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Professor Jennifer Collins cited in Louisiana Supreme Court decision

Professor Jennifer Collins, Associate Provost for Academic Initiatives, was cited in the Louisiana Supreme Court’s verdict in the case of the State of Louisiana vs. Satonia Small.

After reviewing the facts and applicable law, the Louisiana Supreme Court determined that convicting Satonia Small for second-degree murder after leaving her two children alone in the middle of the night, during which a fire broke out and one of the children was killed, could not be supported in this case. Instead, the court reversed the judgement of the lower courts and found Small guilty of the lesser included offense, negligent homicide.

Collins’s article “Crime and Parenthood: the Uneasy Case for Prosecuting Negligent Parents,” originally published in the Northwestern University Law Review in 2006, was referenced by the court specifically for its examination of 92 reported judicial decisions involving fatal parental negligence in which 34 resulted in the prosecution of the parent or guardian for failing to provide adequate supervision. Of the cases included in the article, in fact, 11 involved the death of neglected young children who were alone when a fire broke out in their residence.

Collins specializes in issues involving families and the criminal justice system, specifically the prosecution of parents who are responsible for their children’s deaths. At the Law School, she teaches criminal law, criminal procedure, family law, and gender and the law. Collins is the 2010 winner of the Joseph Branch Excellence in Teach Award, selected by the dean, and that same year assumed her current position of Associate Provost for Academic Initiatives for the university.