A married couple, with 9 children from a small town in Illinois, are facing felony charges of involuntary manslaughter, one count of felony child endangerment, and 9 counts of misdemeanor child endangerment, following an incident that resulted in the death of their infant. According to the police department, the family was living in horrific conditions; rooms with garbage piled up to the ceiling and a stench so bad that it sickened the responding officers. The entire family was sleeping on a single mattress in the living room. It is believed that during the night, someone had shifted which caused the infant carrier (which was serving as the baby’s bed) to turn over. The baby suffocated during the night and was unable to be revived.
Under Illinois Law, it is a crime when a person unintentionally kills another individual, by doing something that was lawful or unlawful but likely to cause death or great bodily harm to someone else and those acts were performed recklessly. Normally, such a crime would be considered a Class 3 felony, punishable by a period of incarceration of no less than 2 nor more than 5 years in prison, or a period of probation or conditional discharge up to 30 months. However, when the victim is a family or household member according to the Illinois Domestic Violence Act, then the penalty is a Class 2 felony, for which if a sentence of imprisonment is imposed, and is to be no less than 3 years nor more than 14 years. As for the felony and misdemeanor child endangerment charges, those were based on the parents allowing their children’s lives and health to be endangered by the poor living conditions in the home. Normally, the offense is a Class A misdemeanor, but when the violation is the cause of the death of a child, it becomes a Class 3 felony punishable by a prison term of 2 to 10 years.
There is a special provision under the child endangerment statutes that allows for a parent of an endangered child to be placed on a form of expungeable probation. If a parent complies with the terms of the sentence, then at the end he or she will be discharged as if there was no finding of guilt, and the matter could be expunged later (although records will still be maintained by law enforcement as this form of probation is allowed only once in a lifetime). Unfortunately for this couple, they will likely have no chance at this probation, as the death of their child makes them not eligible under the law.
Even without the fatal consequences that occurred in this case, child endangerment is a serious charge that can affect not just someone’s criminal record, but may also have consequences affecting parental rights (if the matter is pursued by the DCFS and the Juvenile Court authorities). Call the lawyers at Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC if you, or someone you care for, has been charged with this or any other criminal offense. Our Chicago criminal defense attorneys have years of experience handling the defense of criminal cases with proven results. Call us today to schedule a free, no obligation, completely confidential, consultation at either our offices in Chicago or Arlington Heights. Call (312) 644-0444 today.
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