"Child Abuse, Neglect & Endangerment" Laws in Nevada (NRS 200.508)

Nevada law defines child abuse as willfully causing a minor to suffer unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering. NRS 200.508 comprises five categories of abuse:

  1. physical abuse,
  2. mental abuse,
  3. sexual abuse or exploitation,
  4. neglect, or
  5. endangerment

Several strategies may be effective in fighting Nevada child abuse charges, including the follow legal defenses:

Child abuse is prosecuted as a gross misdemeanor or felony depending on the seriousness of the case. Sometimes the judge may grant probation in lieu of prison. And it may be possible to plea bargain the charges down to lesser offenses or a full dismissal.

Below our Las Vegas criminal defense lawyers answer frequently-asked-questions about Nevada child abuse laws, punishments, and defenses. We also discuss record seals, immigration consequences, Shaken Baby Syndrome, extradition, and more.

Click on a topic to go directly to that section.

Child 20abuse
The elements of the Nevada crime of child abuse are (1) intent, and (2) causing harm to the child.

1. What is considered child abuse in Las Vegas, Nevada?

The legal definition of child abuse in Nevada is:

"willfully caus[ing] a child who is less than 18 years of age to suffer unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering[.]"1

Child abuse is a "general intent" crime.2 This means that a person does not have to intend to harm a child or to violate the law in order to be guilty of child abuse. Instead, the person just has to intentionally commit the acts that result in harm to the child.3 Nevada child abuse lawyer Michael Becker explains the distinction:

Example: Max lives in Las Vegas. Max belts his son with the intent to discipline him. But Max belts him so hard the child's spinal cord gets damaged. Max can be charged with child abuse even though he had no intent to cause such injuries. All that matters under Las Vegas child abuse laws is Max intended to belt him dangerously hard.

As explained below, the Nevada definition of child abuse encompasses a wide scope of unlawful behaviors including:

  • physical abuse
  • emotional abuse
  • sexual abuse/ exploitation
  • neglect
  • endangerment

1.1 Physical abuse

It is illegal to commit most forms of battery against a child, such as:

Punching fist optimized
Committing battery on a minor is child abuse in Nevada.
  • punching,
  • kicking,
  • pushing,
  • burning,
  • crushing,
  • cutting,
  • strangling,
  • throwing an object at a child, or
  • anything else causing unjustifiable pain

However, Nevada law does permit reasonable corporeal punishments such as spanking or a smack.4 Las Vegas child abuse lawyer Neil Shouse gives an example:

Example: Seven-year-old Sally refuses to clean up her room, so her babysitter sends her to her room without dinner. Sally calls 911 and claims her babysitter is starving her. Las Vegas Metro shows up and arrests and books the babysitter at the Clark County Detention Center for child abuse. While investigating the case, the prosecutor learns that the babysitter gave Sally breakfast, lunch and snacks that day. Since denying a child one meal does not rise to the level of child abuse, the prosecutor dismisses the charges against the babysitter.

In short, disciplinary punishments are lawful in Nevada as long as they are not excessive or physically debilitating.

Physical abuse against a child in Nevada can manifest itself as an injury, an illness, unjustifiable pain,5 or even a cosmetic disfigurement.6 To prove the existence of physical abuse, prosecutors often rely on medical records and medical experts.7

1.1.1. Physical abuse resulting in death

An alleged act of child abuse may be charged as first-degree murder under Nevada law if the child dies from the abuse.8 If the child survives but the alleged abuse was very grave, the charge may then be attempted murder.9

Note that a person accused of an act of child abuse causing death may be convicted of only murder or child abuse, not both. This is because "double jeopardy" laws bar people from being convicted of similar crimes for the same criminal act.10

But if a person commits more than one act of child abuse and the child dies, then that person may be convicted of both murder and child abuse.11 This is because some of the abuse was unrelated to the abuse that caused the child's death.

Shaken 20baby

1.1.2. Shaken baby syndrome

Shaken baby syndrome ("SBS") is a type of child abuse in which someone shakes a baby violently, usually in order to quiet him/her. Also called "Abusive Head Trauma," SBS can cause serious physical as well as mental injuries and is potentially lethal.12

Shaken baby syndrome is charged in Nevada as either child abuse, murder or attempted murder depending on the extent of the injuries and whether death occurred. In order to prove SBS, the state typically shows evidence of brain damage13 and retinal hemorrhages.14

1.1.3. Abuse or death to an unborn child

Nevada law is still murky about what charges prosecutors may file in cases of unborn children being abused or killed. It seems that the older the fetus is, the more likely wrongful termination is criminal.

Anyone who willfully kills an unborn "quick" child by injuring the mother faces manslaughter charges.15 Nevada law does not specify how old a "quick" fetus must be, but it is generally believed to mean when the mother feels the fetus move.16 However...

A pregnant woman in Nevada who ingests illegal substances that then transfer to the fetus via the umbilical cord cannot be charged with child abuse no matter how old the fetus is.17

1.2 Emotional abuse

Nevada defines child emotional abuse as behavior that injures a child's intellectual, psychological or emotional capacity to where his/her normal range of performance is impaired.18 Examples of emotional abuse could be the following:

  • perpetually telling a child that he/she is worthless;
  • brain-washing or radicalizing a child with destructive or violent ideological beliefs; or
  • never allowing a child to go to school, learn and play

Mental abuse against a child can cause intellectual, psychological and emotional deficiencies that hinder developmental, academic and social skills.19 Mental abuse is usually harder for Nevada prosecutors to prove precisely because it is not physical.20

Evidence that prosecutors usually rely on to show that a child suffers from emotional abuse includes:

  • psychological evaluations,
  • medical experts, and
  • witnesses of the child's behavior.

