DENVER (CBS4) – No state charges will be filed against a Denver county judge who left her granddaughter in a parked car while she went shopping.
The decision was made by the Arapahoe County District Attorney’s Office, but the matter is not over. Denver County Court Judge Mary Celeste still could face charges from the city of Denver.
Last Wednesday afternoon in the midst of the string of 90-plus degree days Sam’s Club store employees were alerted by a customer there was a child alone in a locked car. Seven minutes after Celeste went into the store to buy some olive oil, she was back at her car where she left her 7-year-old granddaughter. By then the Denver Fire Department and police had been rushed to the scene.
The child was alright.
State law says a person commits child abuse if they “permit a child to be unreasonably placed in a situation that poses a threat of injury to the child’s life or health.”
David Lamb is a former Denver chief senior deputy prosecutor for the unit that handled such cases.
“A lot of times it comes down to trying to determine how poor was this poor judgment, and was this poor judgment that really shocks the conscience of an ordinary person,” Lamb said.
The attorney for Celeste said the judge’s father had just passed away the day before, she had left the car fan running with water inside, and that she is “very regretful” for what she had done. The attorney said they are very happy that no state charges will be filed. He called it a mistake and not a crime.
The city attorney’s office would decide if municipal charges should be filed, but because it deals with Denver County Court, the case may have to be forwarded for an outside opinion.