To: Kimberly D. Beard, Esq.
From: Laura Gardner
Re: Brandon Berry, State of Georgia v. Berry
Date: February 27, 2013
I.Can the Defendant be Charged With Cruelty to Children When the Child Was Not in the Defendant’s Care? II.Can the Defendant be Charged With Cruelty to Children When the Elements Have Not Been Met?
STATEMENT OF FACTS
On June 16, 1998 Jamie June (Jamie) completed a detox program for alcohol abuse and she then started Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) program at the Interfaith Alliance four times a week. In addition to this she continued to meet twice a week with her Psychologist Marsh Mellow (Psychologist). Jamie was getting herself together and was acting like a mother and was even getting things organized around the house. Throughout the month of August, Brandon Berry (Berry) would leave T (Child) with Jamie for periods of time alone and there were never any problems. By September, Jamie started doing most of the caring for the child and spending most days by herself with the child with no problems. In the evening Berry would watch the child so Jamie could continue to go to her AA meetings twice a week and her meetings with Psychologist, who she was now only seeing once a week. Everything was going very smoothly and Jamie was very involved with the Child. In October, Berry was still trying to find a job and happened to find a good opportunity at a company on a one month trial period. However, this company was 175 miles away. Berry would have to spend one month away from Jamie and child during the trial period. Berry’s intention was to move Jamie and the Child closer to his job, if he became employed. Berry spoke to Jamie about this great opportunity and she thought it would be fine but they both wanted to get Psychologist’s opinion. Psychologist advised that Jamie would be okay to take care of the child on her own while Berry was away and she also advised that he would stop by to check on Jamie and the child from time to time. In mid-October Berry left for the job and continued to speak to Jamie every day to check up on how she was doing. Every time he would talk to her he felt everything was going well and didn’t need to worry about anything. When Jamie would go to her AA meetings and her meetings with Psychologist, she would leave the child with the 16 year old neighbor across the hall. Most of the time the neighbor would come to Berry’s house to watch the child. On November 6, 1998 Jamie needed to go to a meeting. Jamie had not talked to Berry that day because he was very busy. The child was having a bad day because he was teething and did not take his nap. The child finally fell asleep in the playpen that Jamie had in the kitchen. Jamie didn’t want to wake the child so she went across the hall to see if the neighbor could watch the child while she went to her AA meeting. The neighbor was home but wanted to stay at her house so Jamie set up a baby monitor and gave the neighbor the other baby monitor to listen in on the child. Jamie was stressed that day and on the way to her meeting she decided to stop by the bar. When she was there she ordered a drink but did not drink it because she knew that it was not the right thing to do and she had come so far that she didn’t want to screw up now. She decided to go straight home to see the child and did not relapse. Dana Dowright (Social Worker), Berry and Jamie’s social worker saw Jamie at the bar. Social worker knew Berry was not home and went to check on the family at their residence. At about 7:55pm, a fire in Berry’s apartment started. This set off the fire alarm which notified the fire department. The neighbor heard the alarm and ran out of the apartment without getting the child. She realized this afterwards and was screaming for the baby to the police officer, who ran upstairs to retrieve the child. The child was brought to a firefighter who summoned the paramedics to check on him. Psychologist arrived just...