Crime of wanton endangerment: COMMONWEALTH V. INA COCHRAN (COA 1/11/2008)

COMMONWEALTH V. INA COCHRAN
CRIMINAL:  Wanton endangerment
2006-CA-001561
PUBLISHED: REVERSING
PANEL: MOORE PRESIDING; VANMETER CONCURS IN RESULT ONLY; COMBS CONCURS IN RESULT ONLY AND FILES SEPARATE OPINION
COUNTY: CASEY
DATE RENDERED: 01/11/2008

CA reversed TC’s dismissal of the indictment against Cochran for wanton endangerment following birth of her child with cocaine in her system. TC improperly relied upon Commonwealth v. Welch, 864 S.W.2d 280 (Ky. 1993) as binding precedent. Applying the definition of “person” as set forth in Commonwealth v. Morris, 142 S.W.3d 654 (Ky. 2004) and KRS 500.080(12), the child is a person under KRS 508.060(1). Neither KRS 500.080(12) nor KRS 508.060(1) carves out an exception for a pregnant woman, or anyone for that matter. Accordingly, the term “person” at the beginning of KRS 508.060(1) included Cochran as a pregnant woman. Therefore, Cochran was properly charged and indicted with wanton endangerment.

Note: Interestingly, CA questioned the viability of continued prosecution. Specifically, KRS 214.160(5) prohibits prenatal screenings or positive toxicology findings, if they are administered under KRS 214.160(2) or (3), from being used as prosecutorial evidence. Here, the only evidence against Cochran appears to have come from that source. Accordingly, CA suggested this case might not make it to the jury.

Digested by Scott C. Byrd
www.OlginandByrd.com

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are inappropriate, offensive or off-topic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.