Our client, age 41, had joint custody of her son, age 7, with her ex-husband. Her ex-husband was struggling to make child support payments, so he was keen to do anything that might not only reduce such monthly payments, but also suggest his ex-wife had poor character.
One day, while with custody of his son, he noticed a small brown mark on his son’s arm that was about the diameter of a pencil eraser. Some might call it the size of a freckle or the diameter of a pencil eraser.
The father asked his son if his mom caused the mark to his arm and the boy, at first, said he did not know. Upon further prodding by the father, he explained that it might have occurred a few days earlier when his mom forced him to take a shower every day and he hated it. The young boy thought this showed his mom was mean and the father agreed.
The young boy also explained to his father how, on his birthday, his mom took him to a movie, but the theatre was almost filled with people, so the mom and he had to sit in the front row of the theatre. After a few minutes of this, the mom told the boy she could not handle being so close to the large screen and sitting right next to some speakers, so she told the boy they were leaving the theatre. The boy cried and the mom squeezed his arm quite strongly, which the boy offered as an alternative explanation for the small brown mark on his arm.
Immediately, the father gleefully reported these two instances of “child abuse” to the Torrance Police Department, which took the claim quite seriously, although the father had eagerly made such reports in the past without success.
The Torrance Police Department diligently investigated the case by going to the child’s school, where they examined the child’s arm and found a tiny brown spot that the child obediently reported as caused by his mom.
The Torrance Police then asked the mom to report to the Torrance Police Station, where she was placed in handcuffs, booked and released upon posting a bail bond. She was shocked and extremely mad, not so much at her husband (from Egypt), but for the effects this would have on her son’s attitudes about marriage and what things a married couple do after marriage ends.
A case was filed and our client went to court thinking she would merely have to pay a small fine and the case would be dismissed.
She was astounded to hear from the Torrance City Prosecutor assigned to the case that she was being charged with a violation of Penal Code § 273a(b), child endangerment, and she faced up to six months in jail and a fine of $1,000. As a native of Egypt, but who became a U.S. citizen later, she was not aware of how serious “child abuse” is considered in the United States.
She called Greg Hill & Associates and spoke with Greg Hill. The two then met at Greg’s office and discussed the case. Greg listened to the client explain the factual background for the case and how she did confirm the father’s allegation that she had squeezed the son’s arm strongly at a movie theatre to have the child leave the theatre without bothering the others in the theatre with his loud crying and how she had forced the boy to take a shower when he did not want to do so.
Greg recommended that the client, while she perhaps did nothing more than reasonable discipline of a child and certainly never intended to cause the client pain as her primary intent, should attend some parenting courses as a way to show the prosecutor she was “taking ownership” of her situation and the allegations.
Greg then appeared in the Torrance Superior Court and over a few months of negotiating, was successful in being able to have the Torrance City Prosecutor agree to dismiss the case if our client completed 52 parenting classes and stayed out of any other sort of trouble for a year.
The client was extremely happy with this resolution, as to her, it showed her husband that he was wrong because the case would be dismissed and ultimately, eligible for sealing and destroying. It also would most likely not cause a decrease in his child support payments or increase his amount of custody of the child.
The resolution would also preserve the client’s spotless criminal record once the case was sealed and destroyed and allow her to pursue a career in nursing, which she knew she could not do with a conviction for child endangerment. The client was extremely happy with the resolution, which the reader of this summary should appreciate is rare in any case of domestic violence.
For more information about child abuse and diversion, please click on the following articles: