Monday, August 11, 2008

Brenda Bouschet Charged With Child Abuse For Letting Child Hang Out of Sunroof In Parking Lot? ~by Legal Pub Update 5-25-11



What constitutes child abuse? Is there such a thing as unlawful grand parenting. Can there be such a thing as just too much fun? In Marathon, Florida, Brenda Bouschet, a 54 year-old grandmother, was arrested for child abuse concerning her 3 year old granddaughter. Her offense? She was caught driving around the parking lot of a grocery store with her granddaughter sitting on the roof of the car. Monroe County Sheriff's Office deputies responded to a complaint at the Publix store and busted the 54-year-old woman. The grandmother was jailed for about 15 hours. In her defense, the child's grandmother explained that she was driving at "snail-speed" and holding the child's leg. Is it illegal to just give a child some air? It depends how you do it. Was this bad judgment? Yes. Was this an example of letting a child have too much fun? Probably. Was it an over reaction by local police? As the facts develop, it appears to be an over reaction. Especially when you consider the police handcuffed her and took her to jail for over 15 hours.


Perhaps more disturbing, not only did it cost her over 15 hours of her life, it also ruined the family vacation. (Family vacations are not to be taken for granted in these busy, economically difficult times. I know J.F. you never thought you would read that at Legal Pub.)



Now before you all say Legal Pub is getting soft on crime, consider some more facts. Brenda Bouschet was on a two week family vacation. They were in the Publix parking lot in Marathon.
Grandma was entertaining her 3-year-old granddaughter who was being held up through the sunroof while grandma slowly drove around in the parking lot. Other shoppers apparently found this behavior alarming and called the Monroe County Sheriff. The sheriffs report (apparently the basis of stories in mainstream media) omitted the fact that the child was in the sunroof of the 2006 Lexus. Perhaps another omitted fact is that Brenda's adult daughter was apparently in the back seat holding the child. Bouschet denies acting irresponsibly and says she never endangered her grandchild.

Bouschet is no dummy. She is a nurse. While she may have used bad judgment, it does not appear that she actually endangered the child. The family had been out fishing. The car load was waiting for two of their party shopped in Publix. Bouschet apparently opened the windows and the sunroof to cool off the car. Her granddaughter was allowed to stand up in the open sunroof. The car was moving very slow. Folks, not too long ago, children regularly road at high way speeds in the back of pickup trucks. While grandma may not have exercised the best judgement, the legal system has bigger fish to fry then Brenda Bouschet.


Regardless of Legal Pub's analysis, Brenda Bouschet faces charges of child abuse. The granddaughter is back with her mom; however, one can suspect that there will be increased scrutiny to make sure no "do not remove tags" are taken off of pillows in the household.


Update 5-25-11: Once again Legal Pub is proud to present an exclusive update. Comment 30 is Brenda Bouschet's update. One can not help but feel that this unfortunate Grandma had the extreme misfortune of being made an example. Brenda, hope you can make the best of this bad experience.


31 comments:

Anonymous said...

Until you gave us all the facts, I thought how awful. Now, I think the cops over reacted for sure.

ralph said...

I remember the day of riding around in the back of my dad's pickup. Heck it was a great treat.

Ralph

Anonymous said...

Heck Ralph, I am old enough to remember riding around in my dad's rumble seat! No seat belts then either.

Sally

Anonymous said...

Give the lady a ticket or a warning for no seat belt on the kid and let it go!


Off Duty Cop

Anonymous said...

Brenda sounds like an okay grandma. Not nearly the beast she was portrayed to be in the media.

Anonymous said...

This may not be good judgment, but this is NOT child abuse!

Secrets said...

I would let my kid look thru the sunroof, but not while the car is moving.

Bad judgement, not abuse.

Anonymous said...

Weren't they just idling in parking lot at 1mph. No traffic jurisdiction in private parking lot. so they probably over reacted and charged her with abuse. Now handcuffs? WTF were the cops thinking?

Anonymous said...

She needs Legal Pub on her side!

Anonymous said...

You folks at Legal Pub are the bomb. It takes guts to call this one the way you see it.

Ms Calabaza said...

LP,

thanks for giving us the facts. I think it sounds like over kill on the part of the Sheriffs.

Did You Stop to Think? said...

I've been carefully checking as many women's beds as possible to make sure the tags have not been removed from their pillows...

Anonymous said...

Ian, if the tags are removed, do you plan to report the crime before or after to go to sleep with her?

Anonymous said...

From reading Ian's book, my guess is that he may want to hold off reporting the removed tags until the relationship is concluded... should not be too much of a delay in reporting given his history of moving through dates rather quickly... LOL

Anonymous said...

Private parking lots are subject to the laws of the state, so don’t go there. But child abuse? Not. Child neglect? Maybe. But arrest? Not! File charges if you have to. But arrest? Give me a break!

L.S.

Super Trooper said...

This is over policing in my book.


Super Trooper

Joel A. Brodsky said...

This case highlights the enormous amount of discretion that police have in making arrests and bringing charges. Different cop, different day, different defendant, different outcome. On one hand if the cop watched and the little girl fell under the wheels of the car, then people would criticize the lack of action, but now people say the cop overreacted. When police intervene in family matters there are always problems. However, in my humble opinion, in this case since we are basically dealing with a traffic violation, (rider on outside of vehicle), a traffic citation and a stern warning would have sufficed. An arrest, handcuffs, and jail was not called for.

Anonymous said...

