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Archive for Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Mother’s conviction in son’s suicide tossed

August 29, 2006

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— The Connecticut Supreme Court on Monday overturned a mother's conviction on charges that she contributed to her 12-year-old son's suicide by keeping a filthy house.

In ordering the trial court to acquit Judith Scruggs, of Meriden, the court in New Haven said the law used to convict her was unconstitutionally vague.

Scruggs was convicted of risk of injury to a minor in 2003, a year and a half after her son, J. Daniel, hanged himself with a necktie in his closet. Legal experts said it was thought to be the first time a parent had been convicted over a child's suicide.

Prosecutors said the boy was miserable because his schoolmates ridiculed his body odor and bad breath, caused by Scruggs' filthy home and her lack of attention to the boy's hygiene. Scruggs said her son killed himself because he was bullied at school, and she filed a federal lawsuit against Meriden school officials contending they should have stopped it.

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