Thursday, December 19, 2013

Dad will "likely" get probation after battering 6-month-old son bad enough to put him in a coma (Ukiah, California)

More abuser daddy coddling. This time the lucky daddy is identified as DANIEL CAMARA.

Ukiah father in child abuse case will likely get probation

Updated: 12/19/2013 12:00:16 AM PST
Ukiah Daily Journal

A Ukiah father no longer faces a possible life sentence or a charge that he put his infant son in a coma earlier this year after the prosecution reconsidered the charge and offered a plea deal that would allow him to spend the next five years on probation instead.

Daniel Camara, 25, was originally charged with assault resulting in a coma due to brain injury of a child younger than 8 years old. The baby boy, who was 6 months old at the time of the incident, has since recovered, prompting the Mendocino County District Attorney's Office to amend the charge to child abuse resulting in the child's hospitalization.

"The medical records were voluminous. We thought this case was much more serious at the outset. The child has clearly recovered," said Assistant District Attorney Paul Sequeira, who prosecuted the case, explaining that the baby's mother brought him to court one day, and the child's recovery was obvious.

The medical reports originally indicated the child was "in grave condition," Sequeira said, noting that the long-term brain damage originally believed to have stemmed from the incident was not found.

Camara pleaded guilty Wednesday in Mendocino County Superior Court to the new charge, which carries a possible sentence range of two, four or six years.

"Even if I had pushed for prison time, he has no prior record, and he probably would have gotten a two-year term," Sequeira said.

Because of the way credits are awarded for time spent in jail, Sequeira said, Camara would only need to spend a year in jail to get credit for a two-year sentence. He has already spent eight months in jail, and would be released without supervision after serving the rest of that time.

Sequeira proposed instead that Camara be on supervised probation for five years, with a term requiring him to spend a year in jail. His accumulated credits would allow him to be released because he's already served more than half of that. The probation terms would also require Camara to attend a yearlong child abuse treatment program.

"That's better for the safety of the community, and it's better than putting the family through that and then having him get out of jail with no supervision," Sequeira said.

Camara's 6-month-old son was admitted at Ukiah Valley Medical Center with a high fever on the night of April 5, then flown to the University of California at San Francisco Medical Center for advanced treatment when the baby's condition worsened the next day.

Camara's Ukiah defense attorney, Duncan James, said previously that the baby didn't arrive at the hospital in a coma, but was given an injection to induce a comatose state at the hospital, presumably for transport to UCSF.

Confirming UVMC medical personnel's suspicions, specialists at UCSF Medical Center confirmed the baby had injuries apparently caused by physical abuse, according to the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office, and found several older injuries that were also consistent with physical abuse.

James said previously that the baby was born several months premature, and "had significant, major medical issues since birth."

Judge Ann Moorman noted that if Camara violates his probation terms, he could go to prison for up to six years.

James noted in court that the child abuse charge to which Camara pleaded guilty is a "wobbler," which can be charged as a felony or as a misdemeanor. If Camara completes his five-year probation, he can apply to have it reduced to a misdemeanor on his record, James said.

Camara is due back in court Jan. 28 for sentencing.