1.3 Sexual abuse & exploitation

1.3.1. Sexual abuse

Fist
Child sex abuse carries the most serious penalties in Nevada.

Sexual abuse against a child in Nevada includes acts of:

Nevada prohibits female genital mutilation as well irrespective of the child's cultural background.22

Note that raping a child technically qualifies as two separate Nevada crimes: (1) child abuse, and (2) sexual assault. However the prohibition against "double jeopardy" protects defendants from being convicted of a similar offenses for the same behavior.23 Therefore defendants accused of sexually assaulting a minor could be convicted of either child abuse or sexual assault, but not both.

1.3.2. Sexual exploitation

Sexual exploitation of a child in Nevada typically involves either

Defendants convicted in Nevada of child abuse involving sexual abuse or exploitation face stiffer penalties. 

1.4 Neglect

Child neglect in Nevada is when a person responsible for a child's welfare either:

  • abandons the child, or
  • leaves the child without proper supervision, food, shelter, medicine or other necessary care.25

Whereas child physical abuse is an illegal action, child neglect is an illegal inaction.26 Las Vegas child abuse attorney Michael Becker gives an example of how "acts of omissions" can constitute child neglect:

Example: Dave is a single father in Henderson to nine-year-old Jim. Every day he leaves Jim home alone while Dave goes to work. A concerned neighbor finally calls 911. The police arrest and book Dave at the Henderson Detention Center. The judge determines that Dave neglected Jim because Jim suffered from never going to school.

In the above example, it does not matter that Jim sustained no physical injuries while being home alone. The denial of an education constitutes child neglect in Nevada.

Mortar 20and 20pestle
Parents & guardians can give children alternative medicines in Nevada as long as they are medically acceptable alternatives and are administered in good faith.

1.4.1. Medical maltreatment

Nevada law permits a child's parent or guardian to use nonmedical remedial treatments to nurse a sick child. However, the following conditions must be met:

  • The medical community recognizes the treatment as a suitable alternative, and
  • the parent/guardian chooses the treatment in good faith.27

If a child clearly requires immediate medical attention however, a parent/guardian faces neglect allegations if significant time elapses before seeking professional help.28

1.4.2. Neglect resulting in death

Nevada law draws a distinction between death resulting from child abuse and death resulting from child neglect: Only deaths allegedly resulting from child abuse may lead to murder charges.29 Deaths stemming from child neglect are not a basis for murder charges. Nevada child abuse lawyer Neil Shouse illustrates this concept:

Example: Thomas is booked at the Reno Jail on charges that he beat his child to death. Thomas's battered wife knew Thomas beat the child but was too scared to do anything to stop it. Thomas can be charged with first-degree murder because he directly abused the child. But his wife would probably be charged with only child abuse in Nevada because she did not directly harm the child. Rather, she neglected to help him.30

1.5 Endangerment

Child endangerment is defined as putting a child in a situation that jeopardizes his/her physical or mental health. One example of child endangerment the Nevada Supreme Court recognized is the transportation of a child in a stolen car.31

Other examples of child endangerment in Nevada may include:

  • leaving a child with a relative known to be abusive;
  • operating a methamphetamine lab in a location where a child is present; or
  • letting a child play in a hazardous or dangerous environment.

2. Can I go to jail for child abuse in Las Vegas, Nevada?

It depends on the facts of the case. The more serious the situation, the higher chance the judge will impose Nevada State Prison. But it may be possible to get probation, a favorable plea bargain, or even a dismissal.

Jailcell optimized
Child abuse can be charged as either a felony or gross misdemeanor in Nevada.

The punishment for child abuse, neglect or endangerment in Nevada turns on five primary factors, elaborated on below:

  1. whether the alleged abuse was willful,
  2. whether substantial harm occurred,
  3. whether the abuse was sexual,
  4. the child's age, and
  5. whether the accused is a repeat-offender.
1) Willful vs. permissive action

Nevada courts draw a distinction between willfully causing the alleged abuse and knowingly allowing or permitting the abuse to happen.

In other words, a guardian who batters a child may get a harsher sentence than a parent who leaves the child with someone the guardian knows may batter the child.

2) Substantial physical or mental injury

Judges hand down harsher sentences when the alleged abuse results in either:

  • substantial physical injury, or
  • substantial mental harm

Substantial physical injury means temporary or permanent disfigurement or organ impairment. Examples would be a broken bone or punctured lung.

Substantial mental harm encompasses intellectual, psychological or emotional damage that is observable and precludes the child from functioning normally. Examples would be post traumatic stress disorder or clinical depression.32

3) Child abuse by sexual acts

Sentences for Nevada child abuse cases will be longer if the alleged abuse was sexual in nature. Penetration is not necessary for a court to consider abuse as sexual.33

Child
Child abuse penalties increase in Nevada if the child is under 14.
4) Age of the child

Nevada judges hand down harsher sentences if the child in the case was thirteen (13) years old or younger.

