We shouldn't be sending parents who cause a child's death through a mere moment of neglect, even gross neglect, to thirty years in prison. But, that is what Colorado law provides. This kind of hard time, which will cost Colorado taxpayers almost a million dollars and which wastes a mother's life, is grossly excessive for a death resulting from unintentional conduct. Is the woman had set out to get herself stone cold drunk and killed someone in her vehicle, she would not have faced nearly so long a sentence as she did for misjudging the ability of two young children in a bath to avoid drowning as she ran a quick convenience store errand.
The excessive penalties for unintentional deaths of children was born of a moment of hysteria in the Colorado legislature and produces a steady stream of criminal justice tragedies in its wake.