In light of the viral news story about Gilbert, Arizona mother, Cherish Peterson, who left her 2-month-old baby in a grocery store shopping cart last month, several questions have been raised about child endangerment law in Arizona. In an interview following the incident, a guilt-ridden and heartbroken mother explained how she was distracted by her two kids and did not realize her baby was missing until her 3-year-old asked where the baby was nearly 40 minutes later. According to her story, Cherish immediately returned panicked, but relieved to find that her son was unharmed and had been cared for by employees of a nearby salon and an off-duty police officer`.
Cherish faced incredible backlash for the incident on social media sites, both from accusers and supporters. Many accusers claimed that Cherish should face charges for child abuse and penalties for neglect and child endangerment. Angry tweets criticized her as a parent, claiming she should have her kids taken away from her for abandoning her baby in the Phoenix heat. Others spoke out in her defense, using the hashtag #IStandWithCherish, to voice their opinion on how this simple mistake could happen to anyone. The #IStandWithCherish Facebook Page grew to include over 20,000 supporters.
After being told initially that no charges would be filed, Cherish was charged on Monday, August 30, 2015 with child endangerment, a class one misdemeanor. These charges have now been dropped but what would have happened to Cherish and her case had they not?
According to ARS 13-1201, endangerment is classified as “recklessly endangering another person with a substantial risk of imminent death or physical injury”.
In many Arizona Child Endangerment cases, parents have reported that the criminal charges they receive for neglect or manslaughter of their child only adds salt to the wound, as the horror and guilt from their mistake are more than enough punishment to last a lifetime. Many advocates of the law state that there is a difference between parenting mistakes and reckless endangerment, especially where children are concerned, and parents should be held to the law regardless of the tragedy.
If you have been charged with Child Endangerment in Arizona, Charlie Naegle can aggressively fight for your family and situation. When you need a strong defense, contact Gilbert criminal defense attorney Charlie Naegle. Naegle & Crider Criminal Defense Attorneys offers a free anytime, anywhere phone consultation so you can get the representation you need when you need it most.