Child endangerment conviction affirmed: father smoked meth, kept unsecured firearms in home

Yesterday, in State v. Schaaf, the New Mexico Court of Appeals affirmed a father’s conviction for “negligent child abuse by endangerment.” Five-year old triplets lived in the home, along with a teenager. In upholding the conviction, Judge Cynthia Fry‘s opinion notes that the parents kept several loaded and unsecured firearms in areas where the children were frequently present, frequently smoked methamphetamine around the house, left drug paraphernalia (such as used needles) around the house, and maintained (if that’s the proper word) their home in a state of disorder.

In addition, the sufficiency of the evidence was supported by the fact that the parents could not even exercise basic criminal skills, like trying to hide the evidence against them.  Although they took five minutes to answer the door when police came calling, “they were unable to conceal the signs of their methamphetamine use, drug paraphernalia, or firearms from view of the officers, even where they seemed to take the time to do so before answering the door under threat of arrest.”  The Court took this as a sign of the parents’ “impaired judgment.”

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