The term "child abuse" immediately strikes a nerve in all of us when we hear about it on the news. 30 years ago, a mother and a father could discipline their child by spanking them on the behind and nothing would ever come from it.
Times have changed, mostly for the better, but there can also be a very fine line between discipline and abuse. Spanking a child is now looked down on and if a parent crosses that line they could be looking at serious legal ramifications.
A few days ago in Sanford, FL, a man was arrested on charges of murder. He was watching his girlfriend's 7 month old boy, when he called 911 to report that the child was not breathing and didn't seem to have a heartbeat.
The man initially told the authorities that the baby seemed fussy while in his swing, so he picked up the child but accidentally dropped him. The man then changed his story to something else completely. His new tale was that he was changing the baby's diaper and shook the child to get his attention.
So what is the truth here? It might be a little from column A and a little from column B. A defense lawyer is going to have to help him come up with a consistent story that can excuse him of any wrongdoing.
If he can't clearly explain what really happened he could be in serious trouble. After all, he's the only one who can tell the truth. A child abuse conviction and the potential for jail time, comes down to your criminal history and the facts of the case.
For this man, his criminal history (or lack of it) takes a backseat to the facts. The fact that a child is dead because of his actions make this a difficult case to win, especially if the defendant doesn't tell the truth.