Free-Range Kids

New York Dad Should Not Face Homicide Charges for Accidentally Killing Twin 1-Year-Olds in a Hot Car

Laws criminalizing the act of leaving children in cars are misguided.

|

Juan Rodriguez, a doting upstate New York dad, forgot his twin one-year-olds in the back seat when he went to work on Friday. When he got back to his car at the end of the day, he realized his mistake and started screaming. They were dead.

Adding to Rodriguez's almost incomprehensible grief, the state decided to charge him with manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, and endangering the welfare of a child. The judge set his bail at $100,000—as if Rodriguez is a risk to others. As if he hasn't suffered enough. As if this will teach the rest of us some sort of lesson.

It will not.

On social media, many people understand this. "There but for the grace of God go I," they write. Plenty of others are saying this man is guilty because no decent person would ever forget their kids in the car.

But we know that stories like this are not unheard of and that, in fact, humans are human. A baby in a car seat, facing backward, making no sound—it is all too easy to forget they are there and proceed on autopilot to work.

For this reason, many states have made it illegal to let a child wait in the car more than a few minutes, or at all. The stated desire is to prevent tragedies like these. But if the father had remembered that his kids were in the car, he would have taken them out. The fear of breaking the law does nothing to prevent a tragedy like this.

This story is particularly hard to bear because the dad is a disabled war vet, a social worker, and a conscientious father who lives for his kids. Now he will be held up as a reason more states should pass even more draconian no-kids-left-in-the-car laws. These laws would make sense if kids died the instant a parent dashed into the store for a gallon of milk, but they don't. In fact, more kids die in parking lots than in parked cars.

The vast majority of kids who do die in cars either climbed in when no one was looking and weren't found until too late, or were forgotten there. They are not in danger because their parents are running brief errands. Criminalizing parents who consciously let their kids wait in the car a few minutes is not the answer.

A better solution is to publicize and spread the act of always putting something else in the back seat at the same time you put the child there: your shoe, your phone, etc. When you exit the car, it's impossible not to notice you're missing something. Fetching the item brings you to the back seat and the baby.

Public service announcements—Baby In, Shoe Off!—could save more lives than laws against letting kids wait in the car during a short errand.

A technological answer—having an alarm sound if someone is left in the car (or if the back door opened at the beginning of the trip but not the end)—would also be good, but not if this makes it illegal to let the kids wait in the car a few minutes, in the same way it is illegal to drive without first putting on a safety belt.

In any case, the shoe or the alarm make a lot more sense than tormenting a dad who is already living in hell.

NEXT: Federal Court Demands Answers From DEA on Stonewalled Research Cannabis Applications

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Juan Rodriguez, a doting upstate New York dad, forgot his twin one-year-olds in the back seat when he went to work on Friday. When he got back to his car at the end of the day, he realized his mistake and started screaming. They were dead.

    That is beyond mere negligence. That is depraved indifference. There is just no way that someone could consistent with any reasonable standard forget their kids in the back of their car for an entire day. And if in fact he really was negligent and not guilty of murder or manslaughter, let the jury make that determination. There is no question he should be charged here.

    I am sorry but the “I have been through so much” defense is bullshit when your actions are the cause of what you have been through. You don’t get to kill your parents and beg for mercy because you are an orphan.

    1. Send him back!

      1. Fuck off Tony.

    2. Yeah I have a hard time with the sympathy angle here.

      1. I… find it difficult to believe the facts of the case are in line with the defense claims.

        1. He had to put the kids in the car. So he knew they were there. He presumably put them in there to take them somewhere. So, the author of this post expects us to believe that he put his kids in the car, presumably to go to daycare, forgot to take them there and then accidentally left the car all day without realizing the kids were there. Bullshit. That is just complete bullshit. This guy just murdered his kids.

          1. This guy just murdered his kids.

            That’s maybe a bit strong, but I certainly don’t see the problem with trying the guy with criminal negligence. “‘Doting father’ accidentally forgets he has kids with him for whole day” is a narrative that just doesn’t pass the sniff test.

            1. Murder is hard to prove. Maybe he was high on drugs or something that caused him to forget the kids were there and therefore lacked the intent for murder. But, he is clearly guilty of some level of manslaughter or murder.

              1. He could be really, really dumb. Or terminally self-involved. Or on pain killers from surgery. I can think of lots of things that would make “pain suffered” the adequate “punishment.”

                But I don’t think it’s unfair to say he should be tried. We don’t need a law saying “don’t leave kids in the car,” but that doesn’t mean that we should just take this guy’s story at face value without further inquiry.

                1. that doesn’t mean that we should just take this guy’s story at face value without further inquiry

                  The first story I heard like this was the one where, upon investigation, the guy had been Googling what would happen to his kid if he left him in the car for a week or two before it happened… police collect evidence. Judges and juries convict and sentence.

                  1. Revenge-revenge-revenge!!! Government Almighty is VERY good at that! Government Almighty will amuse us all by delivering “vengeance porn”!!! But it NEVER brings back the dead! WHERE is the restorative, healing function of “justice” here?

                    Punish-punish-punish! Personally, I think that punishment should be strictly reserved for only those who cannot otherwise be corrected, and then, “the punishment should fit the crime”. What is needed, and then no more, as far as the severity of the punishment goes. Even criticism is punishment, and it, too, should be carefully rationed.
                    What have very varied thinkers through the years said about this?
                    “Beware of all those in whom the urge to punish is strong.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
                    “Mistrust all those in whom the desire to punish is imperative.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
                    “Let he who is without sin, throw the first stone.” – Jesus

                    “How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while there is still a beam in your own eye? You hypocrite! First take the beam out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” – Jesus

                    1. Read the rest of Matthew Chapter 7, rather than taking a single verse. Jesus isn’t talking about judging people for breaking mortal laws. The entire chapter is about living by God’s law, and to focus on your own son, rather than other people’s sin.

                    2. Punish-punish-punish!

                      If you want to punish someone, that’s your prerogative. I’m not convinced it’s what Jesus would do but people rail about it around when we veer from ‘secular law’ to ‘Christian law’. Either way, I’ve seen parts of the issue third hand from across the internet and am willing to let the people who’ve heard all the evidence first hand, Christian or not, decide. I’m not 100% sure how the jury breaks down on any given charge or issue, but it seems exceedingly likely that he could be not guilty on any or even all charges.

                    3. Jesus had some good things to say.

                      Not a Christian but I have read that wisdom from the book of Matthew.

                      The Talmud in Mishnah Sanhedrin recorded this:

                      “A Sanhedrin that puts a man to death once in seven years is called a murderous one. Rabbi Eliezer ben Azariah says, ‘Or even once in 70 years.’ Rabbi Tarfon and Rabbi Akiba said, ‘If we had been in the Sanhedrin, no death sentence would ever have been passed’; Rabban Simeon ben Gamaliel said: ‘If so, they would have multiplied murderers in Israel.”

                      I am neither judge nor jury about what happened in this case.

                  2. “police collect evidence.”

                    Generally before arresting people and charging them with a crime. Is there any indication that the police found similar searches in this case? They had a whole weekend to do it.

                    1. “police collect evidence.”

                      Also, sometimes, “police PLANT evidence”! They LIE in court, sometimes, too!!! They aren’t ALWAYS infallible super-heroes. They need to be held to the same standards as the rest of us…

                      That is all! Good cops go, go, go!!! Bad cops fuck off and die, please!!!

                    2. Squirrels, you’re just generally an idiot. Your comments here only serve to reinforce that observation.

                    3. Generally before arresting people and charging them with a crime. Is there any indication that the police found similar searches in this case? They had a whole weekend to do it.

                      Did they collect evidence that the guy was doting? Because it was clearly reported that he was doting.

                    4. While I would guess that detail didn’t come from the police report, yes, that is one of the things they should be investigating.

                2. Exactly. And there’s also delineations based on how old the kids are. It’s not kids go from completely helpless to “ready for college” at age 18.

                  In this case, he had a pair of 1-year-olds. It wasn’t like he left his 8 year old son and asked him to watch his 4 year old sister in the car while he ran into a deli. That shouldn’t be illegal. Leaving your infants in a hot car all day? That’s definitely criminal negligence.

                  1. I could see situations where it might not be considered criminal negligence or guilty with time served but it would be stupid to decide such a thing myself, across the internet, third hand.

              2. Ah! Republican Sockpuppet sniffs out Avatar of Satan! Good one…

            2. “‘Doting father’ accidentally forgets he has kids with him for whole day” is a narrative that just doesn’t pass the sniff test.

              Even if it passes the sniff test people still died and it still gets a trial. I don’t exactly care how doting a father he is; parents who literally smother their kids with love still smothered their children.

              That said, absent some evidence that this guy was out to cook someone else’s kid in his car or has other kids he’s responsible for, $100K bail seems absurd.

              1. That said, absent some evidence that this guy was out to cook someone else’s kid in his car or has other kids he’s responsible for, $100K bail seems absurd.

                Yes – that part is exceedingly absurd.

              2. It’s not like he is the first parent who’s had this happen and you never heard about this back when I was a kid in the 1970s and 80s because most cars still had roll down windows and didn’t have huge headrests that blocked your view into the back seat. Also kids were always forward facing back then so you could see them. So I think it’s a combination of new safety rules and distracted parents that is responsible. I don’t blame the dad entirely and he should not go to prison

                1. That’s something I hadn’t even thought of. With the backward-facing baby seat, if you leave the seat in there all the time for convenience, it looks the same from the front whether the baby’s in it or not.

                  Now they’re going to have to make them transparent.

                2. Also kids were always forward facing back then so you could see them.

                  You’re thinking of the 90s. 70s and 80s you just set the little bundle of joy on the passenger’s seat between the unopened pack and the half dozen dead soldiers. You didn’t hear about heat deaths because more kids were being abducted by satanic cults.

                3. At a year of age or around 35-44 lbs is when most people turn the car seats around.

                  1. The current recommendations are to keep them rear facing for as long as possible, usually 2 years or more.

          2. I strongly doubt he intended to kill them, or to injure them. But forgetting he left them there is inexcusable. Criminally negligent homicide certainly seems like an appropriate charge. Lenore Skenazy is so focused on the idea that leaving children in a car shouldn’t automatically be a crime, she fails to see that sometimes, it should be.

            1. It’s almost like it’s fake libertarian-argument that’s meant to be torn down when it fails to recognize degrees and nuance.

              A person going 7 over the speed-limit while passing a semi-truck on the highway is not an imminent threat. Someone doing 80 in a 35 MPH residential is. I can recognize there’s a difference between those two things even though they’re both speeding, just like I can recognize the difference between a mom running into a Dunkin’ Doughnuts for 5 minutes and a guy leaving his kids in the car for an entire day.

              1. The argument against new “child in the car” laws have no relevance in the debate about whether this father should be charged. I agree with others in this post that we don’t need them but this father isn’t being charged with any “child in the car” law. The charges he’s facing could be applied to a multitude of situations that do not have anything to do with a vehicle.

                The children were too young to have any ability to take care of themselves, the father was entrusted with their care, he failed to care them and that resulted in their deaths. His status as a disabled war vet, social worker, and contentious father does not matter. His action or non-action was the reason they died. He needs to be tried, I don’t know for NY what the proper charge is but the ones listed seem reasonable, and if found guilty should serve an appropriate amount of time.

                Would Lenore feel the same way if this wasn’t the father of the children but a next door neighbor, a friend of the family, a school bus driver, or other person in care of the children? I don’t.

          3. That’s pretty cool that you know what he was thinking and why he did what he did. Can you share that technique with us in the next edition of your newsletter?

            It is entirely possible he forgot and then continued to forget until the end of the day. Humans are creatures of habit. When you break the habit, your brain very easily fails to remember. Where are your car keys in the morning when you go to work? If you have a habitual location for them and fail to put them there the night before, it is entirely possible you literally have no memory of where they were left.

            With respect to kids in the car, if you don’t normally carry kids in the morning, on the day you do you can readily forget that there are small quiet people in the back seat and drive to work. Once at work you think about work. Since you don’t normally worry about whether or not the kids got dropped off at daycare safely, you don’t worry about it today. This is how the human brain works.

            Legally, this incident might represent a crime, especially if there is found evidence of leaving them on purpose. In the meantime, however, stop pronouncing judgement upon things of which you obviously know nothing. What do you think this is, the internet?

            1. It is pretty cool that you really don’t seem to understand what criminal negligence is and how intent much less specific intent is not required for every crime.

              1. Yeah, John. Just like all of the drivers that get charged with criminal negligence for failing to yield when making left turns in front of motorcycles that result in death.

                Oh, wait. They don’t.

                “Murder is hard to prove. Maybe he was high on drugs or something that caused him to forget motorcyclists are on the road and therefore lacked the intent for murder. But, he is clearly guilty of some level of manslaughter or murder.” FTFY

                It would be pretty cool if you could delve into the obvious difference in treatment before the law, relative to intent, in this instance. People died and who gets fried.

                1. Feel free to listen to Eat A Peach for inspiration while you ponder that.

                  “The accident happened just passed this intersection, with the truck coming from the opposite direction, toward Duane, making a left turn into the lumber yard to the right in the picture.” -Allmanbrothersband.com

                  Willing to bet this father feels immeasurably worse and will suffer much greater repercussions for his failure compared to the truck driver referenced above.

    3. A better solution is to publicize and spread the act of always putting something else in the back seat at the same time you put the child there: your shoe, your phone, etc.

      You know, something you really care about.

      1. It’s not a matter of caring, its having something you can’t help but notice. It makes sense for people who have an unchanging morning routine, the days run together you can’t remember if you did something this morning, or only think you did because you’re remembering doing it yesterday morning, and the morning before that, and before that

        1. It’s not a matter of caring

          No offense, but yes – on some level, it is.

          1. Exactly. If you allow yourself to not notice something that important, at some level you don’t care.

            1. ” If you allow yourself to not notice something that important, at some level you don’t care.”

              Epic stupidity. You must be an expert on brain functioning and the human condition.

            2. No. Raising the stakes doesn’t improve clarity of mind beyond a certain point. You can’t will yourself into a perfect memory — into mentally separating this day’s execution of an event from another day’s. The creators of “Who Wants To Be a Millionaire” knew that raising the stakes beyond a certain point can actually make recall harder.

          2. On no level is “Baby In, Shoe Off” indicative of caring more for a shoe more than your baby

            1. It is indicative of not really being aware that you have your baby with you, no?

              Let me ask – are you a parent? If yes, could you imagine just plumb forgetting that you had both your children with you for the whole day?

