Ramos v. State, No. 1D11–4504.

CourtCourt of Appeal of Florida (US)
Writing for the CourtMAKAR
Citation89 So.3d 1119
PartiesJannette RAMOS, Appellant, v. STATE of Florida, Appellee.
Docket NumberNo. 1D11–4504.
Decision Date14 June 2012

89 So.3d 1119

Jannette RAMOS, Appellant,
v.
STATE of Florida, Appellee.

No. 1D11–4504.

District Court of Appeal of Florida,
First District.

June 14, 2012.


[89 So.3d 1120]


Nancy A. Daniels, Public Defender, and David P. Gauldin, Assistant Public Defender, Tallahassee, for Appellant.

Pamela Jo Bondi, Attorney General, and Giselle D. Lylen, Assistant Attorney General, Tallahassee, for Appellee.


MAKAR, J.

Jannette Ramos appeals her conviction and sentence for aggravated manslaughter of a child following the drowning death of her infant son in a retention pond close to her apartment. We affirm.

The only issue meriting discussion is whether the totality of Ramos's acts, and failures to act, establish the culpable negligence necessary to sustain her conviction for manslaughter of a child.1

Florida imposes upon parents the responsibility to supervise and protect their children who are too young to care for themselves. Machin v. Walgreen Co., 835 So.2d 284 (Fla. 3d DCA 2002). Here, the legal responsibility for the care of the youngest of Ramos's five children, Nathan Cook, nineteen months old at the time he drowned, fell squarely upon her as his immediate caregiver. Mere negligence in the care of one's young child doesn't necessarily amount to culpable negligence. Things happen in the care of young children that are unexpected even by experienced parents; a one-time accident or misfortune that could not be reasonably expected to result in serious harm, without more, does not generally transform a parent into a culpably negligent criminal.2 Close legal questions arise, however, because each tragic case involves the confluence of an innocent child's death and a bereaved parent, whose degree of care, neglect, indifference, or callous disregard is measured against societal norms and expectations under the circumstances. What some judges might deem culpable negligence by a parent might be insufficiently egregious to others. See, e.g., Edwards v. State, 755 So.2d 443 (Miss.App.1999) (reversing, over a dissent, the culpable

[89 So.3d 1121]

negligence manslaughter conviction of parents in the death of their four-year-old who drowned during camping trip due to insufficient evidence of culpable negligence). For this reason, we have reviewed the record closely to determine whether the jury was presented with sufficient evidence to believe Ramos was culpably negligent under the law.

In Florida, culpable negligence is a “gross and flagrant” violation of a duty of care that causes injury, a course of conduct showing “reckless disregard of human life,” “such wantonness or recklessness” as to equal the intentional violation of the rights of others, or an “entire want of care” raising “the presumption of indifference to consequences.” Preston v. State, 56 So.2d 543, 544 (Fla.1952); Fla. Std. Jury Instr. (Crim.) 7.7. We evaluate the totality of the circumstances, as reflected in the record, in determining whether the facts presented constitute culpable negligence. Behn v. State, 621 So.2d 534, 537 (Fla. 1st DCA 1993). If the evidence is sufficient to establish a jury question regarding whether Ramos was culpably negligent, we must affirm. State v. Nowlin, 50 So.3d 79, 81 (Fla. 1st DCA 2010) (existence of a jury question precludes dismissal).

The initial impression of the detective investigating Nathan's death was that it was accidental. But that impression was quickly erased. Several of Ramos's neighbors came forward to tell of many repeated instances of Ramos's failure to supervise Nathan in the months preceding his death. The neighbors were not surprised to learn that Nathan had died; they described the situation as a tragedy waiting to happen.

The testimony regarding Ramos's neglect of Nathan was plentiful. Seven neighbors testified at trial that Nathan would frequently “escape” from Ramos's second floor apartment, crawling down the outside stairs and going near the retention pond, placing the infant at serious risk. Frequently, neighbors saw Nathan descend the stairs from Ramos's apartment by himself,...

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10 practice notes
  • Ramos v. Sec'y, Case No. 3:15-cv-904-J-34PDB
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Court of Middle District of Florida
    • April 24, 2018
    ...Ex. 8. On June 14, 2012, the appellate court affirmed Ramos's conviction and sentence in a written opinion, see Ramos v. State,Page 3 89 So.3d 1119 (Fla. 1st DCA 2012); Resp. Ex. 9, and the mandate issued on July 2, 2012, see Resp. Ex. 9. On February 12, 2013, Ramos filed a pro se motion fo......
  • Hare v. State, No. 5D11–3134.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • January 25, 2013
    ...s. 827.03(3),” the criminal child neglect statute.7§ 782.07(3), Fla. Stat. (2009); Fla. Std. Jury. Inst. (Crim.) 7.7; see Ramos v. State, 89 So.3d 1119, 1120 n. 1 (Fla. 1st DCA 2012); Koenig v. State, 757 So.2d 595, 596 (Fla. 5th DCA 2000). In turn, to prove child neglect under section 827.......
  • Ibeagwa v. State, No. 1D12–2602.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • July 1, 2014
    ...the evidence and all reasonable inferences from the evidence being viewed in a light most favorable to the State. See Ramos v. State, 89 So.3d 1119, 1122 (Fla. 1st DCA 2012) (citing Jones v. State, 790 So.2d 1194, 1196–97 (Fla. 1st DCA 2001)). Viewing the facts in the light most favorable t......
  • Medina v. State, Case No. 2D15-654.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • August 30, 2017
    ...A caretaker's failure to supervise a young child does not always rise to the criminal level of culpable negligence. See Ramos v. State, 89 So.3d 1119, 1120 (Fla. 1st DCA 2012) ("Mere negligence in the care of one's young child doesn't necessarily amount to culpable negligence."); see, e.g.,......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
10 cases
  • Ramos v. Sec'y, Case No. 3:15-cv-904-J-34PDB
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Court of Middle District of Florida
    • April 24, 2018
    ...Ex. 8. On June 14, 2012, the appellate court affirmed Ramos's conviction and sentence in a written opinion, see Ramos v. State,Page 3 89 So.3d 1119 (Fla. 1st DCA 2012); Resp. Ex. 9, and the mandate issued on July 2, 2012, see Resp. Ex. 9. On February 12, 2013, Ramos filed a pro se motion fo......
  • Hare v. State, No. 5D11–3134.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • January 25, 2013
    ...s. 827.03(3),” the criminal child neglect statute.7§ 782.07(3), Fla. Stat. (2009); Fla. Std. Jury. Inst. (Crim.) 7.7; see Ramos v. State, 89 So.3d 1119, 1120 n. 1 (Fla. 1st DCA 2012); Koenig v. State, 757 So.2d 595, 596 (Fla. 5th DCA 2000). In turn, to prove child neglect under section 827.......
  • Ibeagwa v. State, No. 1D12–2602.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • July 1, 2014
    ...the evidence and all reasonable inferences from the evidence being viewed in a light most favorable to the State. See Ramos v. State, 89 So.3d 1119, 1122 (Fla. 1st DCA 2012) (citing Jones v. State, 790 So.2d 1194, 1196–97 (Fla. 1st DCA 2001)). Viewing the facts in the light most favorable t......
  • Medina v. State, Case No. 2D15-654.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • August 30, 2017
    ...A caretaker's failure to supervise a young child does not always rise to the criminal level of culpable negligence. See Ramos v. State, 89 So.3d 1119, 1120 (Fla. 1st DCA 2012) ("Mere negligence in the care of one's young child doesn't necessarily amount to culpable negligence."); see, e.g.,......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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