Child Neglect Resulting in Death – Charges Dropped after Judge Declared a Mistrial
The defendant, a young mother, in this case was charged with felonious neglect resulting in the death of her infant child. The Commonwealth presented evidence that the defendant was the cause of and legally responsible for her daughter’s unfortunate drowning. Mr. Graves challenged the coercive nature of the videotaped investigator’s interview of the defendant at the Police Station. The investigator mercilessly attacked the distraught young mother and attempted to trick her into a confession. Mr. Graves played the interview for the jury, and one of the jurors, blurted out, “this interrogation strikes me as coercive”. The Commonwealth promptly moved for a mistrial which the Judge granted. Ironically, the defendant’s case had previously ended in a mistrial when a Juror fell and broke her nose at a recess. After the trial a juror wrote a letter to the newspaper declaring the trial a “witchhunt” stating the investigator’s interview could be better appreciated as a theatrical performance. Subsequently, the Commonwealth decided to drop the charges.