Child Abuse Legislation ‘Winston’s Law’
Gets Start In Legislature
Featured on My Brother’s Keeper, December 15, 2015
Alabama – District Attorney Randall Houston hopes that an early start in the effort to strengthen punishment in aggravated child abuse cases makes all the difference.
He recalls how it took three years for a bill to change the boating under the influence law to work its way through the Legislature. He pursued that bill after a series of fatal boating under the influence accidents occurred in his circuit.
“We hope Winston’s Law can make it through the House and Senate quickly this session and go on to the governor’s desk for his signature.” Houston, who represents Autauga, Chilton and Elmore counties, said. “We have picked up strong support for the bill.”
Named for the now 5-year-old boy who is at the center of a high-profile Elmore County child abuse case, Winston’s Law would make aggravated child abuse cases where the victim is 6 years old or younger a Class A felony. Reserved for the most serious crimes in the state, Class A felonies have a punishment range of 10 to 99 years to life in prison.
Aggravated child abuse is now a Class B felony, with a punishment range of 2 to 20 years in prison.
The District Attorneys Association of Alabama and Child Protect have endorsed the bill. Rep. Paul Beckman, R- Prattville, and state Sen. Clyde Chambliss Jr., R- Prattville, are sponsoring the bill.
In September Winston was found unresponsive in the back of Scott Hicks’ vehicle in the parking lot of the Bay County, Fla., courthouse, where Hicks went to clear up some unrelated warrants.
After deputies found Winston in the vehicle, Hicks, 38, was charged with aggravated child abuse. He remains in the Bay County Jail. The investigation shows that the abuse occurred in Elmore County. His mother, Hallee McLeod, 29, was recently indicted by the Elmore County Grand Jury on charges of aggravated child abuse and chemical endangerment of a child. Hicks and McLeod, boyfriend and girlfriend, are both Wetumpka residents, Houston said
She remains in the Elmore County Jail under bonds totaling $300,000, jail records show. She could not be reached for comment and courthouse records show she doesn’t have an attorney. Houston said Hicks will face similar charges in Elmore County, when the charges against him in Florida adjudicated.
Hicks was a co-owner of Spa Rejuvenate which had locations in Prattville and Montgomery. McLeod was the manager of the Prattville location. The Alabama Board of Message Therapy suspended the business license for the Prattville location and entered a non-renewal order for the license at the Montgomery location after the couple’s arrest.
At the time Sheriff Bill Franklin called the physical abuse Winston went through “the worst I have seen.”
“It certainly is the worst I have seen, where the child lived,” said Houston, a veteran prosecutor.”
Winston is now with his father, Joey Crampton, and making a “remarkable” recovery.
“Winston is in a loving, supporting environment and from all signs is doing much better than any of us could have ever hoped,” Houston said. “He has several more medical procedures that he is facing, and he may well face emotional troubles given the horrific abuse he went through.
“But now he is doing very well, and for that we are all very thankful.”
If passed, Winston’s Law will not be in effect for his case, since McLeod and Hicks were charged before the law was enacted.
“If anything good can come out of a bad situation, it is ensuring that justice is for everyone going forward,” Crampton wrote on the Facebook page JusticeForWinston. “If we can have a law that protects people, humanity, children especially, that to me is what justice is about.”
8 thoughts on “Say YES To Winston’s Law In Alabama”
This is an awesome bill that I hope becomes law soon. Any politician not willing to push through legislation of this importance should not be re-elected. I have to wonder how this poor child ended up with his mother and her boyfriend instead of his father. With all these charges against them shouldn’t it have been obvious abuse would occur? Is this an issue with immoral family law attorneys?
Claire, Thank You so much for your input, I hope you know how much we value it. Although what means the most is you, a person that cares so much for the well-being of others, especially Children.