5) Repeat offender

Repeat-offenders with past child abuse convictions get more stringent penalties under Nevada child abuse law.

Below are the specific prison times and fines a judge may impose upon a conviction for child abuse, neglect and endangerment in Nevada.34

2.1. Penalties

If the abuse was willful AND substantial bodily or mental harm occurs:

If the abuse allegedly involved sexual abuse or exploitation of a child thirteen (13) or younger, then the matter is chargeable as a category A felony. This carries:

  • a life sentence with the possibility of parole after fifteen (15) years, and
  • possible Nevada Sex Offender status

Otherwise, it may be charged as a category B felony, carrying:

  • two to twenty (2 - 20) years in Nevada State Prison

If the abuse was willful AND no substantial bodily or mental harm occurs:

If the defendant has no previous child abuse convictions, then the matter may be chargeable as a category B felony. This carries:

  • one to six (1 - 6) years in Nevada State Prison

But if the defendant has previous child abuse convictions, the sentence may range from:

  • two to fifteen (2 - 15) years in Nevada State Prison

If the defendant just "allowed" the abuse AND substantial bodily or mental harm occurs:

Cast
Child abuse penalties increase if the child sustains substantial bodily harm.

If the abuse allegedly involved sexual abuse or exploitation of a child thirteen (13) or younger, then the matter is chargeable as a category A felony. This carries:

  • a life sentence with the possibility of parole after ten (10) years, and
  • possible Nevada Sex Offender status

Otherwise, it may be charged as a category B felony, carrying:

  • two to twenty (2 - 20) years in Nevada State Prison

If the defendant just "allowed" the abuse AND no substantial bodily or mental harm occurs:

If the defendant has no previous child abuse convictions, the matter may be chargeable as a gross misdemeanor. The maximum sentence is:

  • $2,000 fine, and/or
  • 364 days in jail

But if the defendant has previous child abuse convictions, the matter may be prosecuted as a category C felony, carrying:

  • one to five (1 - 5) years, and
  • maybe a $10,000 fine

2.2. Plea bargains

Prosecutors in child abuse cases are typically reluctant to negotiate plea bargains if the injuries are severe. Depending on the case, the D.A. may agree to reduce the charges to battery35 or contributing to the delinquency of a minor.36

In some cases, the judge may be willing to grant probation in lieu of incarceration. And if the prosecution's evidence is at all faulty, the defense attorney may be able to negotiate a complete dismissal.

Note that Nevada prosecutors may refer suspected child abusers to counseling or treatment. This is true even if they decide not to prosecute the person for child abuse.37

False 20allegations

3. How do I fight child abuse charges in Las Vegas, Nevada?

There are several possible strategies for fighting Nevada child abuse charges and negotiating favorable resolutions.38

Some of the more common defenses are:

  1. Accident,
  2. Self-defense,
  3. False accusations,
  4. Reasonable corporeal punishment,
  5. Reasonable medical treatments made in good faith,
  6. Abusive relatives, or
  7. No harm to the child

Prosecutor usually rely on police reports, witnesses, medical records, and records of past abuse to build a case against the defendant. Depending on the circumstances, the above defenses can discredit or outweigh the state's evidence.

3.1. Accident

A person is not guilty of child abuse in Nevada if he/she did not intend to commit the harmful act. If a parent drops a baby by accident, the parent committed no crime because it was unintentional.

It is also not child abuse if the child injures him/herself in an accident that the parent could not have reasonably foreseen.39 It is common for kids to sustain injuries from such everyday trip-ups as:

  • falling from trees, bikes and stairs,
  • getting hit with bats, racquets or other kids during sports,
  • getting their hands caught in doors or windows, or
  • roughhousing with their friends.

Police might suspect a child was an abuse victim due to his/her injuries. But criminal charges should not stand if the injuries came from an innocent accident.

In the case of People v. Kevin R., Las Vegas criminal defense attorney Michael Becker won a full acquittal for man accused of felony "shaken baby" charges. Through his advocacy, he convinced the jury that the child's injury resulted from a fall that was no one's fault.

3.2. Self-defense

Self defense
Lawful self-defense is a defense to Nevada child abuse charges.

Many child abuse cases in Las Vegas arise out adults fending of angry kids or teens who turn violent. It is legal in Nevada for people to defend themselves...even against children...as long as the following are true:

  • they reasonably believe they are about to be killed or injured;
  • they reasonably believe that immediate force is necessary to prevent the danger; and
  • they do not use any more force than necessary40

Expert testimony and witness statements can help demonstrate that the defendant was not the aggressor and acted in line with Nevada self-defense law.

3.3. False accusations

Sometimes kids lie that their parents or another adult hurt them. They may be motivated by anger or just an active imagination. Either way, a skilled criminal defense attorney may be able to show through investigation or cross-examination that the child falsely accused the adult.

In some cases, troubled or attention-seeking children self-inflict wounds and then claim that a parent did it. In other cases, a vengeful parent injures the child only to falsely accuse the other parent in the hopes of getting him/her in trouble...

In this situation, medical experts may be able to study the medical records and testify as to whether the injuries were self-inflicted. Simple scientific testimony is often very effective in overriding the accuser's false allegations.

