People v. Stewart
Rhode Island Supreme Court
663 A.2d 912 (1995)
Tracy Stewart (defendant), a mother of a two-month-old infant, went on a multiple day crack binge and failed to feed or care for the infant who died from dehydration. Stewart was charged with second-degree felony murder. The underlying felony was the state’s child neglect statute which made it a felony to “wrongfully cause or permit a child under the age of 18 to be a habitual sufferer for want of food and proper care.” The prosecution did not allege that Stewart intentionally withheld care from the infant, but rather that because of her chronic drug state, Stewart simply could not remember whether she had fed the infant or not. Stewart was found guilty of second-degree murder and wrongfully permitting a child to be a habitual sufferer and she appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Weisberger, J.)
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