Criminal Attorney Oklahoma Defense Lawyer Adam R. Banner OKLAHOMA CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY AT LAW

The Oklahoma Legal Group Blog

Failure to Report Child Neglect Charges Dismissed

Adam Banner - Wednesday, January 01, 2014

I have said it once, and I will say it again: all too often, the prosecution and law enforcement swings first and asks questions later.

One of my clients, Laura Fox, found herself in the midst of living out the proverbial nightmare I have succinctly described above, with the implication being that she was wrongfully charged for a crime she did not commit. There are only a few things worse than failing to report one's knowledge of a neglected child; one of those is being falsely charged for the failure to report. This is especially true when you have devoted your life's work to protecting children in need, such as a counselor tasked with aiding the reunification of deprived children with the families that they have been removed from. That is the situation Mrs. Fox unfortunately found herself in.

Granted, the prosecution in this case righted the wrong after much prodding from my office. As reported by the Tulsa World, the prosecution has thankfully moved to dismiss the charged against my client. However, this was a very public case, and the dismissal does not heal the emotional and mental anguish that my client had to endure, nor the lasting impression it has imprinted on her.

But that begs the question, would charged have ever been filed in the first place if the prosecution initially had the evidence that our office ultimately provided them? Judging by the motion to dismiss, I would not imaging my client would have had to face the shame and humiliation of facing charges for a crime she did not commit. Damn near every news station in Tulsa reported on this case, and not one of them had an adequate basis to formulate an informed opinion on the actual facts of the circumstances.

This is another situation in which law enforcement conducted a half-cocked investigation and did not look into all of the relevant facts before lodging their life-altering allegations. Mrs. Fox was never asked about her records or any evidence she might have to fully flesh out the picture initially painted by law enforcement.

If she had been asked, it would have been extremely evident to all parties involved that Mrs. Fox conducted herself in an extremely professional manner in an extremely difficult situation. I will give credit to the prosecution for reviewing the information I provided them and dismissing the charges. Her actions were that of a trained and compassionate counselor facing the very difficult task of reunifying a family that DHS sought fit to entrust with children that had previously been removed. My client did her job, and she was wrongfully charged as a criminal. If anyone is responsible for failing the children in this case, it is DHS. They should have neglect charges brought against them.

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