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Fascinating Criminal Law Article

Hot Crime

The weather this summer has been stifling in New England. Lots of heat and humidity is making everyone miserable. But is it a crime to let children sell cookies in the heat?

Perhaps so in the great state of Connecticut. A church worker has been charged with four counts of risk of injury to a minor, each a felony carrying a maximum of ten years of imprisonment. The facts supoorting her arrest? She left four children outside supermarkets to sell cookies on a day in which the temperature -- gasp -- rose above 95 degrees. Gimme a break

It is not as though the kids were left in a swamp as part of a chain gang. They were apparently selling cookies as part a church fundraiser. One of the chidren, aged six, is a son of the new-found defendant.

I have some qualms about leaving young children unattended at any time, anywhere. But the heat is not the reason I would be hesitant.

Perhaps I am just getting old. No, I did not walk to school through nine-foot snow drifts, bare-footed, armed and fighting off street gangs. But I did play outside all summer long in temperatures that sometimes hit six digits. And so far as I know my mother did not commit a crime in permitting me to do so.

This new heat-related crime is undoubtedly a federal offense. I am sure there was some slight imperceptible impact on interstate commerce involved. I wonder what the guidelines will call for in terms of a sentence?