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Local couple arrested for child neglect

Posted on August 19, 2010 3:00 AM EST

A husband and wife were each arrested for one count of child neglect. Both defendants appeared at bond hearing and received a $7,500 bond which is a standard bond for a third degree felony. Yoselin Aguirre was able to post the bond and has since been released from the Miami-Dade County Jail. Roberto Fortin has yet to post the bond and remain incarcerated. Both are charged with failing to care for Fortin's 7 year-old child to the point where he was hospitalized and remains in critical condition. However, if the child expires the defendants could be facing involuntary manslaughter charges. At this point in the case, the defendants are each represented by a Miami criminal defense lawyer from the public defender's office, but at any time can retain private counsel.

Aguirre was able to post the bond with the assistance of a local bondsman. In state court cases, bonds can generally vary from $500 to $500,000. Obviously, the amount of the bond will go up depending on the severity of the charge. For example, a bond in DUI case is $1,500 while a bond on a cocaine trafficking case can and sometimes will exceed $250,000. Most people to do not have the financial resources to post an expensive bond themselves. To post a bond without the assistance of a bondsman, a person must pay the entire amount to secure the release of a defendant. To post a bond with the assistance of a bondsman, the bondsman will require that 10% premium be paid for him or her to post the bond. Generally, the 10% premium will be enough for a bondsman to post the bond. However, if a person does not reside in Miami-Dade County, the bondsman may require collateral in order to write the bond. The reason lies with the fact that if a defendant does not return to face charges, the bondsman is on the hook for entire amount of the bond.

While both defendants are only now charged with third degree felonies, the facts of the case are more serious than in the run-of-the-mill child neglect cases. The defendants are accused of failing to properly care for the child. According to the arrest report, the defendants failed to feed the child and provide medical care on his behalf. Upon arriving to the hospital, the child weighed half of what a child his age should weigh and had lesions all over his body. Aguirre claimed that she knew the boy was sick, but had no responsibility since she was the child's stepmother. Aguirre has a prior record for aggravated battery on an elderly person. Fortin has a record for aggravated manslaughter. Court documents revealed that he was present when his nine month old child drowned in a bath tub.

Despite the allegations, both defendants cannot be charged with a more serious offense unless the child expires. To charge a person with aggravated child abuse, the state must be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a defendant committed an aggravated battery, willfully tortured, maliciously punished, willfully or unlawfully caged, a child, or caused great bodily harm to a child as a result of child abuse. Police reports due not describe facts that will allow the couple to be charged with this offense. Either way, the case will become a focus of the state attorney's office due to the media attention the case has received.

Step-mom in Miami Child Neglect Case Bonds Out, Dad Remains Jailed, The Miami Herald.com, August 17, 2010.
Categories: Violent Crimes