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State v. Miranda
Supreme Court of Connecticut
245 Conn. 209, 715 A.2d 680 (1998)
Santos Miranda (defendant) lived with his girlfriend, her son, and her infant daughter. Miranda voluntarily assumed responsibility for the children’s welfare and considered himself their stepfather. Miranda took the daughter to the hospital after she began choking. Hospital staff examined the daughter and found obvious signs of severe and sustained abuse, which should have been apparent to any adult in the household. The State of Connecticut (plaintiff) prosecuted Miranda under the state's assault statute, which defined guilt as including recklessly engaging in conduct that endangers another person and results in injury to that person. The state did not allege that Miranda personally abused the daughter, only that he failed to protect the daughter from abuse. The trial judge ruled that Miranda had a legal duty to protect the daughter because he had established a familial relationship with the mother and her children, voluntarily assumed responsibility for the children’s welfare, and considered himself the children’s stepfather. The judge found Miranda guilty of assault. An appellate court reversed the conviction and the state appealed to the Supreme Court of Connecticut.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Katz, J.)
Dissent (Berdon, J.)
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