Upstream. A Mohawk Valley Blogzine.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Albany Judge Keefe Made Right Decision On Burciaga.

Albany Police Chief, Jim Tuffey, is upset that Albany City Court Judge Thomas Keefe refused to issue an order of protection against Elizabeth Burciaga. Burciaga is the mother of the four year old who fell from an 11th story window and was seriously injured when Burciaga left him alone.

I don’t want to make light of what happened to this child, but I think Keefe made the right decision. While this woman made a grave error of judgment, an order of protection is overkill. She needs punishment for what she did. She also needs probation, supervised visits with her child, child rearing courses, etc. But there is nothing in her background or actions that suggests an order of protection is necessary.

Tuffey at least characterized what Burciaga did as neglect. Hasiem Townsend Sr. the boy’s father is serving up to four years in Greene Correctional Facility for breaking his son's legs. (A different son, I believe). Assistant District Attorney Rebecca Bauscher lumped what Burciaga did into the same category as what Townsend did, calling them both abuse. Deliberately breaking a child's legs is abuse. Leaving a child alone is neglect. Both are bad, but they are not the same thing.

No one has brought up the fact that Burciaga was 17 years old when she had this child. It’s strange how we give teens sexual license, don’t require them to have any parenting classes when they get pregnant, but then want to throw the book at them when they do something stupid.

I’m not excusing Burciaga. As I said above, she should not get off too lightly. But we as a society are partially culpable in what happened to Burciaga’s son.

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