It is scary but JOel is the voice of reason on this one!

FerfeLaBat said...

What's really interesting about this case is that Anyone in the Keys thought that what she was doing was even weird. You wouldn't believe that stuff that goes on there on a daily basis.

Anonymous said...

If we arrested every driver whose kid stuck out of the sunroof in a parking lot, our jails would be full.

Anonymous said...

This may be stupidity, Brenda, but in my view it is not child abuse because the child was not harmed nor seriously endangered.

Anonymous said...

She was fishing for 9 hours smelled very fishy. was in the keys spirit. stopped at the publix busy parking lot on the eve of opening lobster season and found no parking space. the husband was on his way down to be with his 3 adult girls and grandaughter for a special well needed vacation. the grand dauther to be 4 in Ocotber 50lbs just sat up on sunroof to watch fireworks in July while parked. when Gamma opened windows and sunroof the grandaughter wanted to sit up there. so with legs being held by granny and 19 year old idled around parking lot for maybe 2-3 minutes. then 19 year old got out to get lobster nets only to go out to find cops all around mom parked. sat there thinking she was going to get a mere ticket . since not even a traffic violation or any legal trouble. was hand cuffed in front of crying girls and grandchild. Fishy stinky and crying with no hat or sunglasses booked for 21 hours and mug shot. after 21 hours of being in jail in the keys for opening lobster season(oxymoron) was released and at that point had to borrow 8000.00 dollars and be accused of child abuse with DCF in volved. And had not eaten or drank for 21 hours and had to put the same fishy clothes on. she got home to the family and was ill for a week. some vacation for this child abuser. WOW WOW. I quess its up to other people to raise our kids. shame on these cops and so called witness who think they saved the day. only to have ruined this grandamas rep and vacation and finances for what. is anybodey going to listen to the out come be it innocent or guilty or is this grandma going to branded a child abuser for the rest of her life. Come on society. WOW

law dog said...

To above:

Most of the readers here support Brenda. We do not think it was child abuse. We also think it was an over reaction of the police. If they handcuffed you and deprived you of food, they may have violated your civil rights. Seek a civil lawyers opinion in that jurisdiction.

Law dog

Anonymous said...

does anyone know a south Florida lawyer this grandma can get for all the hell she's been through. she is on PTI for 6 months for 140.00 a month. we believe that the vigilantly do gooders(bright as they were) that called the cops conveniently omitted the fact of the child being in the sunroof not the roof or hood. How do you suppose they wanted to do the right thing but an affidavit lacked the blatant very visible facts by all 4 witnesses

law dog said...

Brenda (or friend of Brenda)

Start with your local bar association. They should be a great source for a referral. Also, there are several Florida legal aid offices. If they take the case they will work for free.

Some will take the case for next to nothing for the publicity. If these suggestions don't work, then let us know and we can try another recommendation.

Law Dog

Anonymous said...

hey law Dog, daughter of Brenda here.
my mom has not been the same and is in bed at dusk. hates to see friends cause they all want to know what's going on. well mom got 21 hours in jail. 1 year of probation with PTI of parenting classes. and 140.00 a month. there was nothing close to abuse or endangerment. it was just having fun in the Florida keys. they ruined my mom. she never did anything wrong and had no record. she is 55 her record or lack of one shows she is solid why couldn't they have given a warning or ticket. why did the witness leave out the sunroof. my 2 sisters and my niece was there.They knew we were on vacation why!!!!!! .Is there anything we can do. my mom was not drunk, sassy,reckless,or had a record. they were so out of line. the witness were so bright to call to do the right thing to save the child but conveniently failed to tell the facts on the witness report. The witness were more important to the cops than what it would do to my mom. the windows were open and mom was dribbling though the parking lot for my sisters to get 2 things. it was less than 7 minutes.

law dog said...

Daughter of
Brenda,

I would check with the local Florida Bar Association where she was arrested. She sounds like she got the poor end of the stick. It was not abuse.

The best thing for Brenda is to try to move on and get this behind her. It stinks when the system appears not to work!

Anonymous said...

that's what a lot of people tell her but many many of friends and family are upset by how this has depressed her and that she should sue. the police just were thoughtless with this judgement call and it was far from abuse. now mom is facing a life of a criminal and went and is going through way to much. i cant imagine that a lawyer wouldnt take this case. the cops cant destroy someones life like this. if she shoplifted or slugged someone she would gotten less.

Anonymous said...

Keep us posted on what the local lawyer tells her.

brenda said...

Brenda Bouschet here. the horrible grandma that in 2008 had my grandaughter through the sunroof for a matter of minutes never touch the gas. tons of people no parking how fast could i go. was stopped and parked when th cops came. needless to say the 4 years that have passed have been totally tainted with the thought of people thinking an insane thought of me being a child abuser. what?? how it hurts. the district attorney ws understanding but said the witnesses were pretty up in arms about this. so if you are 4 of hundreds I guess you have mthe power to ruin somebodys life. even though no harm was done nor would have. strangly when i went in front of the nasty judge she said 5000 bail and no further abuse to the child. if i was trully a threat to this little loved girl why would they turn her over to me again. yet found jail to be appropriate. am i bitter YES

Legal Pub said...

Update 5-25-11: Once again Legal Pub is proud to present an exclusive update. Comment 30 is Brenda Bouschet's update. One can not help but feel that this unfortunate Grandma had the extreme misfortune of being made an example. Brenda, hope you can make the best of this bad experience.