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Maximum sentence for felony child abuse could double

Maximum sentence for felony child abuse could double

Idaho Freedom Foundation staff
January 25, 2010
Idaho Freedom Foundation staff
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January 25, 2010

Based on a case in northern Idaho last year, Idaho lawmakers are looking into doubling the maximum sentence for injuring a child.

Sagle Republican Sen. Joyce Broadsword wants lawmakers to increase the maximum for felony injury to a child from 10 to 20 years.  Her proposal has been approved by the Senate Judiciary and Rules Committee and will now be printed by legislative services.  Broadsword is backing the stiffer penalty because of a Kyra Wine, a 3-year-old girl who was abused by her mother’s boyfriend, Charles W. Smith, last June.  In March, Smith was sentenced to 10 years in jail by a northern Idaho court.

Broadsword said prosecutors couldn’t get a longer sentence for Smith.  “Because the abuser would not admit what he did, the most the judge could give the perpetrator was 10 years,” Broadsword said.  “There are some instances when the penalty is not as bad as the crime, and this is one of those cases in my opinion.  This 3-year-old lost both feet, one kidney, and one finger.  She’ll never grow hair on the top of her head.  And the man that did it gets out of prison in less than 10 years.”  Authorities could not identify the exact cause of the girl's injuries.

Broadsword said the Idaho Prosecuting Attorneys Association supports increasing the maximum possible sentencing and the Idaho State Judiciary has no problems with the proposal.  Broadsword couldn't say how many people in Idaho are convicted of felony injury to a child each year.

Read more on Kyra Wine’s case at the Spokesman-Review.

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