A Florida judge took the unusual step last week of acquitting a mother who was fighting accusations that she brutally beat and hospitalized her 10-month-old daughter, according to a report that cited audio from the trial.
April Fox, 34, was charged with aggravated child abuse after her daughter wound up in the hospital in 2015 with a fractured skull and swelling in the brain, The Miami Herald reported. X-rays also indicated the child’s arms and legs had suffered fractures in the past, the report said.
Florida child welfare authorities stripped Fox of parental rights. Fox’s lawyer blamed the child’s injuries on brittle bones, genetic disorders, and an accidental fall. Jurors failed to reach a verdict and declared a mistrial.
But rather than allow a second trial, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Mark Blumstein took the rare step of acquitting Fox himself, saying: “[S]omeone beyond any human in the court will have to answer those questions.”
“But in light of what I heard, and after hearing the presentation from the state, I don’t think it’s going to change with any retrial of this case,” he said.
The Herald reported that Fox and her lawyers were visibly stunned and Fox began hyperventilating in court. Fox cannot get her children back because the State Attorney’s Office cannot appeal a judge’s acquittal, the report said.