Appealed Conviction

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 25, 2008

If appeal fails, mother will go to prison for neglecting child

By Billy Davis

A Batesville mother who was convicted October 17 of neglecting medical attention for her injured child has been sentenced to five years in prison.

Defendant Amy Marie Lenard may be spared any immediate prison time, however, since defense attorney Stewart Guernsey is appealing her conviction to the Mississippi Supreme Court.

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The sentence against Lenard, handed down last week by Circuit Judge Jimmy McClure, includes three years of prison time and two years of post-release supervision.

Lenard, with attorney Guernsey present, was sentenced last Thursday at the county courthouse in Sardis.

A jury of nine women and three men convicted Lenard in Batesville in Panola County’s Second Judicial District.

Jurors agreed with the state’s contention that she should have sought immediate help for her son, who is now 3, when he was severely burned by hot bath water. The water scalded the child’s legs, buttocks, back, and arms, and five days passed before she took him to Baptist Memorial Hospital in Oxford.

Witnesses for the state said the child had sustained second-degree burns. The child has since recovered from the injuries, other witnesses said.

The child had been in the care of Lenard’s now-former boyfriend, Shannon Caine. He is awaiting trial in January on the same felony charge of child neglect, said Assistant District Attorney Jay Hale.

Hale presented the state’s case against Lenard.

“The state asked for five years, which is the maximum allowed by law, and we were pleased with the judge’s sentence,” Hale said.

Hale also said McClure ordered Lenard to undergo “treatment” through the state’s Department of Human Service after she is released from prison.

 Guernsey said Monday, citing Judge McClure’s order, that he is awaiting confirmation from the state court that he has submitted the appeal.

McClure last week set a $25,000 appeal bond for Lenard, which would allow her to remain out of jail, if she can arrange bond, while her appeal is pending before the state court.

Hale said the appeals process typically takes nine months to a year before the state appeals court or state supreme court rules on the matter.

According to Guernsey, “It could be two years before we get back to circuit court.”

At the sentencing, witnesses for Lenard included a lay minister and her fiancée, her attorney said. The defendant also testified.

Two relatives and her employer were also present at the sentencing but did not testify.

Hale said the state did not call any witnesses.