3.4. Reasonable corporal punishments

Parents are permitted to discipline their children in Nevada. But over-zealous police officers might misconstrue yelling as verbal abuse, or spanking as battery. And they might presume an injury came from abusive parents rather than an accident...41

A criminal defense attorney would try to find evidence such as witnesses or surveillance video to show that the corporal punishment never crossed the line into abuse. And expert medical witnesses may be able to show that a child's injuries are unrelated to the parents' discipline.

Belt
Nevada law permits reasonable corporal punishments.

In the case of People v. Mark O., Las Vegas criminal defense attorney Mike Becker won a full acquittal for a father accused of whipping a child to death. Michael was able to argue and produce medical evidence that the corporeal punishment his client inflicted did not cause the fatal injuries.

3.5. Reasonable medical treatments made in good faith

Symptoms can be misleading, and doctors misdiagnose patients all the time. If a parent does not reasonably know that a child is seriously ill, the parent should not be held liable for not medicating it quickly or correctly.42

Furthermore, parents and guardians in Nevada may pursue non-medical remedial treatments to treat ill children as long as:

  1. Nevada law considers the non-medical treatment a reasonable alternative to prevailing therapies, and
  2. The parent or guardian elects the non-medical treatment believing it is in the child's interest.43

Expert medical witnesses could be instrumental in showing that the parent acted in good faith and was not at fault for the child's injuries.

3.6. Abusive relatives

One frequent scenario in Las Vegas child abuse cases concerns parents leaving their children with abusive relatives. If the parent had no reason to know the relative was doing the child harm, then the parent committed no child abuse.

3.7 No harm

No child abuse occurred in Nevada if the child suffered no unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering. So if the prosecution cannot prove that the child experienced bodily or emotional harm, the charge should be dismissed. The criminal defense attorney might rely on medical experts and eye-witnesses to show that the defendants' actions did not hurt the child.

Img resisting arrest handcuffs optimized
Many child abuse cases begin with tips to Child Protective Services.

4. How do police make arrests for child abuse?

As with battery domestic violence allegations, many child abuse reports start with 911 calls from the victim or a bystander. In other cases, Child Protective Services in Nevada (CPS) gets a tip that a child may be abused or neglected.

If CPS concludes there is reasonable cause to believe a child is being abused or neglected in Nevada, they will classify the findings as "substantiated." CPS will then notify Nevada law enforcement to orchestrate removal of the child from the allegedly abusive environment. The police may also arrest and book the suspect at the local jail, where the judge may set bail.

Note that the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA)44 mandates that professionals such as teachers, doctors, therapists and clergymen report suspected child abuse and neglect cases in Nevada to CPS.45 CPS accepts anonymous tips as well. Tipsters do not have to provide proof of the alleged abuse.46

5. Do I have to go to court if I am charged with child abuse in Las Vegas, NV?

It depends. Defendants who do not retain private counsel in Nevada will have to appear at all court appearances in the case. If the defendant misses a court date, the judge may issue a bench warrant for his/her arrest.47

Defendants who hire a Nevada attorney usually do not have to appear at any court appearances as long as the case resolves prior to:

  • the preliminary hearing, in the case of gross misdemeanors or felonies, or
  • the trial, in the case of misdemeanors (recall that child abuse is never charged as a just a misdemeanor)

Otherwise, the defendant will need to be present at the preliminary hearing (if there is one) and the trial.

Nevada judges understand that defendants are busy with jobs and may live out of state. So as long as a defendant has a Nevada attorney representing him/her, he/she can avoid having to appear in court most of the time.

6. Can I seal my child abuse case in Las Vegas, Nevada?

Child abuse convictions that involve sexual abuse or exploitation may not be sealed in Nevada. Otherwise, the record seal wait times turn on the category of offense:

  • Category B or C felony convictions of child abuse may be sealed five (5) years after the case closes.
  • Gross misdemeanor convictions of child abuse may be sealed two (2) years after the case closes. 48

But if the child abuse charge was dismissed, then the defendant may be eligible to get a record seal right away.49

Note that the Nevada Central Repository maintains records of substantiated reports of child abuse or neglect. Under certain conditions, employers can request a Child Abuse and Neglect check (CANS check) for prospective employees:50

Nevada employers may request a CANS checks only if:

  • the job applicant provides written authorization allowing the background check, and
  • the employer is required to by law, or the prospective job involves being around children or the elderly.51

7. Can I be deported for child abuse?

Us 20immigration 20customs 20enforcement
Child abuse is a deportable offense in Nevada.

Yes. Immigration law regards child abuse as a deportable offense.52 Therefore, the Department of Homeland Security may deport non-citizens convicted of child abuse.53

Non-citizens who have been charged with a crime are advised to retain counsel with experience in immigration and criminal defense. It may be possible to get the charge reduced to a non-deportable offense.

Learn about the criminal defense of immigrants in Nevada.

8. Can I be extradited for child abuse in Las Vegas, Nevada?

Yes. Child abuse suspects that flee to another state can be apprehended and brought back to Nevada.54 People arrested out-of state for Nevada child abuse charges will have the choice either to:

  • waive extradition and return to Nevada, or
  • remain in the asylum state and fight extradition.

People who decide to fight extradition are entitled to a hearing where they typically make the following arguments:

  1. The governor's warrant ordering the extradition is invalid; and/or
  2. The person in custody is not the person sought in the governor's warrant

Note that extradition procedure differs state-to-state. For instance Hawaii and Florida may release suspects on bail pending extradition. But others like California probably will not.

