You are a prosecutor negotiating a plea bargain for a woman who is accused of child neglect. It is her third offense of child neglect, and this time the child nearly starved to death. You have the option of accepting a plea bargain that would give her five years probation and allow her to continue to raise her child. If you decline the plea bargain, she faces a minimum of three years imprisonment; the child will be taken into state care, and possibly placed in a foster home. The child, who is eight, does not want to be separated from his mother. The mother, who has an IQ of 81, seems remorseful that the child has been harmed and does not fully understand the charges against her.
a. Which choice will you make? What else can you do?
b. Does the mother appear to possess the required mens rea ? Does this matter regarding her sentence? Regarding the child’s welfare?