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Child Neglect Conviction Overturnd for Insufficient Evidence

In Tennessee, child neglect is the crime of failing to take proper care of a child for whom the accused had a duty to provide care, when the neglect results in harm to the child. It is distinguished from child abuse in that for the crime of neglect, the accused does not have to have actually inflicted the harm to the child, but does have to have failed to act to prevent the harm when the accused had a legal duty of care. In the recent case of State v. Higgins, M2014-01171-CCA-R3-CD (Tenn.Crim.App. 7-27-2015), the Court of Criminal Appeals reversed a conviction for aggravated child neglect because the State had not proven that the defendant in that case had a legal duty of care to the injured child.

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