Child Endangerment Resulting in Death

A 1 year old baby girl from Provo Utah died of a heroin overdose earlier this month and it is possible that charges for child endangerment resulting in death may follow.

Infant overdose

Photo by: Janine

Photo by: Janine

1 year old Penny Cormani died January 2 after somehow ingesting a lethal amount of heroin. The mother of the baby girl found the 1 year old unresponsive and turning purple in her crib following a routine nap. Penny was rushed to the hospital where she was pronounced dead. An autopsy performed on the child found enough heroin in her system to prove fatal along with traces of another drug, codeine.

Fault of the homeowner or the parent?

Penny’s mother stated she left the baby unattended briefly in a living room of a friend’s home which they were staying in temporarily while the mother tended to some laundry. After hearing the mother’s statement and hearing the findings of the autopsy, police searched the house and discovered several pieces of paraphernalia scattered in multiple rooms of the house. Penny’s mother and father claim the contraband belonged to the homeowners while the homeowners claim the parents were at fault. Until the investigation is complete, it isn’t clear whose paraphernalia was found in the home and all adult parties living there are potential suspects as they all have histories of drug abuse. While no one is found to be directly at fault yet, it is possible that both the parents AND the homeowners could face charges for child endangerment resulting in death because the items were located in private and shared areas.

Child endangerment resulting in death

Utah Code 76-5-112.5 states regarding child endangerment: “Unless a greater penalty is otherwise provided by law, any person who knowingly or intentionally causes or permits a child ( . . . ) to be exposed to, to ingest or inhale, or to have contact with a controlled substance, chemical substance, or drug paraphernalia ( . . . )is guilty of a felony of the third degree. “ 76-5-112.5 also states that if “a child ( . . . ) actually suffers bodily injury, substantial bodily injury, or serious bodily injury by exposure to, ingestion of, inhalation of, or contact with a controlled substance, chemical substance, or drug paraphernalia, [the person] is guilty of a felony of the second degree[. Regarding child endangerment resulting in death] unless the exposure, ingestion, inhalation, or contact results in the death of the child ( . . . ), in which case the person is guilty of a felony of the first degree.”

Five to Life

If either the parents or the homeowners are found guilty of child endangerment resulting in death for the demise of Penny Cormani, they could face five years to life in prison for a 1st degree felony. Even if authorities can’t tie the paraphernalia directly to any person, by allowing dangerous items to remain in plain view and reach in the home where Penny Cormani was staying, all adults could potentially be charged with child endangerment resulting in death. This lack of babyproofing or drugproofing the home could be “knowingly ( . . . ) permit[ing] a child to be exposed to ( . . . )a controlled substance.”

Know who you’re living with

Photo by: Mr. Theklan

Photo by: Mr. Theklan

Currently there is no proof that any of the adults in the home of Penny Cormani intentionally meant to harm her, however having paraphernalia laced with heroin laying around the house was dangerous. Prosecutors will likely make sure that someone ends up doing time for child endangerment resulting in death; The question is who? For those who are temporarily staying with friends or allow others to live in their home, it is critical to know what your roommates are doing and what they bring into the shared home. Anyone facing charges for a crime that a roommate was responsible for or for charges related to child endangerment should contact a criminal defense attorney. For information on receiving help to overcome drug abuse, contact the public health department in your area.

Felony Charges for Cooking Concentrated Marijuana

A Utah man is facing felony charges after authorities responding to a fire at an apartment building discovered the tenant was cooking concentrated marijuana.

Mini lab

Photo by: Dr. Brainfish

Photo by: Dr. Brainfish

18 year old Michael Irey of Eagle Mountain wasn’t making pot brownies when he accidentally caught his kitchen on fire, he was extracting the THC from the marijuana and cooking it down into highly concentrated marijuana “dabs”. Dabs are similar to hash, yet they are more pure and extra potent. Because of the increased THC potency of dabs and even with the lesser potent hash oil and other forms of concentrated marijuana, the penalties for production are far higher than for marijuana that is left unaltered. The charges are so severe, manufacturing concentrated marijuana is considered to be operating a clandestine drug lab.

2nd degree felony for concentrated marijuana

When speaking of a clandestine drug lab, it is usually referring to either a meth or crack lab. However, a lab or kitchen where there is cooking or production of concentrated marijuana such as dabs or hash falls under the same category as a meth lab. Operating a meth, crack or concentrated marijuana clandestine lab is a 2nd degree felony and is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

“Hazardous or dangerous material”

Photo by: Reuben Strayer

Photo by: Reuben Strayer

The reason making concentrated marijuana is punished as severely as making meth is explained generally in the Clandestine Drug lab Act. “ . . .because of its quantity, concentration, physical characteristics, or chemical characteristics (it) may cause or significantly contribute to an increase in mortality, an increase in serious illness, or may pose a substantial present or potential future hazard to human health or the environment when improperly treated, stored, transported, disposed of, or otherwise improperly managed.”

Know the laws for your state

With many states legalizing marijuana and others reducing their charges, it is important to know the specific laws for your state. For more information on Utah’s drug laws or to speak to an attorney about charges related to marijuana, contact a criminal defense attorney.

Mexican Drug Cartel Trafficking Narcotics through Utah

Recent drug raids in northern Utah verified to authorities that a Mexican drug cartel has been trafficking narcotics through the state of Utah.

$2 million in narcotics

Photo by: The National Crime Agency

Photo by: The National Crime Agency

The raids that were conducted during the early part of September 2015 in West Valley and Midvale resulted in almost $2 million dollars worth of narcotics seized. 50 pounds total was located in both a suitcase and concealed locations in five different vehicles. This was a big hit to the Mexican drug cartel, not only financially but also to their personnel.

Mexican drug cartel bigwigs

Those arrested included some bigwigs in the Mexican drug cartel who were probably in the state looking over their operations. These individuals are known as being considerably dangerous. The fact that a firearm and two live grenades were recovered in the raids cemented this notion.

Pawns of the Mexican drug cartel

Not every member of the Mexican drug cartel organization is a high ranking member like the bigwigs arrested. There is always someone at the bottom rung of the cartel ladder. Those who typically have this title of doormat for the Mexican drug cartel are young, naïve, or have financial or drug abuse issues. These individuals soon become over their heads in illegal activities, unable to break away from the life of a Mexican drug cartel pawn.

Get out now

Drug trafficking and distribution is a risky business and getting mixed up with the Mexican drug cartel proves to be fatal for numerous individuals. Trying to escape that life can also be dangerous as those who try to leave frequently face repercussions. Sometimes, facing criminal charges instead may be an opportunity to seek help to leave that lifestyle behind. Deals can often be made to bring down those higher up. For more information contact a criminal defense attorney.