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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Ohio Law Professor: GOP Prosecutor Wrongly Gave Break To Baked Kid's Mom

CINCINNATI (TDB) -- University of Cincinnati law professor Christo Lassiter has joined the chorus of those who say Clermont County's Republican prosecutor seriously screwed up the case of a mom whose two-year-old baked to death in a Mercedes on Aug. 23, the hottest afternoon so far this year. Lassiter is calling on federal authorities to investigate the case and says forgetfulness is no excuse for a parent who leaves a child inside a vehicle with the windows rolled up on a blazing hot summer day.

Lassiter, a former Marine Corps lawyer who handled criminal prosecutions in the military, unleashed his criticism in a guest column for today's Cincinnati Enquirer. The law school professor stopped short of calling Clermont Prosecutor Don White an idiot. Instead, Lassiter described White's explanation for not taking action against the mother of Cecilia Slaby as something akin to legal bunkum.

"White argues that because Nesselroad-Slaby says she forgot she put the baby in the car, she therefore did not disregard a known risk. White's assertion finds no support in recorded cases. A Westlaw search of convictions under R.C. 2919.22 where the child endangering consisted of leaving a child unattended yielded 31 cases sustained on appeal. There is not a single case that I have been able to find in Ohio where the defense of forgetfulness rebutted a finding of recklessness. Nesselroad-Slaby formed a habit of leaving Cecilia unattended, making it a habit to forget about her altogether, and therein lies her recklessness."

Lassiter's faculty biography and list of interests at the University of Cincinnati are available here.


  1. White made the situation worse for himself by giving the BS explanation that he could not charge since he believe she forgot the child was there. If he had instead used the primary (and partially believable) reason that he believed he could not get a jury to convict the outcry may have died down sooner. Either way, whoever opposes him in the next election is in the catbird seat. His job involves exercising good judgment and he has failed that test.

  2. Clearly, Don White is a puppet of Robert Scott Croswell III, Nesselroad-Slaby's attorney. Croswell also signs White's prosecutor paycheck. Both White and Croswell III should be disbarred by the State of Ohio for their blatant conflicts of interest in this case!