Dad DAVID JEROME WOODS has received a suspended sentence for duct-taping his 4-year-old son to the floor. Dad has a history of drug abuse and domestic violence (big surprise). Sounds like the mom is defending him out of fear.
Man sentenced in child abuse
Prison time suspended in duct-taping case
John Hult • email@example.com • August 1, 2009
A Sioux Falls man convicted of child abuse received a suspended prison sentence Friday, in part because letters written on his behalf swayed the judge's decision.
David Jerome Woods, 40, duct-taped his 4-year-old son to the floor of his home Jan. 24. The boy was unhurt.
State's Attorney Aaron McGowan argued that Woods has a history of marijuana use and an earlier domestic offense stemming from a physical altercation with his wife in 2005.
Woods' wife, Rachel, reported hearing her child scream from another room the day of the duct-taping. She has been separated from her husband since the event occurred.
"It's not the first time violence has occurred in this home," McGowan said.
But Judge Stuart Tiede said media reports of the case have blown the incident out of proportion. While letters written on a defendant's behalf usually don't have much of an effect on how he sentences people, the judge said letters about Woods from his family and his wife's family convinced him that Woods is not a threat.
"I don't think this is a case where a penitentiary sentence is warranted," Tiede said.
Woods was sentenced to three years in prison, but that was suspended upon his completion of two years' probation. He also must submit to a substance-abuse evaluation as one condition of that probation.
Ken Tschetter, Woods' lawyer, argued that Rachel Woods has called her husband's behavior that day "out of character" and has said the incident was isolated.
A sentence of probation is appropriate, Tschetter said, because Woods is not a danger to himself or his children.
"He wasn't a cruel disciplinarian of any sort," Tschetter said. "It doesn't appear that this was done maliciously or out of anger."
Woods, who has re-established contact with his son and daughter after months of separation, asked the judge for leniency so he could support his children.
"It was a mistake, and I wish I could take it back," Woods said.