Division II: Mom's Neglect Based on Bible Not Overturned By Having Bible Quoted Back to Her
It really boggles my mind that some people don’t have the basic humanity to be parents.
J.T., N.T., and A.T. experienced severe neglect and abuse while living with theTrebilcocks. The children were not allowed to try different foods. The Trebilcocks would make J.T. and occasionally A.T. eat from a " pig trough." 3B Report of Proceedings ( RP) at 646. J.T. and A.T. would also be forced to eat outdoors in the cold. The children would be denied food altogether ifthey did not complete their chores or schoolwork. On occasion, they would have to steal food to survive, from bread and fruit to dog food, goat food, and toothpaste. The Trebilcocks put an alarm in the kitchen to prevent the children from stealing food. When the Trebilcocks caught the children stealing food, they would spank the children with a wooden paddle.
J. T. in particular spent a great deal of time outside doing chores barefoot. In order to ensure that he did not get the carpet dirty, he had to have his feet checked before he entered the house. At times J.T. would stand outside in the cold for hours, waiting for someone to check his feet so he could go back inside. The Trebilcocks made J. T. wash his clothes outside in a bucket and hang them to dry. Sometimes his clothes would not dry and he had to wear wet clothing. J.T. also had to wash his bed sheets in the bucket outside, and if the sheets did not dry, he had to sleep without sheets. He was frequently cold at night.
The really scary part of this to me is that not only are these parents so utterly inept, but they were allowed to adopt children several times. You would think that on one of these occasions, a home inspection would have revealed some of these conditions. Now, I don’t know what inspections happened, or how these went down, but I’m just saying’...
The mom argued that the judge violated her right to due process when he quoted the Bible during sentencing. Now, the sentencing was done purely under the Sentencing Reform Act, including aggravating factors. However, it is not error for a court to use religious language to express a secular concept. Here is the quote by the court:
At trial, Mrs. Trebilcock testified about being biblically convicted about proper eating diet.
This may be familiar to some — this phrasing — and the reason I make mention of this is because I really think it’s important to mention and underscore the importance of safeguarding and protecting children in our society and keeping them from harm and offense. This is the phrase some of you may be familiar with: “Which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone, or if he asks a fish, will give him a serpent?"
While the code is biblical, it is meant to underscore the principle that we are to safeguard and protect children in our society. The judge is allowed to consider this secular principle within sentencing.
Interestingly here, the defendant contended that, although she waived her right to a jury trial, that that only applied to the trial itself and not sentencing. Why does this matter? Under Washington law, a person is entitled to have a jury consider aggravating and mitigating factors in support of the sentence. Here, she unequivocally stated that she wanted the judge to decide her case and whole. Never at any time did she make any motion or raise any objection to this. Her waiver was complete.
The rest of the published part of the opinion deals mainly with the propriety of various aggravating factors, which the Court of Appeals found were properly applied.