The Georgia Supreme Court has decided that prosecutors cannot use evidence from electronic devices in the case against two foster parents accused in the death of a toddler.
The Rosenbaums - her foster parents - said she choked on a chicken bone, but the autopsy results revealed otherwise.
The state's Supreme Court said the issue regarding the couple's phones and other electronic devices was whether the delay between the seizure and search of items violated the couple's Fourth Amendment rights against “unreasonable searches and seizures.”
The court ruled the manner in which the information was obtained violated the defendants' rights.
In November 2015, Laila died while in the care of the Rosenbaums. The Court said On Dec. 4, 2015, a Henry County magistrate judge issued warrants for the arrest of the Rosenbaums for the beating death of Laila and the physical abuse of her 4-year-old sister.
The motion to suppress the evidence was filed in January 2018 by the Rosenbaums.
In February of that year, a Henry County judge granted the motion. The State, represented by the Cobb and DeKalb District Attorneys, then appealed to the state Supreme Court.
However, the ruling still stands.
"We conclude that the analysis developed by the Eleventh Circuit is appropriate, the trial court’s findings of fact are supported by the record, and the trial court did not err in granting the motion to suppress,” Justice Michael P. Boggs said. “We, therefore, affirm the judgment of the trial court.”
This case drew scrutiny after it revealed failures of Laila's state Division of Family and Children Services workers. During the several months, they were supposed to be supervising Laila’s foster care but allegedly did not intervene in time to save her. They were eventually fired.
The autopsy revealed the toddler suffered several injuries. The report also stated that Laila died primarily because she suffered a transected pancreas the day of her death.
In 2015, authorities released the 911 call that Jennifer placed on that fatal day.
“I have a toddler, a foster daughter who was choking,” she says in the call. “I tried to do the Heimlich on her. She's still breathing but it doesn't look good.”
The 911 dispatcher assures her that help is on the way and then starts instructing her in CPR and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
“I hope I didn't break her rib, I've been pushing hard,” Rosenbaum says. “I don't know how to do this.”
However, the arrest warrant stated that Laila was denied food and both she and her sister, were beaten. The GBI medical examiner said a major contributing cause for Laila's death was a blow so hard, it transected her pancreas causing her severe blood loss.
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