9. Are there other Nevada crimes I can get charged with for harming a child?

Nevada has several laws besides NRS 200.508 that outlaw harming or endangering minors. Some of these include:

  • Possessing child pornography,
  • Statutory rape,
  • Furnishing alcohol to a minor, and
  • Leaving a child unattended in a vehicle

9.1. Possessing child pornography

Possession of child pornography depicting children under age sixteen (16) in Nevada is a crime. A first offense is a category B felony and carries:

  • one to six (1 - 6) years in Nevada State Prison, and
  • maybe up to $5,000 in fines.

But any subsequent offense is a category A felony, punishable by:

  • one (1) year to a life sentence with the possibility of parole, and 
  • maybe up to $5,000 in fines.55
Img handcuffs optimized
Sex is unlawful in Nevada between an adult 18 and older and a child 15 or younger.

9.2. Statutory rape ("statutory sexual seduction")

Nevada prohibits statutory rape, which is when a person eighteen (18) or older has sex with a child under sixteen (16).

If the defendant is twenty-one (21) or older, statutory rape is punished as a category B felony carrying:

  • one to ten (1 - 10) years in Nevada State Prison, and maybe
  • up to $10,000 in fines.

Otherwise, it is a gross misdemeanor carrying:

  • up to 364 days in jail, and/or
  • up to $2,000 in fines.56

9.3. Furnishing alcohol to a minor

It is a misdemeanor to knowingly furnish or sell alcohol to a person under 21. The penalty is:

  • up to six (6) months in jail and/or
  • up to $1,000 in fines.

But note that this law does not apply to the minor's parents, doctors, or guardians.57

9.4. Leaving child unattended in a car

It is a crime in Nevada to knowingly leave a child under eight (8) in a car in risky conditions (such as high heat) or if the car is running. As long as the child is unharmed, it carries the misdemeanor penalties of:

  • up to six (6) months in jail and/or
  • up to $1,000 in fines.

Otherwise, this offense is prosecuted as child endangerment.58

10. Additional information

10.1. History of Nevada child welfare laws

  • 1975: The Nevada Legislature passed laws governing the reporting and investigation of child abuse and the establishment of the Nevada Central Registry.59
  • 1985: The Nevada Legislature passed the Child Protection Act, outlining new stringent requirements for the welfare division.60
  • 1987: Nevada passed a law requiring counties of 100,000 or more people to provide child protective services.61
  • 1997: New legislation redefined CPS procedures and mandated immediate responses for reports regarding children five (5) years old and younger. 
  • 1999: Nevada legislation implemented the federal Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA) to promote child havens.62

10.2. California child abuse laws

California

As with Nevada, the California offense of child abuse is an intent crime that can be charged as a felony or misdemeanor.63 But there is one key difference between the states...

Nevada lumps child abuse and endangerment into one crime. Whereas in California, they are separate offenses:

California's child endangerment law prohibits putting a child in danger irrespective of whether harm occurs. In contrast, California's child abuse law applies only when the child sustains injuries.64

10.3. Crisis resources

Call 20us 20  20receptionist
Call 702-333-3673 for a criminal defense attorney in Nevada today.

Arrested for child abuse in Nevada? Call us...

Have you been accused of violating NRS 200.508 in Nevada? Call our Las Vegas child abuse, neglect, and endangerment lawyers at 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673) for a free consultation.

Whether you have been falsely accused, overcharged, or just made a mistake, Las Vegas Defense Group can help you through this process. We will do everything to craft a favorable resolution in your favor and take your case to trial if necessary.

¿Habla español? Obtener información acerca de leyes contra el abuso de menores de Nevada.

Our attorneys defend against child abuse allegations all throughout Clark County, Washoe County and Nye County, including in Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, Henderson, Boulder City, Mesquite, Laughlin, Pahrump, and Reno, Nevada.

Legal References:

