Appeals court upholds Hastings man's child abuse sentence

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HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - The Nebraska state court of appeals upheld a 30-year prison term for a Hastings man connected to a severe case of child abuse.

John Brown, 33, was convicted of child abuse last year in connection with a November 2016 case in which a baby girl in his care was found unresponsive. Doctor's later found bruises, cuts inside the baby's mouth and burns on her feet. They also found a large quality of methamphetamine in the baby's urine.

Brown appealed the sentence, arguing that since he was not the girl's legal guardian and that he would have no further contact with her, that the child was in no danger.

The court of appeals rejected Brown's appeal in March.

Brown's partner at the time, Brittany Hatch, 24, was sentenced in August 2017, to 19 years in prison for felony child abuse.

Hatch also appealed her sentence to the court of appeals, Hatch's attorney argued the difference between the words "ingested" and "injected" in a brief filed with the court. They claimed that Hatch's prison sentence was too long because the baby had swallowed the meth by accident, and not because Hatch had deliberately injected the baby with meth.

They further argued that Hatch should have been placed on probation for being a neglectful mother. And they also claimed that Hatch recognized that she was not fit to care for the baby because she was given up for adoption.

The appeals court rejected the arguments and upheld Hatch's prison term.

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