Idaho Mom Denied Custody For Treating Seizing Daughter With Marijuana

Howard vs Osborne

An Idaho judge has ruled that a 23-year-old mother in Gooding, Idaho, cannot keep custody of her 3-year-old daughter, despite testimony from her physician and Child Protective Services that the mother’s use of medical marijuana to stop the child’s seizures caused “no injury” to the child.

The (unnamed in media reports) judge in the four-hour hearing that was closed to the public ordered that Madyson Osborne, age 3, will remain with the ex-husband of Kelsey Osborne, the mother who was charged in October with misdemeanor injury to a child. According to the Magic Valley Times-News:

Osborne said her daughter Madyson has been acting out since she was 18 months old, but was having a particularly bad night Oct. 4 after several weeks of going on and off Risperidone, an antipsychotic medication.

The next morning, Madyson was having seizure-like symptoms, vomiting and acting out in a way she never had, so Osborne made her a smoothie with marijuana butter that calmed the girl, Osborne said. But at a doctor’s appointment later that day, the girl tested positive for marijuana and the doctor called the Department of Health and Welfare.

The doctor says no harm. The Child Protective Services says no harm. The mother says not only no harm, but the child was healed. What are Idaho prosecutors protecting little Madyson from?

Just so we’re clear here, a physician who learned that a child had marijuana in her system was compelled to call the government to protect that child’s well-being. That same government gave the seal of approval for a physician to prescribe Risperidone to a child age 3 or younger, which has the following warnings and potential side effects:

Drowsiness, dizziness, lightheadedness, drooling, nausea, weight gain, or tiredness may occur.

Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: difficulty swallowing, muscle spasms, shaking (tremor), mental/mood changes (such as anxiety, restlessness), signs of infection (such as fever, persistent sore throat).

This medication may increase a certain natural substance (prolactin) made by your body. For females, this increase in prolactin may result in unwanted breast milk, missed/stopped periods, or difficulty becoming pregnant.

In addition to those side effects, risperidone can rarely cause tardive dyskinesianeuroleptic malignant syndrome, and a condition that affects the heart rhythm, called QT prolongation. This study explains that “rapid weight gain with risperidone treatment may promote the cascade of biochemical indices associated with insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome.” Here’s one paper explaining how a child “experienced gingival bleeding when risperidone dose was increased to 0.5 mg/day…”.

You can click the links to learn what all that means, or just accept that they are bad conditions that cannabis does not cause, ever.

Idaho: Prosecuting Child Medical Marijuana, Letting Sex Offenders Off the Hook

Meanwhile, just 25 miles away in Dietrich, Idaho, there is an ongoing prosecution of an actual injury to a child. Three white high school football players, aged 18, 18, and 17, were charged with attacking a black, mentally-disabled classmate, by sodomizing him with a coat hanger.

If you think a woman healing her child with medical marijuana is a crime more deserving of jail time than raping a disabled kid with a coat hanger, you just might be a redneck! (Apologies to Jeff Foxworthy)

The only of the three to be tried as an adult, now 19-year-old John Howard, pleaded guilty to a felony injury to a child charge, rather than the more serious charge of forcible sexual penetration by a foreign object that could have merited up to a life sentence. Why did the Deputy Attorney General prosecuting this case, Casey Hemmer, agree to waive the more serious sex crime charge?

“We don’t believe it’s appropriate for Mr. Howard to suffer the consequences of a sex offender,” Hemmer said in court.

What’s the punishment for this felony injury to a child? Typically it is up to one year in county jail or between between one and ten years in state prison. But not for John Howard:

[Howard,] who submitted an Alford plea, will likely be sentenced to two- to three-years of probation when he returns to court on February 24, 2017, but will “avoid prison or jail time and could ultimately have his conviction dismissed if he successfully completes probation without violations or committing new crimes.

What’s an “Alford plea”? Glad you asked – as I’ve never heard of such a thing, either:

…by submitting an Alford plea, [Howard] maintains his innocence while acknowledging prosecutors would likely be able to win a conviction at trial.

It’s kind of like a “no contest”, huh? It’s like saying, “I didn’t do anything wrong but I’ll concede you can probably prove that I did.” The state of Idaho’s Deputy Attorney General didn’t want this young man, who admitted the state could prove he abused a handicapped black kid, to have to suffer a life registering as a sex offender.

But what about a hate crime charge, with three white kids ganging up to abuse a kid who, along with his siblings, are the only black kids in town? Nope, Deputy AG Hemmer sees no problem there, either, according to his court testimony:

“It’s not our belief that this was a racially motivated crime. This was more of a vulnerable victim-motivated crime. I think it probably would have happened to anybody that was in the same kind of circumstances and mental state as the victim here.”

Oh, they weren’t sexually penetrating a younger classmate with a coat hanger because he was black. They were sexually penetrating a younger classmate with a coat hanger because he was mentally challenged! That makes it all better and not at all any sort of crime of bias, huh, Idaho?

Oddly, though, when you ask the kid who was raped about it, he has a different story to tell, as alleged in the $10 million civil suit against the school:

The lawsuit says the victim of the rape endured “racial bullying, racial name-calling, racial taunting, racial harassment and humiliation and at least one physical beating at an event sponsored by the high school and supervised by employees of the district.”

Howard also made the victim learn a “vicious Ku Klux Klan song” and recited the song to him “at the same time a confederate flag was posted on Mr. Howard’s computer,” the lawsuit said. Howard’s actions were ignored by school officials and football coaches “in part due to his athletic ability and community connections.”

The suit said the victim was also humped and taunted during football practices, called names like “Kool-Aid, chicken eater, watermelon and (N-word),” and “continuously subjected” to wedgies, in which his underwear was yanked up out of his pants causing “extreme pain, humiliation and suffering and tearing of the underpants.”

The suit goes on to allege that “one physical beating at an event” was when the football coaches organized fist fights between the players to “toughen them up” and that in one instance, Howard was bare-fisted as he beat the victim unconscious, all the while as other players and students taunted the victim with racial epithets.

New York columnist and Black Lives Matter reporter Shaun King has now written about the case, attracting attention from the national media. The Idaho Attorney General’s Office is refusing comment on online criticism from The Idaho Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence on Facebook.

While it is beyond critical that the national spotlight focuses on how racism is helping a white man beat a felony sex offense charge, I hope as much focus is given on how cannabigotry is perverting our justice system and harming children.

Russ Belville
About Russ Belville 199 Articles
Russ Belville - or "Radical" Russ, as he is known on-air - hosts The Marijuana Agenda, a live news and talk radio program for the cannabis community, weekdays at 3pm Pacific on MJAgenda.com.  The show is based in Portland, Oregon, but "Radical" Russ has traveled over 300,000 air miles in the past five years, bringing his show to report live from hundreds of cannabis conferences, marijuana expos, hemp festivals, and legalization events in over 70 North American cities.