Franks pleads guilty, sentenced to lesser charge

Under a plea bargain with the state of Wyoming, Marie Franks pleaded guilty to, and was sentenced on, a misdemeanor charge of abandoning or endangering a child in district court Thursday.

The plea was based in part on the count being dropped from felony child abuse to the lesser charge. District Court Judge John Fenn sentenced the 38-year-old Sheridan woman to 365 days in jail, suspended to one year on unsupervised probation with provisions including Franks’ continued compliance with Wyoming’s Department of Family Services.

The charge stemmed from an incident on June 19 last year.

During questioning by Judge Fenn Thursday, Frank testified that she was having “a really bad, hectic day” at the time of the incident, and that her son, who has ADHD, threw things at her and she threw them back. She said what looked like a slap to people who witnessed, and reported, the incident wasn’t a slap, and she later was able to calm her son.

Reminded by the judge that she was pleading guilty to an act performed knowingly and with criminal intent, Franks said she was pleading guilty because she would rather accept the plea agreement than “gamble” on a jury trial in which she might be convicted of the felony charge. The original felony charge carried a maximum penalty of up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

In addition to the suspended jail time, Judge Fenn assessed a $150 fine to victims compensation, plus court costs, but on testimony from her attorney, ruled that she was unable to pay attorney’s fees and would not be assessed.

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