              1. ” If yes, could you imagine just plumb forgetting that you had both your children with you for the whole day when they were not actually with you? FTFY

              2. Baby twins probably cause some sleep deprivation. If the days blend together and you thought you dropped them off at day care like you did yesterday and every day before that…

            2. Or it could mean the father recognizes that it is not going to be a normal day. He has certain issues that may make it difficult and therefore he takes an extra precaution. Is it perfect, well no, but it could be enough self awareness to realize he needs an extra reminder. I respect that far more than someone forgetting their kids in the backseat for 8 hours.

          3. It’s not about caring. It’s about something that you can’t leave the car without noticing. If you have one shoe off, you’ll notice. That’s why that’s the #1 suggestion. For women, purses could work well because they have things in there that they’ll need to use soon like reading glasses or a key or card to get into the building or even a tampon and they’ll soon notice they don’t have their purse with them.

        2. “It’s not a matter of caring, its having something you can’t help but notice. It makes sense for people who have an unchanging morning routine, the days run together you can’t remember if you did something this morning, or only think you did because you’re remembering doing it yesterday morning, and the morning before that, and before that”

          A phone can jog your memory but not your kids?

          1. I was thinking more the shoe example, you’d realize you didn’t have a shoe on as soon as you step outside the car

            1. If that’s what you need to rely on to remember that you have your kids with you, then you need to seriously re-examine your priorities.

              1. No, I don’t think so. You seem to think priorities translates to clear thinking. A lot of the time, being concerned about something leads only to nervousness and distraction.

                What do you think those “baby on board” stickers meant? Not, don’t worry about this driver, s/he’s got hir mind on the road and traffic. Rather, give this car a wide berth, driver’s got a baby distracting hir!

                1. Hmm. I never liked those signs. I always thought they were essentially saying “Take special care not to hurt anyone in this car, because injuring a baby is somehow worse than injuring an adult.” I don’t think it’s worse, I think it’s equally wrong. Or maybe they were saying “Be extra careful not to hit this car, because a collision that only injures an adult could be fatal to a baby.” But your idea about the driver being especially subject to distraction may be part of it too.

                  1. I heard the reason for baby on board is so paramedics know to look for a baby in case of an accident. I’d like to hope it’s that, but I always thought it was saying “be extra careful not to hit this car with baby in it”

                    1. “… While I drive like a Maniac”

        3. A whole day though? What did he do at lunch and how the fuck did he not remember to maybe think of how the kids were doing at day care? Wife never texted to see if he got them there alright? This story is untenable. I personally can’t think of a reason other than clinical amnesia – and even that is bullshit because it didn’t start on that day – of all days.

          The wife should be charged too because I find it hard to believe she wouldn’t text at least once to find out how they were. Since he is only charged with manslaughter, that means they don’t have proof of him lying to the wife throughout the day about their whereabouts and condition.
          So she entrusted him to care for the kids and didn’t think once to ask how things were going in a presumably 8.5 hour day? Bullshit. Mothers don’t take the day off from caring about their kids.

          1. The length of time is immaterial. Once you think you don’t have the children on your hands, why would anything that happened during the day make you think otherwise, except for someone knowledgeable telling you that? The wife never texted because she had no reason to think otherwise either. The kids are at day care, I don’t have to worry myself about them for that time.

            When my sister and I went to school, you think Mother checked an hour later to see if we were there? You think our teachers phoned home if we weren’t? When I was a baby and left with Grandma and Grampa, you think Mother or Daddy kept checking like that?

          2. 1. Had lunch at work?
            2. Normal people do not call the daycare throughout the day to make sure their kids are okay. If you don’t trust your kids’ safety in your daycare, you put them in a different one.
            3. See #2 and add that typical parents trust each other to do the required task of “drop the kids off at daycare”

            This guy still ought to be charged with wrongful-death / negligent homicide. Those were his kids, to whom he owes a duty of care, and he failed completely to provide the basic duty of don’t fry them to death in an oven. The jury should decide if he’s guilty, and what sort of punishment–if any–is appropriate.

    4. Forgetting isn’t depraved or indifferent. It is likely an unintentional error, even if a tragic one.

      1. I was a nurse for 16 years. The first thing they taught us was even an unintentional error that resulted in someone’s death could and likely would result in negligent homicide charges.

    5. “………and a conscientious father who lives for his kids.”

      Apparently not.

      1. I missed that line. WTF is wrong with people?

        1. Yes, Lenore actually wrote that line. Is she on some kind new medication we should be aware of?

    6. Fuck Lenore and her bleeding heart for this guy. This is who she has endless sympathy for?

      FFS, get some perspective.

      1. You know who else had endless sympathy?

    7. Yeah, WTF Reason?

      You don’t forget you have kids in the car. You simply do not.

      I have kids and, rest assured, they are not being left in a car to fucking be COOKED ALIVE all damned day.

      1. Like the guy says below, if a cop did this to an arrestee reason would quite reasonably want the cop charged with murder. Remember the case about the poor guy the DEA forgot was in the cell and they left him there to rot for some obscene amount of time? Reason didn’t have any sympathy for those cops. Yet, they think it is okay for a parent to do the same thing to their children.

        I don’t know if it is the abortion culture or what. But there really seems to be an almost pathological disregard for the lives of children among some people who you would think would know better.

        1. Reason wholeheartedly rejects the concept of personal responsibility.
          Collective responsibility, on the other hand, they can really get behind.

          1. They are all about individual responsibility if you are someone they don’t like, like a cop. But if you are someone they do like, then you are never responsible for anything.

            1. I did NOT see Reason.com calling for EVERYONE in the State of New York to be punished for the so-called “sins” (of imperfection, of forgetfulness) of Juan Rodriguez… THIS idea of “collective punishment for collective sins” is, indeed, evil! But Reason.com didn’t do it!!! I SAW them not do it!!! If YOU saw them do it, please provide evidence!

              Lusting after more and more and ever more punishment, as if the more punishment that we deal out to more and more and ever more people, the more “justice” we have… The idea that punishment = revenge = justice, and the more of it, the better… Is FAR more accurately ascribed to the likes of Nardz and of John, than it is to Reason.com… On the face of the evidence right here!!!

              What have very varied thinkers through the years said about this?
              “Beware of all those in whom the urge to punish is strong.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
              “Mistrust all those in whom the desire to punish is imperative.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
              “Let he who is without sin, throw the first stone.” – Jesus
              “How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while there is still a beam in your own eye? You hypocrite! First take the beam out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” – Jesus

              1. Yeah……..

                Fuck you Squirrely, throw this asshole who roasted his kids in prison.

      2. Scenario — normally your wife drops the kids at daycare, but today she loaded them in the car for you to do it. They’re sound asleep back there, in rear facing car-seats that are always in the car. You forget to go by the daycare. This is impossible? Really? Bullshit!

        I read the comment section now, and wonder — what the hell happened? How did Reason get such an infestation of assholes?

        1. This scenario almost always plays out with the parent who rarely takes the kids to day care, because our brains do not have enough processing power to take in all the environment to make all decisions quickly enough so it goes into “auto pilot,” or Default Mode Network with routines. Research shows that in auto pilot, our brains only notice when something we can’t predict or out of the ordinary jumps out at us, hence leaving the shoe off or the phone in the back seat. Usually my boyfriend isn’t awake when I leave the house, so if he’s up and talking to me during my morning routine, I invariably forget at least one thing, even though I lug the same crap to work everyday, and then it’s—How the hell did I forget my lunch? My boss whose wife just went back to work is currently struggling with this phenomenon and every morning it’s “my wife is fucking up my routine!”
          So, the parent who NEVER drops the kids at day care gets in the car, and the same set of roads greets him and he starts thinking about work or starts listening to a Reason podcast or, maybe like me, is consumed with a pure and intense hatred for all other drivers on MY roads, and his brain, in auto pilot, forget his silently sleeping kids in the backseat. He gets to work, still thinking about whatever, still in auto pilot, grabs his phone and keys IN THE FRONT SEAT and exits the car.
          Have you ever been going someplace and then the person next to you says “Where the hell are you going; I thought we were going to the store?” And you respond “Oh yeah, I’m used to going this way to x…” Yup, that’s the brain on auto pilot. Have you, TODAY, thought, did I turn off the coffee maker? And try as you might, you have ZERO recollection of turning it off, even though you did? Auto pilot. My boyfriend and I have noticed that our neighbor, who loves his child, has left his garage door open when going to work at least three times in the last year(you know -the garage door, in front of the car when you back out) and has lost his iPhone countless times when he gets distracted. Then when you go fishing with him and he gets a strike, things start spontaneously launching themselves overboard as he gets excited, including his Phone.
          The point is that when this happens, it’s invariably to the parent who almost never drops the kids off. That’s why the brain will notice the phone or the shoe, but not the child. The brain never expected the child to be there in the first place. His brain is just driving to work, and walking inside because that’s what he does EVERY DAMN DAY. Except this morning, he was was supposed to stop at day care. Oh, and these deaths never used to happen before all the backseat child seat laws.

          1. I think more likely he was sleep deprived cause of twin babies, often too them to daycare and something happened that distracted him (stopping to get diapers, maybe) then went to work. Who knows.

        2. I read the comment section now, and wonder — what the hell happened? How did Reason get such an infestation of assholes?

          You mean people who think it is just ordinary negligence to leave your kids in a car to die? Yeah where did you assholes come from. What the fuck is wrong with you?

    8. I hope comments like these will disqualify you from ever holding a position of responsibility. Can someone make a note?

      1. What comments? That people should be held criminally responsible for leaving their children to die in hot cars?

        1. Equating this accident to murder is tyrannical. If you stop considering the intentions of the accused you disconnect the law from humanity. This man did not murder his children.

          1. If you stop considering the intentions of the accused you disconnect the law from humanity. This man did not murder his children.

            First of all you don’t know that. He may have intentionally left his kids there to die and is only claiming it was an accident. Second of all while intent matters it is not the only thing. If I get drunk and drive and kill you in an accident, I am guilty of manslaughter even though I didn’t intend to do it. If you do something that is beyond ordinary negligence. This guy is absolutely guilty of involuntary manslaughter at a minimum. That doesn’t require intent. It requires recklessness. And being so neglectful that you leave your kids to die in a car is reckless.

            1. Fair enough, by intention of the law this man is guilty of involuntary manslaughter. My concern is that the charge of homicide and a $100,000 bail is nothing more than an emotional reaction to horrendous parenting. Neither will benefit society, deter future accidents, or help to reform this man. If we punish people solely on the outcome of their actions, if we act on the law emotionally, if we disregard intentions or level of threat to society, or if we lose sympathy for others in crisis, we are tyrants.

              1. Whether he is guilty of murder or not depends on whether you believe his story. Maybe the cops don’t believe him and think he did it intentionally. He wouldn’t be the first person to murder their kids and try to make it look like an accident.

                1. I guess so, but we can only comment on the evidence at hand. I would just highly doubt that it was intentional. Much more likely would be some sort of mental impairment, and it wouldn’t be murder in that case either. Regardless, the $100,000 bail set on a man presumed to be innocent is ludicrous no matter the outcome of the trial.

                  Another example is James Fields getting convicted of Murder I and felony hate crimes. I contented that that was a miscarriage of law then just as I am doing now. It’s an emotional conviction. It’s activism.

                  1. Note that murder was the correct charge in the James Field case, just not in the first degree.

                    1. Never mind, I am wrong about this one. Murder I is correct. Still the hate crime convictions apply to this discussion. Sorry about this divergence.

                2. Lenore’s terrible reporting where she leaves out most facts in favor of emotional mush doesn’t help things much.

            2. Involuntary manslaughter typically requires that you do an act that you know or should know can cause death. This man made no such act. He genuinely forgot the kids. Had he deliberately left the kids there for an hour or so then it would be involuntary manslaughter. Recklessness is more serious than negligence. Recklessness is generally considered same as intention. If I took a gun and shot the magazine empty on the street without even looking if anyone is there that would be reckless. This in no way was reckless.

              If would be negligent if there was a law that required that you check the back seat every tie you step out of a car.

          2. Equating this accident to murder is tyrannical.

            If you assume it, yes. I think what a lot of us are reacting to is the “nothing to see here” mentality that says it’s tyranny to even put him on trial.

            We definitely should be willing to entertain the idea that there could be absolving circumstances. But the situation is strange enough that just letting him go with no questions asked does not feel like the right way to go about it.

            1. Got it. I support a trial of manslaughter of some kind, although I don’t think this man is a threat to society and thus should not be imprisoned. But either way, the very high bail seems evidence enough of emotion influencing the proceedings which is malpractice.

              1. He might not be a threat to society now his kids are dead (if it was intentional), but other people killing their kids because they can get away with it is a threat to society.

                Parents killing their children really is not something we should want happening more frequently, is it?

                1. Again this ignores intent. Also, prison sentencing is has been demonstrated to be a poor crime deterrent so either way I’m gonna go with no.

      2. WTF is wrong with you Melvin? If you think this shit is ok you should never be allowed near children ever.

        1. Hey LotS, thanks for the strawman. I hope it won’t fool too many people although my expectations aren’t high. See above for my opinion.

      3. “I hope comments like these will disqualify you from ever holding a position of responsibility”

        At least you’re cool with him being a father then…

        1. The headline said murder, the story clarifies it that he is being charged with negligent manslaughter. Maybe Melvin forgot to read past the headline originally?

          1. Adding to Rodriguez’s almost incomprehensible grief, the state decided to charge him with manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, and endangering the welfare of a child.

    9. Yeah, I’m sure none of you bigots have ever forgotten anything.

      The human brain doesn’t work the way you think it does. Busy, sleep-deprived parents forget things all the time. Sometimes, really important things. Careless accidents like this are tragic – but they’re still accidents. Criminalizing them meets none of the objectives of a fair criminal justice system.

      1. No, I have never forgotten so much as a cat and left them in a hot car. That is a level of negligence beyond the ordinary. It is just disgusting that you apparently think children deserve the same feel of care and responsibility you give to your cell phone.

        1. Parents have a long history of forgetting their kids… I’ve heard of forgetting at libraries and grocery stores.

          I’ve never done it. I freak out if one of my kids is being particularly quiet and I don’t put rear facing seats directly behind me. But I forget how to get home from routine errands that I do all the time at intersections I frequently travel. It’s a strange feeling.

          Thing is, my kids are safe thanks to routine with me as primary care giver. I wonder if the increasing incidence of this is a consequence of our working lifestyles.

          1. Is it increasing or just being reported more on TV? It is like shooting. Most people polled thing gun homicides are going up, when in fact they’re decreasing, the difference is the media sensationalizing them.

          2. But I forget how to get home from routine errands that I do all the time at intersections I frequently travel. It’s a strange feeling.

