CHAPTER 266

FORMERLY

SENATE BILL NO. 225

AS AMENDED BY

HOUSE AMENDMENT NO. 1

AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 11 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO HOMICIDES OF CHILDREN WHICH OCCUR THROUGH ABUSE OR NEGLECT.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE:

Section 1. Amend Title 11 of the Delaware Code by adding a new section thereto to be designated as §633, which shall read as follows:

"§633. Murder by abuse or neglect in the second degree; Class B felony.

(a) A person is guilty of murder by abuse or neglect in the second degree when, with

criminal negligence, he or she recklessly causes the death of a child and he or she has engaged in an act or previous pattern of abuse and/or neglect of such child.

(b) For the purpose of this section:

(1) 'child' shall refer to any person who has not yet reached his or her 14th

birthday

(2) 'abuse' and 'neglect' shall have the same meaning as set forth in § 1103 of this title.

(3) 'previous pattern' of abuse and/or neglect shall mean two (2) or more incidents of conduct:

a. that constitute an at of abuse and/or neglect; and

b. are not so closely related to each other or connected in point of time and place that
they constitute a single event.

(c) A conviction is not required for an act of abuse or neglect to be used in

prosecution of a matter under this section including an at used as proof of the previous pattern as defined including one which may be in paragraph (b)(3) of this section. A conviction for any act of abuse or neglect including one which may be relied upon to establish the previous pattern of abuse and/or neglect does not preclude prosecution under this section. Prosecution under this section does not preclude prosecution under any other section of the Delaware Code.

(d) Murder by abuse and/or neglect in the second degree is a class B felony.

Notwithstanding any provision of this title to the contrary, the minimum sentence for a person convicted or murder by abuse or neglect in the second degree in violation of this section shall be ten (10) years at Level V."

Section 2. Amend Title 11 of the Delaware Code by adding a new section thereto to

be designated as §634, which shall read as follows:

"§634. Murder by abuse or neglect in the first degree; class A felony.

(a) A person is guilty of murder by abuse or neglect in the first degree when he or she recklessly causes the death of a child and has engaged in an act or previous pattern of abuse and/or neglect of such child.

(b) For the purpose of this section:

(1) 'child' shall refer to any person who has not yet reached his or her 14th birthday

(2) 'abuse' and 'neglect' shall have the same meaning as set forth in §1103 of this title.

(3) 'previous pattern' of abuse and/or neglect shall mean two (2) or more incidents of conduct:

a. That constitute an act of abuse and/or neglect; and

b. are not so closely related to each other or connected in point of time and place that they constitute a single event.

(c) A conviction is not required for an act of abuse or neglect to be used in

prosecution of a matter under this section including an act used as proof of the previous pattern as defined including one which may be in paragraph (b)(3) of this section. A conviction for any act of abuse or neglect including one which may be relied upon to establish the previous pattern of abuse and/or neglect does not preclude prosecution under this section. Prosecution under this section does not preclude prosecution under any other section of the Delaware Code.

(d) Murder by abuse or neglect in the first degree is a class A felony."

Section 3. Amend §1103(b), Title 11 of the Delaware Code by striking said subsection in its entirety and substituting in lieu thereof the following:

"(b) 'Neglect' means threatening or impairing the physical, mental or emotional health and well-being of a child through inadequate care or protection, nontreatment, or abandonment by the child's custodian or other person in whose temporary custodial care the child is left, when such custodian or other person has the ability and financial means to provide adequate care or protection, but does not or will not do so. A child subjected to the conditions defined in this subsection is considered a 'neglected child'. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to mean that a child is neglected for the sole reason that the child's custodian, or other person in whose custodial care the child is left, provided treatment by spiritual means alone through prayer in lieu of medical treatment, provided that such custodian is a member or adherent of an organized church or religious group, the tenets of which prescribe prayer AS the principal treatment for illness, and the treatment provided conformed to such tenets."

Section 4. Amend §1103, Title 11 of the Delaware Code by inserting a new subsection "(a)" to read as follows:

"(a) 'Abuse means causing any physical injury to a child through unjustified force as defined in §468(1)(c) of this title, torture, negligent treatment, sexual abuse, exploitation, maltreatment, mistreatment or any means other than accident.";

and by redesignating the remaining subsections accordingly.

Approved July 19, 1995