Merely Being the Custodian of a Child Who is Abused Can Result in the Same Penalty as that for the Actual Abuser
Arizona statute 13-3623 defines child abuse as follows:
A. Under circumstances likely to produce death or serious physical injury, any person who causes a child or vulnerable adult to suffer physical injury, or, having the care or custody of a child or vulnerable adult, who causes or permits the person or health of the child or vulnerable adult to be injured or who causes or permits a child or vulnerable adult to be placed in a situation where the person or health of the child or vulnerable adult is endangered is guilty of an offense as follows:
- If done intentionally or knowingly, the offense is a class 2 felony and if the victim is under fifteen years of age it is punishable pursuant to § 13-705.
- If done recklessly, the offense is a class 3 felony.
- If done with criminal negligence, the offense is a class 4 felony.
The Abuse Statute Lets Prosecutors Force Defendants to Try Each Other
When a child is harmed in a home and the state is uncertain whether the mother or father actually caused the injuries, the state will charge both parents under A.R.S. Sec. 13-3623. Since convictions for not protecting the child from the abuse are identical to actually abusing the child, the state indicts both parents, tries them together and hopes each parent will point the finger at the other. This obviously simplifies the state’s task and virtually guarantees convictions.