Christian Science Couple's Conviction Overturned Associated Press -- 08/11/1993 Massachuse

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Christian Science Couple's Conviction Overturned --------------------------------------------------------------- Associated Press -- 08/11/1993 Massachusetts' highest court has reversed an involuntary manslaughter conviction against a Christian Science couple whose son died when they failed to provide medical treatment for him. In a split decision, the court said the verdicts against David and Ginger Twitchell should be set aside on a LEGAL TECHNICALITY--stating a pamphlet the father had read, which implied he could rely on spiritual treatment for his son without fear of criminal prosecution, was not presented to the jury. The Twitchells "reasonably believed" they would not be punished after reading the pamphlet, the court said. "I'm absolutely delighted that the Twitchell convictions have been finally overturned," said Stephen Lyons, their attorney. "They've been living in purgatory, and finally the court has done what we had hoped they would do, and that is overturn this clearly unconstitutional conviction." The Twitchells, who now live in Brentwood, NY, were not immediately available for comment. The Twitchells were sentenced to 10 years' probation in connection with the 1986 death of their 2-year-old son Robyn, who died from a simple bowel obstruction. The Twitchells were both raised in the Christian Science church, which teaches healing through spiritual treatment. During Robyn's 5-day illness, the family retained a Christian Science practitioner and consulted with other Christian Science Church officials. The court decision left it to the Suffolk County district attorney's office to decide whether there should be a new trial. But the verdict does not rule out all prosecutions of parents who rely on spiritual healing. Parents can be found guilty of involuntary manslaughter if they are found to be "wanton and reckless" in their care of a child, the court said. Justice Joseph Nolan dissented, saying the publication David Twitchell had consulted was properly excluded from the trial evidence "because it was not competent evidence in the issue of manslaughter." *article ends* ------------------------------------------------------------------- Another Christanic child sacrifice. Jesus would be so happy! How is it that the WILFULL death of a two-year-old results in 10 years probation?!


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