Imhoff & Associates Criminal Attorneys Secure Reduced Charge and Sentence for Parents Accused of Child Abuse

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Through the efforts of Shannon Dorvall and Christopher Parkhurst, criminal attorneys from Imhoff & Associates, a young parent was convicted of misdemeanor child endangerment instead of the initial felony child abuse charge.

Lacinda Mathiesen-Dunne, a young parent initially accused of felony child abuse, received a misdemeanor child endangerment charge instead, thanks to the hard work of her criminal attorneys, Shannon Dorvall and Christopher Parkhurst from Imhoff & Associates (Case number CRF32050).

According to court transcripts filed in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Tuolumne on 9/28/2011, she and her boy-friend (Steven Beenblossom) gave birth to premature twins in May of 2009. Their daughter, whose injuries revolve around this case, weighed less than two pounds and had an Apgar score of 1. Due to the low Apgar score at birth, the baby girl required special medical care and had pre-existing conditions, including chronic anemia, apnea, vitamin D deficiency, rickets, had difficulty tolerating feedings. The court transcripts also show that she also had severe nutritional deficiencies, as her twin took most of her nutrition while in the womb. Their daughter was discharged from the hospital on June 25, 2009.

Early in July of 2009, the couple took their prematurely born twin daughter to the doctor's office for a swollen and tender right leg. According to court transcripts, the doctor who saw their daughter was not sure what was wrong with the child’s leg. He later testified that he had never seen anything like it but did not think the bone was broken. An x-ray was recommended by the doctor during their initial visit, which the parents did not obtain, the court documents showed.

A few days later, on July 7, 2009, the baby stopped breathing, and the parents resuscitated her by performing CPR. According to court documents, they immediately rushed her to the hospital after she started breathing again. The hospital seemed to immediately assume that some type of abuse had occurred when they found brain injuries and multiple fractures on the child. The state went on to have the couple's parental rights terminated, and have the twins put up for adoption. The court transcripts showed that the couple was informed that they were no longer allowed to see the child, who was taken away almost immediately. They have not seen the child since that day. After being placed in foster care, the twins were adopted within a few months.

The mother then sought the assistance of criminal attorneys from Imhoff & Associates. Criminal defense attorneys Shannon Dorvall and Christopher Parkhurst had several doctors assess the case, all of whom agreed that the child's various pre-existing medical problems were what caused the child's injuries. At the trial, the couple's criminal attorney, Parkhurst, pointed these out to the jury, and also argued that there were no external signs of abuse.

After five hours of deliberation, the jury found the mother not guilty of felony child abuse, and instead reduced the charge to misdemeanor child endangerment, as the parents were unable to secure the X-ray the first doctor recommended. This reduced charge means the jury did not believe the mother knowingly put her child in danger. Ms. Mathiesen-Dunne was sentenced to parenting classes, probation, and community service, instead of the District Attorney's request for the maximum sentence of one year in jail.

Thanks to the efforts of the mother's criminal attorneys, the parents can now try to get their children back.

For more information on the criminal defense attorneys at Imhoff & Associates, visit Interested parties may also contact a criminal attorney at the firm by calling 1-888-726-0574.

About Imhoff & Associates
As one of the largest criminal defense firms in the country, Imhoff & Associates employs highly skilled criminal attorneys in various locations around the United States. The firm's criminal defense attorneys handle a variety of cases, and are available 24/7 to assist clients with their legal needs. Visit or call 1-888-726-0574 to contact a criminal attorney from the firm.


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