            I’ll bet. How old are you? Having a hard time retrieving a word is a normal part of getting older. Becoming lost in familiar places is not. I don’t mean to scare you, but you might want to get checked out:

            https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/may/06/getting-lost-may-be-first-sign-of-alzheimers

      2. And if he’d fallen asleep and driven off a bridge, killing his children, is that also not criminal negligence?

        1. May the lynch mob be stricken with early onset of Alzheimers’ Disease and show up on the cover of National Lampoon’s “Negligent Mother” magazine.

    10. “There is just no way that someone could consistent with any reasonable standard forget their kids in the back of their car for an entire day.”

      Sure you could. If normally you don’t take your kids to work, but you do one day for some reason, you could easily get into your normal work rut and forget that you did something different that day.

      1. You could do anything. But your doing that would be child neglect and recklessness that would rise to the level of involuntary manslaughter at the least.

        1. I don’t think you have the right concept of recklessness. If this be reckless, then any time you put your children in the car on a sunny day is reckless, because what if you forget they’re there?

          1. No it is only reckless if you do not take the precautions that a normal person, of your same training or knowledge level would take. Is it not common knowledge that leaving your kids unattended in a locked car with closed windows for eight hours is a bad idea?

            1. Is it not common knowledge, that as the parent and adult, it is your responsibility to do everything reasonable to insure your child’s safety?

              1. No, because nobody could possibly know everything reasonable that could be done. For instance, who knew the tricks Ms. Skenazy suggested? Those are reasonable measures that could be taken, but nobody could be expected to know them all. We don’t anticipate doing non-routine things, and once we get out of routine we tend to get back into routine ASAP. Routine in this case did not include having babies in their car seats while you drive to work.

            2. That is common knowledge. Your babies being in their car seats on this day on this particular trip is not common knowledge.

    11. When my son was young, my wife usually dropped him off at the daycare on her way to work. Occasionally I would do it. One day I arrived at work and grabbed for my lunchbag from the back seat like always and saw my son sitting in his child seat. Since that day I have had far more sympathy for parents like Juan Rodriguez. I also have no patience for those without that sympathy.

      1. . One day I arrived at work and grabbed for my lunchbag from the back seat like always and saw my son sitting in his child seat.

        The fact that you fucked up and almost killed your kid doesn’t make it okay to do so. Is there anything someone could do by accident that you people wouldn’t think was just one of those things?

        1. Well, you could fall off a bridge and I would not think it was just one of those things. I’d call it karma.

          1. Not analogous. If you forgot which way you are supposed to turn and become distracted and brush him off the bridge, and he drowns. That is a closer analogy.

            1. He becomes distracted and steps on something he should have seen. He then falls off the bridge.

    12. Agreed, Man 1, but they are dead, no spin, he is accountable for killing his kids.

  2. Trump’s nominee for the Presidential Medal for Freedom.

    (Oh come on, you knew *someone* was gonna go there…)

    1. Fuck off Tony.

      1. Am I not free to gambol, Officer Tulpa?

        1. You are free to be a moron and infect every thread with your ignorance.

          1. I’m not Jeff or brandycuck calling for his banning. I’m just telling him to fuck off.

            1. Ditto. I’ve often suggested Tony kill himself, but I’ve never advocated banning the worthless shitbag. Nor do I now.

              He really should go drink some Drano though.

              1. Start a Patreon to fund it, I’m in.

                1. Tempting…….

          2. Very well, then.

        2. You’re free to fuck off Tony.

          1. Aw, sounds like someone needs a safe space. Maybe some trauma counseling?

            1. Please stop confessing things Tony, this isn’t your psychiatrist’s office.

              1. Ah, the dreaded conservative debating technique: “I know you are but what am I?”

                I am bested.

                1. Who’s debating, Tony? I was telling you to fuck off you gimp.

              2. Hey, can I be your Tony puppet today? I’d like some new socks in my collection,and I don’t have a Tulpa one yet. They are so shiny!

                1. Why do you persist in pretending you’re not SQRLSY? Everyone already knows it.

                  1. Why do you persist in pretending that you have a brain, or that you have ANY humor, info, or useful links to bring to these conversations? Or ANYTHING other than childish insults? Other than converting food to feces, and oxygen to carbon dioxide (for the autotrophs to digest, arguably serving a valid function in the ecosphere), are you of ANY real use to ANYONE?

  3. Contrary to all these wise people who know exactly how they and everyone else behaves at all times, I can only too readily understand how this dad forgot his kids were in the backseat.

    I have sometimes put emptied garbage cans in the back of my truck to take to my neighbors, and ten seconds later forgotten they were there, and taken them to my home instead.

    I have picked up mail or packages, thrown them in the back seat, and not remembered them until the next day.

    I have put a recyclables container in the back seat and forgotten to drop it off two miles later, driven 50 miles of errands, and only remembered when I can’t find the container the next day.

    I can easily imagine dad usually goes straight to work, but this day had to take the kids to day care because his wife had an appointment, and ten seconds after driving off, he’s on auto-pilot. Thus taking off your shoe when you put the kids in, not because you really care about the shoe (more than the kids) but because as soon as you get out of the car, you will realize you are missing the shoe. I have learned to do similar things for the garbage cans (put a lid in the passenger seat), recyclables (put one of the recyclable boxes or pop cans on the passenger seat), or packages or mail. But I can’t always.

    Anyone who calls this guy a murderer or manslaughterer is just a fucking idiot who has no understanding of people in the slightest.

    1. Anyone who calls this guy a murderer or manslaughterer is just a fucking idiot who has no understanding of people in the slightest.

      Says the guy who thinks forgetting your kids in the backseat of your car is no different than forgetting the garbage cans. There is a level of responsibility and accountability that comes with having child that doesn’t come with hauling garbage.

      The level of stupidity on your part is just epic.

    2. Anyone who calls this guy a murderer or manslaughterer is just a fucking idiot who has no understanding of people in the slightest.

      If you’re saying that for certain without knowing any further details, yes.

      But these aren’t garbage cans or packages or mail. They’re kids. That level of absent-mindedness where kids are involved is criminal negligence.

      1. No, it’s not. There is no way to set your mind on “extra careful” when it comes to routine like this. You have a lot more immediate dangers to pay attention to when driving that can take your safety-mindedness entirely away from something like babies in the back seat, especially when you never imagined a scenario like that. We take precautions against foreseen dangers, not unimagined ones. I think as a result of this bit of news, some people now will imagine forgetting the baby in the back seat, and take the sort of precaution Ms. Skenazy suggested.

        I could similarly imagine some scenario where you’re watching the kids in the bathtub, afraid to let them out of your sight, and then you all die in a fatal fire when the house burns down because you weren’t in position to check on something. Or vice versa. Attention to the danger you imagine overwhelms the danger you don’t imagine.

        1. You have a lot more immediate dangers to pay attention to when driving that can take your safety-mindedness entirely away from something like babies in the back seat, especially when you never imagined a scenario like that.

          Leaving the kid to die in a hot car qualifies as an immediate danger. And no one is so stupid that they could not imagine that leaving the kid in the car would not kill them.

          1. “And no one is so stupid that they could not imagine that leaving the kid in the car would not kill them.”

            That’s not where the failure lies. The failure lies in not being able to imagine that THEY could end up leaving THEIR kids in the car.

            1. For eight hours? For most parents that is unimaginable. It is beyond comprehension because it is so far removed from normal actions, e.g. it is negligent.

              1. “It is beyond comprehension because it is so far removed from normal actions, e.g. it is negligent.”

                Which isn’t a valid argument that it couldn’t happen to any parent.

                Which is not a valid argument that he should not face any punishment.

              2. The number of hours is immaterial. Once you’ve forgotten the kids were in the car, you’ve no reason to think about it again.

          2. Not while you’re driving, it isn’t! While you’re driving you need to pay attention to the traffic. That’s the immediate danger, and a lot more common one than baking to death in a parked car.

            And you’re forgetting the issue here. Unless he’s lying, he didn’t know they were in the car, because by then he’d forgotten.

            1. I forgot to look both ways before turning left, striking a pedestrian in the cross walk, killing them. Oops I just forgot. My bad. (Sarcasm).

              1. ? You don’t make it a habit to look both ways?

                1. Hyperbolic examples to show the (il)logic of his continued excuse of “just forgetting”.

                  1. Are you saying that concentrating on driving couldn’t cause one to forget babies were in their seats?

        2. There is no way to set your mind on “extra careful” when it comes to routine like this.

          Yes there is. He had twin one-year-olds with him. When you are with even one one-year-old you are in a “be extra careful” situation.

          As I say above, there could be extenuating circumstances that make this man Not Guilty of anything. But to just assume that makes no sense. Many of us here have children and can tell you directly that even sleep-deprived very, very few parents would ever make an even remotely similar mistake.

          1. So tell me what extra care he could’ve taken that most patrents would have known to prevent forgetting he had them in the car.

            1. Most parents would realize that you don’t stop giving a one-year-old your attention for even ten seconds. If you’re the type of person who needs to take one shoe off to remind you that you have two one-year-olds with you, you are not competent to be caring for children.

              1. If you can’t stop giving attention to a 1 year old, you can’t drive. Driving requires constant attention. Anything less is unsafe.

                You seem to think you need perfect recall to care for children. A lot of the best caregivers don’t have anything like perfect recall.

                Fatal accidents happen. They happen a lot more often from driving than from babies being forgotten in cars, or in places they could be crushed, or lots of other places they might innocently be placed and then forgotten.

                1. Fatal accidents are rare, thus proving that a normal person is unlikely to forget. As this is not considered the standard a normal person would take, it is therefore negligent and the resulting death is manslaughter.

                  1. Can’t tell if sarcastic, but whether it is or not, it does reduce the syllogism to absurdity, i.e. that the rarity of accidents proves they must be caused by negligence. I can rattle off accounts of how the very measures taken to prevent accidents have caused them; that general scenario was even lampooned in Watchmen.

              2. You have no kids, do you?
                I don’t stare at my kids while they are napping… or watching tv… or occupied in a safe manner.

                Really? 10 seconds? How do parents get ANYTHING done?

                1. Giving kids attention =/= giving your kids undivided attention. I’ve got 3 of them 5 and under, and I can’t imagine “forgetting” I have them. That takes a level of apathy beyond my comprehension.

                  In the car, I constantly talk to them and engage them. That is giving them attention. But way to go taking the guy’s comment with zero charity.

    3. “I have sometimes put emptied garbage cans in the back of my truck to take to my neighbors, and ten seconds later forgotten they were there, and taken them to my home instead.

      I have picked up mail or packages, thrown them in the back seat, and not remembered them until the next day.”

      Are you fucking kidding me? I am one of the most absent-minded people I know but I have never “forgotten” about my kids. I will give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you don’t have any.

      1. Yeah, well when I put my kids in the car, it’s just like when I toss the mail on the passenger seat. I may not remember to bring them in when I get home. And that’s cool, because kids are like mail and have the same duty of care and all. /sarc

    4. ” I can only too readily understand how this dad forgot his kids were in the backseat.”

      Well yeah, you’re an imbecile.

    5. Do you HAVE kids?

      Just asking.

      See, I do. And one year olds take some time to get INTO their seats. Even if you do it a lot, it is not quick.

      And, for a moment, try and fathom what the kids experienced. They were tortured. The “torture” Reason bemoans at the border — these kids dealt with measures worse of it. And Reason feels bad for the guy who, technically, tied them into a car and left them to cook to death.

      1. It doesn’t matter if they were eaten slowly by crocodiles, it has nothing to do with the questions raised here.

        It doesn’t matter if it’s a struggle to get them into their seats, once you’ve gotten them in and out a number of times, you might easily falsely recall that you’d gotten them in and out this day already, or that it wasn’t today that you’d put them in.

        1. No…you would not.

          Again, you’re advocating letting somebody go who locked kids in a car to cook to death because he feels bad about it.

          Seriously, fuck him.

          1. I said nothing of the kind. If he were gleeful about it, he still wouldn’t be negligent.

    6. Yes, my thinking went immediately to such scenarios, because all of us who do things routinely are susceptible to them.

      Let’s use some logic here. Nobody is just uncaring about their kids to the degree that taking a chance on killing them like this would entail. Therefore it could only have been deliberate or a complete mistake. Therefore he should be up for murder only, and if that’s not proven, then not guilty of anything.

      1. That is nonsense. Just because you don’t have the requisite intent for murder doesn’t mean you are not guilty of another crime, likely manslaughter. If your level of negligence rises to a level of depraved indifference to the consequences of your actions, you are guilty even if you never intended to kill anyone. This is a perfect example of that.

        1. Yeah, but depraved indifference in a case like this is inconceivable. Oh, I don’t care whether the kids in the back seat live or die. You kidding me?

          1. Oh, I don’t care whether the kids in the back seat live or die. You kidding me?

            He left them in the car. Are you fucking kidding me that I am supposed to take this assholes word for it? Are you fucking kidding me that putting kids in the back of your car and forgetting them isn’t negligence beyond the normal?

            What in the fuck is wrong with you people. Are children even human beings to you? Again, if a cop did this to an arrestee, by your logic there would be nothing wrong and just one of those things. You would never make that argument for a cop. Yet, you do for some asshole who did the same thing to his kids. Unbelievable.

            1. What the hell do they define “negligence” as? Negligence doesn’t entail INTENTIONAL. If you ACCIDENTALLY murder somebody…you STILL get punished for it.

              1. They really seem to think that “if you didn’t mean to do it” you should never be held criminally responsible for your actions no matter how reckless they are or how many people it kills.

            2. No, you’re not supposed to take his word for it. If he’s lying, then that meant he’d devised a rather inefficient murder plan. But that’s a murder trial, not a negligent homicide case. Either he forgot or it was murder. If he forgot, then it’s not negligent unless you can show that “normal” people have some way to make sure they don’t forget, and routinely use them. No fair just pointing out that such ways exist or can be devised, they have to actually be the standard of care.

              1. “you can show that “normal” people have some way to make sure they don’t forget, and routinely use them.”

                Lots of infants ride in cars.

                VERY few are left in the car to die.

                So, clearly, yeah — most people remember just fine.

                This was negligence. Libertarianism cannot work if negligence is excused away.

                1. Then you don’t understand negligence.

                  The fact that most of the time babies aren’t forgotten in the back seat despite parents not having any mnemonic device to prevent that happening only works against a finding of negligence here. You can’t call a failure of memory negligence, because normal memory fails some of the time. Otherwise you’re saying you need a perfect memory to prevent negligence.

                  Forgetting is not neglecting. Neglecting is abnormal failure of attention. Fogetting sometimes is normal.

                  1. Forgetting your kid is not normal behavior for parents. Especially not by the time they are a year old.

                  2. I forgot to look beyond the deer I was shooting at and didn’t see that other hunter. I didn’t mean to kill him. So I can go free?

                    1. I mean I was so focused on how big that buck was and how much we needed the deer meat in our freezer. Anyone can forget to check their backstop, right?

                    2. No, that’s not the same kind of forgetting. Forgetting to take a precaution you normally do is not the same as forgetting a fact. If you looked beyond the deer, saw someone, and then something happened to make you forget there was a person there — like maybe you forgot it was Wear Brown Instead of Orange Day — then you get off.

                2. The question is, do you believe recall to be a stochastic process, or an act of will and desire? Yes, you can improve your performance on tests by studying the material, which entails will and desire, but do you not admit that sometimes you’ll forget the right answer by chance no matter how well you know the subject generally?

                  Sometimes people are going to forget a baby and it dies. Doesn’t matter how much they didn’t want an accident to happen to their baby, they didn’t figure that one. Or they prevent that one and another one happens. Do you not see the possibility that obsessively thinking about whether the baby’s on board or not could increase your chance of a collision?

                  1. How many babies a year are born in the US? Now how many get forgotten in cars long enough for them to die? It simply is not a common thing because most people think about their kids first. The only time I ever actually saw a mother forget her kid, she didn’t even make it across the parking lot before she went running back screaming hysterically.
                    This man was a soldier at one time. We are taught to pay attention to the details. To avoid mistakes like this. You don’t ever leave your weapon or NVGs or sensitive material unattended. And if you do, your ass is grass. He was trained in other words to pay attention, to be constantly aware of the situation and to adjust. That is what basic training is all about. Learning to perform under pressure and paying attention to the details.

                    1. So because it’s rare, that means it had to be due to negligence? What about the idea that people are careful enough that baked babies occur only a small fraction of the time, and that’s all we can ask?

                    2. From the Washington Post:
                      In the last 10 years, it has happened to a dentist. A postal clerk. A social worker. A police officer. An accountant. A soldier. A paralegal. An electrician. A Protestant clergyman. A rabbinical student. A nurse. A construction worker. An assistant principal. It happened to a mental health counselor, a college professor and a pizza chef. It happened to a pediatrician. It happened to a rocket scientist.
                      Each instance has its own macabre signature. One father had parked his car next to the grounds of a county fair; as he discovered his son’s body, a calliope tootled merrily beside him. Another man, wanting to end things quickly, tried to wrestle a gun from a police officer at the scene. Several people — including Mary Parks of Blacksburg — have driven from their workplace to the day-care center to pick up the child they’d thought they’d dropped off, never noticing the corpse in the back seat.
                      According to statistics compiled by a national childs’ safety advocacy group, in about 40 percent of cases authorities examine the evidence, determine that the child’s death was a terrible accident — a mistake of memory that delivers a lifelong sentence of guilt far greater than any a judge or jury could mete out — and file no charges.

    7. “Anyone who calls this guy a murderer or manslaughterer is just a fucking idiot who has no understanding of people in the slightest”

      Unfamiliar with the concept of manslaughter, we see

      1. Unfamiliar with the concept of humans making mistakes, I see.

        You forgot the full stop at the end of your sentence. Whoops! A mistake! You made a mistake! You forgot something!

        Everybody makes mistakes. Some people just can’t bear to admit it,and think that denying that of other people will somehow show the world that they are perfect.

        1. Everyone makes mistakes, but if you make a mistake that 3nds up injuring or killing someone else it isn’t simply a mistake. Especially, I’d your mistake was so bad that others would not consider it normal. And it is criminal.

          1. No, sorry, we can’t guarantee everybody’s safety.

    8. People forget stuff.

      The people who deny the possibility in themselves are just the ones who would leave the kids in the back of the car, feeling infallible.

    9. Or consider the story of people who found a fortune in a cab because someone accidentally left it.

      1. So? That resulted in someone dieing? That resulted in someone who was incapable of caring for themselves dieing as a result of someone else’s mistake? You are literally comparing finding lost cash to killing someone.

        1. Yes, I am literally comparing them. They’re both things that people cared a lot to not happen, yet they did.

  4. If a cop had left a 21+ arrestee in the back of his squad car all day and the arrestee died from the heat, then we’d want the cop to hang for it. Not that the cop would suffer any punishment, because cops are de facto aristocrats not subject to the vulgar law the rest of us have to follow, but we would still want the cop to hang.

    The bright-line rule I’d want is that you’re responsible for someone left in your car (kid or not) if that someone is physically unable to leave. So dad leaves one-year-olds in the car and they die? Guilty. Dad leaves a six-year-old who is able to open the car door? Not a crime. Dad leaves an eleven-year-old in a car with “child safety” (spit) features that keep the kid locked in? Guilty! Cop leaves a 22 year old locked in the back of his squad car? Not guilty until the time comes to hang cops for their crimes against humanity.

    1. A lot of folks here believe in a constitutional right to murder children if the adult responsible is inconvenienced. Which is right there in the Bill of Rights.

    2. Well said. The cop example is a great one. Reason would rightfully want that cop convicted and punished. But somehow, reason sees nothing wrong with a father doing the same thing to his children.

      The wokeltarians are really messed up.

      1. You can’t see any shades between absolutely right and absolutely wrong. You cannot understand the idea of making mistakes. Which is pretty funny for a guy whose reputation was founded on making a shit-ton of mistakes.

        Of course, you only make typoes. You never ever have made any mistakes more serious then a few dozen typoes all day every day.

        1. Mistakes that end in someone’s death, if you do not take the normal precautions that an average person in your situation would, is negligence. No matter how tragic. The woman who never drinks and has one to many wines when celebrating her birthday and gets in the car and kills a bicyclist, is still responsible. The man who doesn’t check the chamber on his pistol and accidentally fires it through his apartment wall, killing a person on the other side, still negligent. The nurse who mixes up vial of potassium chloride and narcan, and gives the junkee an IV bolus of 20 mEq of KCl, stopping the patients heart, yes still negligent. All can and will likely be charged with manslaughter or homicide.

          1. But what makes you think this father did not take the normal precautions?

    3. “If a cop had left a 21+ arrestee in the back of his squad car all day and the arrestee died from the heat, then we’d want the cop to hang for it.”

      Great point. Sometimes it seems like the Reason writers’ pet issues are more important than basic things like, oh, the value of human life.

    4. A cop is not going to forget about a 22 year old in the back seat.

      1. A parent is not going to forget about a child in the back seat. I think the kid is more important to you than the criminal is to the cop. In both cases they put them there. And in both cases they are responsible for their well being.

        1. Yes, sometimes a parent is going to forget that, else cases like this wouldn’t come up. It’s not like this is the first time it’s happened in history. Putting babies in the back seat becomes routine after you’ve done it enough times. The 22 year old in the back seat is not routine, there are going to be different details about the individual every time.

          I don’t know how many times I’ve been in the middle of taking pills, gotten distracted, and then can’t remember whether I took this one or not. One morning’s pill-taking blends in my mind into every morning’s pill taking. I could just as easily see myself doing that with babies.

          1. Yes, sometimes a parent is going to forget that, else cases like this wouldn’t come up. I

            So what? In come cases people are going to drive drunk or when they are too tired and kill someone. Because people do it doesn’t make it less reckless.

            If you are so stupid and careless that you could leave your kid in a car to die, you are guilty of criminal negligence. That is a level of forgetfulness and your duty as a custodial parent so high that it is more than just negligence.

            1. But there’s no suggestion here so far that this person was reckless. If he’d been drunk, sure. (We don’t know he wasn’t, but I’m taking the facts we have and making the ordinary assumptions.) But this person just did the same thing people do all the time. We just don’t imagine we’d forget whether we have babies in the car. Forgetting is not recklessness, it’s just a lapse of memory.

              1. But there’s no suggestion here so far that this person was reckless.

                Lets say it again, he left the kid in a hot car. That is a level of neglect that rises to recklessness. I don’t care if he did it intentionally or didn’t bother to pay attention.

                1. “Left the kid”. Did you forget the story? He didn’t think they were in the car.

                  Probably you did forget, since you wrote, “kid”. They were twins. See, sometimes people forget details. Maybe you’re mixing it up with some other story of someone knowingly leaving a child in a car. Just like mixing up driving to work this day with driving to work some other day with no babies in the back seat.

                  1. “Did you forget the story? He didn’t think they were in the car.”

                    That’s why it’s NEGLIGENCE and not PRE-MEDITATION.

                    1. Negligence is a matter of not taking precautions “normal” people take that you should know about. What’s the evidence normal people do something to remember the baby seats are occupied that parents routinely know about?

                      Mere forgetting is not negligence.

                    2. Normal parents don’t forget their kids. It is a rare act. At least not to the point of leaving them in a overheated car for 8 hours. Hell, when my kids were little I didn’t even like walking as far as the cart return when I was by myself and leaving my kids in the car. Sorry, most parents don’t simply forget. Negligence is based upon what would be considered not taking normal care to avoid a bad outcome. Forgetting your children is not a normal action. Therefore it is negligence.

                    3. Yes, it’s rare. Rare does not mean impossible. A certain fraction of the time, despite everyone’s taking the normal precautions, somebody dies.

            2. I’m all for a negligent charge and even some jail time…

              However, your comments are asinine. I remember my kids because it is my ONLY responsibility. I am the primary caregiver. I’ve also been doing it since I was 25… I had no routine to break before kids. They ARE my routine.

              Most people don’t live with that arrangement – they have kids after 10 years of one routine or one parent takes more responsibility than another. It can’t be a coincidence that nearly every one of these work-daycare deaths were done by dads – who are shown to still shoulder less responsibility for their kids than working moms.

              In other words, the primary care giver is still predominantly ONE PARENT and that one parent has developed habits built into that responsibility over time. The hiccup seems to come when the non-primary care giver is given responsibility that they have not built a routine for.

              I’d expect parents with a more shared responsibility in drop off to have less incidence of this than those where they are randomly breaking routine to step in.

              That is parenting reality, regardless of how precious our kids are. Your comments show a casual disregard for how humans work and it assumes that the situation leading to these incidents is perfectly suitable and that its solely human error at fault.

              I’d say there’s a problem with our work culture that demands parents can’t take time off to break routine. My husband works from home if I have an appointment. He doesn’t need to drive them anywhere. (And I’m betting 2 parents working with day care, this parent is not working at McDonald’s).

          2. To the cop, the 22 yo arrested person very well could be a normal part of their day. In fact, I would almost consider it part of their job. It kind of is implied they normally deal with people in the backseat of their cruisers.

            1. But they’re still always different people, and other details of their seizure are different. They’re not the same 2 babies who disappear in the back-facing seats every time.

  5. I don’t know what the answer is in regards to the law when there’s something worse going on than an accident. This case is a terrible tragedy and I really feel for this man.

    1. I don’t. I don’t buy for a minute that he did this accidentally. I don’t believe anyone could do that unless maybe they were drunk or high, in which case he is still responsible for the deaths.

      1. The article says he’s a disabled veteran, so he might have some mental health issues

        1. I think at most that would diminish his responsibility but not take it away entirely.

          1. Agreed. Unfortunately, this is such an awful mess of an article that does a poor job presenting the facts, and instead overflowing with misplaced empathy, that it’s hard to tell much about what happened other than that he did what he did.

        2. The article says he’s a disabled veteran, so he might have some mental health issues

          He might. Should we just let him go, then? Or maybe look into it first?

        3. The article says he’s a disabled veteran, so he might have some mental health issues

          Unfortunately in this day and age, a “disabled veteran” could be someone who served four years in an administrative company at Ft. Benning, GA and has some knee trouble.

          1. Actually a good possibility, because likely that person went to sick call and had it on his record that he twisted his knee while doing a company fun run. Since he has documentation it is much easier to get VA to recognize it as a service related injury. The 11B who jumped 100+ lbs in the desert during multiple tours and who’s Humvee was blown up by an IED, had ringing in his ears, but denied it when the medic asked, because he didn’t want to take up the medics time and didn’t want to be seen as shirking to his buddies, but now has chronic headaches as a result of TBI that was never documented will spend years fighting for his coverage. And people wonder why I don’t want the fucking government in charge of health care.

          2. Oh and I don’t have any hearing loss according to the VA, but I miss almost half of most discussions. And my arthritic back has nothing to do with being a medic and nurse, or all the heavy lifting we did continuously when we were sitting up and tearing down GP mediums, TEMPERS and ISOs in my ten years in. It is all because I got overweight after discharge. There’s the door.

      2. You’re an idiot. Anyone could make this mistake including you. It’s how the human brain works. You don’t have to be drunk or high, just in a routine. Even easier if you’re also a sleep-deprived new dad.

        1. “Even easier if you’re also a sleep-deprived new dad.”

          sleep-deprivation affects thinking, it doesn’t turn you into an amoral sociopath

          1. also…if you are truly sleep deprived you try to find someone else to drive your babies around so you don’t risk a car accident

            1. “if you are truly sleep deprived you try to find someone else to drive your babies around so you don’t risk a car accident”

              I’ve actually fallen asleep at the wheel of my car, luckily no one died from it.

              When you are that sleep deprived, you lose the ability to make those kinds of rational decisions.

              Been there, done that, lucky I didn’t kill anyone.

              1. Been there, done that, lucky I didn’t kill anyone.

                Had I killed someone, there’s an exceedingly good chance I should’ve stood trial for it.

              2. I fell asleep at the wheel once. It made me go to the doctor and get a sleep study I’d been avoiding done. Got my CPAP and since then my pulse, blood pressure, etc have decreased to normal and no more falling asleep at the wheel. But if I had killed someone when I ran off the road at 70 mph asleep at the wheel, I would expect to be held criminally liable.

                1. And I’m not arguing he should not face any charges, though I think the inclusion of manslaughter is excessive.

                  I’m merely responding to lap83’s comment. No, when you are seriously sleep deprived, it’s not so easy to make rational decisions like finding someone else to drive.

          2. “sleep-deprivation affects thinking, it doesn’t turn you into an amoral sociopath”

            It affects both memory and the ability to make rational decisions.

          3. There’s no evidence I’ve seen that suggests he’s an amoral sociopath. He might be low IQ, but calling him an “amoral sociopath” would suggest a long history of bad behavior.

          4. Let’s not forget he is a veteran. They intentionally kept us up for 72 hours straight in basic so that we learned how to function on little to no sleep. He has literally been trained how to function in a decreased state of awareness. I wonder how many times he left his weapon unattended.

      3. Then OK, it should be a murder case only.

        1. Convicted of involuntary manslaughter. If Rosencrantz acted recklessly—meaning that he was more than ordinarily negligent, by driving under the influence of alcohol, for example—he could be convicted of involuntary manslaughter. (Many states have separate statutes to deal with vehicular manslaughter.)

          At the very least he is guilty of involuntary manslaughter. Being so negligent and neglectful that you leave your kids to die in a car, even if it is an accident, counts as reckless behavior by any reasonable definition.

          1. It’s not reckless if you’re taking the same level of precaution against it that most people would. And what level of precaution would most of us take? We just plan to remember. Well guess what? He planned to remember too. Nobody plans to forget!

            Now that we’ve read the article, we can take some other precaution like the shoe mnemonic. Before this, would anyone here have thought of that?

            1. It’s not reckless if you’re taking the same level of precaution against it that most people would.

              He took no level of precaution. He left them there to die. The precaution is to pay attention and not leave your kids to die. Do you even consider children human beings/

              1. You’re just assuming your conclusion. How do you know he took no level of precaution that most people would have taken?

                Pay attention to the kids, huh? “Oh, I have babies in the back seat. I have babies in the back seat. I have babies in the back seat. CRASH!”

                1. Several people have asked you whether you have kids, and you have answered none of them.

                  Pay attention to the kids, huh? “Oh, I have babies in the back seat. I have babies in the back seat. I have babies in the back seat. CRASH!”

                  I’m guessing the answer is, no, you don’t have kids.

                  1. And I’ll ask you if you have a Pulitzer.

                  2. No, I don’t have kids. But I’ve delivered a good number of them.

                    1. If you had a bad shift, understaffed, and you say forget to clear the meconium out of a newborns mouth before giving respirations and cause a collapsed lung. This progresses into a tension pneumo which compresses the heart, resulting in loss of oxygen to the brain for an extended amount of time. The infant then expires. Can you be charged with negligent homicide? Because when I was a nurse, yes you can.
                      How about you have a pre-eclampsia mother with positive clonus and 4+ protein in her urine. Her BP is 160/110 but you get distracted on your way to call the doctor because you answer the call light next door. Your first patient seizes and does, losing both her and the infant, can you be charged with manslaughter twice? Yes you can.

                    2. The scenarios with doctors are not comparable to the ones with parents. It’s the business of the obstetrician, it’s all they’re there for, they’re paying full attention to it because nothing else to do. A parent driving a car has other things to think about — like driving the car(!) — and doesn’t even imagine the babies being left in the car. The standards and circumstances are so different, there’s no reason to bring one up in relationship to the other. Medical errors are business, doctors are expecting things to go wrong, they should always be prepared. Parents can’t always be thinking of the bad things that can happen.

                  3. Or ask him if he looks in his rearview mirror from time to time when driving? Because, I can usually see my kids, even when in a car seat, in my rear view mirror. I don’t know about you, but when I was in driver’s ed the taught us to scan our mirrors frequently.

                    1. How well would that work with a rear facing infant car seat? I’m guessing that all you would see is the back of the car seat and wouldn’t be able to tell if it was occupied if the kid was asleep.

            2. And what level of precaution would most of us take? We just plan to remember.

              This is presumptuous. See below and above. Plenty of us developed habits that prioritize things appropriately, recognized our own shortcomings, and established safeguards and fall backs in case they didn’t.

              1. Who develops habits for things like this that happen just once? The habits this driver had were apparently just fine up until this incident. Was there any account of this driver’s having previously left the babies in the car accidentally? Before you read this article, would you have thought of the shoe trick?

                1. Before you read this article, would you have thought of the shoe trick?

                  No. Before they were born it was arranged with every caregiver (so far) that in any case of such missed contact, we were to be contacted immediately. Before they were even loaded into the car the kids supplies went on top of my work supplies. I couldn’t get me and my stuff out of the car to go to work without digging under kids’ stuff that shouldn’t be there. I don’t know how long this guy’s commute is but mine was 40 min. I can’t guarantee you that I peered back at the kids every 10 min. I can guarantee you a whole commute never went by without me doing it. at least twice.

                  See MatthewSlyfield’s post above. I have fallen asleep at the wheel. If I injured or killed someone while asleep at the wheel, I would expect to be charged and tried for it.

                2. Nobody plans to forget!

                  Click here to resend your password.

                3. Most everyone develops habits quickly as a parent. We had a checklist whenever we went anywhere with the kids as babies. Extra change of clothes, check, extra diapers, check, medicine, check, baby wipes, check, teething ring, check, playpen, check, etc… It quickly became second nature. He is also a veteran, in the service your taught to think through and develop routines to remember them in a crisis. You don’t forget your weapon, you don’t forget your NBC mask, you don’t forget your NVGs, you know where your battle buddy is at all times. You know your chain of command. You know your general orders and standing orders and special orders. Paying attention to detail is expected, it is the normal, anything else is just an excuse and excuses are what get people killed.

                  1. Danger is the business of soldiers. If routines to prevent problems with babies are so, well, routine as above, why are they news to so many parents? Besides, there isn’t much time to develop routines with babies, because they’re growing so rapidly that the things you need to do to prevent accidents with them change rapidly.

                    The proof is that this case is not unique. All they all negligent manslaughters? Only to those who think parents must guarantee their children’s safety. These are just accidents, they’re going to happen a certain fraction of the time, and if you think you can prevent them all, you’re haughty and wrong.

    2. While I don’t agree with her 100%, I think Lenore does a decent job of actually hitting a pretty libertarian angle with this piece. Certainly a better job than a lot of other Reason contributors.

      I disagree with her in that I think the guy should stand trial. Two people, for whom he was responsible, died. If they were invalid or comatose adults, we’d try him and we can’t exactly let the doting guy off because he was really doting and really stick it to the Dad who was only kinda doting. I certainly agree that, without some other evidence of him being a menace, $100K bail is absurd.

      One point that I think she brushes on but could explore further (or maybe hammer home harder) is how impotent things like unending car seat regulations are in light of other dangers such as this and how behavioral and market-based technological solutions are better than legislative ones.

      I would also recommend Lenore be careful to avoid contradicting herself when recommending technological solutions. If one of my kids didn’t/doesn’t make it to daycare, get off the bus, make it to first period on time, I get a call. The only other time they go anywhere, we hand them a smartwatch or phone and tell them when to be home or otherwise answer the phone. I know that some portion of this level of monitoring has occasionally offended some of her free range sensibilities.

      1. Bail isn’t supposed to be based on danger of being at large, but only flight risk.

        1. Bail isn’t supposed to be based on danger of being at large, but only flight risk.

          *headdesk*

          1. Technically, Robert is correct. Bail is about insuring that you will show up for trial. It can be denied in it’s entirety if the defendant is a threat to the public, but if bail is set at all, the amount of bail should be all about flight risk.

              1. I think the manslaughter charge is too much, but given the details we have, it would not be unreasonable for him to stand trial on the other two charges.

    3. Whoops. Didn’t mean the above in reply.

  6. “Public service announcements—Baby In, Shoe Off!—could save more lives than laws against letting kids wait in the car during a short errand.”

    If you wouldn’t leave your kids at your house while you run the errand…why would you leave them in the car?

    Either they can be on their own or they cannot.

    Is it INCONVENIENT to drag a one year old into a place.

    Yup. Sure as hell is.

    But that IS your fucking job. I could give two shits how bad this guy feels.

    The two kids he cooked to death in the car felt infinitely worse than he ever can. I hope the judge locks him up. Fuck him.

    1. Fuck him is right.

    2. When my daughter was little, I had to drag her around with me to lots of places where it was inconvenient all the time. I would never have left her in a hot car for five minutes let alone over five hours. Hell, I almost beat the shit out of a guy last year for leaving his dog locked up in his car on a hot sunny day after less than twenty minutes. Instead just made him go out and rescue the dog. The funny taking was that the guy was sitting drinking beer in a craft beer establishment that allowed pets inside. And it was a small dog in a cage anyway.

      Some people are real pieces of shit. Like Tony.

      1. And it was a small dog in a cage anyway.

        You’ve got the story all wrong. You wanted to give this douchebag his much-deserved beating for taking his toy dog on a trip to the craft brewery and he just happened to leave the dog in the car. I don’t care if the brewery is stupid enough to encourage pets. Unless you’re blind leave the dog at home.

        1. He was a regular there, and the Asian food joint next door. The owner of the Asian food place told me he did this shit al, the time, but she didn’t want to get in the middle of it since he was a regular customer. So I did. Instead of beating him, or calling the cops, I told him to his face to fix it.

          If I ever see that guy doing it again, it won’t go well for him. I HATE peoples who abuse animals.

          1. I HATE peoples who abuse animals.

            As long as it’s not my animal or on my property, I don’t much care. I have fallen and would fall under too many people’s definition of animal abuse to be particularly mindful. I would absolutely leave a dog in a hot car for 5 min. but, for me, a ‘quick drink’ is well longer than 5 min. I almost certainly wouldn’t leave a dog there in the heat as long or longer than I myself would sit there.

            I can certainly understand how a bar/brewery owner wouldn’t want a dog baking to death in his parking lot and am a little befuddled as to why he would want them on the property at all. But we no longer live in a time where the ownership can refuse service to anyone for any reason.

    3. As a father, I remember being reticent to leave my infant daughter in the car even to run back in the house to grab my wallet or something, because it crossed my mind that I could have a heart attack or stroke while in the house– even for a few minutes and she’d be there for hours before anyone knew it*

      But that was a personal choice and after she was still in the car seat but still barely a toddler, that started to slip because fuckin-a I had to get shit done sometimes.

      *Yes, one can have those things happen at any time when with your infant solo so I’m not trying to justify the utility of the argument. It was just something I felt at the time.

      1. Most parents deal with this. My oldest was a terrible sleeper. Do I wake him to run back into the house and listen to him scream the whole way to the store (he hated not being able to see us when in his car seat) or do I leave him in the seat while I run into the house to grab my wallet. This is why most folks can’t even fathom this forgetfulness. I could forget my keys, I even forgot the diaper bag once (a messy blowout at the store was all the reminder I needed), but the one thing I never forgot was my kid.

  7. What is it about this country that if someone dies around a car that all sorts of folks come out of the woodwork to say it’s not really that bad. These kids died and not because an asteroid fell out of the sky. Likewise, killing someone with a car rarely results in a serious penalty unless you violated some other driving law (like DUI). WTF?

    1. Likewise, killing someone with a car rarely results in a serious penalty unless you violated some other driving law (like DUI).

      Got any stats? The one person I know who perpetrated and was convicted of vehicular manslaughter suffered more than what I would call a slap on the wrist. Admittedly the punishment didn’t kill him but you categorically cannot say it didn’t fuck up his life.

      1. Even vehicular manslaughter is assuming some form of DUI or provable reckless or ‘leaving the scene’ or some traffic violation.

        Here’s stats for Minneapolis

        Between 2010 and 2014, there were 3,069 crashes with pedestrians in the Twin Cities and its suburbs. 95 were killed. 28 drivers were charged. Fourteen were sentenced to jail or prison. Nine drivers were sentenced to more than three months incarceration. For most of the rest who aren’t charged, it doesn’t even result in a traffic ticket.

        I doubt Minneapolis is much different from other places. Except that it has the lowest pedestrian death rate – so possibly fewer drunk drivers.

        I also knew people who were killed by cars where nothing happened to the driver. And have known a few people who I was surprised to find out had killed someone while driving – with no penalty except their own guilty feelings.

        1. I also knew people who were killed by cars where nothing happened to the driver. And have known a few people who I was surprised to find out had killed someone while driving – with no penalty except their own guilty feelings.

          ?! Sounds like being your friend is a dangerous business.

          1. idk why it seems so surprising. ‘traffic fatality’ is the most common cause of death from post-walking childhood up to whenever drug overdose becomes #1. For every one of those, there is someone on the other side. I’d be surprised if you didn’t ever know any peers who died for that reason. Only some of those are ‘self-inflicted’ (teen wraps car around tree and dies) and it’s not ‘drunk drivers’ who are too blame for most of that.

            imx I know more people like Laura Bush than I do the not-at-all surprising just-a-matter-of-time drunk driver. It just is never a story that comes out until you know them.

            1. And obviously a ton more people get seriously hurt than actually die. So add those folks too.

        2. Without knowing the actions of others it is difficult to assign culpability. If the pedestrian ran out into traffic between vehicles before the driver had time to react, the investigation may have cleared the driver. In this case, no one else had any possibility of sharing responsibility. The children did nothing that could have contributed. The father was the only one with legal responsibility and the power to cause or not cause injury.

    2. Likewise, killing someone with a car rarely results in a serious penalty unless you violated some other driving law (like DUI). WTF?

      And if I had to speculate; unlike collisions of the human body where everybody survives, but much like collisions of the human body where often both parties are distracted, not every car accident has someone who is 100% at fault and it can sometimes be difficult to convict dead, comatose, or otherwise enfeebled people of their share of any crimes.

      1. not every car accident has someone who is 100% at fault

        Well see that’s what’s unique about the US. In most countries, the presumption is that the one driving the heavy object at high velocity has a stricter responsibility of care. Even if it is deemed an accident (and many places don’t have a specific thing called vehicular manslaughter), losing a license for a lengthy time is almost automatic.

        1. When you said ‘killing someone with a car’ I didn’t assume just single-vehicle collisions.

          I agree that the numbers are rather lopsided and don’t disagree that losing a license should or could be a more standard punishment but I remain unconvinced that such changes would necessarily fix the issue and/or that there aren’t other cultural factors at play or that such aggregate statistics may not capture (e.g. A single-vehicle collision Rome or London or even New York or the Twin Cities isn’t the same as a single-vehicle collision ten miles outside Glenrock, Wyoming.)

        2. I was always told that in the US, the pedestrian was always had the right of way.

          1. Stupidest thing ever. Now they wander out in the road without looking all the time. I think a few need to get hurt to teach them a lesson in physics.

          2. I was always told that…

            The laws of physics say the car gets the right of way. The laws of our country say the pedestrian gets the right of way.

  8. If we’re going to hold parents criminally liable for mistakes that lead to the death of their children, when are we going to apply that to the medical mafia?

    1. If a doctor fucks up to this extent, they are guilty of involuntary manslaughter too. What if a doctor paid no attention and injected someone with the wrong drug and kills them? Do you think that is just no big deal and not worthy of some kind of criminal punishment? I don’t. That is manslaughter. And doctors have been convicted for that.

      1. Right, but doctors, because it’s their business, develop mnemonics to prevent such occurrences. Twin babies are nobody’s routine. By the time you figure things out, they’re at an age where you have to figure other things out.

        1. Twins are no one’s routine? My aunt and uncle who raised twins would tell you the exact opposite. In fact, almost everyone I know with twins quickly develops routines for the same reason doctors learn mnemonics. Most parents develop routines quickly.

      2. the other thing about doctors is that they aren’t treating a random sample of the population. They are treating people who GO to the doctor – and mostly because they are feeling sick. My guess is that ‘feeling sick’ is also highly correlated (and probably causal too) with a higher probability of death/disability than is random so that higher probability is the standard of care/negligence/outcome that should apply to them.

  9. One trick I and other people use to remind ourselves of somethng is to shout it. Like, “BREAD IN THE TOASTER!” if it doesn’t have a timer. In this case on putting the babies in the car, I’d yell to myself, “BABIES IN THE CAR!” Only problem is, it’s not likely to work after a time or two, because was that this afternoon or this morning or yesterday or last week? So the physical object mnemonic would be more reliable.

  10. New York Dad Should Not Face Homicide Charges for Accidentally Killing Twin 1-Year-Olds in a Hot Car

    Laws criminalizing the act of leaving children in cars are misguided.

    I’m normally with you on this stuff – but these are not the same thing.

    Absolutely, leaving children unattended in the car should not be criminalized.

    Leaving them in the car for so long that they die absolutely should be. And we already have laws for that – homicide laws. Now, dude obviously shouldn’t be up on *murder* charges – but negligent manslaughter should certainly be on the table.

    1. Now, dude obviously shouldn’t be up on *murder* charges – but negligent manslaughter should certainly be on the table.

      And while I cannot currently conceive of the circumstances that would cause him to be innocent I can’t rule out that a random sampling of 12 Americans couldn’t conceive of circumstances producing a verdict of not guilty.

    2. No, exactly the opposite. This is murder or nothing. If he forgot they were in the car, it’s nothing. If he didn’t forget, it’s murder. Twisting this to some in-between where his failure to remember is negligent homicide doesn’t fit any publicized facts of the case.

      1. You do understand that negligence that results in the death of another is also criminal right?

      2. If he forgot they were in the car – wouldn’t you call that negligence? He has a *duty* – even a legal duty – of care that includes not forgetting where he left his kids.

        So yes, forgetting them in the car definitely meets the definition of negligent manslaughter. He didn’t intend to kill them, he didn’t take reckless action with disregard to their safety, but he was negligent, had a duty of care for these kids, and it resulted in their deaths.

        1. No. We often use the word “neglect” colloquially as a synonym for “forget”, but that’s not its technical meaning. It’s only negligence if he didn’t take the normal precautions people in their circumstance generally know to take. Most people in his position don’t imagine a scenario like this one, so they don’t have a plan. If as suggested he wasn’t the parent who usually drove the babies, he’d be even less likely to have a plan.

  11. If I were in his shoes, I would be destroyed. I would literally be suicidally depressed. No reason for living. I imagine that’s how he feels right now. Tell me how adding a charge of that magnitude, one which will likely prevent him from ever being able to find work, will help the situation? The punishment simply ensures the tragedy becomes a legacy.

    1. When Oliver Wendell Holmes said “Three Generations of Imbeciles Are Enough” he was talking about forced sterilization and natural selection, in this case, we’re talking about something closer to self-selecting abortion.

    2. If it were his dog would you give him a pass too?

  12. Goddamn, most of you people are terrible human beings. Y’all need to look at yourselves in a mirror and ask where the fuck your humanity went.

    1. Y’all need to look at yourselves in a mirror and ask where the fuck your humanity went.

      It’s right there in the back seat where I left it this mor… oh shit!

      1. Normally I put it right next to my Starbucks, I’m just so forgetful about my fellow human beings before I get my morning coffee!

  13. There are psychological reasons how a string of circumstances could have caused this to happen to any of us. Most of us got lucky.

    But y’all dont care about any of that. You just want to burn the fucking witch. Burn away man. Maybe karma will choose you one day and then the lynch mob will come for you. Wonder how superior you’ll feel then…….

    1. Most of us got lucky.

      I don’t think you understand how luck works.

      You just want to burn the fucking witch. Burn away man.

      So an actual baby, two in this case, once cooked to death in the back of a car, becomes just a lump of cells? You do realize that in the tale of Hansel and Gretel the only people to actually murder anyone are Hansel and Gretel, and that their victim, whom they allegedly otherwise couldn’t escape, was an old, infirm, *blind* witch, right?

      Wonder how superior you’ll feel then…….

      I don’t exactly feel superior now and am pretty honestly projecting equality before the law then. If I roast two of my kids to death in the back of my car try me for involuntary manslaughter.

    2. There are psychological reasons how a string of circumstances could have caused me to shoot my brother. If I had shot my brother, should I get a pass?

      Or would you say that I should be responsible and aware of my actions?

      This dude is undoubtedly devastated, and I can see an argument for letting him off – one I hope the jury sees fit to consider – but his negligence, his lack of care, his not paying attention to detail, got someone killed.

      In any other sphere of life, that happening will see you in front of a judge right quick – even if its a civil court judge adjudicating the lawsuit the relatives bring against you.

      1. Pretty sure Jeffrey Dahmer had psychological reasons for his actions too. That of course is hyperbole on my part, but…

  14. Some observers have the impression that the higher the stakes, the less likelihood of error. True only up to a point. Beyond that point, raising the stakes, if it changes behavior at all, has only the result of making people more hyper and scatterbrained.

    1. I’ve managed to deal with two kids for 14 years. Never left them in the car alone once.

      I guess I’m an outlier, huh?

      1. If you’ve never left a 14 year old alone in a car, yes, I think you are an outlier.

        1. I will leave the 14 yr old at home rather than drag him around to run errands.

    2. Some of us observers recognize that we can’t armchair the distinction between sufficiently scatterbrained to be not guilty of involuntary manslaughter from across the internet and trust that if he’s sufficiently scatterbrained a jury of peers will find him to be. The existence of stakes is all that matters, the magnitude is immaterial.

      1. I meant raising the stakes from a garbage can or cell phone to human lives. At some point in between, you’re past where you’re going to think more clearly as you move up the graph. It either flattens out or peaks and declines.

  15. Y’all who don’t understand how this could happen without malice, obviously know nothing about how memory works. (Or doesn’t.) Understanding this doesn’t even require any bullshit “empathy”. All it requires is the intellectual exercise called “sympathy”.

    1. who really deserves sympathy here?

      1. The readers Ms. Skenazy deprived of facts in favor of schmaltz.

        1. “who really deserves sympathy here?”

          Probably everyone involved, including people not named in the story. Having sympathy for the father doesn’t take away any sympathy for the babies.

          If he meant to do it, everyone but him.

    2. Y’all who don’t understand how this could happen without malice, obviously know nothing about how memory works.

      Y’all who think you can determine malice, yourselves, over the internet, third hand, obviously don’t know how several things work.

    3. If I accidentally discharge my carry piece and it kills a bystander, there is no malice involved, but I will still be charged with negligent homicide. As a nurse, even when we were understaffed, if I gave the wrong medication and it ended up killing someone I could and probably would be charged with negligent homicide or manslaughter. It happens frequently to doctors and nurses.

  16. Are there any ventilated cars on the market? Are parents given the choice of buying cars that are built so that infants locked inside aren’t cooked if left for a period of time?

    1. Some cars do have kid alarms now, that will remind you your kid is there. Also, there are phone aps too. So, even if we agree that it was so far out of the norm that he could easily forget his kids, there are a number of strategies he could have taken (even if he had an old beater to remember his kids. Hell, my kids normally woke up as soon as we stopped the car, and started screaming.

      1. I used to work in a factory that made sensors to be fitted into the passenger seat. They weighed the passenger and decided whether or not to deploy the airbag should there be an accident. An infant or very light person can be injured by an airbag. Perhaps some sensor could detect the presence of the infant, open some ventilation and provide shade. Safety features like my airbag sensor aren’t even options now.

    2. mtrueman
      July.30.2019 at 7:34 pm
      “Are there any ventilated cars on the market? Are parents given the choice of buying cars that are built so that infants locked inside aren’t cooked if left for a period of time?”

      Well, they are given the “choice” of not leaving them there, but dimbulbs like you hope someone will save them from their ‘minor errors’ (see Cyto).

      1. “dimbulbs like you hope someone will save them from their ‘minor errors’ ”

        That’s the beauty of the free market.

  17. “Since 1998, more than 800 children have died from heatstroke in cars. . . .

    “Many times, when a child died, there had been a change in the day’s routine, Diamond says. For example, a parent who wouldn’t normally be responsible for day-care drop-off might have been given that task that day. Because our brains recognize a pattern for the day, this parent would drive to work as usual, even though the baby was along for the ride. And unless there was an external cue, such as seeing the diaper bag or hearing the baby, the parent’s brain would continue on autopilot and could even create a false memory that the child is safely at day care, Diamond found. Sleep deprivation and stress can also increase the potential for a working-memory failure.”
    https://www.consumerreports.org/car-safety/anyone-could-forget-kids-in-hot-car-forgotten-baby-syndrome/

    1. It is still negligence, even if it is explainable. It may have an explainable cause, but that shows a certain lack of responsibility to recognize that you’re in an unfamiliar situation and thus must pay close attention or device some method to force you to pay special attention. This gentleman was military. Attention to detail is drilled into our head, to avoid exactly this kind of situation from happening, i.e. to deal with unusual situations during periods of stress. Attention to detail isn’t because the Sergeant Major gives a flying fuck about if your bootlaces are crossed right over left, but because if your sloppy there, you’ll be sloppy when it counts, and get people killed. Maybe it is PTSD, but I work with a lot of veterans with PTSD, and most have no problem telling you there limits.

      1. Do you really think there are roughly 40 criminally negligent homicide prosecutions every year for kids being left in cars? I don’t.

    2. 800 in twenty years, that is 40 a year on average. Even given our falling birth rate, tens of millions of kids a year are born in the US. Almost every single one of those parents will have a major change in their routine at least once in that first year. So let’s take 40 into 10,000,000. Do you see why this is considered negligence yet?

      1. Negligent would be failing to take proper care.

        Not fastening a seat belt is negligent. Feeding a kid only ice cream sandwiches is negligent.

        This is a mistake. A one-off that is so vanishingly rare that nobody has contingencies for it. Do you put reminder on your phone to check the back seat for babies? No, you don’t. Because you would “never forget your kids in the back seat”. Just like this guy. No chance he would have forgotten his babies. If you had asked him, he would have told you the same thing. And yet, he did. Because he’s a normal human who screwed up in a way that cannot be fixed.

        Usually our small-scale screwups don’t result in death. But sometimes they do. Sometimes people driving at night miss the curve in the road and drive right into the ravine. It sucks, but it doesn’t count as criminal behavior, even if they managed to kill themselves at the bottom of the hill.

        1. “Usually our small-scale screwups don’t result in death. But sometimes they do.”

          Small-scale screwups, by definition, don’t result in death.
          That kid is your responsibility, your MAJOR responsibility. The one that outweighs every other responsibility you have; failing to take care of that responsibilty results in the death of that kid, for pete’s sake.
          ‘Oh, gee, officer, I forgot to set the safety on the firearm, but it’s just a small-scale screwup that he died, right?’

          1. That’s not true at all.

            I have a relative who bent to pick something up and lost her balance, whacking her head on the nightstand. Small scale screwup. The brain bleed killed her. Big consequence.

            I have a friend who was playing tag with his 5 year old son at the children’s museum. He took a funny step and tripped headfirst into the wall. He’s paralyzed from the shoulders down.

            My college roommate and I went on a photo exhibition down at the rail yard. We were hopping between cars of a series of parked trains when he jumped out and barely stopped before hitting a freight train going 50 mph on the next track. He was less than 2 feet from a permanent and tragic consequence. The proximal mistake was jumping from between the cars without looking, but the original crime was trespass. But nonetheless, death would been a way outsized consequence. And punishing the trespass as a potential homicide is every bit as unjust as punishing this dad based on the end result instead of the actual actions and intent.

            1. Your examples are all people injuring themselves through their actions. This guy killed two kids through his inactions. Do you see the difference? Injuring yourself and killing someone else?

              1. Yes.

                Do you see the similarity?

                You seem to be confounding responsibility with criminality. They are not necessarily the same thing.

              2. So suppose the person in the museum tripped and killed or paralyzed someone else?

        2. If they miss the curve and strike someone in their yard they are held liable. If I forget to check my backstop and I shoot at a deer and kill a hunter behind it I am charged. If I give the patient the wrong drug and they die,I am charged. Those are all mistakes but I am still charged. That is called manslaughter, when my mistakes ends up killing someone else, I am responsible for it.

          1. “I shoot at a deer and kill a hunter behind it I am charged”

            Was Dick Cheney charged for shooting that guy in the face with his shotgun?

        3. Not remembering to take your kid out of a hot car is not taking proper care. Whose job is it to make sure your kids are safe? Whose job was it to make sure the kids weren’t locked in a car? He didn’t take proper care. It is not a simple mistake. It is a rare mistake and he failed in the simplest duty as a parent. He killed his kids because he forgot to protect them. He forgot to care for them. It was blatantly not taking proper care.

          1. So you need perfect memory to take proper care? Because notice, most people do nothing more than rely on their memory in a situation like this.

        4. A hunter being shot by another hunter is also usually a mistake and vanishingly rare, but it is still charged as criminal negligence and or manslaughter.

          1. Not always. Maybe not even usually.

        5. Not fastening a seat belt is negligent.

          This is a mistake.

          I would consider not fastening a seat belt to be mistake. Overwhelmingly, people survive it. Forgetting to fasten a seat belt *and* getting into an accident would, potentially, be two mistakes. But, again, frequently survive these compounded mistakes. How many mistakes constitute criminal negligence? Up to a jury to decide when someone dies. I’ve certainly been around people who, being generous with their own narrative, could be described as criminally accident prone.

      2. “Even given our falling birth rate, tens of millions of kids a year are born in the US.”

        It’s closer to 4 million, not tens of millions.

        “Almost every single one of those parents will have a major change in their routine at least once in that first year.”

        More than one, even. And around 25% of new parents admit to have forgotten their kid was in the car at least once.

        “So let’s take 40 into 10,000,000. Do you see why this is considered negligence yet?”

        No. That’s not how this works. That’s not how any of this works.

        People kill people all the time without being charged with anything. Medical mistakes kill around 250,000 people a year–you really think all those doctors and nurses are going to jail? JFree posted the Minneapolis stats for killing pedestrians. Establishing criminal negligence takes more than just someone dying.

    3. “Many times, when a child died, there had been a change in the day’s routine, Diamond says. For example, a parent who wouldn’t normally be responsible for day-care drop-off might have been given that task that day….”

      Oh, well, in THAT case, the kids are expendible.

  18. The problem with not prosecuting parents for accidentally killing children by leaving them in hot cars is that you will also let off the parents who do it intentionally. Even worse you have just created a method for parents to legally kill their kids.

    Parents are responsible for their kids and should be charged if they negligently kill their children.

    1. Huh? Ever heard of investigation into the facts? Just because there’s no prosecution doesn’t mean there’s no investigation.

  19. This is for John, who usually doesn’t post stupidity.

    When I was born my parents were super-excited for their first trip with the new baby. They were going to visit their families in two different cities and show off the kid.

    So they loaded up the VW fastback with luggage and supplies, and put the playpen in the back with a bunch of baby toys.

    And off they headed, across the state to visit family.

    Just on the other side of town they realized…. they forgot to put the baby in the car.

    So they turned around and went home to get the baby, still asleep in his crib.

    Dad was a no-shit rocket scientist who at the time was developing the rocket fuel for the Polaris missile. Very few people are in his IQ bracket – particularly in math. Dude could do 4 digit multiplication in his head faster than you could type it into a calculator. Mom was as doting as you are going to get – she wanted to have a dozen kids.

    Yeah, John. You could have forgotten the baby in the car. Just like you could head off to run an errand and miss your exit and keep on driving towards work. It happens. People get on autopilot.

    There’s a big difference between a really bad mistake and a crime. You could just as easily decide to make a grocery run and start your car with the remote starter one freezing cold evening and get distracted by an emergency call, forgetting that you left the car running and instead of hopping in 90 seconds after you started it, you went upstairs to handle the emergency. You decide to forget about the grocery run, you’ll do it in the morning. A few hours later you and everyone else in the house dies of carbon monoxide poisoning. Rail about how stupid it is, but it is still just a mistake.

    The magnitude of the consequences is irrelevant here. None of these people made a decision to risk kids lives. This isn’t like dangling your baby over a hotel room balcony. This is like coming home from the market and leaving the yogurt in the floor of the back seat and not discovering your mistake until the next evening when you can smell the mess.

    1. The thing is your parents quickly realized the mistake, not eight hours later. And that your parents had forgotten you in a place where you were safe.

      1. Additionally, this isn’t forgetting your yogurt in the back seat, this is forgetting someone who depends upon you for their safety. Forgetting someone who has no chance to defend themselves and is totally reliant on your for their well being. They were also a year old, therefore it wasn’t like this was their first trip to the families house. He was supposedly a devoted father. This is beyond normal forgetfulness. It is criminally negligent. It is tragic and I can feel for his loss, but he is still negligent and still killed his kids (who were helpless) because of his negligence. It is for the jury to decide. Sorry, but if you forget and you kill someone you fucked up bad enough that you crossed into criminal behavior.

      2. That’s a difference of consequence. Not of action.

        The point is, anyone could do this. You could have done this, all protestations to the contrary. Or something equally boneheaded. It is entirely unpredictable. The only prevention is to keep reminding people that this danger exists, so they’ll know to take special care of this circumstance. But even then we know this will still happen. It is a rare event, but when you have 300 million people, rare events happen all the time.

        Preening about how stupid that other guy is might feel good, but it serves no purpose. This happens to janitors and attorneys. Good parents and less than good parents.

        People who can’t understand that really worry me. It intimates at a certain sociopathy.

        1. “That’s a difference of consequence. Not of action.”
          So responsibility for the result is of no matter?
          Pathetic.

          1. Yeah, I never really understood the distinction between attempted murder and murder either.

            You show up with a revolver and shout “I’m gonna kill you!” and then point the gun at me and pull the trigger, I don’t need to know whether you are a good shot or not to know what your intended (criminal) action is.

            This is the exact opposite of that scenario – an entirely innocuous error that causes a massively outsized harm. Waiting around to see what the consequence was doesn’t really change the conduct in any way.

            A guy who forgets his kids in the back seat of the car, but has his buddy yell at him across the lot on the way to work saying he saw his kids in the car did the exact same thing.

            And the guy who fired 3 shots at me but missed took the same actions as the guy who scored three direct hits to the chest. In y book being a shitty shot doesn’t make you less of a murderer, it just makes you a crappy shot. By the same token, being absent-minded about a routine task is the same action, even if the result is worse than killing off some old fart who is posting on the internet.

            1. Cyto
              July.31.2019 at 12:42 am
              “Yeah, I never really understood the distinction between attempted murder and murder either.”
              Stuff your sophistry up your ass.
              It is obvious you are not going to offer any honest argument, so fuck off.

            2. No, this is more analogous to you shooting at one thing, but killing someone that was behind it. This is forgetting to look both ways and striking someone you didn’t see. This is your inactions causing the death of someone else.

    2. There’s a big difference between a really bad mistake and a crime.

      Sure.

      Dead bodies are a big part of that “big difference”.

      This really isn’t hard to grasp.

    3. I could do a lot of things. If some of those things results in someone’s death, I am responsible for that.

      The magnitude of the consequences is irrelevant here. None of these people made a decision to risk kids lives. This isn’t like dangling your baby over a hotel room balcony.

      The magnitude matters a lot. If I accidentally fire a gun and the bullet falls harmlessly in the yard that is entirely different than if it kills my neighbor. The first is maybe unlawful discharge if it is in town, the second is manslaughter. Same thing here. I leave my kids in the car for five minutes and they are no worse for wear, I am not guilty of a crime regardless of the reason. I leave them for a day and let them die of heatstroke, I am criminally responsible for their deaths.

      I am sorry but you ordinarily are not stupid but you are allowing your emotion to make you dumb as a post here. “I didn’t mean to” or “it was an accident” isn’t a defense. It is mitigation. Being so tired and so forgetful that you leave your kids in a hot car to die is exactly the same thing as dangling them over the edge of a balcony.

  20. The bail is ridiculous; he’s only at risk of harming any other offspring he has. And we hope he never does.
    The charge is not; this sort of ‘Oh, gee, I forgot’ is not to be forgiven. He needs to face trial, the trial needs to be covered by the new so the word gets out:
    THOSE ARE YOUR KIDS BACK THERE; THERE ARE NO STRONGER DRAWS ON YOUR ATTENTION, YOU IDIOT!

    1. I suppose we’re gonna jump on that “dump mens rea” bandwagon. Might as well, the concept is all but dead anyway.

      1. You’ve already jumped on the ‘I’m a stupid shit’ bandwagon, so who cares?
        You’re going to forgive the death of two children because your dad was a fuck-up who got away with it, and this guy, well, he had something else on his mind?
        I repeat:
        ‘Gee, officer, I thought I had it one safe, and then…’
        Pathetic.

        1. You do realize that you are absolutely no different than this guy? You would not fair any better on this task. Maybe it happens 1 time in 10 million. (actually, the numbers suggest less commonly than that). But all studies indicate that it is random.

          I know you feel the need to assign agency here. But there is no agency. This is a consequence of the construction of the human brain. It edits out all sorts of things for us, all the time. Put enough people in these very specific circumstances enough times, and a few of them are going to lose this lottery. Assigning criminal intent to that is just plain wrong.

          1. Cyto
            July.31.2019 at 12:47 am
            “You do realize that you are absolutely no different than this guy? You would not fair any better on this task. Maybe it happens 1 time in 10 million. (actually, the numbers suggest less commonly than that). But all studies indicate that it is random.”
            My DOG never gets put in the back seat without that seat-belt thingy. NEVER.
            I know you really want to forgive your dad for his ‘mistake’, but it ain’t gonna fly. He fucked up REALLY bad and got away with it; there is no reason to forgive others who equally fucked up and didn’t get away with it.

            “I know you feel the need to assign agency here. But there is no agency. This is a consequence of the construction of the human brain. It edits out all sorts of things for us, all the time. Put enough people in these very specific circumstances enough times, and a few of them are going to lose this lottery. Assigning criminal intent to that is just plain wrong.”
            Oh, yes, none of us have moral agency! We all just wander around in a cloud of random accidents; responsibility is but a fantasy of those who were lucky!
            “You didn’t build that”, right?
            Pathetic

            1. Interesting set of connections.

              We see the same actions completely differently. You see “the kid is dead” therefore… morally culpably and criminally liable.

              I see “he did this routine action” that has no moral component, but had a horrific consequence.

              Similarly, you see a guy who tries to kill someone but actually causes no harm as being less culpable than someone who successfully killed a person. I see those two actions as the exact same thing.

              The agency attaches to the intent and actions, not the consequence. Typhoid Mary killed and harmed a boatload of people, but without agency. She was just some lady working in the kitchen. So I find no guilt, no crime, no culpability… even though she was responsible for multiple deaths. She wouldn’t be up on charges of negligent homicide in my books.

              Meanwhile, the guy who tried to set off the shoe bomb intended to kill a couple of hundred people. It was only his incompetence that saved them. Despite the innocuous outcome, I assign him full culpability for the intended crime. I would not charge him with criminal mischief and be done with it. He’d be facing the same punishment as if he’d succeeded, were I calling the shots.

              Small difference in understanding how the world works, but huge difference in the outcome.

              1. No I see someone who did not do a routine act, taking his kids out of a hot car. Through his inactions, he killed people he was responsible for protecting. People who had no agency of their own. You keep acting as if this is some easy mistake, you actually compared it to leaving your yogurt in the back seat overnight. That isn’t even close to equivalent. This is equivalent to a nurse not triple checking their patients ID and giving them the wrong medication, killing them (or forgetting to give them their medication resulting in their death). The nurse can and often will be charged with criminal negligence and involuntary manslaughter. It is a mistake that harmed someone else who could not protect themselves. That is the point. Who protects the kids? The parents. What happens when the parents own actions results in the kids being killed? What happens if I forget to feed my newborn for 24 hours? When does your inactions, your mistakes become criminal. Usually, traditionally, it is when your mistakes stop just harming you and result in serious injury or death of others. His mistake killer people. It was a simple mistake. It was a serious mistake. There was no malice, but there was definite negligence.

              2. Cyto
                July.31.2019 at 1:24 am
                Interesting set of connections.
                We see the same actions completely differently. You see “the kid is dead” therefore… morally culpably and criminally liable.
                I see “he did this routine action” that has no moral component, but had a horrific consequence.”
                So there is no moral agency in contributing to the deaths of two kids? It just sort of ‘happened’?

                “Similarly, you see a guy who tries to kill someone but actually causes no harm as being less culpable than someone who successfully killed a person. I see those two actions as the exact same thing.”
                Stuff the bullshit up your ass.

                “The agency attaches to the intent and actions, not the consequence.”
                Bullshit

                “Meanwhile, the guy who tried to set off the shoe bomb intended to kill a couple of hundred people. It was only his incompetence that saved them. Despite the innocuous outcome, I assign him full culpability for the intended crime. I would not charge him with criminal mischief and be done with it. He’d be facing the same punishment as if he’d succeeded, were I calling the shots.”
                Find someone who cares.

                “Small difference in understanding how the world works, but huge difference in the outcome.”
                Uh, I’ll say.

          2. The kids had no agency. In fact because they had no agency, they were reliant on someone who was supposed to be responsible for them. It was his responsibility. He was negligent in it. It is tragic. I can even believe he feels guilty and terrible etc. But he was negligent. It might have been a mistake but it was still negligence.

            1. Precisely.

              But there is a difference between negligent and criminally negligent.

              There was a time when one could point to the legal term mens rea and have everyone understand the difference. Of course, we don’t respect that legal precept any more. At least, not like we used to.

              And absent the inclusion of a mens rea component, I suppose there is no difference between negligence and criminal negligence.

              1. Mens rea just requires the knowledge that your actions can result in harm to others. Are you arguing he didn’t know forgetting his kids in the car could kill them?
                If he did know, then his negligence is criminal.

              2. But there is a difference between negligent and criminally negligent.

                In most cases, a dead body crosses that line easily.

              3. I don’t even see a case here for negligence of any kind. You act normally and forget a fact, that’s not negligence. Not like you forget to take a normal precaution, rather you forget the simple fact of whether the babies were there or not. There’s no precaution to take if you think the babies aren’t there.

            2. He was the custodial agent who placed them in the cicumstances that directly caused their death.

  21. This is a really fascinating discussion. It is really interesting to see how differently people can process some information.

    Usually we have the progressive/collectivist mindset to contend with, and we get to see how their blind spots render them incapable of understanding the liberty argument.

    Here we have a distinct difference in the way actions are understood. There’s a strong contingent that only sees the consequence. Which fits with a pattern that might otherwise make no sense to outside observers. The same guy who is outraged at police shooting unarmed drug suspects in their homes is all gung-ho for prosecuting a parent who accidentally left his baby asleep in the car, resulting in the death of the kid. The common thread is the unjust death and the need to hold someone responsible.

    Other minds might see the police opinion as an anti-authoritarian position – and pair it with animus for the prosecutor going after the dad.

    Some here are definitely in a legalist mindset – where the rules are what matters. Others are more philosophical or even … shudder… pragmatic.

    But interestingly there seems to be a great consensus that there is no possible way to see these events any way other than the one true way. And no contrary thought is comprehensible.

    Very interesting and informative.

    1. No most people are someone harmed those he was responsible for through his inactions. They had no way to defend themselves. They were completely reliant on their father. He made a mistake, but it was such an a mistake that those who depended on him died. He was negligent, it is up to the jury to decide if there were extenuating circumstances. But he ended up killing two people because of his negligence. There is no getting around that.

      1. That’s exactly the perspectives I’m talking about. Very interesting.

        I have the same discussion in police shooting cases.

        Cops often cannot even see what people are talking about when they are upset about a shooting. They put themselves in the position of the police officer at the exact second the shot is fired.

        They cannot put themselves in the position of some dude who just pulled a double shift and is awakened from a deep sleep by banging and incoherent yelling at his front door. He grabs a golf club and runs out of his bedroom in a panic…. only to be shot dead. (actual case) And I don’t mean “don’t want to” or “won’t”. I mean “can’t”. I’ve had this discussion with real police officers. Most of the guys were not able to comprehend the idea that the same events look completely different if you are on the other end of the gun.

        But a couple could see both perspectives. And those were the guys who could have a discussion about how to really solve the problems – like try not to put an officer in a split-second shoot-or-die decision-making position unless it is absolutely unavoidable.

        The other guys – their take was “listen to and follow commands of the police, or you might get shot”. That’s as far as they were capable of understanding.

        1. How is it interesting? He had a responsibility to care for those who couldn’t care for themselves, correct?
          He also knows that leaving his kids in the car on a hot day could kill them. He then makes a mistake. But here is the distinction. His actions are what resulted in the kids death, no one else’s. That is the difference between your analogy and what happened here. He is at fault. His mistake was negligent. He knew this negligent action could have a bad outcome. His actions and his actions alone, are the cause of this tragedy. His negligence was so large, and so avoidable. It was not a simple mistake. It was not unavoidable. It was not what would be considered proper care. It was not some random chance. It may not have been deliberate but the outcome was also predictable, i.e. leaving an infant in a hot car can kill them. Since he knew it was his job to care for them, and he knew what the outcome would be if he didn’t care for them, his mistake rises to the level of criminally negligent, mens rea is established.

    2. “Here we have a distinct difference in the way actions are understood. There’s a strong contingent that only sees the consequence. Which fits with a pattern that might otherwise make no sense to outside observers. The same guy who is outraged at police shooting unarmed drug suspects in their homes is all gung-ho for prosecuting a parent who accidentally left his baby asleep in the car, resulting in the death of the kid. The common thread is the unjust death and the need to hold someone responsible.”

      Your later claim of ‘difference’ is irrelevant; In both those cases you cite, the moral agency falls on the one who caused the deaths. Yes, those who favor prosecuting the trigger-happy cop are likely to favor this guy being prosecuted for killing his kids (like it or not, that’s what he did).
      Is this a mystery to you?

      1. There are other people who would see it the same way you do for completely different reasons from your reasons.

        And people who would see it the way that I do for completely different reasons from my reasons.

        The discussion thread above elucidates this quite well. There are indeed those who would see the state actor as wrong in both cases, resultant deaths notwithstanding. There are those who would empathize with a person making a mistake in both cases, coming to opposite conclusions.

        It reveals something deeper in the working of the mind, which is interesting.

        1. There are those who empathize with his loss but still recognize be is culpable and the one responsible. That manslaughter is traditionally the correct charge when your inactions or mistakes end up killing someone else, especially someone who cannot defend themselves. You are creating an either or scenario, binary choices. And assigning people based upon your views.

    3. This isn’t based on a “need” to hold someone responsible for a tragedy, it’s based on the legal principle and fact that legal guardianship implies legal responsibility.

      1. Would anyone be arguing against this had he been a paid daycare worker?

    4. But interestingly there seems to be a great consensus that there is no possible way to see these events any way other than the one true way. And no contrary thought is comprehensible.

      Disagreed. Countless ways to see the events. Especially across the internet. Winnowing it down to 12 (or more) conceptualizations, freely dissenting among themselves, is the standard methods by which we reduce the complexity. Even then, unanimous decisions aren’t written in stone as the unassailable truth.

    5. Consequences matter you fucking half wit. Intentions matter too. Neither is completely dispositive. You seem to think that there is no way anyone who means well should ever be held accountable for their actions no matter how horrible and foreseeable the results. And that is complete fucking stupidity.

    6. What I’m seeing here is a lot of sentiment that we all guarantee the safety of those we might unintentionally kill or injure. A guarantee that comes with criminal as well as civil liability. They think they’re applying a negligence standard but actually they’re applying a strict liability one.

  22. The thing is that the Precedent is already set. Doing something reckless that caused a death of another human being regardless if it was intentional or not is legally Manslaughter.

    It is a fair argument to make that Rodriguez should not be charged with Murder, but if you look at the letter of the law he did commit Manslaughter.

    It is also true it’s not black and white as allot of people paint it to be

    1. Thank you, Mr Pedant.

    2. Not only would this be manslaughter if committed by a third party, as a father, he has a special legal responsibility to his children.

    3. Ah yes, he recklessly got out of the car, with no care at all about whether his door would ding the car next to his. Then he recklessly dashed across the parking lot, forcing cars to slam on their brakes and other pedestrians to dive out of his way. Oh, and the stories will long be told about how recklessly he worked that day.

      1. Nice strawman you recklessly thrashed.

        You do understand that words have meaning, or are you just negligent in your word choice?

        1. It’s not a strawman. It’s a direct response to Lord Blasington’s claim that the father did something reckless that caused the baby to die. We have no reason to believe that any of his actions were reckless, and even if they were, it’s unlikely that it would have contributed to the baby’s death. Why don’t you try explaining what he did that was reckless?

          And you should have gone with “recklessly threshed” to play up on the strawman claim, wrong though it was. Because words have meaning and all that.

  23. So basically, if a parent wants to kill his children and get away with it, he should just lock them in a hot car and say he “forgot”?

    1. Yup.

    2. And make sure someone describes you as doting.

    3. Hey, sometimes there’s a murder that can’t be proven. Probably lots of other ways to do it too.

  24. It’s an honor to be sharing this corner of the internet with so many Parent of the Year winners.

    1. Yes because forgetting your kid in a hot car and killing them is the norm rather than the rare exception. It takes a parent of the year to exercise the due diligence necessary to not bake their kids alive. You nailed it.

      1. No, see, the parents of the year who apparently post here are the type of people who never, ever, EVER forget a thing about their kids, EVER. Each and every one of them is the kind of person who, apparently, knows where each of their children are on the face of the planet to within a micron, at all times, every. single. day. The paragons of parenting here are, to read their testimony, the type of person who simply can’t imagine any other parent being any less constantly aware of their children as they are, and if they can imagine such a thing, then they of course coming to the conclusion that such a lack of awareness is criminal.

    2. It’s an honor to be sharing this corner of the internet with so many Parent of the Year winners.

      I’ve never understood this nonsense. You know the award’s not real, you wouldn’t agree with it if it did exist, and even if it did and you did agree, you wouldn’t buy into the subtext you’re trying to sell. It’s like trying to shame someone for sleeping with/being faithful to their spouse. At best it makes you look dumb and petty.

  25. Legal guardians and custodians are responsible for both the safety and the actions of their wards; they should be held responsible.

  26. Skenazy obviously fears that a jury might see things otherwise, and wants the state to arbitrarily prevent such an possibility.

    Rule of man being so libertarian.

    This situation is why we have trial by jury.

    1. Yes, it seems lately Reason has decided that taking anyone to court is a sign of the coming tyranny. WaPo negligently reports for an extended period of time wrongly on a situation, severely harming a minor. Suing the WaPo is so anti-first amendment. Google stops a presidential candidate from advertising for 6 hours, she shouldn’t be able to sue them because they are platforms not publishers. Twitter stops allowing conservative site to advertise and doesn’t explain why, gives some boiler plate explanation, oh Prageru suing them is akin to the end of free speech. Guy leaves his kids locked up in the car for 8 hours baking them alive, this is an assault of free range kids, he shouldn’t be charged because he forgot and is doting. What is next? Man shoots through window, kills neighbor, just an accident, he is usually very safe with guns, it could happen to anyone. It seems Libertarian means not having personal responsibility lately on Reason (unless you offer to buy a socialist congresswoman a ticket to go visit Somalia so she can better appreciate how good we have it in the US).

  27. I’m pretty sure that “no criminal intent, but your gross negligence killed a person” is exactly what man-slaughter is for.

    Criminalizing leaving your kid in the car for five minutes is a separate issue.

    1. But what makes you think this was negligence at all, let alone gross?

      1. IMO leaving toddlers unattended for eight hours – anywhere- is negligence. In an enclosed car, in the summer raises that to gross level.

        But others may disagree, that is why we have juries.

        1. Two humans would be alive if not for his actions, that calls for a trial.

          Even if he is a white Hispanic…

  28. https://www.syracuse.com/crime/2016/07/da_no_charges_to_be_filed_against_rome_cop_whose_baby_died_in_his_car.html

    “UTICA, NY – No charges will be filed against Rome police officer Mark Fanfarillo in the death of his baby son, who died after being left in his father’s car on a hot summer day, according to Oneida County District Attorney Scott McNamara.

    Michael Fanfarillo, the 4 1/2-month-old son of Mark Fanfarillo and his wife, Jessica, died after being left in his dad’s car in the driveway of their residence for about 8 1/2 hours, according to McNamara…
    … left his son in the the car all day after forgetting to drop him off at day care… drove home, forgetting his sleeping baby was in the back. When Mark Fanfarillo got home, he did some chores and then fell asleep…

    …McNamara said to be criminally negligent, a person must fail to perceive that a substantial risk will result from their conduct – and a memory lapse doesn’t meet that requirement.”

    1. McNamara said to be criminally negligent, a person must fail to perceive that a substantial risk will result from their conduct – and a memory lapse doesn’t meet that requirement.”

      That judge apparently forgot that becoming a parent automatically imbues people with an utterly infallible memory with regards to the location and condition of their children. Or so I’ve read in the comments…

      1. That judge apparently forgot that becoming a parent automatically imbues people with an utterly infallible memory with regards to the location and condition of their children. Or so I’ve read in the comments…

        If your memory isn’t good enough to know where your kids are, use a notepad or a phone.

        Your kids and their lives are your responsibility. The buck stops with you. You need to do whatever it takes to keep them safe. It’s not the job of society to do this for you.

        1. If your memory isn’t good enough to know where your kids are, use a notepad or a phone.

          WOW! That’s a brilliant idea! Nobody ever forgets either of those things when they leave home!

          Your kids and their lives are your responsibility. The buck stops with you. You need to do whatever it takes to keep them safe. It’s not the job of society to do this for you.

          Nobody said it was, but nice non sequitur nonetheless.

          Brace yourself for this: Sometimes accidents happen, and sometime those accidents are tragic. Jailing this guy will not bring his kids back to life, it won’t grant anyone else an infallible memory, and it won’t make anyone else’s kids any safer.

    2. That’s different! The Gee Oh Pee platform is dedicated to First Responders™ with service pistols. It’s their JOB to kill people now and then, for Christ’s sake!

  29. I tend to agree with you most the time Lenore, however this time I cannot. While I don’t think running in to a store for 5 min and leaving your kids there should be a crime. However when a child is so small they are unable to escape a hot car on their own, the parent must be responsible for making the choice of what is safe, and remembering where their child is at. I do not doubt that he did not intend to kill his children. However he is in the end responsible for their deaths. He was negligent, and that negligence robbed those kids of their life. It is certainly tragic, gut wrenching and terribly sad. I will certainly agree that a parent that runs in to a store for 5 minutes should not be charged based upon a possibility that something like this could have happened, when it in fact did not. However there is a big difference between a parent that runs into a store making the judgement call that the child is safest in the car for 5 min, and someone that forgets their child in the back of the car for an entire day, and they end up dead. Once that harm is done, no matter how un-intended, I do feel that punishment is warranted.

  30. The purpose of most such laws, like that of divorce laws, is to make money for lawyers, not to protect anyone. Why shouldn’t people kill babies if even the governors of states say it’s okay to do so?
    Many if not most legislators are lawyers and all judges are…

  31. Yes, laws criminalizing the act of leaving children in cars are misguided.
    But we simply must have more people in prison if we are to maintain our number one spot in the world for having the most people incarcerated.
    Sacrifices must be made.

  32. For once a Reason headline is correct; the charge should be double homicide

  33. I’d rather have Lenore’s questions that can’t be answered than Sockpuppet answers that can’t be questioned. There was a time when LOTS of libertarians stood up for the dummy the mob was out to lynch.

    1. You seem to think that defending people against majority will or punishment is a libertarian principle per se; it’s not.

      Under a libertarian understanding of justice, if person A causes person B harm, there is liability no matter the circumstances. So under a libertarian understanding, the father certainly ought to be held responsible.

      Generally, you can expect that punishments under libertarian societies are meted out more easily than by governments, though the nature of the punishment might be different (e.g., ostracism vs death penalty or prison).

      1. “Under a libertarian understanding of justice, if person A causes person B harm, there is liability no matter the circumstances.”

        Bullshit. Complete and utter bullshit. Person A is allowed to harm Person B in many different ways without becoming liable to Person B. In appropriate circumstances, Person A can even intentionally kill Person B without being liable for anything.

        1. That’s why NAP is a flawed concept and why we as libertarians should reject it.

          1. You don’t believe in self defense?

  34. I also think a lot of the people here would not impose the same standard of negligence on a business as they would on a parent.

    For instance, someone has a maintenance checklist for an airplane. They have the people responsible check the items off a list. One time there’s an emergency and the maintenance people have to leave the area for a while. When they come back, somebody mistakenly checks an item off the list because they’re sure they completed it before the emergency. The lapse leads to an accident with fatalities. The same procedures for making sure the maintenance got done had been followed for years, and simulations had been performed of oddball situations that might throw off the maintenance routine, and there’d been no problems previously. Criminal negligence?

    1. I have no idea what you’re trying to say. Businesses can’t be criminally liable, so of course “the same standard” doesn’t apply.

      For private individuals, unintentional killings are often punishable by law. Trapping your kids in a hot car for hours ought to be punishable by law, under both current and libertarian understandings of justice.

      1. “Businesses can’t be criminally liable”

        They certainly can in America.

  35. This article is to sensible it makes me want to smack the judge for stupidity. This man needs to be let out so he can go home and grieve for his children and so he can be with his family. Let this man go free. He is suffering for his mistake and accident. This was not a malicious act. It was a horrific accident. God bless him and his poor twins who died an awful death. He did not wake up that morning hoping to forget his kids in a hot car. Let him go free.

    1. Unintentional killings are called “manslaughter”. People usually grieve when they commit manslaughter. Yes, manslaughter is punishable by law, and should be.

      1. Not in this case. Common sense comes into play and you have to look at all the facts.. it’s not cut and dry. They have released him and I am grateful that cooler heads seem to have prevailed in this case. This was a horrific accident and slip of the mind. This could and does happen to other people. Never say never.

  36. Good Job Skenazy, you’re setting back your own movement with this one. Drawing a distinction between “left the kids for 5 minutes to pay for gas” and left the kids for hours and they died” is usually how you write your articles on this, but you had to go whole hog with “Yeah, he totally left his kids for 8 hours in the car, and they died, but he shouldn’t be punished and the law shouldn’t even cover this at all”

    And all the fool libertarians defending this here are proof positive that the “Enlightenment” was a mistake and a step backwards for mankind.

    1. As a libertarian I think he should be punished as his actions directly resulted in the deaths of two children. Mistakes happen, but when someone loses their life due to someone else’s mistake that usually falls under manslaughter. Should he be charged with a homicide? Of course not, but he should be accountable for his actions. He made a bad choice and people died.

      1. Yeah, well dont trust the headline, the charges are indeed manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, and endangering the welfare of a child

    2. Intentionally leave your kids in the car — No problem.
      Fail to remember that your kids were in the car — HANG ‘EM HIGH!

      What good will come of charging and convicting this person? Will it bring the kids back to life? Will it give him or other parents an infallible memory, preventing this from happening ever again?

  37. It’s a stone-cold, scientifically supported fact that literally anyone can make this deadly mistake. This means we must all be more vigilant, as rear-facing car seats make it much more likely to happen now than when I was raising children. I’ve seen horrible, judgmental comments here and in other places. Those of us with a few years on us should know better. There but for the grace of God…

  38. As I said yesterday this man should not be charged. This could happen to anyone (never say never) and he in no way intended to hurt his babies. Oh This is a tragic and horrific accident and I am glad that he is able to return home to his family to grieve and try and begin the healing process from this nightmare of hell he is living in now.

    1. As I said yesterday this man should not be charged. This could happen to anyone (never say never)

      What, exactly, is the number of dead babies we pile up before it becomes a crime?

      1. When did mens rea stop becoming something libertarians gave a damn about?

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.