Anyone who has a teenager in the family case appreciate how a teenager may say and do things that test the limits of tolerance, patience and authority. Some might say it is part of growing up, but we think the legal rights of others need to be spared such adolescent misbehavior.
In the early spring of 2022, as schools were getting back in session without COVID-19 masks again and more adults were returning to their place of work, children had to adjust to new conditions and less attention. Parents also struggled with more time away from home.
On one evening in the spring of 2022, our client and her partner got in an argument in their home in Rancho Palos Verdes. Her partner called the Lomita Sheriffs office and reported that our client had punched him in the face.
When the officers arrived, our client’s partner recanted the story and police, perhaps uncomfortable leaving the couple to possibly resume their argument (which could become violent), decided to talk with the couple’s daughter, then age 12. The daughter was upstairs from where the client and her partner were.
Our client’s daughter did not observe her parents arguing, but the police asked her if her mom (our client) had ever hurt her. The daughter then told police that her mom had: 1) in the past, thrown a roller skate at her; 2) in the past, had threatened to burn her tongue with a curling iron; and 3) had thrown a book at her and left a bruise on her head for several days. The daughter also pointed to a red spot or scar on her chin as evidence of a recent battery from her mom.
Police were obviously surprised at this response and then asked our client if the child was her daughter. Our client stated, “Yes” and was immediately arrested.
After our client was arrested, but even before she was transported to the Lomita Station, the daughter recanted, but police took our client to jail nonetheless. We believed they had two reasons to do this. First, they wanted to ask our client questions about child abuse. Second, they wanted to separate her from her husband out of concern the two would argue and possibly fight.
At the station, our client denied doing any of the things her daughter claimed and explained that their family did not even own roller skates or a curling iron.
Before our client returned home the following morning, the daughter wrote a short note to the client apologizing for lying to the police. In being released, she had to post a bail bond for $50,000 and signed a promise to appear in the Torrance Courthouse about three weeks later.
Child Protective Services then visited our client’s home four days later and the child again recanted her story. The client again explained that the family does not even have roller skates and there is no curling iron in the home.
Nonetheless, perhaps again out of an abundance of caution, Child Protective Services filed a case against our client and her husband for child neglect arising out the alleged child abuse. The matter was filed at the Monterey Park Children’s Court.
Heading the advice of her court-appointed defense counsel, our client signed up for a parenting course and anger management classes.
The client also moved out of the home in accordance with the family court orders.
The client then called our office and explained the facts described above. The client explained that there had been no prior similar incidents. The client also commented that she believed that her daughter may be experiencing emotional challenges arising from the family recently moving to Rancho Palos Verdes and the child now attending a public school after otherwise only attending Catholic schools.
Greg explained how the Torrance District Attorney’s office generally handled such child neglect matters and discussed several recent cases with similar charges and how they resolved.
Greg explained that he would prepare a short letter to the District Attorney’s office, requesting that the matter be referred to an Office Hearing because the family neither owned roller skates nor a curling iron. The letter also explained that our client was already enrolled in and attending parenting courses and had a pending family court proceeding arising out of the same facts.
Greg then prepared the letter to the filing District Attorney for domestic violence matters in the Torrance Courthouse and hand-delivered it to the DA’s office the same day.
When the arraignment date arrived, our office appeared in court with the client and her partner. We were advised that the case was a DA reject. The client was extremely happy with this, as was her partner.
For more information about child abuse, neglect or endangerment and no files, please click on the following articles: