Attorney General Bill Lockyer Issues Statement Regarding Supreme Court's Ruling on 'Shaken Baby' Case

Monday, February 1, 1999
Contact: (916) 210-6000,

(SACRAMENTO) Attorney General Bill Lockyer today issued the following statement regarding the California Supreme Court's 7 to 0 ruling today on People v. Sargent, a case involving child abuse by shaking. The Court ruled that a prosecutor, when prosecuting felony child abuse cases, is not required to prove a defendant's criminal negligence when the abuse is directly inflicted on the child.

"People v. Sargent is a very important case affecting both child abuse and elder abuse laws in California. The California Supreme Court has issued an opinion which clarifies the legal requirements necessary for prosecutors to prove violations under these laws. I am pleased that the Supreme Court's opinion adopts the conclusion and reasoning advocated by my office. The Court's ruling will permit the prosecutors of this state to fully enforce these important laws and better protect California's most vulnerable citizens."

In issuing the opinion, the Court overturned a lower appellate court opinion that had been challenged by the Attorney General's office.

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