Friday, February 6, 2009

Key Points of the Marana Unattended Child Ordinance

My husband, Ivan Ashcraft, wrote up the following after seeing the bias opinion poll on 104.1's website and listening to Jon Justice's Morning Show today. I quote from his email to Jon Justice.


I just want to make sure that you address the key points in Marana's new unattended child ordinance.
  • Age limits
    • in Marana it is illegal to leave child under 10
    • California law specifies under 6
    • Marana: supervising person must be
      • over 14, and
      • in the car
    • California: supervising person must be
      • 12 or over
      • in the supervision area
  • Level of the crime
    • Marana: First class Misdemeanor
    • California: Infraction
  • Fine
    • Marana: $1000 dollars
    • California: $100 dollars
    • Tucson: $1000 dollars or a 24 hour class
The council member suggested that it is either a $1000 fine or have a catastrophe. I think she meant have a catastrophe and $1000 fine. For example the lady that had her car stolen with her baby from her driveway, upon recovery of the vehicle and her baby would have been slapped with a mandatory $1000 fine and a First Class Misdemeanor (permanent on record). What a way to make a terrible situation worse. Based on you previous opinion, you trust the officer would do what you think would be right. In actuality he would do what he wants regulated only by what is written in the law. He would never call John Justice and get his opinion. Therefore it is imperative that the law be written to avoid poor interpretation. If a person thought the officer was in the wrong, it would cost the person and the public thousands of dollars to address the issue in court.

This law is not a tool to educate and increase the public safety. It is a tool for punishing uneducated citizens.

Your opinion poll on the 104.1 homepage is a loaded question making it completely biased having no value. An effective poll would include the following questions:

If a city ordinance was passed to protect children from being left in a car:
  • What should be the age limit for a child left in the car?
  • What is the appropriate age limit for the person supervising?
  • What should be the level of the offense?
    • citation
    • first class misdemeanor (permanent on record and may impact future employment possibilities)
  • What should be the level of the fine?
  • Should the judge be at liberty to reduce the fine for an minor offense?
  • Should there be an option for the first offense to be wiped from the record and the fine waved by taking a class (for which the subject would pay)?
One more note. Wouldn't a law concerning general neglect of a child address this subject? Do we not already have such laws in place? If we don't, we have a lot more to worry about than issuing misdemeanors to a parent for leaving a 9 year old in a air-conditioned car while standing outside of the car to talk with a neighbor. (Again you say that's ridiculous, and again I say that is what the law, as written, specifies as an offense and you are not the officer making the decision.)

Thank you for your time.

Ivan Ashcraft"

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