Father sentenced for injury to child - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

Father sentenced for injury to child

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Posted: Saturday, August 25, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 10:36 am, Fri Nov 16, 2012.

COEUR d'ALENE - A 21-year-old father was sentenced Friday for the felony offense of injury to a child for the major brain injury his then 20-day-old son suffered while in his care last summer. A doctor said the injury was not accidental and is common with shaken babies.

James D. Blanchard, of Coeur d'Alene, will spend up to the next year in prison completing a program chosen by the Idaho Department of Correction. Through the program, Blanchard may receive treatment and will be evaluated, and then is expected to return to Coeur d'Alene for another hearing in front of 1st District Court Judge John Luster.

Luster sentenced Blanchard to a term of imprisonment of seven to 15 years, but retained jurisdiction and will evaluate whether further imprisonment or probation is appropriate once the prison program is completed.

Kootenai County Deputy Prosecutor Robert Green asked Luster to sentence Blanchard to seven to 15 years in prison.

Blanchard's son, Noah, suffered the brain injury on July 24 of last year, while Blanchard was watching Noah by himself while the mother, Angelina Rey, went to get some Chinese food for dinner. The couple lived with their new child at an apartment at 1042 N. 17th St.

The mother spoke in court Friday about how Noah is affected by his injury, saying he likely will never be able to walk, talk or see.

"His life will be full of challenges," she said. "As a result of this my son was taken from me."

Dr. Brian Hickok, of Lakeside Pediatric in Coeur d'Alene, was Noah's doctor when he arrived at the emergency room the day of the injury, and has continued caring for him.

He said Noah's injury is not consistent with an accident inside a home, and is more likely the result of being violently shaken.

"He'll likely be dependent on a caretaker," Hickok said. "It's very unlikely he'll be able to walk or talk."

He said Noah's vision is lost.

It's not even clear if Noah will ever be able to eat textured foods, he said.

Green said Blanchard didn't call 911 after Noah stopped breathing that day, but instead called Rey, who drove home and then called 911.

Green said Blanchard has taken no responsibility for the injury.

"The only person that was with Noah when this injury occurred was the defendant," Green said.

He said the severity of the crime in this case approaches that of a homicide case, at least in terms of the harm done to the victim.

Public defender Chris Schwartz said there is no evidence Blanchard shook Noah or caused the brain injury.

Schwartz criticized the prosecution for "trying the case" during a sentencing hearing, instead of in front of a jury.

"No one knows what happened to Noah," he said.

If anything, he said, his client is guilty of not taking proper care of his son. Blanchard pleaded guilty this spring.

Schwartz said Blanchard has been punished enough, spending nearly 290 days in Kootenai County jail, following his arrest, and being separated from his son.

Blanchard spoke briefly during the hearing, saying only that he would like to receive probation.

Luster said, "Nobody knows precisely what happened ... There's a lot of unanswered questions in this matter."

Before handing down the sentence, Luster said no punishment would ever help Noah recover.

He told Blanchard that Noah "was injured on your watch."

Luster said he doesn't believe Blanchard can fully grasp the seriousness of the crime.

"Probation would diminish the seriousness of the crime," he said.

Blanchard, who was released on his own recognizance in May, was taken into custody immediately following the hearing Tuesday.

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  • My2sence posted at 8:48 am on Tue, Aug 28, 2012.

    My2sence Posts: 317

    Mom/Gramma, your right, no one was there, only two people knows exactly what happened, and one of em is god,
    You have to know people rely on news sources such as the CdA press for information thats going on all around us, people will, and do take any little info they recieve and instantly form an opinion, especially when there is an overwhelmingly amount of evidence...."shaken baby" who did it? no one is talking, no one is taking responsibility for their actions, whether it was your son or "room mates" or the baby "fell"..it looks and sounds suspicious, that's all we have, so "we" like to state our opinions and our beliefs here on this comment site, that's what it's for, and WE are very angry this happened, and I believe there is a strong possibility that there will be no proof, without a doubt, that someone will pay for this crime, thats why most of these comments will be negative. Just sayin.

  • Mark on the Park posted at 1:04 pm on Mon, Aug 27, 2012.

    Mark on the Park Posts: 471

    Like the judge said - it happened on your son's watch. This is classic Shaken Baby Syndrome and whoever committed the violence necessary to inflict that much damage was filled with rage. It most certainly wasn't a "friend" or visitor, it was somebody intimately familiar with the baby.

    I feel bad for you and James' other family members, and especially for little Noah.

  • Mark on the Park posted at 12:51 pm on Mon, Aug 27, 2012.

    Mark on the Park Posts: 471

    "My son just did 2 years for a fight that he didn't start, AND that no one got hurt or even needed a band-aid..."

    Two years for a fight where nobody was injured? Without more details - I doubt it.

  • Kimberly Blanchard posted at 10:14 am on Mon, Aug 27, 2012.