  1. NRS 200.508.
  2. Rice v. State, 113 Nev. 1300, 1307, 949 P.2d 262, 266 (1997) ("The child abuse statute is a general intent crime.").
  3. Childers v. State, 100 Nev. 280, 283, 680 P.2d 598, 599 (1984) ("The word "willfully", when applied to the intent with which an act is done or omitted, as used in my instructions, implies simply a purpose or willingness to commit the act or to make the omission in question. The word does not require in its meaning any intent to violate law, or to injure another, or to acquire any advantage.").
  4. NRS 432B.150.
  5. NRS 432B.090 "Physical injury" defined. "Physical injury" includes, without limitation:
    1. A sprain or dislocation;
    2. Damage to cartilage;
    3. A fracture of a bone or the skull;
    4. An intracranial hemorrhage or injury to another internal organ;
    5. A burn or scalding;
    6. A cut, laceration, puncture or bite;
    7. Permanent or temporary disfigurement; or
    8. Permanent or temporary loss or impairment of a part or organ of the body.
  6. Levi v. State, 95 Nev. 746, 748, 602 P.2d 189, 190 (1979) ("In our view, the phrase, "serious permanent disfigurement," includes cosmetic disfigurement as well as an injury that is functionally disabling.").
  7. Bludsworth v. State, 98 Nev. 289, 290, 646 P.2d 558, 559 (1982) ("A number of expert witnesses testified that Eric was a victim of the battered child syndrome, an accepted diagnosis signifying serious and persistent physical abuse. The expert opinion that the victim was a battered child, coupled with some additional proof, has been held sufficient to permit a jury to conclude that the child injury occurred "at the culpable hands of its parents." People v. Henson, 33 N.Y.2d 63, 349 N.Y.S.2d 657, 665-66, 304 N.E.2d 358, 366-67 (N.Y.1973); accord People v. Barnard, 93 Mich.App. 590, 286 N.W.2d 870 (1979)."); Rice v. State, 113 Nev. 1300, 1309, 949 P.2d 262, 268 (1997) ("The jury easily could have concluded that from the time the baby was burned four or five days prior to the hospital admission, he was in desperate need of medical assistance for the serious burns and what Dr. Clark described upon admission as his severe malnutrition and "wasted appearance." Not only could the jurors conclude, from the expert testimony and their own life experiences, that these physical injuries necessitated immediate medical care, but that the pain and disruption in the infant's eating and sleeping habits could not have been overlooked by any reasonable person. As to Christie's assertion that she was afraid of Cody and the possible loss of her child if medical assistance was sought, the jury could have discounted this testimony or believed that Christie has an overriding responsibility to the infant in spite of these possible consequences. There was more than ample evidence to establish that Christie knew or should have known that the infant was in need of medical care, that she unreasonably delayed in providing it to him, and that the delay caused the infant to suffer unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering. Therefore, the evidentiary concerns of the Martineau decision were met."); Matschke J, Voss J, Obi N, Gorndt J, Sperhake JP, Puschel K, Glatzel M., Nonaccidental head injury is the most common cause of subdural bleeding in infants <1 year of age, Pediatrics. 2009 Dec;124(6):1587-94. ("Subdural bleeding (SDB) in infants is considered an essential symptom of nonaccidental head injury (NAHI).").
  8. Nevada A.B. 782 (May 16, 1989) ("...providing that murder by abuse of a child is murder of the first degree...").
  9. NRS 200.030.
  10. Athey v. State, 106 Nev. 520, 523, 797 P.2d 956, 958 (1990) ("Athey contends that his convictions of both felony child abuse and first degree murder for the acts of December 15 violate the constitutional prohibition against double jeopardy. Athey correctly notes that in Talancon v. State, 102 Nev. 294, 721 P.2d 764 (1986), this court clarified the two-part test for purposes of double jeopardy analysis. In Talancon, we said that first it must be determined whether there are two offenses or only one. The test to be applied is "whether each provision requires proof of a fact which the other does not." Id. at 298, 721 P.2d at 766 (quoting Blockburger v. United States, 284 U.S. 299, 304, 52 S.Ct. 180, 182, 76 L.Ed. 306 (1932)). Second, "where two statutory offenses constitute the 'same offense' under the Blockburger test, double jeopardy will not be violated by separate sentences for those two offenses following a single trial, if it appears that the legislature intended separate punishments." Id. 102 Nev. at 301, 721 P.2d at 769. Because the felony child abuse occurred on the same evening as the murder, Athey contends that the same act of child abuse constituted the basis for both offenses here. He persuasively distinguishes his case from the facts of Bludsworth v. State, 98 Nev. 289, 646 P.2d 558 (1982), in which substantial testimony established that the child had been seriously and persistently abused prior to the fatal injury and was a victim of the battered child syndrome. Id. at 290, 646 P.2d at 559. In Bludsworth, we upheld the conviction of separate offenses of child abuse and murder. Id. at 293, 646 P.2d at 560. Based on the evidence in his case, Athey asserts that, unlike Bludsworth, first degree murder could not have been committed in this case absent the commission of felony child abuse and that therefore the two convictions are based on the same offense. We agree.").
  11. Bludsworth v. State, 98 Nev. 289, 292, 646 P.2d 558, 560 (1982) ("The child abuse and murder counts were properly joined since they arose out of the same series of acts.").
  12. Shaken Baby Syndrome Given New Name, Area Health Education Center of Southern Nevada press release (April 29, 2009) ("The American Association of Pediatrics is calling for a name change of Shaken Baby Syndrome to the new name 'Abusive Head Trauma', which will more accurately reflect the brain, skull and spinal injuries associated with the shaking of infants. Abusive Head Trauma is the leading cause of non-accidental death in children under age two, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.").