There will be more than a few people that will not like or appreciate the truth in what I say, but you asked, and I will tell you what I know and what I think:
Men of ALMOST every race treated women here in America like a possession and slave until the mid 1900’s; from the time we were little boys until we were grown, we knew two good men, although I’m sure there were more. These 2 men were our Uncle and Our Father.
Laws changed to the point that you could say they flip-flopped 180 degrees. Now, if a report of Domestic Violence report is made, the man is the one that has to prove himself innocent. I am not saying Domestic Violence is right in any way, IT IS WRONG!!!! But what I am saying is that women’s word carries more weight in this situation, and at this point I do want to say I know of no good way to prove beyond a shadow of doubt which party is guilty.
What is a real shame is there is so much deceit in the world.
I do want to add one fact, and that is that women abuse Children over 10% more often than men.
As far as the courts, it is not just attorneys….
Thank you for sharing your opinion so frankly, Robert. I agree with you that there is a real issue when it comes to how we as a society correlate being female with being the victim. This stereotype hurts both men and women in the long run.
I was particularly interested in this issue because, sadly, I have known far too many children whose father’s weren’t given custody until too late. And as you say, it is such a complex problem riddled with deceit that a solution seems difficult to come by.
Again, thank you for your reply. And thank you for all you are doing for vulnerable children!
Claire, several years ago a Lady I love very deeply TOLD me that America’s stats and numbers are tainted on purpose, although she would not say exactly why.
I met Sister Helen Ryan a good many years ago, (someone was taken)and in the process I heard St Mary’s in the UK mentioned one too many times and contacted the Sisters.
Afterward I felt like I had to at least meet the Sisters, but they weren’t prepared for the man they met, and none wanted to let Helen be alone with me.(I only mean talking and visiting) But this Lady knew more about this kind of thing – to the point of just being able to recognize the effects of abuse in a persons eyes.
Maybe we will finish this part later, except for one thing, America hides one thing that is right there in the Bible, and there is a reason it is hidden, and that is because there is almost always a witch when dealing with Child Sexual Slavers, and for your information, few men are a match for them.
OK, as far as men having custody, I was one of the first to threaten suit because of the bias in treatment, and in paperwork wording, while trying to get help. The case worker and a room full of mother’s picked the wrong person to disrespect, and the whole room agreed when it was said no man was good enough parent to have custody. First I told them no woman knew boys any better than me, and there wasn’t a better parent than me, then I just went right on into the possibility of law suit. When I walked out, I told them I was granted CHILD SUPPORT on my 4 boys.
Claire, there are few good parents in this world, and I firmly believe that it has been that way all the way back to the beginning.
Now Bullying, I know that very well too, and the reason the Bullying Program was a failure is because it is not the kids that are totally responsible, in fact there is always ADULTS INVOLVED who are responsible.
Claire, it is you and caring people like you who should be Thanked, in fact, THANK YOU CLAIRE!!!!
It is only my opinion but, I believe that if a person is convicted of aggravated child abuse or sexual abuse of a child especially if the child is under 13 yrs of age, that the convicted should be straight way taken outside the court house and hanged on the spot.
OldPoet56, we highly value your input and wish to say THANK YOU!!!! for taking the time away from your work to share your thoughts with us.
Many are quick to question our beliefs when we talk of ways to stop what is so wrong with this world, i.e… “Vengeance is mine… “, yet they pick and choose only what suits their needs.
I totally agree with you, this is not something they do one time. The penalty needs to be one strike and you are never seen again.
Don’t be a stranger!!!!
You liked my Pinterest article, and I never came to visit you. Forgive me. I saw you have an article on child abuse. So horrific, I didn’t even want to click to see the photos. Thanks again for the visit.
Ms Wald, Thank You!!!!
I appreciate you and your input, I know how busy you are Ms Wald, there is no problem.
Aida has been missing you on Google, and on your blog. We are so short-handed that with her college and all our business we are just really unable to get her anyposting time on Our website, or Our new Blog, My Brother’s Keeper
We will be coming by your blog, because we have missed so many posts, but mainly because of your great writing.
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