Friday, October 09, 2015

Oregon Supreme Court Upholds Convictions of Faith Healing Parents For Criminal Negligence

In State of Oregon v. Hickman, (OR Sup. Ct., Oct. 8, 2015), the Oregon Supreme Court unanimously upheld the second degree manslaughter convictions of Dale and Shannon Hickman.  The Hickmans, members of the Followers of Christ Church, were charged with criminal negligence in the death of their prematurely-born seriously ill infant son. The parents had prayed for their son and anointed him with olive oil instead of seeking medical help for him when, nine hours after he was born, he developed severe respiratory problems.  In upholding the convictions, the Supreme Court said:
In this case, the only issue before us is whether ... the state was required by free exercise principles to prove that defendants acted or failed to act with a knowing, rather than criminally negligent, mental state. We hold that it was not.
Oregon Live reports on the decision.  [Thanks to Charles Hinkle for the lead.]