Harsh punishments in Florida are at an all-time high and mothers from Fort Lauderdale to Miami, from the Heartland to the Treasure Coast and across-the-board are no longer safe from pending criminal charges for even the most minor of incidents. Just ask criminal attorney John Whitehead of the Rutherford Institute who is currently representing Nicole Gainey in a child neglect case that is already making national headlines. This Port St. Lucia mother has incurred criminal charges for allowing her seven-year-old son to walk to a local park alone.
Florida has quite the reputation for being tough on crime but that doesn’t necessarily mean we’re punishing the right people. In stark contrast to the harsh punishment Nicole Gainey is facing for her alleged crime, 50 money laundering charges were dropped in 2013 for a Florida criminal attorney who stood accused of gaining upwards from $300 million in a for-profit illegal gambling ring that was allegedly being run under the guise of a charitable organization. During that same year, an Orange County pastor accused of sexual battery and lascivious molestation was set free due to lack of physical evidence, yet sending your child outside to soak up the sun with a cell phone in hand in case of emergencies is being treated with sincere scrutiny and concern. This Port St. Lucia mother is not alone in her plight. There have been many before her and it is entirely possible that many more cases like this will follow in upcoming years.
Other Mothers Facing Criminal Charges
July of 2014 appears to be the time period when Florida officials put their heads together and began a rash of Florida arrests where mothers appear to be the prime target. 35-year-old Sylvia Harden was taken into custody by Orange County officials after leaving her child in a parked car with the windows open for a few minutes while she used the restroom. While this act was no doubt irresponsible, it does seem a bit harsh to take her child out of her hands and into the hands of Orange County Child Protective Services prior to hearing her side of the story.
A bullying incident in Winter haven, Florida gave way to the arrest of 30-year-old Vivian Vosburg whose child allegedly cyber-harassed a 14-year-old girl into committing suicide. Bullying in Florida and all across the country is definitely a problem but how many parents can state with certainty that they are fully aware of what their children do in school rooms or within the realm of cyberspace? In order to avoid the two counts of child abuse and four counts of neglect Vivian is currently facing, she would have had to attend school with her daughter every day and monitor her Internet activity on a 24/7 basis, two things that would have been close to impossible to even attempt.
Is There a War on Motherhood or Just a Flaw in the System?
With the multitude of Florida mothers being slapped with ridiculous criminal charges, is entirely natural to worry about your future if you are, in fact, a mom. Maybe you have a stance on the above listed cases, an opinion either against or in support of these mothers who have been charged. Making that opinion heard is the best way to safeguard your own future. Ask yourself how often you let your children walk to the park. Ask yourself if your child has ever been in a fight on Facebook or engaged in some sort of gossip that might have hurt another student’s feelings. Then pay attention to the Florida justice system and make your voice count.
About the Author:
Michael D. Leader is a criminal lawyer with Fort Lauderdale law firm Leader & Leader P.A. specializing in all forms of criminal law, Leader and partner George Leader offer years of legal experience and commitment to ethics.