  13. Moxley v. State, 2008 WL 6898693, 6 (Nev.) (2008) ("The autopsy incision photos were admitted to show the depth of Jonathan's bruises, and more importantly, to show the extent of Jonathan's brain injuries which could only have been caused by shaken baby syndrome, which in turn was assigned as the cause of Jonathan's breathing problems.").
  14. Wegner v. State, 116 Nev. 1149, 1154, 14 P.3d 25, 29 (2000) ("Dr. Marietta Nelson, a pediatric ophthalmologist, who reviewed only the autopsy reports, testified that the retinal hemorrhages were a classic sign of shaken baby syndrome. Dr. Nelson testified that the injury was of a non-accidental nature with hemorrhages that must have appeared quickly after the injury.").
  15. NRS 200.210 Killing of unborn quick child; penalty. A person who willfully kills an unborn quick child, by any injury committed upon the mother of the child, commits manslaughter and shall be punished for a category B felony by imprisonment in the state prison for a minimum term of not less than 1 year and a maximum term of not more than 10 years, and may be further punished by a fine of not more than $10,000.
  16. Glenn Puit, DEATH OF FETUS: Las Vegas man faces charges: Viability of fetus to survive outside womb might be key, Las Vegas Review-Journal (December 09, 2002).
  17. Sheriff, Washoe County, Nev. v. Encoe, 110 Nev. 1317, 1322, 885 P.2d 596, 599 (1994) ("NRS 200.508 does not apply to a pregnant woman's ingestion of illegal substances and the resulting transmission of these substances to her child through the umbilical cord. We conclude that if the Nevada legislature intended to criminalize prenatal substance abuse, it would have enacted a statute to that effect.").
  18. NRS 432B.070 "Mental injury" defined. "Mental injury" means an injury to the intellectual or psychological capacity or the emotional condition of a child as evidenced by an observable and substantial impairment of his ability to function within his normal range of performance or behavior.
  19. NRS 432B.070 "Mental injury" defined. "Mental injury" means an injury to the intellectual or psychological capacity or the emotional condition of a child as evidenced by an observable and substantial impairment of his ability to function within his normal range of performance or behavior.
  20. Rees CA, Understanding emotional abuse, Arch Dis Child. 2010 Jan;95(1):59-67. ("Difficulties in recognition, definition and legal proof put children at risk of remaining in damaging circumstances.").
  21. NRS 201.210.
  22. NRS 200.5083.
  23. Fifth Amendment, U.S. Constitution, "[N]or shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb...").
  24. NRS 432B.110 "Sexual exploitation" defined. "Sexual exploitation" includes forcing, allowing or encouraging a child
    1. To solicit for or engage in prostitution;
    2. To view a pornographic film or literature; and
    3. To engage in"
    (a) Filming, photographing or recording on videotape; or (b) Posing, modeling, depiction or a live performance before an audience, ? which involves the exhibition of a child's genitals or any sexual conduct with a child, as defined in NRS 200.700.
  25. NRS 432B.140 Negligent treatment or maltreatment. Negligent treatment or maltreatment of a child occurs if a child has been abandoned, is without proper care, control and supervision or lacks the subsistence, education, shelter, medical care or other care necessary for the well-being of the child because of the faults or habits of the person responsible for his welfare or his neglect or refusal to provide them when able to do so.
  26. King v. State, 105 Nev. 373, 377, 784 P.2d 942, 944 (1989) ("Nevada's child abuse statute encompasses acts of omission as well as acts of commission.").
  27. NRS 200.5085 Use of nonmedical remedial treatment. A child is not abused or neglected, nor is his health or welfare harmed or threatened for the sole reason that his parent or guardian, in good faith, selects and depends upon nonmedical remedial treatment for such child, if such treatment is recognized and permitted under the laws of this State in lieu of medical treatment.
  28. Martineau v. Angelone, 25 F.3d 734, 739 (9th Cir.1994) ("In order to prove child abuse based on delay, the state had to prove both (A) that some time passed between Michelle's injuries and appellants' 911 call and attempted CPR and (B) that, during this time, appellants knew (or should have known) that Michelle's injuries were serious enough to require immediate medical attention, yet did nothing.").
  29. Labastida v. State, 115 Nev. 298, 303, 986 P.2d 443, 446 (1999) ("The suggestion that one who is responsible for a child may passively aid and abet first degree murder "by observing and being manifestly aware" of acts of child abuse, and "by doing nothing to stop this abuse" when it is possible to take preventative measures improperly merges concepts of "abuse" and "neglect," and is inconsistent with the elements of first degree murder defined in NRS 200.030(1)(a). As the prior majority opinion recognizes, the terms "abuse" and "neglect" have distinctive meanings and cannot be applied interchangeably. The use of the term "child abuse" and not "child neglect" in NRS 200.030(1)(a) evinces the legislature's intent that different meanings apply to the two terms and that a murder perpetrated by means of "child abuse," and not "child neglect," constitutes first degree murder. Thus, the definition of first degree murder set forth in the prior majority opinion improperly expands the statutory elements of first degree murder to include a murder perpetrated by means of child neglect. Accordingly, we are not willing to read NRS 200.030(1)(a) so as to define first degree murder to include a murder which is perpetrated by means of child neglect. There is no statutory basis for doing so.").
  30. Labastida v. State, 115 Nev. 298, 307, 986 P.2d 443, 449 (1999) ("[T]he second degree felony murder rule applies only where the felony is inherently dangerous, where death or injury is a directly foreseeable consequence of the illegal act, and where there is an immediate and direct causal relationship-without the intervention of some other source or agency-between the actions of the defendant and the victim's death. Labastida's son did not die as an immediate and direct consequence of Labastida's neglect, without the intervention of some other source or agency. Rather, he died from Michael Strawser's abuse. Consequently, the evidence supporting Labastida's commission of felony child neglect in this case cannot support her second degree murder conviction under this court's decision in Morris.").
