A Maryland woman is being accused of killing her grandson with methadone. According to authorities in Baltimore, the woman poisoned her one-year grandson and his infant sibling by rubbing methadone on their gums. The little boy died; his sister was admitted to the hospital. The woman has allegedly admitted to rubbing methadone on the childrens' gums but her motive in doing so is not clear from news reports. She faces multiple charges including second-degree murder and assault. It is unclear whether the woman has retained an attorney.
Certainly, the criminal defense strategy in this case will be vital in determining whether the grandmother is able to retain her freedom or not. Murder is a serious charge that carries serious punishments. But the charge also carries a high burden for prosecutors to prove.
Individuals make mistakes every day. Not all of these mistakes are criminal. The grandmother may have believed in good faith, for example, that the methadone would act as a pain killer, or she may have simply mistaken it for another substance.
It is this intent that is generally the deciding factor in determining whether a person is guilty of a crime. Experienced criminal defense attorneys know the levels of intent needed to be guilty of different crimes and they know how to devise a defense strategy that seeks to show the jury what the accused's intent actually was.
Too often, prosecutors overcharge a case on the assumption the accused intended all the consequences of their acts. Local defense attorneys can help the accused tell their side of the story and explain why certain actions were not done with criminal intent.
Source: San Francisco Chronicle, "Md. woman accused of grandson's methadone death," August 2, 2013