Tatiana Meakens, 23, and Britany Meakens, 22, have been charged with two counts of felony child endangerment and two counts of misdemeanor child endangerment. The two young women left their four children (ages 7, 4, 3 & 2) alone in an apartment while they went out to party Friday night, December 21, 2012. A fire broke out in the apartment early Saturday morning when the children were still alone and the two youngest children were killed. The older two children survived. If the crime had occurred in California, the Meaken sisters would be charged with similar crimes — child endangerment. However, I imagine that in California, prosecutors would charge each sister with four counts of felony child endangerment. Each child would be a victim under Penal Code section 273a(a) which states:
“Any person who having the care of custody of any child, willfully causes or permits the person or health of that child to be injured, or willfully causes or permits that child to be placed in a situation where his or her person or health is endangered, shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding one year or in the state prison for two, four, or six years.”
Clearly, in this instance, each of the children were placed in a situation where their health was endangered and given the circumstances, it would be clear that California prosecutors would charge felony child endangerment for such conduct. You may visit our website to learn more about the crime of child endangerment.