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Sheriff's officer, wife, face child endangerment charges

A sheriff's deputy who has had legal trouble in the past is facing new charges in connection with a child endangerment incident. The man will be mounting a criminal defense against charges that he was intoxicated and trapped himself inside a vehicle with an infant.

Officers report that the man was found to be under the influence of an illegal substance at the time of the incident. They found the man locked in a vehicle with an 8-month-old child, and the man was supposedly too intoxicated to operate the door locks. It is not clear whether the child belonged to the 34-year-old former law enforcement officer.

The man's 33-year-old wife is also facing child endangerment charges in connection with the incident, according to media reports. The woman allegedly knew that the man was intoxicated and left the infant in his care anyway. She also faces charges of obstruction of justice and aggravated assault because of her combative response to her husband's arrest. After the woman was told that she, too, would be arrested, she struck and kicked officers, according to reports from the scene.

The child was not injured in the incident. Both suspects remain in custody in the Morris County jail.

Reports show that the man has a troubled past with law enforcement, having been apprehended for a series of arsons in 2008 and 2010. The man did return to the scenes of the fires to put them out, however. Several of those charges are still pending. Both members of the couple also face drug charges in connection with prescription drug possession that occurred in March.

Both parents are being held on $2,500 bail, a low amount that reflects the relatively minor nature of their crimes. If they plead guilty, it is possible that they could receive lower sentences or avoid jail time altogether, according to legal experts.

Source: The Star-Ledger, "Suspended Morris sheriff's officer and wife accused of child endangerment," Ben Horowitz, Dec. 20, 2012.

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