Sunday, June 19, 2011

Judge gives hard-luck mom a free pass

A Broward County judge gave a penniless mother a priceless gift this week: freedom.

Angel Smith, 41, had been arrested for leaving her two children in a hot car for two hours while she gave blood to earn money to feed them.

She was paid around $30 for giving blood, but when she left the center, cops were waiting.

A security guard at the blood donation clinic saw the children -- ages 4 and 7 -- alone in the car and called police, who arrested Smith on child neglect charges. The children had been left unattended for about two hours and were not harmed.

But Judge John Hurley said that life had given the desperate mother enough hard times.

She had $28 in the bank, was living out of a hotel and had just been laid off.

"I realize it's difficult for you, I'm not trying to be hard on you. I knew when I read this (affidavit), life is not easy for you," Hurley said before choking up and nearly crying on the bench. "I don't look at you as a criminal, all right, but at the same token, ma'am, you can't leave your children in the car, that length of time, unattended."

Smith was released from jail with no bond, but her charges currently still stand.

Read the South Florida Sun-Sentinel report here.


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