attorney for a large criminal defense firm in San Diego for nine years, eventually being placed in charge of that firm’s branch office in downtown San Diego. At one point, he was managing six attorneys at that firm, as well as several support staff and law clerks.

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