    Kimberly Blanchard Posts: 1

    Do any of you judge mental people know my son or even the full story of whats going on in MY son or grandsons life or are you just a bunch of people talking like you know something about anything to do with this case all you see is the media and think you know all about what is happening.How would you all like to know that the day MY son was released to his father and I that Angelina was at the jail waiting for his release as much as we were then came to my house and spent the weekend with MY son saying he didnt do this and that they all belived it was there roommates then the two of them broke up and she strats saying now it was him further more were any of you in the court room to hear MY son atterney call her out on her lies so before you judgmental people open your mouth get ALL the facts and my child is nothing like duncan.So if you think you know all think again they could never prove it was my kids whom did this all there going off is my kids didnt call 911 first but nether did Angelina she called her mother first whom did not answer so she called 911 be non of YOU knew that lil bit of info so from now on before you go around judgeing people get all your facts and not from the media we Love our son and Granson more than anything in this world how do you think this affects the rest of James family.James has a ten year old lil sister and how do people think it makes her feel when people talk about her brother this way...So Please Get All the Facts before speaking Thank You...A Angery Frustrated Mother & Grandmother

  • CaiusCosades posted at 11:24 am on Sat, Aug 25, 2012.

    CaiusCosades Posts: 380

    Dad gets a possibility of 7-15 years imprisonment, but the child gets a life sentence.

    What a tragedy, maybe we all should focus more on raising our kids right so this sort of thing doesn't happen in the future.

    In my opinion, 20 years old is way, way too young for someone to be having kids. It puts tremendous stress on a kid at 20 years old becoming responsible for another human, and it's a near financial death sentence. You virtually guarantee yourself to live in poverty if you are too young to have a career and start having kids. Maybe it's time we start raising our kids with the message that they need to have their act together before having children i.e. be married, have a degree or at least have a good career going and at least be in their late 20s in this day in age with the way the economy is. I also personally feel that young males don't have full control over their own minds until their mid to late 20s, so younger males are more likely to not be able to control themselves and cause harm to others. It's just a fact of human psychology and physiology.

  • IDJeepgurl posted at 9:44 am on Sat, Aug 25, 2012.

    IDJeepgurl Posts: 67

    UGH, another thing.. If there were so many "If's" and "no one knows" in this case, why was Blanchard sentenced already? Why was he released in May? Isn't real hard to figure out what happened to this baby.. "He's been punished enough??"" Why don't we just let Duncan out AGAIN. This honestly, literally, makes me mad and sick. It's time to start doing what they did in the old days and take Justice into our own hands. These used up, burned out Judges may not give a rip, but one thing for sure is, there WILL be a judgement day, and I sure wouldn't want to be standing in front of the pearly gates and have to explain to God that I did hurt, or killed a child. Blanchard you are a punk!

  • IDJeepgurl posted at 9:35 am on Sat, Aug 25, 2012.

    IDJeepgurl Posts: 67

    A Rider???!!! Are you freaking kidding me???! Shame on you Judge Luster!!! Welcome to Idaho, the state where if you sell a pill or two or punch someone, you will spend years in prison, but if you rape, kill, hurt or abuse a child or get 45 DUI's you will get treatment, a rider, and be protected in prison by all who want to do to you what the "Justice" system didn't... SICKENING! What a slap in the face for this baby and it's family! Makes me sick! My son just did 2 years for a fight that he didn't start, AND that no one got hurt or even needed a band-aid, and this guy does this to a baby and will do a year or less??? Tell me how this is "Justice?!" I have lost all faith in our system, cops, Judges and the courts. Luster, how do you sleep at night???

  • Joseph Jr posted at 9:23 am on Sat, Aug 25, 2012.

    Joseph Jr Posts: 512

    Retained jurisdiction?

    One year and then a re-evaluation? Seriously?

    Scratching my head here. Seems to me that judges have no problem sentencing people addicted to drugs to prison for years, especially if they stole something. Those people are the real devils I guess.

    Seems like Idaho judges have little problem with child molesters and abusers. Why is this?

    Course much depends on "Who your daddy (or family) is" in Idaho and every other state in this corrupt nation.

    So many young people are having children, they cannot financially care for.

    Why don't more of these young people consider adoption? It seems clear this young man was not interested in becoming a father or a husband. Just my take.

    Many young women want to "play house" in subsidized housing, obtain free food for themselves and their children (food stamps), free medical care (medicaid), and believe their child will somehow thrive.

    I doubt that there were no previous "tell tale" signs of an abusive character in this male. No one changes from Jeykl to Hyde, in the time it takes to pick up "take out" food. Maybe the father was always a happy go lucky kind of guy, and just "snapped" in a half hour?

    God help this child.

  • ancientemplar posted at 8:07 am on Sat, Aug 25, 2012.

    ancientemplar Posts: 1147

    " .....Noah is affected by his injury,.saying he likely will never be able to walk, talk or see." The punk should have been given life.

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