  31. Hughes v. State, 112 Nev. 84, 88, 910 P.2d 254, 256 (1996) ("Officer Curry's testimony helped the state establish that the transportation of a child in a stolen vehicle places that child in a situation where he or she may suffer physical pain or mental suffering. Without such testimony, the jury might not have been fully aware of the dangerousness of the situation in which appellant placed his daughter by transporting her in a stolen vehicle.").
  32. NRS 200.508.
  33. Nevada has specific laws against female genital mutilation as well: NRS 200.5083.
  34. NRS 200.508.
  35. Nevada battery can be as minor as a misdemeanor if no substantial injuries occurred and no weapon was used.
  36. NRS NRS 201.110.
  37. NRS 200.5081.
  38. Another defense to the child abuse statute is that the law is unconstitutionally vague, but the Nevada Supreme Court has rejected this argument in Bludsworth v. State, 98 Nev. 289, 293, 646 P.2d 558, 560 (1982) ("Our statute, as applied to these appellants, is clearly constitutional. A criminal statute is unconstitutionally vague only if one cannot reasonably understand that contemplated conduct is proscribed.").
  39. NRS 432B.020 "Abuse or neglect of a child" defined."Abuse or neglect of a child" means, except as otherwise provided in subsection 2:(a) Physical or mental injury of a nonaccidental nature;(b) Sexual abuse or sexual exploitation; or(c) Negligent treatment or maltreatment as set forth in NRS 432B.140,→of a child caused or allowed by a person responsible for his welfare under circumstances which indicate that the child's health or welfare is harmed or threatened with harm.
  40. Runion v. State, 116 Nev. 1041, 1046, 13 P.3d 52, 55 - 56 (2000) ("At common law, an individual had a right to defend himself against apparent danger to the same extent as if the danger had been real, provided he acted upon a reasonable apprehension of danger. Specifically, homicide was justified where: (1) the defendant was not the aggressor in the encounter; (2) the defendant was confronted with actual and immediate danger of unlawful bodily harm or he reasonably believed that there was immediate danger of such a harm; and (3) the use of such force was necessary, in a proportionately reasonable amount, to avoid this danger. Nevada's self-defense statutory framework has existed for over seventy years. See NRS 200.120, 200.130, 200.160, and 200.200. NRS 200.120 states that "[j]ustifiable homicide is the killing of a human being in necessary self-defense." NRS 200.120 (emphasis added). This language seems to state that homicide is justified only when a person is in actual danger. NRS 200.160 states that homicide is "also" justified when a person reasonably believes that he is about to be seriously injured or killed and "there is imminent danger of such design being accomplished." NRS 200.160(1) (emphasis added). Finally, NRS 200.200 states that if a person kills another in self-defense "it must appear that: 1. The danger was so urgent and pressing that, in order to save his own life, or to prevent his receiving great bodily harm, the killing of the other was absolutely necessary ...." NRS 200.200(1) (emphasis added). While the phrase "absolutely necessary" seems to indicate that self-defense is a justification for homicide where a person is actually in imminent danger, the use of the word "appear" implies that self-defense may be a justification for homicide in instances where a person reasonably believes that he is about to be seriously injured or killed but he is mistaken in that belief."
  41. NRS 432B.150.
  42. Martineau v. Angelone, 25 F.3d 734, 741 (9th Cir. 1994) ("Dr. Krugman's testimony, even if properly admitted, is not sufficient to prove delay beyond a reasonable doubt. His opinion was based on an abstract theory of how child abusers behave, rather than on the medical evidence available in this case. It therefore has little, if any, probative value on the issue of how appellants in particular behaved, especially given the lack of evidence that appellants abused Michelle and the fact that none of the other doctors testified that any significant time elapsed between Michelle's symptoms and appellants' decision to call 911.")
  43. NRS 200.5085.
  44. Child Abuse and Prevention Treatment Act, 42 USC Sec. 5101, Title 42, Chapter 67.
  45. NRS 432B.220.
  46. NRS 432B.230.
  47. NRS 199.335.
  48. NRS 179.245.
  49. NRS 179.255.
  50. Nevada Senate Bill 296 (2005).
  51. NRS 432.100.
  52. 8 U.S.C. § 1227 (a)(2)(E)(i) ("Any alien who at any time after admission is convicted of a crime of domestic violence, a crime of stalking, or a crime of child abuse, child neglect, or child abandonment is deportable.").
  53. Several acts involving child abuse have been held by various courts to constitute CIMTs: Guerrero de Nodahl v. INS, 407 F.2d 1405 (9th Cir. 1969) (the infliction of cruel or inhuman corporal punishment on a child is a CIMT in California); Garcia v. Attorney General, 329 F.3d 1217 (11th Cir. 2003) (aggravated child abuse in Florida was a CIMT); United States v. Grey, 87 Fed. Appx. 254, 2004 WL65248 (3rd Cir. 2004); Gonzalez-Alvarado v. INS, 39 F.3d 245 (9th Cir. 1994); Castle v.INS, 541 F.2d 1064 (4th Cir. 1976); Marciano v. INS, 450 F.2d 1022 (8th Cir. 1971) (statutory rape is a CIMT).
  54. NRS 179.221.
  55. NRS 200.730.
  56. NRS 200.368.
  57. NRS 202.055.
  58. NRS 202.575.
  59. Nevada A.B. 108 (January 29, 1975) ("AN ACT relating to child abuse and neglect . . . establishing statewide central registry for child abuse and neglect...)".
  60. NRS 432B.
  61. Nevada A.B. 861 (June 2, 1987).
  62. History of Child Welfare in Nevada, Prepared by Dr. Thom Reilly, University of Nevada, Las Vegas; College of Urban Affairs 19 October 1999.
  63. California Penal Code 273d PC.
  64. California Penal Code 273a PC.

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