The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Local News

April 11, 2014

Deferred judgment rejected

CLINTON — A Clinton County district court judge rejected a deferred judgment request for a Calamus woman who admitted to denying medical care to her 6-week-old baby girl after a Feb. 17, 2013, injury.

Defense Attorney Les Blair told the court Thursday that Danielle Bunce, 23, was a first-time mother when the incident occurred. He continued that she was not the one who injured the baby and wrongly took advice from someone older than her to delay in taking the baby to the hospital.

“Now, that’s not an excuse. None of those are excuses for what happened,” Blair said. “Those are mitigating factors but they don’t take away my client’s guilt.

Both Clinton County Attorney Mike Wolf and Blair asked Judge Nancy Tabor to follow the recommendation of the pre-sentencing investigation and grant the defendant a deferred judgment for Bunce’s charge of child endangerment, resulting in bodily injury. Blair said Bunce has never been in trouble before and has a good chance of leading a productive life, which could be affected by a felony conviction.

According to court documents, Bunce’s daughter was in the care of Eladio Pena Jr. on Feb. 17, 2013, when the injury occurred. The next morning, Bunce said the baby had bruises on her neck and that her daughter was crying differently; as if in pain.

Court documents show that it was not until Feb. 19, after her daughter had seizures that Bunce and her maternal aunt, Debra Dillon, brought the baby to the Genesis Hospital emergency room in Davenport shortly before 11 a.m. The women lied, telling a story about a dog jumping on Dillon making her drop the baby. However, once Bunce learned the seriousness of the injuries, she told the truth.

According to the affidavit, the baby suffered fractures of the left second rib, soft tissue swelling, as well as multiple brain and spinal injuries

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