A week or two ago I wrote about a case of manslaughter-by-neglect in Florida where the defendant was not imprisoned. A recent case out of Texas suggests that State will take a harsher view of failure to care for another person.

Cynthia Randolph (Parker Co. Sheriffs Office)

On 26 May 2017 Cynthia Randolph of Fort Worth, Texas became angry with her two children (aged 1 and 2 years). They were playing in her car and refused to get out. She left them in the car to “teach them a lesson”. She returned to her house, watched televison, smoked some marijuana and napped for a few hours. It is estimated that in that time the temperature in the care reached 140F (60C). When she woke, the children were unresponsive.  They died shortly afterwards.

Randolph was charged with two counts of intentionally causing serious bodily injury to a child, punishable by up to 99 years imprisonment. The jury had the option of convicting her of (inter alia) recklessly causing serious injury. Texas Penal Code §22.04(a) states that –

A person commits an offense if he … recklessly… by act or … recklessly by omission, causes to a child…:
(1) serious bodily injury;
(2) serious mental deficiency, impairment, or injury;  or
(3) bodily injury.

Randolph’s matter was heard in the 415th Texas District Court before Judge Quisenberry The jury opted to convict on the lesser charge, but imposed the maximum term of 20 years imprisonment in respect of each child.

State v Randolph (2018), Dallas Morning News, 1 May 2018; CBS News, 1 May 2018; Sacramento Bee, 1 May 2018; New York Post, 30 April 2018; KVUE, 30 April 2018