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Mom on trial for leaving toddler in car..10 ft away!

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Mom on trial for leaving toddler in car..10 ft away!

Old 03-13-08, 02:14 PM
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Mom on trial for leaving toddler in car..10 ft away!

Did a search, I didn't see anything on this. I figured DVD talk needed to become one of the message boards in the online debate:


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Mom on trial for leaving toddler in car
Controversial child endangerment case stirs Internet debate
The Associated Press
updated 2:24 p.m. ET, Wed., March. 12, 2008
CHICAGO - Treffly Coyne was out of her car for just minutes and no more than 10 yards away.

But that was long and far enough to land her in court after a police officer spotted her sleeping 2-year-old daughter alone in the vehicle; Coyne had taken her two older daughters to pour $8.29 in coins into a Salvation Army kettle.

Minutes later, she was under arrest — the focus of both a police investigation and a probe by the state’s child welfare agency. Now the case that has become an Internet flash point for people who either blast police for overstepping their authority or Coyne for putting a child in danger.

The 36-year-old suburban mother is preparing to go on trial Thursday on misdemeanor charges of child endangerment and obstructing a peace officer. If convicted, she could be sentenced to a year in jail and fined $2,500, even though child welfare workers found no credible evidence of abuse or neglect.

On Dec. 8 Coyne decided to drive to Wal-Mart in the Chicago suburb of Crestwood so her children and a young friend could donate the coins they’d collected at her husband’s office.

Even as she buckled 2-year-old Phoebe into the car, the girl was asleep. When Coyne arrived at the store, she found a spot to park in a loading zone, right behind someone tying a Christmas tree onto a car.

“It’s sleeting out, it’s not pleasant, I don’t want to disturb her, wake her up,” Coyne said this week. “It was safer to leave her in the safety and warmth of an alarmed car than take her.”

So Coyne switched on the emergency flashers, locked the car, activated the alarm and walked the other children to the bell ringer.

She snapped a few pictures of the girls donating money and headed back to the car. But a community service officer blocked her way.

“She was on a tirade, she was yelling at me,” Coyne said. The officer, Coyne said, didn’t want to hear about how close Coyne was, how she never set foot inside the store and was just there to let the kids donate money, or how she could always see her car.

Coyne telephoned her husband, Tim Janecyk, who advised her not to say anything else to police until he arrived. So Coyne declined to talk further, refusing even to tell police her child’s name.

When Janecyk pulled up, his wife already was handcuffed, sitting in a patrol car.


Crestwood Police Chief Timothy Sulikowski declined to comment about the case. But he did not dispute the contention that Coyne parked nearby or was away from her car for just a few minutes.

He did, however, suggest Coyne put her child at risk.

“A minute or two, that’s when things can happen,” he said.

Online debate
Talk about the case has intensified, particularly online, where bloggers are weighing in on various message boards.

Many have harsh words for the police department, calling the arrest of a mother who left her child in a locked car for a few minutes an abuse of authority.

Yet statistics show thousands of children are injured and dozens die every year after being left unattended near or inside vehicles.

“I am talking tens of thousands of people who leave their kids in the car for any period of time all around America,” said Janette Fennell, founder and president of Kansas-based Kids and Cars. “People don’t appreciate the dangers of leaving a child alone in the car.”

Coyne’s attorney, Michelle Forbes, argued that Coyne did not break the law any more than a mother who parks in front of a school in a rainstorm and leaves an infant in the car as she runs a few feet to pick up another child.

“As long as the car is not out of her sight, then the child is not unattended,” she said.

Coyne and her husband believe she is unfairly being lumped in with parents who put their children’s lives at risk.

“If I were going on a shopping spree then, yes, I would deserve arrest,” Coyne said. “I was standing right there. I never went into the store.

“I’m a great parent.”


© 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
URL: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23594474/

I understand this is a tough call because 10 ft can turn into 100ft and 1 minute can turn into 20, but really, this is nuts I think.

They had a portion of MSNBC where readers commented and some told their own stories of having children in their community get hurt for being left alone for literally one minute.

How do you enforce this though? I mean, if you say they can't be left alone, what about getting out of the car to go around to the back seat to get them out, you left them alone for 15 seconds
Old 03-13-08, 02:14 PM
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Great. More ammo for lazy parents in the shopping cart thread.
Old 03-13-08, 02:18 PM
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As a Trekkie, I am impressed she got Ensign Ro as her attorney.
Old 03-13-08, 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Jadzia
As a Trekkie, I am impressed she got Ensign Ro as her attorney.
Wow, a new Trek series idea. "Barjoran Legal."
Old 03-13-08, 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted by The Bus
Great. More ammo for lazy parents in the shopping cart thread.
Old 03-13-08, 02:22 PM
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Originally Posted by aintnosin
Wow, a new Trek series idea. "Barjoran Legal."


"Crane Denny"
Old 03-13-08, 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by aintnosin
Wow, a new Trek series idea. "Barjoran Legal."
I always thought Starfleet JAG would make an entertaining series.
Old 03-13-08, 02:31 PM
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I think it was the closing and locking the car that got her in trouble. I bet, if she had left the door open so that she could see her child directly, no one would have copmlained.

Except the people who wanted to drive there, where she had her car parked.
Old 03-13-08, 02:33 PM
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Why can't people realize it only takes a second or two for a child to disappear. You cannot take your eyes off of them for a second. She should have taken the child with her, sleeping or not.
Old 03-13-08, 02:40 PM
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The article said 10 yards, not 10 feet. 10 yards is much farther than 10 feet.
Old 03-13-08, 02:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Jeeden
I understand this is a tough call because 10 ft can turn into 100ft and 1 minute can turn into 20, but really, this is nuts I think.
Originally Posted by McHawkson
The article said 10 yards, not 10 feet. 10 yards is much farther than 10 feet.
See how quickly it happens?
Old 03-13-08, 02:53 PM
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It's still quite close, though. It's not 10 feet, but it is only two car lengths.

I generally see kids further than that away from their parents inside of stores.
Old 03-13-08, 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Jadzia
As a Trekkie, I am impressed she got Ensign Ro as her attorney.
I think Admiral Cain would've made for a better attorney choice.
Old 03-13-08, 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by McHawkson
The article said 10 yards, not 10 feet. 10 yards is much farther than 10 feet.
Yea much farther! Hang her! She's obviously not fit to be a mother!
Old 03-13-08, 03:02 PM
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Due to "abandonment issues," this child will grow up to buy Skittles in elementary school.
Old 03-13-08, 03:09 PM
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So who sat in the car with the kids after the cop pulled the cuff & stuff on the mom? If no one, should the cop also be cited for child endangerment?
Old 03-13-08, 03:09 PM
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Originally Posted by OldDude
Due to "abandonment issues," this child will grow up to buy Skittles in elementary school.
Well played.
Old 03-13-08, 03:23 PM
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Well while I agree it is a tough call, I do think you should NEVER leave a child in a car. And I don't think "child was asleep" is a good defense.

Now it sounds like they are making an example of this mother, which I don't agree with. I think a hand slap would be more then enough. Write her a "ticket" or have her attend a 3 hour parenting class or something and move on.
Old 03-13-08, 03:25 PM
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Charges to dropped against Illinois mom who briefly left child in car

Associated Press - March 13, 2008 2:33 PM ET

CHICAGO (AP) - Prosecutors say they are dropping charges against an Illinois woman who briefly left her 2-year-old in a car.

The woman (Treffly Coyne) was arrested in December in a loading zone near the entrance of a Wal-Mart store and charged with misdemeanor child endangerment and obstructing a peace officer. The officer had spotted the little girl asleep and alone in the car.

The mother says she had locked the car, activated the alarm system and turned on the emergency flashers. She says she never set foot inside the store. The mother says she was taking her two older daughters to pour coins into a Salvation Army kettle and kept the car in sight the entire time.

Prosecutors said they couldn't meet the burden of proof to pursue the charges.

The woman's husband says his wife did nothing wrong. He says the decision shows authorities tore his family apart for no reason.
Time to sue the cops.
Old 03-13-08, 03:28 PM
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And, if this is true well...

Coyne maintains she was within sight of her vehicle at all times. Bizarrely, while she was being arrested and transported to jail, the girls she had taken to the Salvation Army kettle were left alone in the parking lot and later found huddle on a bench inside Wal-Mart, too terrified by the police officers to ask for help.
http://www.parentdish.com/tag/child%20left%20in%20car/
Old 03-13-08, 03:29 PM
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This was never a "tough call"
Old 03-13-08, 03:46 PM
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What's a "Community Service Officer"?
Old 03-13-08, 03:48 PM
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Originally Posted by fujishig
What's a "Community Service Officer"?
I'm guessing it's somebody supervising minor criminals as they go around picking up trash, etc.
Old 03-13-08, 03:51 PM
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I'm confused. What dangerous event could have occured while the sleeping child was strapped in a locked car while the mom was mere yards away? Seriously.
Old 03-13-08, 03:53 PM
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Originally Posted by fujishig
What's a "Community Service Officer"?
Fancy, politically correct name for a meter maid?

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